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After a week of pre-cleansing and nearly 3 weeks of liver cleansing, the detox is coming to a close. I always learn a little about myself during a cleanse, and I usually pick up new habits or am reminded of favorable old habits to integrate into my routine once again.

This cleanse is easy to follow: no sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine (I cheated and had some green tea here and there, but it’s so low in caffeine anyway), or pork. I ate mostly organic as usual (greens, fish, chicken, lamb, fruit, seeds, nuts, veggies, legumes) and noticed the usual good side effects: more energy, better sleep, clear skin. In the past, I’ve done juice fasts, raw food cleanses, and other various programs, but I tend to like this particular cleanse the best. It involves replacing 2 meals (breakfast and dinner usually work best) with smoothies that contain functional detox powder. This powder is basically a hypoallergenic rice protein that contains liver cleansing herbs and nutrients. I also took liver cleansing herbal supplements and fiber supplements for a colon cleansing aspect. It’s a gentle yet very effective liver cleanse.

The habits I’ll stick with include continuing on gluten free, as I have been for years, and hot water with the juice of one lemon + a pinch of cayenne first thing in the morning. This is great way to start your day! Very alkalinizing and liver friendly: cleans the bile and gets the liver moving, facilitating good morning bowel function. Also gets digestion primed and ready for breakfast.

Cleanses are also good for breaking habits. It generally takes 21 days to break a habit (no cheating!). I decided after going a few weeks with no sugar that I’d finally give it up for good and see how that goes. I don’t eat all that much sugar as it is, but I do like my dessert Sundays. No sugar includes eliminating refined sugar, turbinado, raw sugar, organic sugar, fancy sugar, all sugar. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I’ll use dried fruit and sweeten baked goods with agave nectar or honey or stevia. I even tried a delicious dairy and soy and sugar free ice cream recently: Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss. Delicious! The coconut milk makes it so creamy and it’s sweetened with agave, so it’s low on the glycemic index (won’t spike blood sugar levels). I considered giving up booze for good too, but I’ve decided to just cut down and have the occasional glass of vino on special occasions. Wine has health benefits!

I like this website: My Year Without (http://myyearwithout.blogspot.com). She chronicles her year without sugar and corn syrup. Creative recipes! So, cheers to sugar free for me. Stay tuned for recipes. I have a great sugar-free brownie recipe made with black beans. Sounds crazy but it’s good and gluten free and the beans keep it moist.