The Cleanse.

March 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

Recently my hubby and I have decided to enter the world of “cleansing”, or as some might know it, de-toxing.  As we quickly discovered upon a quick googling exercise, there is a grand selection of various cleanses a person can do. Upon recommendation from our osteopath, who has seen great results in his cleanses, we embarked upon a liver cleanse.

Despite the teasing I received from my girlfriends who inquired why we needed a liver cleanse (“hittin’ the red wine a little harder these days, are ya?”) we jumped in with both feet.  Now, in my very non-medically-qualified way, I will explain to you that the liver is a tremendously important organ, which among other things, has ownership of clearing out all things toxic from our bodies. As all the blood in our bodies pass through the liver at some point, this faithful organ of ours removes any toxins and stuff that is no-longer-useful.  And because the liver is so intricately connected to our body’s core, it can impact many other aspects of our bodies. All around a good place to start when trying to improve one’s health, right?

The point of our particular cleanse was to give our liver a mini-vacation by removing anything antagonistic from our diet. This allows the liver to focus less on its daily routine, and shift its attention to clearing out any build up of toxins that might have accumulated. So that included:

Alcohol

Caffeine

Processed sugar

Wheat

Gluten

Dairy

Pork

Corn

Peanuts

White flour, rice

Processed foods

Night shades (potatoes, peppers)

Citrus

Soy

 

(We did very well on all of these except for soy, which we forgot about frequently)

 

Oh, and no eating after 7pm. And drink 3-5L of water per day. And exercise. And take epsom salt baths. And get 8 hours sleep every night. And take probiotics, fish oil and Fluxobile every day. And last but not least, meditate.  (We were somewhat  less successful on these.)

 We decided to do this for three weeks.

We were told that the first couple days would be rough. That we might encounter a feeling of being unwell, experience some diarrhea, and generally feel hung-over. But then, oh then you will feel SO GOOD! The excitement in the voices of the multiple people who assured us how good we would feel really raised the bar for us, reassuring us that there would be gratification for our efforts.

We are now finished with our three weeks, and here are the top ten things  I have learned:

  1. I love carbs. Never again in my life do I wish to life without them.
  2. Preparing delicious food for your children while you are on a cleanse is not recommended, especially if it’s really your will-power, not your liver, that needs the cleanse.
  3. Coconut milk ice cream is delicious and a welcome alternative to dairy
  4. Cleanses can be expensive. Probiotics, fish oil and Fluxobile (the herbal stimulant we drank each morning for our biliary functioning) can add up.
  5. There are a surprising number of options available for people who cannot eat gluten, wheat and dairy. It was an education and an adventure discovering new retailers and food aisles that offered these products. Did you know you can get gluten free, wheat free, dairy free brownies? Didn’t get the opportunity to try it (yet), but was impressed nonetheless!
  6. Almond milk is pretty good!
  7. You definitely need to do a cleanse with a partner, preferably one that is strong in areas that you are weak (my husband cut back on carbs long ago). I would have failed on day 3 had I not had his support.
  8. Weight loss is a nice added benefit of a cleanse (and of generally eating better, exercising and getting enough sleep as it turns out…who knew?).
  9. Snacks are important. Be prepared with lots of cleanse-approved snacks on hand. I was always hungry.
  10. The primary thing I have learned from this experience is that I cannot live without joy in my eating. It is not enough to know that it is a healthier choice…it must be tasty.

 

So you’re all wondering, did it work? And I wish I knew.  I’ll be honest and say that we were both underwhelmed with the “SO GOOD” everyone promised us we would feel.  We definitely had our first few days of the hung-over feeling and accompanying symptoms, but after that first week, we felt about normal. I kept asking my husband, “where’s the magic?”  Granted, we were a little light on the exercise, and equally so on the full night’s sleep, which I am confident would have made an impact.

But in the words of our osteopath, “No matter what you feel happened, or didn’t happen on your cleanse, you should be reassured that you have done something healthy for yourselves and those habits are never bad ones to have.”

True enough. Now pass the brownies, please 🙂

 

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Google has been our most effective family doctor*

March 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

(Bloggers note: Some of you will recognize this as my very first blog entry. I am posting again in celebration of my Budding Wisdom app now available on Blackberry!)

As a mother of four young children there is nary a week that passes that doesn’t see one of my family members  develop a new affliction.  Anything from bug bites and obscure rashes to cold/flu symptoms and fevers.  Back when I was a first-time Mom, I was quick (and at THAT time, able) to rush to the doctor’s to get an assessment for my child, and some piece of mind for myself.

Times have changed. I now have four children, which quickly compromises the “able” part of running to the doctor each time, and as far as “willing”, well, let’s just say I’ve developed a new decision-making process  before hauling the whole clan over to my family doctors (potentially exposing them all to new calamities!).  Why do you ask, well let me tell you.

Perhaps it was the time that I was sitting in my family doctors office asking about the most recent affliction of one of my brood, and the doctor cocked her head in wonderment (bafflement?) and said (I kid you not) “let’s check Google”.  She didn’t see my jaw drop to my knees because she had turned to her monitor and already begun typing in my kid’s symptoms into the search window.

It also could be my conscientious sub-conscious (meddling all the time!) reminding me that each time I take my kids to the doctor and they tell me: “I’m not sure what could be causing it, must be a virus. We’ll monitor it – come back in a week”, I have not only wasted a ton of my own energy and time, but also that of our struggling health care system.

Ultimately however, I think it is because Google has been our most effective family doctor yet! I can access multiple opinions and scenarios from my kitchen, in my pyjamas, at 2am in the morning (which let’s face it, is when the really concerning symptoms always present themselves), and I can avoid the “frazzled-mother-trying-to-mobilize-four-young-kids-in-a-small-space-and-under-tight-time-constraints” spectacle that, while entertaining  and conversation-provoking for spectators, is nonetheless exhausting for me.

Some of you will ask: “how can you be sure you are diagnosing correctly using the internet?” and my response is, of course, you can’t.  But in my experience, you can gather enough information on the problem to make what I fondly refer to as “a mother’s diagnosis”, and that is this:

1)      Is it serious enough for me to drag four kids to the doctor and try to juggle potty trips, escapees, and removing things from my toddler’s mouth all while discussing the ailment with the doctor?

2)      Are there things at home I can do to relieve symptoms (cause let’s face it, nine times out of ten the  doctor is likely going to default to the catch-all prescription pad to solve the problem anyway)

3)      How do I contain this thing (do I need to quarantine my child in their room with books, crayons and a DVD player?) so we don’t have a mini-epidemic through the rest of the five family members.

There will always be times when a trip to the doctor is my best bet, but for now, I give props to Dr. Google – my sanity thanks you!

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