One Yogi’s 21 Day Cleanse Experience…

One Yogi’s 21 Day Cleanse Experience

Progress Over Perfection

What happens when a meat-eating, pop-drinking, wine-loving woman goes on a 21-day cleanse as part of her yoga teacher training? She suffers…

I kid. But giving up caffeine, alcohol, gluten, sugar and going vegan may have been the most challenging part of my training. If you are looking for a total transformation in this story, I am afraid you won’t find it.

However, I did make an important change, and I learned a few things about myself in the process.



SEE ALSO: 4 Daily Mantras For Avoiding Negativity


The Cleansing Journey Begins

When I received the syllabus for our 200-hour teacher training, the section titled, THE CLEANSE, jumped right out at me. I recall saying to one of the ladies in the class on day one, “Did you see we have to do this cleanse?” She seemed unfazed.

In fact, it seemed that several members of the class were already practicing a vegan or vegetarian diet.



It is not that I am an unhealthy eater—I never touch fast food, and I cook low-fat meals almost every night. But with those dinners, we eat bread, drink wine, and consume meat, and dessert is not out of the question.

The idea behind a 21-day cleanse is that it takes 21 days to change a habit; 21 days for tastes and cravings to begin responding to this type of diet.

The point of doing this cleanse as part of a yoga teacher training is to incorporate a healthy lifestyle while eliminating the “toxins” of our diet and to take a more mindful approach toward diet.

Doing no harm to others (including animals) is part of ahimsa, the first branch in the ethical guidelines for yogis.


Counting Down the Days

My 13-year-old daughter offered to go on the plan with me, which was sweet and helpful. When making such a drastic change in a habit, it truly helps to have someone on your team for support. My son and husband figured they would try this as far as dinners (logical since I cook the dinners).

On the first day, I made a gluten-free pasta with mushrooms and a vegan cream cheese sauce. It was actually tasty, and my family enjoyed it. After dinner, I remarked on the fact that our dinner only had 350 calories.

My husband’s response: “Yeah, I’m out.” A 350-calorie dinner wasn’t going to cut it for him, but he did do the no alcohol part with me, which helped.

No doubt about it—removing bread, wine, meat, and dessert from the menu without replacing these items in your diet will cause weight loss. I lost eight pounds in two weeks, and I felt a little depleted.

We talked about the experience at the end of the cleanse, and several people talked about feeling incredible—both physically and emotionally. I won’t lie—I was counting down the days! Surprisingly, not many people dropped weight like I did. A few people gave themselves permission to back off here and there.  

There were definitely positives. I experimented with tofu and quinoa; I found a new love for nuts; and my grocery bills were less (no wine!). My daughter and I also bonded over our longing for French fries with ketchup (ketchup has added sugar).

Giving up my daily Diet Pepsi was pretty easy, and I started making smoothies with a protein powder for breakfast along with a gluten-free English muffin with natural peanut butter (delicious).

I continue today with that breakfast routine, and I have not had a soda since that cleanse in 2012. My husband has also given up pop—good habits can be contagious!


Changing Habits

When the cleanse ended, I resumed most habits, but even taking away one positive from such an experiment is a win. As with any cleanse, it takes a true desire to change habits.

It may be something you do in order to jump-start a healthier body by changing one habit or by developing a more conscious awareness.

I certainly became more aware of how much added sugar is everywhere. I also learned that I can be incredibly disciplined and that I may be too much of a perfectionist.

I did this cleanse without even considering that I could have a cheat! If I do another cleanse, and I may, my goal will be progress rather than perfection.


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