Thursday, February 9, 2012

Final Reflections: 2012 Whole Living Action Plan

Last Sunday was my last day of Week 4 of the Whole Living Action Plan I had been following in order to cleanse my body of impurities and establish healthier and cleaner eating habits. So Yay! I am officially finished with the cleanse. Phew! Looking back.. it wasn't so bad. Okay, that's not true. The first 3-5 days were SUPER hard. I was plagued by caffeine withdrawal headaches, detox headaches, a little nausea from the detoxification. Actually, the entire first week [or two.. ] was REALLY hard. I was often hungry, tired and cranky.

How was Week 4?
I'll start right out and confess that I cheated a few times in this last week. I had ice cream. Twice. I also had a cookie one day, too. [sugar and dairy were still on the forbidden list]. I don't think it is horrible to eat these foods, but once you do, it's that much harder to say no to it the next time.

The addition of animal protein back in my diet made meal preparations so much easier and I definitely felt better fueled for my day. However, I think adding gluten products back into my diet brought back the feeling of fullness that wasn't there during the weeks I was gluten free. I've been thinking a lot about gluten vs. gluten free lately and while I don't necessarily believe gluten is inherently bad for everyone--in fact, whole grain wheat, barley, rye and other grains with gluten are not only good sources of fiber, but also valuable nutrients, I do think that most of the food products that contain gluten in the American diet are the processed foods that contain refined ingredients such as wheat and white flours and sugars, that are actually unhealthful. Truly whole grain bread products are actually difficult to find in the average supermarket! What does this mean for my diet? I think I really need to be cognizant of the gluten foods I eat every day and keep them at a minimum number of servings per day in order to feel my best. I think I'll need to rethink some of my typical meals and make some permanent changes. I also read that proteins and carbohydrates should be eaten separately throughout the day. If that's true, there goes my turkey sandwich on multi grain bread! I'm still thinking about this aspect.. it's kind of a work in progress.

How do I feel about the cleanse?
The cleanse was difficult, but it felt good mentally and physically to do something so positive for my body. I would do it again sometime. Next January if not sooner.

I learned how comfortable it felt to eat until I'm no longer hungry as opposed to eating until I'm full. If you eat just until you are no longer hungry, you're content. If you eat until you're full... chances are you ate too much! The key is to stay aware of this difference at every meal!

I am no longer addicted to caffeine. I had my first cup of coffee today, actually, after having been caffeine free for 32 days. You know what? It was just okay. I thought I'd slip into heaven with that mug of java... but it turned out to be very anticlimactic. I'll still indulge in a cup now and then, but for the most part I'll stick with hot water with lemon, herbal, green and black teas.

I ate SO many fruits, vegetables and nuts during the cleanse and discovered so many delicious and healthful recipes and eating strategies that I will continue to follow in the months and years to come.

Now that the cleanse is over, what happens?
Do my best to adhere to the healthful, clean eating habits and steer clear of processed foods, keeping caffeine, alcohol, sugars and dairy to a minimum. Still debating on level of gluten products to allow myself. They're SO hard to avoid.

Try to get my family to eat cleaner, too. I think that we already eat very healthfully, but let's face it... must of us have room for improvement in our eating habits.

I had fun documenting my adventure with the Whole Living Action Plan over the last month and I made a few new friends, too, just by using the #WLActionPlan hashtag on twitter and instagram. It's really amazing how the social media brings people together from around the world with just one common interest. Then voila! Friendships are forged.

I also discovered a two wonderful new-to-me websites that I just LOVE. Both of these websites instantly became favorites. Sarah B is the holistic nutritionist who designed the first week of the cleanse--methodology and recipes-- and she has so many fresh, delicious and nutritious recipes and other inspirations for healthy eating and living on her website. is hosted by Noƫlle, where she shares information and recipes on daily detoxing and healthful eating. More great stuff!

Finally, the cleanse got me to visit and explore the website which is just loaded with ideas, advice and inspiration on healthy, green living for both mind and body. SO many amazing recipes, exercises and mediations!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read through my weekly reflections throughout the month and leaving such supportive comments, as always. I hope you enjoyed my posts and maybe found a little inspiration to make some healthy changes in your life, too.

Here's to healthy, whole living! xo 


  1. I'm glad you made it through your cleanse successfully and with new ideas in mind to continue your healthy living goal. As for gluten? I was amazed at doing some reading that it's in way more things than you'd think. Even some sauces! Weird. Um, as for sugar and such? I wish I had your willpower! I wish you the absolute best as you keep exploring ways to be and stay healthy! (Not to mention I love the recipes you share. *g*)

  2. Congratulations on finishing the cleanse!!! Looks like you had a very positive experience - I was surprised to see what you said about missed it so much during your cleanse!

