The second of my four cleanses, the digestive cleanse, ended on Valentine's Day. Not a day too soon.
I really struggled with it in the end; I think it's like those last 5 minutes on the treadmill, where you're so close to finishing that they drag out forever. That and as I mentioned before, the herbs were not sitting so well by the end. I'm still not sure whether the G.I. distress I had those last few days was a sign that my body was ready to be done, or that it was clearing some major stuff. Either way, I'm glad that's over. Now I'm just on a maintenance diet until I do the kidney cleanse in a few days. I've been pretty tired the last two days, and my digestive system still hasn't seemed to get to a place of normalcy. So I'm going to wait a little and make sure my body is ready to handle the next cleanse.
Valentine's night Ian and I went out for a dinner at Chautara. Aside from it being my favorite restaurant in the city (which is significant considering the many excellent restaurants in Madison) it also is one of the most vegetarian/vegan friendly places around. They had a $25/plate V-day special that included soup or salad, appetizers, an entree, and dessert.
I was able to eat most everything without straying too far from my good food combining and clean diet, although Katy strongly recommends against tofu (too processed and a lot of estrogen) and eating that was unavoidable if I wanted to have a full meal. The Paneer served with my meal was tempting, but I only had one bite, and then ate all the sauce and veggies around it. Oh, and the appetizers were all wrapped in doughs, so I just cut them open and ate out the veggie fillings. That felt kind of lame. Happiest for me was that the dessert was brown rice balls soaked in rose water. Probably more sugar than is ideal, but not technically off the diet. :)
I did "cheat" by having a glass of wine, and since I knew I would only be having one, I ordered one of the more expensive ones. Sipping it throughout the meal was successful, and it made me stop to think I should always try to do it that way, rather than having the 2-3 glasses I normally would over the course of a meal out.
Overall, I felt pretty good. I'd been a bit concerned by the many warnings from both Katy and Lyrea to reintroduce foods slowly, one at a time, since I had several things that night - including alcohol - that I haven't in awhile. But it was fine.
It was another good experience with regard to breaking old habits. I didn't eat everything I was served. I didn't drink too much. I really enjoyed the meal, and because there was less alcohol, none of the flavors of the food (or the conversation!) were masked. And it was cheaper than usual eating out, just because there was no bottle of wine on the tab.
I'm not trying to make it sound like I'm a recovering alcoholic, nor that I'm not going to go back to drinking with some frequency once this is all done. But having new awareness about potentially self-destructive habits can be very informative. It can help you be more objective about the habit, and see the way it influences various aspects of your life more clearly. When you step out of a habit for awhile, it also becomes easier to imagine breaking it permanently; it loses its power, and shedding it becomes more fathomable. You become empowered by your own choices.
I encourage everyone to make tough decisions for themselves, or experiment with breaking a routine for a period of time. You can always go back to it if you decide it is what you really want. But stepping outside of the norm for a little while can really help you to gain perspective, make more informed choices, and really take control of your life. This is what creating your own reality is all about.