Loosening The Grip Of The Big Five

Recent news about mad cow disease in California is a good reason to rethink our diets, and to check out Kathy Freston’s book, Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit. This isn’t a cleanse where you starve yourself, take pills, or drink concoctions made with maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Instead, for 3 weeks, you refrain from eating what Freston calls the “Big Five”:

  • Caffeine
  • Refined sugar
  • Gluten
  • Alcohol
  • Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, fish)

Benefits from Taking a Break from the “Big Five”

Freston’s book explains in detail why each of the “Big Five” can cause problems for our bodies and minds, and how we’ve become dependent on “artificial boosts” and have forgotten how to feel good naturally. Positive effects from the Quantum Wellness Cleanse can include:

  • Release from addictive habits
  • More energy (and better sleep)
  • Clearer skin and eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Cessation of certain aches, pains and digestive ailments
  • Deeper awareness of the effect that we and our eating habits can have on the world

As Freston explains:

“Doing this cleanse is one of the best ways I know to discover any negative emotional material we are covering over with food, so that we can shake it right out of our system. And the beauty of it is, you can take what feels right from this program and leave the rest behind. Once you’ve done the work, you can add things back in, though many people find they want to stick with the changes that have so improved the way they look and feel.”

Why 21 days? According to Freston, “because that’s about how long it takes for your tastes and cravings to begin responding to healthier and simpler foods.” Also, some researchers say that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. Don’t worry about having some lapses during the three-week period:

“People often ask me about ‘discipline.’ They worry that they won’t be able to get through it or do it perfectly. Here’s what I tell them: challenge yourself, but don’t make yourself (or others around you) crazy. Do the best you can. …. Our goal is progress, no perfection.”

My Experience

About a year ago, I was feeling tired, like I needed to recharge my battery, so I downloaded Quantum Wellness Cleanse on my Kindle and decided to give it a shot. I’ve always eaten healthy, but I had never eliminated sugar, gluten or animal products from my diet. And I was a regular at Starbucks.

I find Freston’s advice to be easy to follow. She provides day-by-day guidelines, shopping ideas and recipes, but you select your own foods every day. There are lots of food choices that meet the guidelines these days, especially at Whole Foods. One thing I really like about the cleanse is that it forces me to break out of my food habits and try things that I would normally pass by at the grocery store. Some of them have become favorites foods of mine. (Amy’s Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap, anyone?)

As a result of the cleanse and the new habits it taught me, I have more energy, sleep more soundly, and my skin looks great. Although I’m not a vegan like Freston, I now eat far fewer animal products, and when I do buy meat or poultry or eggs, I buy products that align with  values of kindness and integrity (free-range, grass-fed, cage-free, etc.). As a bonus, my food bills are lower now that I consume less of the Big Five!

Your Turn

Freston does the Quantum Wellness Cleanse once a year. Writing this post inspired me to do it for a second time. A little too much refined sugar, caffeine and poor eating habits had crept back into my life over the holidays. Doing the cleanse again helped me get back on the right path. I even managed to kick the Starbucks habit! If you want to learn more about the 21-day cleanse, check out Freston’s web site.

Which one of the Big Five has the tightest grip on you, and are you willing to do the Quantum Cleanse to break free?

One thought on “Loosening The Grip Of The Big Five

  1. Sugar is my biggest vice. I have done a similar cleanse, which helped me to really appreciate fruits and vegetables, and that you’d don’t need meat or cheese to make a hearty meal.

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