TODAY IS GOING TO BE TRICKY, NO DOUBT. PROBABLY YOUR MORNing
ritual has already been stood on its head. No coffee, no
muffin or bagel. What are you going to do?
Restock your cupboards.
Whenever I begin a cleanse, I like to spend part of the
first day at the grocery store, stocking up on all the delicious,
wholesome foods I will enjoy for the next few weeks. To make
it easy for you, I’ve drawn up a shopping list of items that you
can find at any standard grocery store, so your pantry and
fridge will be full of all the right foods for the first days of the
cleanse. If you’ve never been down the natural foods aisle in
your local supermarket or into a health food store, get ready
for an adventure. There’s a whole world of incredibly delicious
and wholesome food waiting for you there. Try a few
new items with each shopping trip. There will be some you
love and some you don’t, but the only way to discover new
foods to love is by being willing to experiment a little.
I’ve listed some “quickie meals” at the back of the book
that will help you to formulate your daily menus. There are
three weeks’ worth of fantastic recipes listed as well, so look
through them and pick out a few you’d like to start with. The
following are some of the basics.
General Grocery List
- Irish steel-cut oats. Oats do contain some
gluten, but for most people they are quite tolerable.
Unless you are particularly sensitive,
they are okay to use.
- Mixed-grain hot cereals. Be sure they’re
gluten- and sugar-free -- and this means no
honey or maple syrup.
- Rice cakes
- Flax crackers
- Gluten-free bread. There are many delicious
alternatives. Try some sprouted breads, as
they are easier to digest and are less processed.
You can usually find wonderful options such as
millet and rice bread in the freezer section of
the store. Also, if you surf the Net, there is a
whole host of selections you can order and
have delivered to your home!
- Sweet potatoes, yams
- Grains: brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa,
amaranth, buckwheat, corn. You can even
find precooked brown rice on store shelves in
vacuum-sealed packages or in the freezer
case. Cook your own if you can, but these are
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, soy nuts,
macadamia nuts, filberts, etc.
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, hemp,
flax. Flaxseeds must be freshly ground rather
than eaten whole, otherwise they will go
straight through your body without giving you
their full nutritional benefit.
- Nut or seed butters: almond butter, tahini,
cashew butter, peanut butter (all unsweetened)
- Vegan butter
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Nondairy protein powder (soy, pea, hemp, or
- Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas,
lima beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed
peas, edamame, fava beans. Dried beans are
best, but they do take a while to cook. Canned
are also fine.
- Faux meats: burgers, sausage patties, “meat
crumbles,” “chicken” patties. Make sure all
- Artichoke, rice, or quinoa pasta
- Pasta sauce
- Vegetables: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, green
beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts, zucchini,
eggplant, collard greens, squash (butternut,
spaghetti, acorn), tomatoes, etc.
- Mushrooms: shiitake, hen of the woods, portobello.
Grilled, they make a great centerpiece
for a meal.
- Salad: arugula, radicchio, endive, mixed
greens, peppers, avocado, tomato, radish, etc.
- Fruits: apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries,
goji berries; frozen fruits for smoothies;
lemons, limes, and unsweetened pomegranate
juice for sparkling-water cocktails
- Herbal teas such as mint, chamomile, vanilla
- Nondairy milk, such as rice, almond, hemp, or
soy milk (unsweetened)
- Sweeteners: xylitol, agave nectar, and stevia
for smoothies, milks, cereals, baked goods,
etc.; use sparingly.
- Extra-virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed organic
canola, high-oleic versions of sunflower and
safflower oils, walnut oil, and flaxseed oil (the
last is good to pour over things like salad or
baked yam, but not to cook with).
- Seasonings: garlic, ginger, tamari; Himalayan
crystal or Celtic sea salt. Regular table salt is
bleached and stripped of minerals.
- Flours to cook or bake with: bean, pea, soy,
potato, buckwheat, tapioca, nut and seed,
arrowroot, and rice. There are also prepackaged
flour mixes that cater to the gluten-free
- Corn chips
- Soy cheese (rennet-free)
- Frozen spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower to
throw into smoothies . . . you won’t even taste it!
