If you have been with me on this journey for more than a few years, you know that I usually do a “cleanse” in January. Not January 1st – when all the delicious leftovers are still in the fridge and the Christmas candy and baking is still hanging around. No, I usually pick the first Monday after, which makes that today … but I am still eating turkey and Lindor Truffles.
Soooooo perhaps for 2017 I will start on Friday, January 6th.
You know I try to blend in some good, scientific reality with my beliefs, so let me explain the “whys” before the “hows”. I realize that fasting/cleansing/detoxing is not everyone’s cup of tea – I’ve certainly taken flack for it over the years – but this is MY journey. One of the beautiful things about our human experience is that we are all different, have different passions and paths … but hopefully, we all end up in the same place. If you happen to like the idea of cleansing, by all means, pick your detox, talk to your doctor and follow along!
I’ve done these detoxes with my doctor’s blessing often enough that I CAN say that I see results and there are benefits.
So let’s start with some facts. One of my absolute favourite reads of 2016 was Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert. Dr. Pert scientifically proves that our thoughts, feelings, emotions and memories do not solely exist in our minds, but is a whole body experience. The term “gut feeling” is more than just a cliché. Her work also ties into my spirituality.
Scientists also know that we have billions and billions (forgive me Carl Sagan) of gut flora, which they now know is a symbiotic relationship. Certain bacteria will thrive based on your diet. And those little microbes know what they want. When you eat what they want – sugar and carbs – they reward your central nervous system! It’s kind of like a little hit of a drug. Ahhh that sugar high … Do gut bacteria rule our minds?
So how do you get rid of the pesky bacteria that forcing you to eat, drink and be merry? You change your diet. The first decade, I did various flavours of a three-week detox cleanse. No alcohol. No sugar. No wheat. No dairy. No red meat. The bacteria can’t survive more than 24-48 hours without their “fast food” so they die off and exit your body. I can guarantee that most of your food cravings will be gone if you adhere to the cleanse. Sure, we still have to deal with the psychological triggers, but you would be surprised how much could be physiological.
Then I stumbled across some really interesting scientific studies where fasting triggers stem cell regeneration and forces a total reboot on your immune system. So much so that doctors are investigating fasting prior to chemo to jumpstart the autoimmune response in cancer patients.
I did an (almost) 5-day fast last summer. I didn’t post publicly since I knew this would be controversial, but it was worth it. Nothing for (almost) 5 days but water, a few cups of clear broth and oolong tea. This wasn’t easy- and you really do have to know your body and talk to your doctor – to make it through. My doctor was more on the side of a 24 – 72 hour fast. You can also try intermittent fasting, which is discussed in the link. I was surprised at how well I adapted to the idea that I just wasn’t going to eat.
- Hunger pangs came and went quickly.
- Headache lasted about three days.
- Feeling a bit shaky on the fourth.
- Flu-like symptoms with achy joints. This finally did me in (thanks for the reminder Anne!)
- And done (like dinner!) about 10 hours shy of 120 hours fasting. I listened to my body, and began reintroducing foods slowly.
I started with a lovely vegan Immune Balance Soup filled with carrots, parsley, green onions, broccoli, kale & turmeric powder.
And this brings me to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. We were meant to be vegan. Nothing rattles my soul more than consuming animal products, yet I still do it. My 2016 cleanse was vegan, which I adhered to for the most part – sidelined only temporarily by a surprise 50th Birthday by my best friends.
Genesis 1:29 “God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
But then Chapter 9 confuses the hell out of me … don’t consume animals with blood or don’t consume the blood?
Genesis 9:3-4 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
Is that what Portia decreed in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice? A pound of flesh, but not one drop of blood? Not possible.
So animals are stunned (electrocuted, gassed, bolted to the head or shot) before their throat is slashed in Canadian slaughter.
Leviticus 3:17 “All fat is the Lord’s. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood.”
I struggle with the inhumanity of meat trade and the pathetic existence of commercially farmed animals. They don’t live out idyllic lives on grassy fields. They are crated or tied or hobbled or hung or orphaned so we can eat and drink. So how can I bury my face and cry for tortured dogs when the pig whose bacon I ate was confined and tied to a trough for her whole life? An animal that feels and loves just like my pets? Or the dairy cow who gives birth to a calf, only to have it taken away and killed so they can hook her up to a milking machine? Have you ever heard the cries of both Mother and Calf? I’m sure I would sound the same … there, but for the grace of God, go I … Have you ever driven next to a slaughter truck and caught the eye of that one animal staring out, as if pleading for help? One look tells you how miserable they are, and they know it’s getting worse. Why is cruelty so rampant? And when does it end? It doesn’t just feel morally wrong – it feels like a highway to hell.
If we can’t face seeing photos of dogs with their front legs broken and tied up behind their necks at the Yulin Dog Festival, then research the meat trade industry for chickens … geese (and foir gras) … beef … veal (horrendous!) … pigs … horse meat (I can’t even go there). None are any kinder than what the dogs face.
I eat meat – and have enjoyed it – but I have to find my place in this because I can’t ignore what is before me and claim I am living in grace.
1 Corinthians 10:30 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
At the very least, say grace and bless the bounty provided. A life has ended so that you may live.
Trying to live graciously,
P.S. Goodbye sweet Lindor truffles!