October has been a bit of a mental month, I'm not gonna lie.
It's been one of the best months of my life because I've been performing nearly every night, but it hasn't been fantastic health-wise. I don't (yet!) get paid to do my acting, so when I'm performing in independent plays, I'm still working in the day. In a dream world, I would spend my days cooking, making smoothies, going for walks, doing yoga, writing, doing voice warm ups and plenty of other things.
Instead, I spend my days working and I spend my evenings rehearsing or performing. And I love it. I love every second and feel so lucky I get to do what I love. Especially with people I love.
But, when you are passionate about health and wanting to eat the best foods and sleep eight hours a night, it does get difficult to be happy when you know you're compromising and not feeling like your best self.
My "diet" this month has been one of convenience and minimum cost. I've had a lot of porridge, a lot of free meals at work and a lot of takeaway sandwiches from Pret a Manger.
I also drink coffee. And I love it.
These days, I am having it a little too much. It's never been a crutch... but is slowly becoming one as my sleep hours get shorter and my little indulgences and time to myself becomes more fleeting.
My body is tired... my mind is tired and I'm desperate to become my best self again. I want to get back into my good habits and shed all the bad ones I've built up during this month of madness.
So - I'm planning my November cleanse and I AM SO EXCITED!
You should only "cleanse"/"diet" when you really, really want to. All kinds of diets don't work because people have the wrong goals attached to them, usually "lose weight". This is nothing like that. I can genuinely feel my body wanting GOODNESS. My body wants fresh, vibrant foods to the max. My body wants sleep. I cannot wait to have the time and energy to put into my health, so this cleanse won't feel at all like deprivation.
Coffee will be the hardest thing to give up - so I'll need you all to help keep me on track! This will be as simple as me posting every day what I'm eating, how I'm feeling and did I cave? I'm a Barista by day - so if I cave and have a coffee one day, go gentle on me!
This cleanse is my own invention - going off years of experimenting and knowing what makes me feel good. BUT - I am going to take a lot of inspiration from the Raw Till 4 diet, designed by Freelee the Banana Girl, whom I follow religiously on YouTube.
It's funny when you're just "ready" to do something. I've been aware of this diet since it very first started. I've been intrigued, inspired and definitely dabbled in it - eating mono meals on occasion and certainly living "High Carb" as a solid rule. But - I now feel ready to dive in head-first and commit 100%.
(At least for November and see how I feel!)
So - What is this Cleanse?
Remember - this is my own invention! I ain't no doctor. But - I have been an avid student of all things health/wellness and vegan for the last four years or so and tried pretty much every vegan "cleanse" out there.... so, here we go.
1) No Going Hungry.
This isn't about weight-loss. So at no point will I be minimizing how much food I eat. This is about giving my body want it wants and NOURISHING it as much as I can.
2) No Soy, Gluten or Coffee
BAM! BAM! BAM! Oh boy... this is the killer. This is the only part of the cleanse that I feel sad about. I love my coffee/cafe time more than life itself. I do a lot of my blogging from cafes. SO - as this is a cleanse of my mind/body/spirit overall - I'm still going to go to cafes - but just drink a tea if I must or have an awesome juice/smoothie if they are on offer. Why no soy? Simply - I'm curious to try. Soy is a very controversial topic and I'm interested to see if I feel any better cutting it out. I have a feeling that I will, but don't want to admit it.
Gluten? I've given up gluten before and it's always been a good experience. Hello flat stomach.
3) Wherefore Art Thou Yoga?
(For the record, all you nerds out there - I'm aware that technically says "Why Are You Yoga" not "Where are you Yoga" - I'm a Shakespeare nut. I just wanted to write "Wherefore art thou Yoga" cause I thought it sounded cool.)
I used to be a Yoga addict and haven't done it for ... probably a year. In November - I WILL make time for Yoga. My beloved Yoga that made me feel so good. I will set a realistic goal and try for twice a week. If I can go to Yoga twice a week - I will be so proud of myself.
4) Emphasis on RAW
I want to shove in as much raw food as I can. I need to eat more fruit. Vegetables have never been a problem for me - I love veggies. But I do find it hard to get my fruit because the produce here is so uninspiring. I love bananas and dates, so will focus on those for now. I can buy ripe, organic ones easily here and most other fruits are in sad supply. I want to get in as much fresh, raw food as I can. The best thing about Raw Till 4 is you can have a guilt-free cooked meal in the evening - so I'll still get to cook a bit. You know I love my cooking.
5) Get My Greens In
Greens. I need my greens. If I'm honest - I don't eat enough. I want to try and eat a head of some kind of leafy greens a day! Yes - you heard me :) I want spinach, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, silverbeet... all of it!