  3. Bless you you're a better woman than me! I have the willpower the size of a gnat ; )


  4. OMG! Congrats on finishing the cleanse, it sounds rough! I don't think I would have been able to do it. I lack the will power when it comes to food!
    You have inspired me to try to eat alittle better though!

    Best of luck keeping with the plan!

  5. It's really awesome you made it Christine. Congratulations!! And I think that's great, breaking your addiction to coffee :)

  6. I'm sounds like you did really well with this. I can't imagine how hard it was for you to go through caffeine withdrawals :?

  7. Congrats on making it to the end of the 4 weeks. It sounds like you got far more out of it than just the cleanse! Here's to healthy eating and living :)

  8. Thank you all for the kudos on completing the cleanse. Even though I did cheat a few times in Week 4 with the cookies and ice cream! Granted it wasn't a ton of cheating but still.. I didn't quite maintain a perfect stride there. I still feel good about the whole thing, learned a lot and have some good new eating habits. So I can't complain!

    @Brandy.. . I know what you mean about gluten being everywhere in foods that if you made at home wouldn't have any wheat or gluten in them at all! Dairy, too. So many commercial breads have sugar, dairy and even soy in them.. why??! Crazy. I think of myself as a careful consumer and read a lot of food labels, always questioning ingredients.. but it's really hard to eliminate ALL processed foods from my pantry. I'd be in the kitchen ALL THE TIME making things from scratch and that's just not realistic. I am trying to reduce processed foods even more now, though.

    @samantha ... the coffee withdrawal was AWFUL. Thankfully the withdrawal headaches lasted only 4 days or so for me, but the craving for coffee lasted just about all four weeks! I'm SO surprised that it's gone now. I've had maybe three cups of coffee since I ended the detox and thankfully didn't lure me back into addiction. lol

  9. Hi Christine! I just wanted to drop a note and say hello. I'm always excited to bond over new ideas and inspiration for healthy, feel-good living. I look forward to keeping in touch with you!

  10. I have not done this cleanse but your post makes me very interested. I have experimented with gluten-free also even though technically I don't "need" to but it does seem like we overeat gluten. Starting the day with cereal, a sandwich for lunch and pasta or rice for dinner you're body is just over-gluten'ed. I'm trying to cut back and be mindful.
    Thanks for the links.

  11. Sorry for the slow reply. I got slammed with an awful head cold and have been resting.

    @noelle Thank you so much for stopping by. As you figured out, I absolutely love your site! I've sent the link to several of my local friends in addition to mentioning it here on my blog. Your recipes are fantastic!! I recently read your article about proper food combining at meals.. I'm trying to be mindful of that advice.
    Thanks again for the visit! :)

    @Peaceful Reader I feel the same way about gluten as you do. No one in my family has gluten allergies or even high sensitivities, but after doing this cleanse, wow what a difference without the gluten! I think a large part of the gluten problem is that most foods we eat in the US that are wheat based are use refined wheat, are highly processed and often have added fats and sugars that just contribute to problems.. empty calories, feeling bloated, lethargic and in the end, craving MORE of those foods.
    I hope you find some inspiration at My New Roots and GreenLemonade. :)

  12. What a great post Christine! I've been thinking a lot about food and eating lately--ever since I started making my daughter her own baby food. Why would I do this for her but not for me and my husband?! We're making conscious effort to eat outside of the box (literally) and not eat such processed food. Luckily he's on board and is willing to help with the cooking duties. In March we're thinking about attempted to do the entire month without any processed foods. Should be interesting!

    I need to look more into this gluten-free thing. Seems to be all the rage these days. We don't have any sensitivities but I'm wondering if we might be able to cut down a bit.

    Good luck with the continuing!!

  13. Hi Trish!
    I made my daughters' baby food, too! I had a really great cookbook at the time that I loved--I gave it to a friend and regret it because it had a lot of recipes that I'd still like to make! It was this one: Mommy Made and Daddy Too!. Anyway, when my oldest [almost 17 now! yikes!] was starting solid food, I really started to think about the quality of food I wanted her to eat... and that my husband and I should, too! It quickly became intuition really, too eat foods as close to their natural, whole state as possible, organic when possible [accessible and within our budget], and homemade as much as I could. It got harder once the kids started school, but I still strive for those ideals. It just makes sense to me.

    I think you guys could definitely eat outside the box--literally--for a month. Try to plan your meals ahead and set aside enough time to make things from scratch. I think you're going to love it even if it requires more work.

    As for the gluten-free thing, I definitely felt better when I was gluten free. I haven't been very good at going low or no gluten lately. I need to find that groove again.


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