That was the universal reaction from friends and family when I embarked on The Love Cleanse last summer. It’s warranted, given that many cleanse plans are diets in disguise, focusing on deprivation and calorie-cutting rather than detoxifying and learning what your body actually needs to feel good.
The first time I did the Love Cleanse, I did it because I knew it was time to make healthy eating more of a priority in my life. I work at Greenling, I’m surrounded by vegetables, how hard could that be? Well, I’m in my mid-twenties, I work hard, play hard, and didn’t make a lot of time to plan out balanced meals. I’ve always been passionate about eating organic and local food, but even when they’re made with good ingredients, tacos for every meal isn’t exactly balanced.
I suffered from afternoon energy crashes every single day, even though I chugged fair trade coffee like nobody’s business. I craved sweets constantly and always felt bloated. To me, this was just life. I was very nervous about the cleanse – I figured I would be hungry all the time, and not have the energy to keep up with my jam-packed daily routine. I’m also a novice cook – I know my way around the basics, but I was nervous I didn’t have the skills to feed myself cleanse compliant food.
I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the first few days are hard. I grieved for my morning coffee and craved meat. However, my Love Life coach encouraged me to add more protein to my mid-day meal – black beans or pumpkin seeds – and it made a world of difference. By day 8 my energy was soaring and I actually craved vegetables.
A key difference between The Love Cleanse is that it’s creator, Kim Love, doesn’t believe in deprivation. The Love Cleanse is food-based, and if you’re going hungry while you’re doing it, you’re doing something wrong. The program is built to support you feeling your best every step of the way, and Kim and her team personally review your daily tracker and make suggestions to modify your cleanse based on your personal reactions. Also, Greenling offers cleanse compliant recipe kits and cold pressed green juice to make it super easy to stay on track.
At the conclusion of my last cleanse, I found that gluten and dairy were two culprits that really brought my energy down and increased bloating. I’m happy to say I’ve been able to continue to avoid these ingredients and have felt better than ever in the last 9 months since I completed the cleanse.
I’m embarking on the Love Cleanse again starting today for 2 reasons: 1) I’ve gradually let vegetables move away from the center of my plate. While eliminating gluten and dairy was a step towards eliminating foods that bring me down, it doesn’t equal healthy eating. I’ve noticed in recent months I’ve focused a lot more on meat and potatoes than plant-based protein, so I’m ready to reset and re-focus. (Not that there’s anything wrong with bacon. I will always believe in bacon!)
2) After listening to me rave about the cleanse for almost a year now, I’ve finally convinced several loved ones to try it with me. I really want them to love it as much as I have and so I’m excited to go through the experience with them and offer support along the way.
The best thing about The Love Cleanse is it’s about finding what works best for YOU – you might thrive on gluten and dairy but not so much with chicken or nuts. Maybe garlic and onions are the hidden culprits behind why your seasonal allergies have been so awful. Discovering personal food intolerances is empowering and life-changing – it doesn’t mean you can never eat that food again, it just means you know you’ll feel your best if you can avoid it most of the time.
So here we go – Day 1 of 21 of The Love Cleanse. This time I’ll be sharing my experience here, hoping it helps sheds some light for those of you out there who might be curious about trying a cleanse. I hope you’ll chime in with any questions or comments. And anyone who is joining the group cleanse this go-round – a virtual green juice cheers to you! Let us know how you’re doing!