- Vegetarian stock for cooking
You see, when people ask you what’s left to eat without animal
products, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, and sugar, you can
tell them there is plenty!
Try some prepared foods from health food stores. They
are often very tasty and nutritious. Visit the deli/salad bar
area, too. And as much as possible, try to buy organic foods
to avoid dangerous pesticides, antibiotics, and herbicides.
When I’m on the cleanse I no longer think about the
foods I can’t eat. Instead I look forward to my favorite
snacks. I get excited thinking about the big salad I will make
for lunch. I’ll throw everything under the sun in there and
then top it with some crumbled veggie burger patties. If I’m
hungry between meals, I eat some mixed nuts, tamari almonds,
a nutrition bar, or a piece of fruit. I can’t wait for dinner,
when I get to dig into a luscious fajita with black beans
and guacamole with salsa. Or maybe a hearty lentil soup
with some flax crackers on the side. And I make sure to have
a variety of vegetables or salad a few times a day.
Leaning in to Change
Because you are giving up a lot at once, you might feel some
withdrawal symptoms, especially during the first few days.
But with just a little mental preparation, you will be able to
navigate the seas, no matter how uncomfortable they may
make you at first. If you know, for example, that you might
get a headache from the lack of caffeine, instead of resenting
the headache you can nod to it when it comes and just
say, “Okay, this is going to be a tough few hours, but just
for today, I can get through these feelings and stick to my
program. This is temporary; I can do it. And it shows me how
addicted my body has become to a powerful substance.”
You might also feel a bit cranky, so if you can put off making
important phone calls or having a critical meeting on a
weighty issue, do so. Because you are not taking in artificial
stimulants, you might feel a bit sluggish and uninspired to exercise.
The last thing you may want to do is exercise, but do
it anyway; within five to ten minutes, you will be glad you’re
on your bike, hiking, or on the treadmill. Exercise creates a
natural sense of wellness by increasing blood flow and by creating
endorphins that make you happy; your body can use the
boost as you withdraw from the artificial stimulants. And with
exercise you never have the crash that comes after a sugar or
caffeine high. Drink lots of clean, fresh water and herbal tea.
And add the following meditation to your daily routine.
If meditation is new to you, don’t be shy. For many people
the word brings to mind an image of sitting in an uncomfortably
stiff position and feeling antsy or preoccupied. It is nothing
more than the practice of quiet contemplation. You just
turn your focus inward for a few minutes so you can access a
deeper reality. But what a powerful few minutes they can be.
By practicing a daily ritual of closing your eyes and turning
your thoughts to the shift or change that is being awakened in you, you can greatly accelerate the cleanse’s positive
Find a quiet spot and sit or lie down and close your eyes. For
at least ten breaths, drop down as deep into yourself as you
can and connect to the part of you that wants to heal and flourish.
Feel the little buzz of magic that is getting stirred within,
and repeat the following phrase a few times: I am leaning in.
By repeating these affirming words, you are gently but
firmly planting the idea that you are beginning a process that
will reward you in all dimensions -- improving your health,
restoring emotional connectedness, and making you more
comfortable and confident about your overall sense of place
in the universe. As you breathe into the words I am leaning
in, feel yourself moving in the direction of realizing your
highest and most fulfilling path. No pressure, no specific
goals. Just a little push to help you gain momentum. Set your
sights on how you would like to feel and do your best as you
move in that direction. Imagine what a cleaner and more vibrant
way of living will feel like.
As you say the words, know that you will naturally draw
into your awareness whatever you need to understand or embrace.
That’s the beauty of meditation: you will receive inspiration.
Don’t worry about how long you sit . . . even a few
breaths is a good place to start.
Now plot out what you’d like to eat tomorrow. Choose a
couple of recipes from the back of this book or from a favorite cookbook, or think about what you can order from the cafeteria
at work, and get excited about what the future holds.
This is an ever-unfolding process of wellness, and there is
much to discover. You might even ask a friend to share a meal
with you so that you have some companionship as you learn
about new things.