Sugar-Free, Grain-Free: Invest in a Cleanse

13 Nov 2012

Posted by karen
karen's picture

For the last 10 days I've been on a sugar-free, grain-free cleanse. This has also meant no natural sugars, including fresh and dried fruits. The night before I started it I had a huge fruit smoothie - does that tell you anything about my relationship with fruit?!


This choice was made for several reasons:

- I'm presenting an In Balance wellness and weight loss program that has a gentle dietary cleanse as part of Finding Your BALANCE, and I thought I   should experience the process to understand what I'm teaching/asking the participants to do.
- I've never done a cleanse for an extended period
- I live in a real world with real toxins so my body could use some house-cleaning
- I wanted to start a habit of eating more vegetables than fruit rather than the other way around
- I wanted to test my self control
- I wanted to see how it would affect me - physically, emotionally, mentally
- I was curious to see how my body would react without grains

I've discovered a few things:

- it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be,  (i.e. I'm not feeling continually hungry and craving foods )
- when my husband grinds the coffee in the morning, it doesn't bother me all that much, that instead of java I will be drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea (I've renewed my friendship with Rooibos)
- as much as I love nuts and seeds, I have my moments when I feel like a squirrel
- I miss my fruit - cranberries are on the okay list, and I'm so very grateful for Terra Beata, a local bountiful cranberry bog)
- I rarely go out for lunch but two times in the last week it happened. One little cafe had the best roasted veggie soup that I could have asked for. (Well, thinking on it, there was more oil in it than I would have used.) Everything in it was legit - and the roasted flavour was delic. (Probably thanks to the oil :)
- the preparation and planning period has value, and not only in practical terms,  (i.e. even though my pantry and refrigerator was stocked with cleanse food ingredients, the first morning it took a few minutes to shift from my almost-daily default menu - home made granola or cooked hot cereal)
Here's what I whipped up: sauteed leeks and red peppers, scrambled in a couple eggs and served it up on a bed of greens. Protein and veggies - yummy!

Some Conclusions:

- I have plenty of energy (even without eating grains) - I was a little concerned that my running and other fitness activities might need to be curtailed. Thankfully, not so. 
- I can't help but think how very blessed I am. I decided to use self control in my food choices (which meant eliminating some regulars) -  compared to the huge percentage of people who exist on the barest of nutrition and food options because they have to.
- will I do it again? I might. After today, I have 3 days left of my two weeks and I don't foresee why I will cave now.
- I fortunately had only one day of a very low-grade headache (can a habit of one- (sometimes more) - cup of coffee/day really make you that addicted?)
- my mental alertness and stamina has been at par if not better than normal. 
- I got to digging through recipes to add some variety to " how many ways can you eat broccoli, cauliflower, greens, carrots, etc." and there are many delicious options
- I miss eating quinoa and brown rice and sweet potatoes  
- would I recommend a cleanse? A variety of variables weigh in here: the type of cleanse, the reason for the cleanse, if a person has strong cravings for refined sugar and other refined foods, the timing of doing the cleanse, etc. Generally, I'd say most people would probably benefit from an occasional  cleanse.
- Has it been dreadful? Not at all.  I have understood the feeling of being even more intentional about what foods I eat. And it's not about denial, but understanding some of the recalibrating my body can do when I say "no" to foods that I thought, "But I always have .... for breakfast."
- And this week I found an acceptable substitute for granola. Yeah!! So of course I'm going to make it to the end.
Click → Printable recipe for Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola

Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola

1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes (could also be shredded)

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger powder


Pulse ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

To Serve:
Scoop 1/4 - 1/3 cup of granola into a bowl.
Pour 1/2 - 2/3 cup almond mik or yogurt over top and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Spoon fresh (or thawed) cranberries on top and enjoy!
- sprinkle with hemp seeds for extra protein
- lightly toast granola before serving, using heavy stove-top skillet
Have you done a cleanse? I'd be interested to hear your experience and if/what you felt were the benefits.


Sara's picture

I was so glad to see this post in my feed this afternoon!  I recently finally realized that all of the health issues I've had for the past few years are related, and after much googling, am almost certain that yeast is the culprit.  I've just started limiting my sugars and grains to see if anything changes, so I really appreciate reading about your cleanse.  Thank you!

karen's picture

Sometimes it takes a while for the light to come on :)  I'm finished my two-week cleanse - I felt really good while on it, especially the last few days. I think I discovered that starchy veggies aren't a good fuel for my body type ( I understand about  finally "getting it") after introducing them again after the cleanse. I'm interested to hear the benefits/differences/challenges you experience with your cleanse. Are you also eliminating natural sugars (i.e fruit)? How about mushrooms? Wish you all the best!

Kika's picture

Yes, I've done one short cleanse/detox in the past (while working with you :)) and am preparing for a three-week detox beginning this Friday. I had intended to do this earlier this fall but with my recent surgery wasn't feeling well enough. I intend to do a detox twice/year from now on because I feel they hold many benefits. I think the exact particulars of each detox could vary slightly (for instance, if there is a need for an elimination diet or whatever). Generally, though, I simply believe that periods of cleansing or detox are healthy in that they require us to be more conscious of what we are eating/how we are preparing foods, they offer an opportunity to lighten up and simply focus on lots of veg/protein, they are an opportunity for practice at self-discipline, and so forth. And, like you also mentioned, we live in a world in which we are daily exposed to many toxins and I'm sure our bodies can benefit from periods of reprieve.

karen's picture

Great to hear from you! Now that I'm finished my cleanse and experienced how clean it made me feel I will definitely make this a habit two or three times throughout the course of my year. The most surprising thing was that because I love fruit so much I thought I'd be raiding the fruit basket first thing the morning after my cleanse. True, it was a busy morning - but it turned out I didn't even think about fruit until mid-afternoon! It's my intention to continue reaching for/snacking on more veggies than fruit. All the best with your 3-week detox, and I trust your recovery from surgery is going well.

Nina's picture

Thanks again for the delicious recipe Karen! I have been looking for an alternative to the oats and seeds we used to eat for breakfast before my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. I can't wait to try. I have everything except the chia seeds. Are they necessary?

karen's picture

Nice to hear from you! I think you're really going to like this recipe - add the chia seeds the next time you make it. They add extra protein and because of their gelatinous texture after the liquid (or yogurt) has been added, the granola gets creamier. But  it still tastes fine without it - if you have hemp seeds, sprinkle some on for a protein boost. And of course if you choose to have fruit too - sooo yummy. And I found it to be very sustaining.

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Ashley's picture

You and your daughter's blogs have been such a blessing to me and my family!  I love all your recipes and tips!  We are newbies in whole food eating and would love some cookbook suggestions. I cant wait to try out your granola recipe! 

karen's picture

Good idea for a post - cookbook suggestions. An inspiration for me to get busy writing. Keep eating whole, real food.

Susan's picture

In this article I have found so many topics on sugar free, grain free. The investments are putting on food matters. The EssayShark review is much help them to prepare more food recipes for us.

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