The completion of CLEAN!

Well, tomorrow is the last day of Clean 2011! We Clean participants couldn’t be more excited – the food we’ve been dreaming to eat is within our grasp – Lauren: brownies, Craig and Robert: Pizza! We are finishing our highly stringent diet with a Zion Lutheran Church potluck at noon tomorrow. What better way to end a diet, than a Lutheran potluck?!?

Here is a recap of the four week diet extravaganza:

Clean Week 1:
Three solid meals a day from the include list (found on previous blog). With no regular breakfast food on the include list, Craig and I settled on fruit smoothies for breakfast and solid lunches and dinners.

Week 1 Sample Meals:
Breakfast: Smoothie – frozen pineapples/peaches/mangoes, almond milk, agave nectar and ice

Lunch: grilled chicken, peas or broccoli or green beans or salad

Snacks: almonds, cashews, pecans, fruit, veggies

Dinner: chicken or deer meat, beans, brown rice, veggies

And so it went for 5 days. The cravings – unbelievable! The headaches from no caffeine – terrible. The ache in our bellies when we went to bed at night – awful. We drank a lot of water to fill our empty bellies. Also we really couldn’t exercise due to the shear lack of calories to sustain a run around the block. Not the greatest week of our lives.

Weeks 2,3, and 4: Smoothies for breakfast, same lunches as week one, and liquid dinners – dinner was definitely the most challenging part. Who wants a cold smoothie in the dead of winter for dinner?

So Craig and I got creative – broccoli soup with onions and garlic, split pea soup with asparagus and chicken stock, butternut squash soup with black pepper. Meager, but surprisingly full of flavor and filling. Its amazing that when your diet excludes EVERYTHING you used to eat, how creative you can get. And full. And not to mention Craig began exercising (running up to 20 miles a week) weeks 2-4 and I ran as well weeks 3 and 4 (10 miles per week) and we had energy to spare, even though we hardly ate. Crazy!

Last day of the diet results:
Lauren: 6 pound loss
Craig:11 pound loss
Robert: 16 pound loss!!!

Detoxifying has definitely been an eye-opening experience. I can’t speak for Craig or Robert, but some of the lessons learned have been very beneficial for my overall health going forward – For one, you learn how to read your hunger (emotional hunger vs. true hunger) and learn how to get a grip on cravings. My biggest struggle was craving sugar, but its amazing how far a lime spritzer, a cup of flavored herbal tea, and a handful of fruit can combat a sugar craving. Sure sounds boring and nowhere as wonderful as real dessert, but when you can’t have real dessert, you realize you can live without it, and you wont die from lack of sugar. Its true. I’m proof.

Two, my intestines have never felt better! I’ve never struggled with pain in the gut like some of the faithful Shelblog readers, but even what little cramping, “stuffed” feeling or queasiness from some foods I used to get has completely vanished. Sure we ate bland food in moderate quantities, but maybe there is some truth to Dr. Jungers belief that most people have at least one low level allergy to either diary, gluten, sugar, etc. Who knows?!

Three, Craig and I both have WAY MORE energy at the end of the day since we began this diet – instead of being exhausted at 8:30pm we are still wide awake at 10pm. This is huge! This is one of the claims made by Dr. Junger, which I scoffed, but there honestly has been a ridiculous difference in how I feel throughout the day – especially with no caffeine or heavy foods in my gut. That’s right – we are more alert, productive, and can stay up later with a complete lack of caffeine in our diet as before when at least one caffeinated beverage was consumed daily. Very interesting…….

Also, we get full on much less food and fewer calories – Example: for dinner on Thursday night, I had 1 cup of broccoli, asparagus, split pea soup and two carrots with homemade hummus (2 tbs) and I felt stuffed!! Ridiculous! And anyone that has watched me eat, knows I can put away a lot more food than that in one seating. Not anymore I guess.

The absolute best part of the diet for me was the freedom from stressing about calories and the overeating guilt for a whole month! I haven’t felt this way since 5th grade!! But honestly, who would feel bad about eating broccoli, chicken, almonds, or rice milk? The lack of guilt alone is almost enough to stay on this diet forever. Almost, not quite.

Biggest downsides to Clean:

1. Expensive -who usually keeps their fridge stocked with almond milk, lamb, loads of fresh produce and veggies, expensive spices and supplements?
2. A lot of time commitment – have to cook everyday for the next days lunch, gotta go to the grocery store ALOT
3. Not easy if your schedule gets crazy – aka your horse patient decides he wants to try to die around dinnertime leaving you hungry and without rations till late in the evening while you are done saving lives (protein bars, donuts, pizza quick fixes – off limits!)
4. Lets face it, you feel hunger pains a lot. Especially late morning when your fruit smoothie is no longer doing its job of satiety. Thank goodness for nuts as snacks. LIFESAVER!
5. Its takes the joy out of food. Its much more of a eat to live diet, not a eat to enjoy yummy food diet.

****And for the Liske ladies – the whole hot, hungry, tired thing making us cranky? Much to my delight hunger doesn’t make me nearly as cranky as it used to. Probably because I’ve had to learn how to function without having a full belly all of the time – so much for using hunger as an excuse to yell at anyone who bugs me when my body is low on calories. Unfortunately, the same is not true for being hot or tired – still a crankfest!****

Things I missed:
Black tea or coffee with cream and sugar, SUGAR!, my usual Friday morning bagel, Starbucks caramel latte, cheese, yogurt!

Things Craig missed: MILK!, cheese, bread, pizza, beef

Things Robert missed: Pizza.

Would I do the diet again? Definitely! I’ve never lost 6 pounds in a month ever – except for maybe when I had the chicken pox as 15. And this diet didn’t even require exercise! Its a great way to get your cravings under control, get your body clean feeling, and lose a little weight before a big event the healthy way.

Well, here’s to eating something delicious. Stay tuned for the Clean participants adjustment back to real life and real eating again.

Lets hope it doesn’t come with with a 6 pound weight gain.

3 thoughts on “The completion of CLEAN!

  1. maybe what you just experienced was “real eating” and what you usually eat was actually processed food that is full of unnatural (albeit delicious) chemicals and preservatives that are barely food at all!

    Anyway, I’m going to go eat an oreo.

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