Breaking Up Is Hard To Do June 12, 2015

Breaking up is hard to do. Even when you know that it’s just not working and that you’re going to be better off emotionally and physically, severing the cord can be an arduous and painful process. The longing! The pining! The relapses! The TEARS!

I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about food, of course.

It has been three weeks since Jorge and I broke up with sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, meat and processed foods as part of our annual whole foods cleanse. We were nervous in anticipation of calling it quits. What are we going to eat? What if we starve?

21DAY_slider1Not only have we eaten like a king and queen for the past three weeks, but we’ve been basking in the glory of what feels like an endless source of energy, new found mental clarity and a level of patience rivaling that of Mother Theresa (a great quality to have when you’re raising a 4-year-old). In fact, we highly recommend the Fresh Start 21 Cleanse to anyone who is interested in gaining the above attributes.

Getting started and sticking with it wasn’t easy, especially at first. In fact, we put the whole thing off week after week for a good two months as we filtered through all our excuses, which included things like, “but it’s my birthday this month” and “we’re going out of town next week”. After two months of self-sabotage, we finally pulled the trigger. I want to share with you how we were able to do this, but before I do, let’s start with why.

Walk the walk

If you’re a current patient, you certainly know this already: we often ask patients to make changes in their diet or lifestyle in very specific but manageable ways that we know will accentuate the effect of their acupuncture treatment. We also know how hard it can be to make these changes. Believe us, we’ve done it. Our pre-Chinese medicine lives were a bit more….oh, shall we say…..debaucherous?  However, we like to remain humble and honest by reminding ourselves from time to time. If we can detoxify our livers and improve our digestive health while we’re at it, then great! It takes three weeks to start a new habit or get rid of an old one, hence the three-week endeavor.

‘Tis the Season (of the Liver, that is)

In Chinese medicine, each season corresponds with a different organ. It just so happens that spring is the season of the Liver, so this is the ideal time to detoxify and nourish this organ. Not only does the Liver have a huge influence over the quality and movement of our blood, but it is also involved in both nail and eye health as well as our capacity for movement and activity. There is an energetic aspect of the liver that gives us our creative drive and resoluteness. If your liver is overburdened, congested or weakened in any way, you might find yourself more irritated or angry than usual, or blowing your top more often than you’d like….perhaps feeling a little Incredible Hulk-ish. Might be time for a whole foods cleanse my friend!

So what (or who) do you need to break up with? Be specific here. Having broken it off with various people and habits over the years, I’ve found a few things that have worked for me. Who knows? Maybe they’ll work for you too.

1) Let’s be friends?
What if you entertained the idea of a new relationship with [insert person, food or habit here] down the line, just not right away? Let’s say you’ve been overdoing it on coffee. Rather than swearing off coffee forever (we’re not masochists for crying out loud!), how about scaling the caffeine content down by blending in decaf in a ratio of 1:2 or 1:4 until you’re drinking 100% decaf. Once you’ve gotten over the caffeine withdrawal, then you might consider enjoying coffee a few times a week, and splurging for the good stuff. In other words, take on that “go big or go home” mentality, but apply it to quality, not quantity.

2) Acknowledgement
You already know what you love about your vice (be it person, place or thing), but come up with at least three reasons why this is no longer serving you. Write those things down and keep it in a place you will look at every day….your wallet, your bedside table. If your vice happens to be that you stay up late watching TV, your list might look like this:

3) Accountability
Confide in someone you trust. Let that person know what you plan to do and why. Say it out loud, because it’s not real until you do. I promise.

4) Plan B
Come up with some healthy substitutions ahead of time. If you’re trying to stop eating ice cream every night after dinner, then make sure you have a healthier option or an activity lined up that you’re excited about (this is key!) that will keep you from making eyes at the freezer all night. How about acupuncture as an alternate activity? Did you know that acupuncture can help reduce cravings? We offer simple “ear acupuncture” treatments at a very reduced rate on Wednesdays during our community hours, and you can easily schedule an appointment for yourself online.

During our whole foods cleanse, Jorge and I had a “Plan B” to replace our evening sugar fix. This consisted of warmed almond milk doctored up with almond butter, a pinch each of ginger and cayenne pepper, and a dash of maple syrup…and we blended it to frothy perfection. It was completely satisfying and 100% nourishing for our digestive systems. Check out the recipe if you’re interested.new beginnings

Been there done that with no lasting changes? Listen…the past is past. For goodness sake, PLEASE don’t let your past (your analyses, your previous failures/successes) paralyze you. You don’t need to analyze and understand the reasons why you do what you do. Your past doesn’t matter right now.

If you need help with this transition, your cravings, or any other aspect of your health, we’re here for you. You can click below to schedule your next appointment. Remember, you have a future to create, and it’s not going to look like your past. So let’s get to it!

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  1. Jerry Howell • June 12, 2015

    I congratulate you both, not just for your diligence in this endeavor, but for sharing it with us -your extended family. I hope to soon quit making excuses and try this myself. I am slowly changing my eating habits , but as you say , it isn't easy! Thanks again for sharing. Jerry Howell Reply

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