Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting Cleansed

I remember a line in an old Limelighter's song - "clean mind, clean body, take your pick."

I chose my body.

Last month Judy and I went thru a 21 day cleanse and detoxification program to rid ourselves of toxins, lose weight and become generally healthier. We used the program, as prescribed by her chiropractor, from a company called Standard Process. The company has been in business since the 1920's; the chiropractor's young enough to be our son.

For three weeks we drank shakes, ate a ton of cleanse, fiber & vegetable pills and consumed a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. We tried to go organic but that's easier said than done.

After the first seven days my system was completely cleaned out; at program's end, I had a fruit tree sprouting from my head and veggies growing out of my body. I almost never wanted to see another vegetable again - but that passed quickly, like the gas that emanated from bottom's end. At one point early in the cleanse I was afraid to go near an open flame.

I lost 12 pounds. In 21 days.

In addition, I was able to cut out eating sugar, which eliminated my having the spikes and lows I'd always experienced. My routine had always been to have 2 mugs of completely adulterated coffee in the morning (adding half & half and a full, rounded teaspoon of sugar in each one). Then around 1:30 in the afternoon I'd get sleepy and need to go get a bag of M&M's (or Cadbury bar or something else full of sugar like tootsie rolls, cookies, cake, more coffee, soda).

Each morning during the cleanse breakfast was a shake comprised of fresh fruit and protein powder blended in a blender (I would also add 100% dark blue juice, no sugar added) and a bunch of cleanse & fiber pills. I'd also limit myself to having one cup of black coffee.

Lunch would be a shake comprised of fresh fruit and protein powder (& dark blue juice) blended in a blender, eat a bunch of pills and raw vegetables.

For supper I would drink a shake comprised of frest fruit and protein powder (& dbj) blended in a blender, eat a bunch of pills and steamed or sauteed vegetables.

Oh, yeah, and each day we had to drink at least 64 ounces (2 quarts) of water.

For a snack I would use my imagination.

On day one of the cleanse I had my first cup of black coffee. It did not sit well in my stomach. Starting with the second day I drank the coffee after the shake; it worked much better.

Now, a month after the cleanse, I am still only drinking one mug of black coffee with breakfast and my energy is pretty much level throughout the day.

Every couple of days Judy and I would help to reinforce each other to stick with the program.

We began to have conversations about our body's bodily functions.

We fantasized about what we'd eat after the cleanse was over.

We plugged away, some days easier to get through than others.

It wasn't a competition between us but we tried not to cheat. I will have to say, however, that I stuck much more closely to the program, although I don't think it changed the results any for either of us. We both achieved our goal.

We lost weight, cleansed our bodies of toxins and changed our eating habits. Another side benefit for me was not eating the same size portions of food as before. Plus, I no longer eat snacks during the day. Combined, this is helping immensely for me to keep my weight down.

I like being lighter. My clothes fit looser, though I'm in the same size. My skin looks healthier, given my continuing to drink more than two quarts of water of day. My hair's getting longer, though that's unrelated to the cleanse. Maybe not, it could be falling out, I guess.

If I had to choose to do it again, would I? Sure. But I'd again pick cleaning my body; I like having a dirty mind.

Since Then

A lot of things have been happening to me since last winter. Writing to this blog since then has been difficult since so much of what I write about is what happens to me and, when things go awry, sometimes it gets hard to maintain perspective. But, a synopsis is in order, I believe.

I became unemployed in January; was initially denied unemployment, appealed, and won the appeal. That was good.

Throughout the Spring 2009, I made a job out of looking for a job. I joined a job club through my local library that was helpful, especially emotionally. It helps to sit around a table with at least a dozen others and see that we're all in a life raft, holding on to whatever lifeline we can, while the turbulent waters of life splash around and over us. A sense of camardarie develops, we learn we're all survivors and somehow we'll get through this.

Being unemployed during the Spring of '09 was absolutely the worst time in modern history, and in my life, to have to be in that situation. The economy was tanking; times were really bad. About the only consolation I had was that I was receiving unemployment checks, I had a COBRA for health insurance and I had a place to live (with a person who believed in me).

During those months I applied for an average of 3 jobs a week. My Jobs Applied For folder was close to two inches thick by the time I eventually got a job. I had about 5 - 6 actual job interviews during that time.

What it seemed to me, and what I believe, is that - it's not what you know, it's who you know that makes the difference. When I finally got hired, it wasn't so much my background and skills as it was going back to my old agency, in a lesser position with a lower salary, with people throughout the agency vouching for me.

Other times when I was interviewing, I found that, for the most part, I was either over-qualified for the position or I was qualified - but had no one going to bat for me. There were several jobs I was really interested in and pushed for, but I didn't know anyone. It's not what you know, it's who you know. You know?

But now I'm back to work. I'm just past the halfway point of the 6 month probation so I need to be careful - keep my nose clean and to the grindstone. The only thing I accept is that there are no guarantees. Recently I found out I was number 63 on the seniority list. Since the agency is facing furloughs in the upcoming Fall, I have to wonder how safe I am.

The radio blasts that the economy is making a turnaround; however, just like when it was tanking there was a lag time, so there is a lag time regarding the recovery. I'd like to think things are getting better; I hope they are. My reality is, though, that things are very much up in the air.