I think I’ve made it over the hump. I’ve crested the peak & rounded the curve. It’s all downhill from here. I found my stride, my rhythm, my focus. I’m more than halfway done and I feel totally ready to tackle the weekend.

Yesterday started out as a normal day. I decided to change up my breakfast fruit, just for variety’s sake (also I ran out of blueberries):

I even tried a cup of hot water with lemon and mint instead of my usual herbal tea. It was fantastic! (To make it: pour a mug’s-worth of hot water over five or six fresh mint leaves and finish with a generous squeeze of lemon.) Despite an early-morning cry-fest over the latest developments in the Trayvon Martin case and multiple viewings of heart-wrenchingly beautiful Bruce Springsteen performances, I was feeling good as I packed up Ryan’s lunch and made my way to the car for my babysitting job. Little emotional outbursts are okay, I told myself. I am strong and healthy! I am cleansing!

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Yesterday was not a bad day. Sometimes that’s the best you can say, right? I woke up early, made lunch, and then headed off to babysit for family #2. In this case, as it is for the other family, I am simply an adult presence in the house. Both girls are in their teens and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. This leaves me lots of time to waste time on facebook do all my homework. I brought my lunch, naturally, all packed up in my little lunchbox:

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Forbidden love.

Actually, I’m writing this on Day 3, reflecting on Day 2, and let me just tell you: I’m tired.  I haven’t had coffee for the last three mornings and UGH I WANT SOME SO BAD!! I don’t want to complain, though, as the past few days have been replete with bad news. In a way, I’m grateful, because it reminds me not to dwell on my self-inflicted exhaustion. There are plenty of reasons to engage more fully in the world, to feel compassion for folks suffering under unjust conditions, and the rumblings in my tummy do not qualify. What I’m doing is not about suffering. I am choosing to spend a week focusing fully on what I put into my body, and it’s important for me to remind myself that each day is a gift and a step towards living a fuller, healthier life. I just typed fuller and thought about eating an entire pizza.

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It was a long night of no sleep for me leading up to Day 1 of my cleanse. This was due in part to the fact that Ryan took me out for a belated birthday meal, during which I ate bone marrow, octopus, trout, five different kinds of cheese, three different kinds of liquor, wine, and a dessert which consisted of a dark chocolate crust underneath whipped vanilla custard, topped with salted caramel. I ate it with a spoon. A fitting end to normalcy, no? Suffice it to say I was enjoying myself so much it took me a while to fall asleep. And before I even ate breakfast I had to pack Ryan his lunch–only because those were the conditions to him doing the cleanse with me.

Condition 1: he still gets to drink coffee and have whatever he wants for breakfast.

Condition 2: I make him lunch and dinner every day.

Seeing as that wasn’t all that different than our normal habits, I agreed (it’s way better to do these with a buddy!). So I got up extra-early and made him lunch: curried lentils and rice, sauteed spinach with lemon, and sliced radish and carrots with a couple rice cakes on the side. I made extra for me, too, so it all worked out in the end.

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Is anyone else getting excited for the upcoming week? I know I am. I spent the morning at the market stocking up on vegetables, rice, fruit, and juice for the week. My refrigerator is completely stuffed. I’ve assembled recipes, steamed up a batch of rice, organized the pantry….and cooked myself an appropriate final brunch.

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In preparation for this little project of mine (starting Monday!), I needed to do a little organizing. It’s usually my habit to scribble down recipes on whatever scraps of paper I can find, but luckily this time I have these adorable little notecards to record cleanse ideas (thank you, sweet Ryan!):

You can check out more of this lovely stuff here!

Armed with a template, I started with the recipes I jotted down during my last round of cleansing last year. Wait–where are they? Oh, that’s right, they’re in my storage unit. In Michigan. Crap. Onto scouring the internet…

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About two or three years ago, when I was still waitressing regularly, a bunch of my coworkers decided it was time to do a little spring cleaning: from the inside out. Someone had read somewhere that the “Master Cleanse” was a healthy, no-fuss way to kickstart your natural mechanisms and boost your energy, mental function, and overall well-being. If you’ve never heard of it, read all about it here. Essentially, it’s a juice fast that typically lasts ten days and involves, ahem, flushing the toxins in your body out the back door, if you know what I mean. You drink lots of the special spicy lemonade, which is a mixture of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and filtered water, and you also do what’s known as a “salt water flush” daily. It can get a little gross but it’s suppose to be very good for you. At least, that’s what we reasoned.

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