I am one of the hungriest people I know. When I am eating breakfast I am thinking about what I will have for lunch. When I am eating lunch I am already thinking about dinner. I don’t ever skip meals. Heck, I don’t even skip snacks! It seems I am always hungry and I get kind of panicky if I don’t have a snack on hand.
This insatiable appetite earned me one of my most ridiculous nicknames at camp the summer I was 14. We had travelled up to camp by bus and arrived just before lunchtime. By the time we found our tents, met our counsellors and got unpacked I was well and truly starving. We made our way to the dining hall and sat with our tent groups. My counsellor, Sue, had all the serving bowls lined up in front of her and was dishing out the food. I was so hungry I didn’t hear her ask us to let her know what we wanted and didn’t want on our plates. So when she (finally!!!!) got around to me I just told her…”I’m starving!” Her quick response was; “it’s nice to meet you Starving and what would you like for lunch?” Sue called me ‘Starving’ for the rest of my career at that camp and if I were to run into her at a camp reunion she would probably still use that nickname.
To this day there are certain diet-related words that are just not part of my lexicon; diet, fast, cut down, cleanse. It is the final word in that list that has always felt particularly unpleasant and perplexing. Cleanse. I have never been able to understand why people would actually choose to give up all their favourite foods to be hungry for 21 days! I mean, really!
You might be surprised to hear that I am on Day 11 of a cleanse. Yes, Starving is halfway through her very first cleanse. And the great news is that I am NOT starving! I stumbled across this cleanse when I was out west in September and as much as I tried to ignore the good sense and the nutritional science behind it, I just could not. So, on October 25th my husband and I took the leap and embarked on the 21-day Clean Cleanse.
It’s really very simple; a liquid breakfast, a regular lunch (from the approved foods list) and a liquid dinner followed by a 12 hour fast. No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no nightshades (potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers), no eggs, no beef, pork or processed meat, no alcohol and (much to my husband’s chagrin) no caffeine.
I am astonished to report that what I thought was going to be fairly torturous is really easy and kind of fun. And I am experiencing hunger in a whole new way. Rather than immediately filling the need, I am being with my hunger. I am embracing it as an amazing experiment and listening to my body. And I am less hungry than I have ever been.
And, the best part…when I awakened in the cold and dark of this November Monday morning I was struck by a miraculous realization…I am happy! I am really, truly, feeling happiness. I am not deciding to be happy, not working at being happy…I just am. It’s as if a heavy weight has been lifted from me and I am now kind of dreading the end of the cleanse. Go figure!
And so, Starving is turning in her old handle for a new one; Radical Queen of the Cleanse, perhaps?