Personal challenge: 7-day fruit and vegetable cleanse

I

am not religious. Nor do I want to lose weight. At 50 kilos with toned muscle from running and Pilates, I am not looking at dropping more pounds. But in the next 7 days, I’m going to eat only fruits and vegetables.

The idea was inspired by a video called Get Healthier in 2019 with these 7 Hacks, where some people claimed that intermittent fasting provides a lot of healthy benefits. After Googling scientific articles supporting these claims, I decided that I’m going to try it, starting with fruit and vegetables. For now, I don’t I can even survive a day without food.

I scheduled my cleanse after my first (failed) attempt at ultramarathon. It coincides with the Lenten Season. The idea of fasting during the Holy Week while not my intention, is a beautiful coincidence for me.

Fasting is not entirely new to me. I grew up on a very religious island, famous for the Lenten tradition called Moriones Festival. Here, all things around death of Jesus Christ are taken seriously, from fasting to Pasyon, from flagellation to real crucifixion.

As a young kid, the Lenten Season was a source of delight and vexation. The Holy Week, as we call it in the Philippines, usually falls on summer vacation so school is out and we could finally play to our heart’s delight. Tourists, especially Caucasians, also flocked to our tiny island, satisfying our curiosity of the “white people” who are usually friendly to local kids. I remember a young couple who took my photo with one of those Instax and gave me that as a souvenir with a note written at the back. I kept it for years until the flood erased their names and faces.

Where was I? Oh yes, irritation. Because of many rural beliefs surrounding, the Holy Week, we weren’t allowed to bath, swim in the river, climb trees or do anything risky from Friday to Sunday, sometimes the whole week. Something to do with Jesus being dead.

But above all that, we were also not allowed to eat meat. During the Holy Week, our diet consists of dried fish, boiled vegetables and munggo (mung beans). Needless to say, we weren’t allowed to binge either.

But like I said, I’m doing this fast not because of religious or weight reasons. I simply want the idea of restricting your calorie intake for a period of time to “detoxify” the body and cleanse the gut.

Although I have considerably reduced my meat intake, the last few months had been about loading up on carbohydrates. I’m not a big eater (although I could finish three cups of rice in one sitting together with a proper adobo) but my body naturally craved for more food to replenish the energy it was burning throughout the training.

Now that my ultramarathon training is over, my gut deserves a little break from all the hard work it was doing.

I haven’t read up on the how’s of a fruit cleanse and vegetable cleanse, I only read and watched several TED talks and scientific research about fasting. I am not strictly following any of the cleanse diet you can find online.

My plan is simple. I’m going to try to eat only fruits and vegetable from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. So no bread, meat, no diary, no carbo-rich vegetables like potatoes and maybe not so many bananas. And also no rice! This would be the biggest challenge because I literally eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Meal plan

For breakfast I’m going to stick to fruits, salads for lunch and maybe soup for dinner. I still have a few liters of vegetable stock in the freezer and a couple of vegetable soup recipes that I am planning to make on Sunday. I’ve also frozen the left-over hummus I’ve made a few weeks ago so I’m going to use that as dip for my snacks or lunch.

Today (Saturday) I went to the market and spent €60 on fruits and vegetables. I find that expensive and I am very curious whether all these fresh produce will last me the whole week.

I’m quite excited. I’ve never done a fast and certainly not this long. I get very grumpy when I’m hungry but the idea of getting through that hunger and still function normally would be a sort of self discovery. I’ll still attend my twice weekly Pilates class but I’m curious whether I’d be able to run.

I’ll try to keep a daily diary. Or hopefully I’d be lucid enough to keep one.

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