My First Time…Cleansing
When I first thought about doing a green juice detox cleanse three years ago, my first thought was ďNo way in hell.Ē† After all, Iím a total foodie, I like my wine, and giving up food flashed me back to a decade of deprivation during medical school and residency, when I was lucky to get one meal a day because I was too busy working my ass off to eat.
Having ditched the unhealthy medical student lifestyle, I had adopted a new unhealthy regimen. As a great chef and wine aficionado living in the San Francisco Bay area, which is foodie and wine heaven, I was indulging in gourmet yumminess almost every night. Even though I was a physician preaching healthy living while practicing in an integrative medicine practice, I was going home to eat braised short ribs, potatoes au gratin, and goat cheese pizza, while downing a couple yummy glasses of nearby Napa Valley pinot noir.
Not to mention that, after giving birth to my daughter, I had gained pudgy belly weight I wanted to lose. Plus, I have high blood pressure that was diagnosed when I was a medical student in my twenties, and I was requiring three medications to barely control my blood pressure. I was also taking three medications for severe allergies.
I felt like a total f*cking hypocrite.
But heck, I deserved it after all those years of deprivation.
But the integrative medicine practice offered a monthly green juice cleanse, led by cleanse expert, Tricia Barrett, who every day came into my office with absolutely no judgment and loads of love, as she handed me a shot of wheat grass I gulped down daily after plugging my nose.
I had heard Tricia speak about the benefits of detoxing. I knew that our bodies are exposed to toxins every day, not just in what we eat and drink, but in the environmental toxins, pesticides, plastics, and other substances that disrupt the bodyís self-healing mechanisms. I knew that cleaning my cells so they could do their job would be good for me.
But honestly, that didnít sound like fun. And I was tired of doing things just because I should.
Then one day, a little voice – I call it my Inner Pilot Light – whispered, ďDo the cleanse.Ē And for some reason, I decided to listen. But not without listening to the racket from my Gremlins.
I worried, not only that I would suffer from the deprivation of foods and drinks I loved, but that I would experience icky detox symptoms that would remind me how unhealthy I had truly become and keep me from doing my job at work.
Plus, what if I couldnít do it? What if I wound up cheating? Then, on top of failing to cleanse, I would be a total self-sabotaging loser who canít keep a promise to herself.
The racket from my inner Gremlins was deafening.
But I managed to do it anyway. I managed to give up my cappuccino, my evening glasses of wine, the candy, the chili, the processed foods, and the need to sedate myself with foods and drinks that were harmful to me. For 21 days, I traded them in for green juice, fresh veggies, mineral broth, vegan soups, and other healthy food that turned out to be so much more enjoyable than I ever imagined.
Doing so transformed my life.
I was surprised to discover that the cleanse didnít make me feel deprived at all. Unlike some juice fasts, water fasts, or boxed cleanses, Triciaís cleanse was a fully nutritional cleanse. The first week, I was eating a mostly vegan diet. The second week, I was consuming juices, soups, and teas every couple of hours and every night, I got to eat an actual meal. The third week, I was back to the mostly vegan diet.
Never once did I feel hungry. In fact, all the cravings I normally experienced disappeared.
Not only did I feel physically great during the cleanse; I also felt more spiritually connected to a Divine source than I had in a long time. And I felt so proud of myself for nurturing my body in such a precious way.
And then miracles started to happen. During the cleanse, I decided to stop taking my blood pressure pills, just to see how my body responded to pure nutrition without any crap. (Donít try this at home. Iím a medical doctor and I know how to monitor myself safely but nobody should try this without a doctorís supervision).
I monitored my blood pressure 4 times per day – and to my shock and awe – my blood pressure, without any medication, was below 120/70 during the entire cleanse – something that no drug had been able to achieve in over a decade.
I took it as a Sign from the Universe.
After I broke my cleanse, I was loathe to jump back into bad habits that clearly didnít serve me, so I stayed on a strict raw foods/vegan diet for about two months, after which I slowly reintegrated certain foods I enjoy back into my diet. But I started a practice of drinking about 4-5 fresh green juices per day as a supplement to my other foods, and I discovered that, when I was feeding my super yummy body such glorious green nourishment, I didnít feel like eating or drinking crap anymore. In fact, the green juice was such a potent appetite suppressant that I had to remind myself to eat anything! And when I did eat, I wanted to eat pure, green, wholesome foods, not the junk I had grown accustomed to eating in – ironically – the doctorís lounge at the hospital.
After losing 12 pounds of belly fat during the cleanse, I managed to keep it off simply by adding the green juice to my diet, which led me to skip the junk food, eliminate caffeine, cut back on my wine consumption, and steer clear of many of the toxins I had been imbibing.
That was three years ago. And the best news is that Iím now down to half the dose of only one of my blood pressure pills, and I proved to myself that if I only ate vegan soups, green juice, and seaweed broth, my high blood pressure would be cured. Iím also off all of my allergy medications and Iíve kept the weight off this whole time.
Way to turn your kitchen into a pharmacy, right?
Itís not just my health that changed drastically after my cleanse. This process sparked something within me that led me on a spiritual path that led me to launch OwningPink.com, write three books, open my own practice, start meditating, improve my relationship with my husband and daughter, and begin the journey of doing all Iím doing in my life now.
I credit Tricia Barrett with helping me see what was possible for me and holding that unwavering vision with me ever since.
Those of you who follow me at OwningPink.com or saw my TEDx talk know that I believe itís not enough just to nurture your body. To live a healthy life, you must also be healthy in your relationships, your professional life, your creative life, your spiritual life, your sex life, your environment, your financial life, and your mental health.
But if you suspect, like I did, that part of balancing your ďWhole Health CairnĒ means supporting your physical health in a radical and transformative way, Iíd love to invite you to consider taking this one step towards better health. Iíll be there to support you all the way.
Big love and green juice,
P.S. Have you thought about doing a cleanse but talked yourself out of it for one reason or another?† Join me on a free teleconference Jan 17 when Tricia & I will dispel the common myths that stop people from cleansing.†Register here.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†OwningPink.com,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.