6) Water, Sleep, Sanity
Water isn't an issue for me. I drink water like a camel. If you don't drink a lot of water - please get on it. Particularly first thing in the morning. Drink at least one massive glass of water before you eat anything; it flushes your system, wakes up your digestion and (hopefully) "eliminates" any excess from the day before. Basically - you do a poo.
Then - there's sleep. I need to sleep more. I want to aim for the basic 8 hours a night. Please oh please.
Sanity? I want to cleanse my mind as well. I want to feel peaceful and low-stress (yoga, sleep and diet will help with this).
7) Time for Myself
I want to do some reading, I want to go watch more movies, I want to see my friends and I want to keep my flat nice and serene and beautiful.
An easy November then.
I'm not going to write out any meal plans - in my experience it doesn't work for me. They are great for some people, but I love cooking and inventing my meals far too much. As long as I have guidelines and know what I'm avoiding - I am happy to wing it each day.
But here are a list of what are my "dream" cleanse meals for each. Most of these (as you can see from the pictures) are things I've made before - so I know make me feel good.
Planning is key to this. I will need to make time for shopping and fill my flat with fresh foods (bananas especially so they have time to ripen.)
If I can do this every day for November - I am fairly sure I will be a glowing, sexy, happy, CLEANSED ninja. Bring it on.
The best meal-plans I've found are the ones that give me simple "eat" and "do not eat" lists. Then you simply eat in ABUNDANCE from the "eat" list. Good, yeah? Oh and understand completely why things are in the "do not eat" list.
Allowed/Eat in Abundance:
- All fruit
- All vegetables (raw and cooked)
- Sweet Potatoes
- All root vegetables
- Home-made accompaniments like hummus, guacamole (don't buy out. Keep fat content LOW.)
- Smoothies and Juices (home-made)
- Hot water with Lemon
- Organic canned veg (like tomatoes for making pasta sauce...etc) Check salt content on all lables.
Allowed/Eat Less Regularly
- Almond Milk
- Gluten Free Pasta
- Onions and garlic
- Sugars not from Fruit
Remember - this is a diet of my own invention. I look at these lists and feel excited. I understand why (for me!) each thing is on there and can't wait to experiment and see if I feel any different.
Please don't hesitate to ask me for more information about any of these items and why I've put them in those categories. Remember - I ain't no dietitian! I am simply well-researched and coming from a background of dieting/cleansing and knowing what makes me feel amazing. Remember my goal isn't weight loss - it's health.
Smoothie hour! Any kind of epic smoothie is a good breakfast choice. If I'm following Raw Till 4 guidelines - the smoothies should be CALORIE-PACKED. So - bananas and dates are great choices. Remember - there is no limiting or going hungry on this lifestyle. It's all about being satisfied.
A "typical" breakfast will be an epic banana, date and cinnamon smoothie. Minimum 6 bananas. All ripe.
My goal for lunch will be to "mono meal" - which is where you eat one kind of fruit until you feel satisfied or a really good large salad/high-carbohydrate meal.
As I'm living in the UK and organic fruit isn't as easy to come by - I'm going to be really flexible with my lunches and say - as long as they are high carbohydrate, whole foods and within my cleanse guide-lines, I'm not going to be too harsh on myself with lunch. I work most days, so if I have a day where I need to eat at work - I'll eat a giant salad.
Here are three options that I would feel very good about and are realistic goals.
Dinner is always my favorite meal of the day :) So - I'm going to give you LOTS of pictures because I know dinner is what I'll enjoy preparing the most.
I want my dinners to be CLEAN. Super clean eating. I love simple foods and flavors... i could be happy sitting down to a massive pile of potatoes, no joke. And that is kind of the idea of this lifestyle. Eat simple, eat healthy, eat abundantly.
As you can see - I want the emphasis of my dinners to be on FILLING WHOLEFOOD CARBOHYDRATES. I love eating veg - and I want to smash in as much veg as possible. But salad alone is not going to leave you full for long. You need substance. I went through a phase of eating giant salads for dinner and it can be amazing... but i usually went to bed feeling unsatisfied. The picture above with the giant basil leaf is an example of one of my giant salads - these days I would eat that, but add a jacket potato (or two!)
If you want to go full raw - of course go for it! Thousands of people are raw foodists and eat giant salads for dinner - just make sure they are enormous and you're eating enough food throughout the day to keep your calories. up :)
Few more pics and then I'll sign off!
Here We Go!!
I'm going to aim to keep you updated regularly with this! And - be honest if I fall of the wagon and drink a coffee... which may happen.
I'll post on Instagram every day - so if you aren't already following me - please do!
And I'll update my Twitter and Facebook pages every day with pictures of what I'm eating and how I'm feeling on this cleanse. I'm excited (did I mention that??)
Have a great week everyone - I will be starting as of the 1st of November! So - off to drink a soy mocha now and enjoy every sip! ;)
- Love and Sweet Potatoes
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