Lately so many people that I know have been doing cleanses and I think that it’s awesome! It makes me so happy to know that people are starting to wake up to the horrors of the Standard American Diet (SAD), and become educated about the importance of nutrition, ethics & food.
Currently, I’m on my third day of a smoothie/clean-eating cleanse. Of course there are all sorts of reasons to do one, but at the moment I am doing it 100% for weight loss. For me, breastfeeding has been a double-edged sword in so many ways. A month after Roman was born, I lost thirty pounds (out of fifty total) of my pregnancy weight. I attributed a lot of that weight loss to breastfeeding and all of the calories that it burns. Additionally, Roman was born in spring and I spent all of spring, summer, and autumn as active as possible in the great outdoors burning even more calories. Fast forward to this horrendous winter that has plagued the northeast this year and everything changed.
Instead of speeding along my weight loss by burning extra calories, breastfeeding became an excuse for me to eat more (and more & more!). My appetite has gotten out of control. Even though we eat largely “healthy” at home, my portion sizes are too large, and when I eat out I make the worst possible choices. All of this topped by the fact that we’ve been virtually housebound since November has been a recipe for disaster. Finally, the “icing on the cake” has been the emotional shit that I’ve been wading through for the past several months. I’ve always been an emotional eater and I struggled with being overweight for the first half of my life. All of this leads me to the fact that, indeed, I got on the scale a couple of weeks ago to discover that I’d gained back some of the weight I’d lost after Roman was born. It was pretty devastating. However, like most negatives in my life, it was also a catalyst — a catalyst for positive change.
On Monday I started a smoothie “hybrid” cleanse (I’ll explain in a minute) and it’s been going well. One of my biggest weaknesses since Roman’s birth has been breakfast. I never used to be a breakfast person, but for the past ten months, I’ve been ravenous in the morning. I’m certain that it has to do with breastfeeding. Like many babies, Roman eats the most when he is sleepy and his largest meals of the day are before bed, during his midnight feeding, and when he wakes up. Needless to say, my body is working really hard through the night to make milk and when I wake up, I’m hungry and rightfully so.
The problem is the way that I’ve been handling that hunger — eating fried eggs and toast and anything else I can get my hands on. This is a huge problem because it sets me up on a bad path for the day. I crave what I eat — so, if I eat nutritious food, I crave nutritious food. But, if I eat bad food, I crave it even more. So starting every day with fried food and heavily processed carbs (i.e. eggs & toast) is a big setup for failure. At the same time, it is critical that I get a lot of calories in the morning because of what I mentioned about breastfeeding. The answer is simple, I’ve just been avoiding it. The answer is a big, healthy, calorie-packed, super-nutritious smoothie — and nothing else. I emphasize nothing else because I’ll often eat the eggs & a smoothie which would be fine if I was training for an Olympic race…
I’ve been wanting to do a weight loss cleanse for awhile. Originally, I wanted to do a juice cleanse but that didn’t work for a few reasons. First, I hate my juicer. It’s a pain in the ass to clean. Second, when I looked into purchasing a pre-made juice cleanse I almost fell over at the prices. And finally, I’m not certain that I could/should survive on juice alone at this point. I’ve done juice cleanses in the past, they’re awesome, but they do render me lethargic for the first few days. After some thought, I decided to do a smoothie/hybrid cleanse. Basically, I have the aforementioned big, healthy, calorie-packed, super-nutritious smoothie for breakfast. Then I listen to my body for the rest of the day and make appropriate food choices. I find that in addition to my smoothie, I need one other meal a day and a couple of small snacks. I still feel full, have energy, and my milk supply is not suffering at all. This is a stark contrast to the way that I’ve been eating recently — three big huge meals a day without much consideration as to what my body was actually telling me. After all, I had to eat a lot… I was breastfeeding… Right? Ugh! I’ve been very foolish. No sense dwelling on it.
Letting go of the emotional re-addiction to food that I have developed over the past year and a half (during pregnancy and since Roman’s birth) is not easy. I am on the third day of completely altering my relationship with food. I have a long way to go. The fact that I am completely aware and no longer in denial is huge. The fact that I am writing all of this out — and sharing it — is also huge. I am now accountable. Wish me luck. 🙂
Here is the smoothie recipe. Take note that this recipe produces two smoothies! I make one for myself and one for M. Additionally, it might take you awhile to drink it. I am only on the third day of my cleanse and my stomach is clearly shrinking. I now find that I am drinking half of the smoothie shortly after waking and then half of the smoothie closer to lunchtime.
The Breastfeeding Smoothie (aka The Big, Healthy, Calorie-packed, Super-nutritious Smoothie)
- small handful of raw baby spinach
- small handful of raw kale
- two tablespoons of raw, shelled sunflower seeds
- two tablespoons of raw cashew pieces
- one tablespoon of Maca powder
- 5 large frozen strawberries
- one banana
- almond milk (enough to reach your desired consistency)
*Note: The smoothie pictured in this post is different than the one I am writing about. The one in the picture contains all of the same ingredients except it leaves out kale and spinach and adds in one whole, peeled orange. It is an excellent smoothie, but I haven’t tested it out as a meal replacement, so it might not contain all of the elements necessary as a meal replacement for a breastfeeding mom.