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A few weeks ago I completed a 3-week cleanse. I didn’t do it to lose weight, but to get myself back on track with eating healthy. As much as I love food that’s good for you, I also love chocolate, fries, and it’s pretty easy for me to finish a bag of pita chips in two days. So, after indulging myself a little too much with my favorite unhealthy treats, I decided I needed to press the restart button. What better way to do that than with a cleanse.

After the 21 days were over, the thing I noticed most was that I didn’t feel sluggish. Without that sluggish feeling, I feel like I have more energy to get things done. I’m also happy to say that I’ve picked up healthier eating habits, which is exactly what I set out to do.

For anyone considering doing a cleanse, below are 9 realizations and tips I thought I’d share:

1. Pick a cleanse that works for you. The reason I chose Clearvite-SF, which was recommended to me by my chiropractor/nutritionist office, is because I was able to eat full meals and snacks the whole time. Juice cleanses have never appealed to me because if I go a few hours with no food, I can’t function. But I have plenty of friends that don’t need to eat as often as I do. During my research phase I found this website, Green Lemonade, pretty interesting and helpful.

2. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of dishes I accumulated throughout the day, but made sure I cleaned them all before going to bed. Since I needed to use some of them every day, using the dishwasher (the most eco-friendly way to wash dishes) wasn’t an option. So I looked up ways to be eco-friendly with hand washing dishes and found this site helpful www.tipsonhomeandstyle.com/home/the-greenest-way-to-hand-wash-your-dishes.

3. Something I wasn’t expecting was the judgement I got from people when I told them I was doing a cleanse. I couldn’t really figure out why it offended people so much. In turn I started defending myself, for something that needed no defending. I was eating healthy for 3 weeks. After a few days, I realized less was more in my explanation.

4. The weekdays, not weekends, were much easier for me to stay on track with my meals, which surprised me. But what I realized was that there was much more structure to my workdays. The weekends were a free for all, and I would forget to eat or not drink enough water throughout the day.

5. For one week of the cleanse I had to cut out all meat and fish. This concerned me the most before I started, as I eat turkey or chicken almost every day. I survived though, and it wasn’t the end of the world. It made me realize that I don’t need to eat meat every day. I have found this site (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=158) helpful in giving me other ideas for ways to get enough protein.

6. Even though my reason for the cleanse had nothing to do with weight loss, I did end up losing a few pounds. For those looking to lose weight, remember a big part is what you eat. You don’t necessarily have to do a cleanse to drop the lbs. Just be more mindful of the foods you are eating.

7. When I decided to do this, I thought I’d save so much money from not drinking and going out to eat. I definitely didn’t spend as much as I usually do, but I spent more than expected. Buying organic and only shopping at Whole Foods certainly didn’t help. However, there are ways to be more frugal, and this article can shed some light on that as well as ideas on smart food shopping http://www.MindBodyGreen.com/0-4570/Top-10-Tips-for-Food-Shopping.html. I just wish I found it sooner.

8. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I wasn’t worried about a caffeine withdrawal. When I started having headaches I was a bit perplexed. I quickly realized it was from sugar withdrawal, but luckily it only lasted a day or two.

9. Last but not least, it’s important to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. It helps to flush out toxins, and keep you hydrated. This article goes into detail on why hydration is important www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283. It’s nothing new, but it’s good to be reminded.