How Cleansing Can Activate Your Creativity

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Photo credit: Sandy Austin / Foter.com / CC BY

I recently decided to go on a three-day detox, I’m not keen on the term as I’ve never had it satisfactorily explained to me exactly what a ‘toxin’ is. I’ve tried different ways of eating in the past and have found that cutting out dairy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten and anything refined, including sugar, clears my head like nothing else. But hey that’s everything I like! Everything that I’m surrounded by and everything that a social occasion is comprised of. I’m not a creature of abstinence and like to live life to the max. Can a three-day cleanse really make a lasting difference to my energy levels, immune system and general health? Feeling a bit sluggish after the holidays I wondered if a cleanse could help to reignite my creativity.

This is a diary of my experiment

Day One. Having been advised to shop in advance and reduce distractions during the three days I chose Friday to Sunday and started off sipping room temperature water with a lemon squeezed into it and slices of fresh root ginger floating about. I resisted the temptation to put the radio on and decided to focus on what I was doing, thinking and feeling moment to moment.

Feeling lazy I didn’t get my juicer out and instead chose to eat the juicing ingredients as a salad. If you’ve ever faced a plate of kale, cucumber, parsley, apple, celery and spirulina first thing in the morning then you may have shared my dismay – visions of egg Benedict and bacon rolls drifted in and out of my mind. It seemed that half an hour after chomping through forkfuls of greenery the bowl was just as full as when I started. It was the longest breakfast of my life. Apparently eating slowly is good for us, giving the body time to properly digest and send out “I’m full now” signals.

I then sat quietly and meditated for a while, allowing my thoughts to settle and that familiar silent hum of stillness that I’ve known in the past returned. Bliss! I pottered about a bit before preparing lunch. Avocado, grated carrot, coriander leaves, sprouted sunflower seeds (yes I found the sprouting trays I was given for my birthday years ago and made my own) a chopped sheet of nori, that black seaweed sushi is wrapped in, cucumber and toasted sesame seeds. With a dressing of tamari, lemon juice and fresh ginger it was delicious and sent ripples of potassium, iodine and vitamins coursing through my veins. I was already starting to feel refreshed albeit with a slightly edgy feeling of anticipation for the next meal.

Surrounded by the detritus of our annual food orgy and upon finding a slab of home made pistachio fudge in the fridge I was surprised that I was not at all tempted. No point starting the thing if I’m going to cheat on myself in the first day. Friends popped in and I cooked up a batch of pakoras for them, not feeling it necessary to explain why I didn’t eat any, they didn’t seem to notice. I didn’t feel deprived. I felt curious to know how I would feel after the three days was up.

I snacked on whole almonds soaked overnight and stored in the fridge. This is to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in raw unsoaked nuts. Oh yes I was learning all the jargon. My evening meal was a soup made of courgette, tomato, celery, green beans, parsley, herbs and
garlic. Feeling decidedly light but calm and happy I toddled off to watch Holby City in bed after a luscious bath scented with Xmas bath teabags. This is encouraged, in order to relax and unwind during the detox.

The second and third days unfolded without incident. I felt at times peckish but never actually hungry. I felt myself quieten down and noticed a strange side effect was to forget to check my social media at the end of the day.

Allowing myself to indulge in any form of relaxation I chose was delightful; walking through the snow, gentle yoga in my living room, meditation and hot baths. I was deliberately practising mindfulness and reading the occasional exert from the Tao Te Ching, was beginning to feel positively Zen like. My mind felt clear, my thoughts unhurried and stayed more frequently in the moment. Worries and sadness dissolved into a warm fuzz of appreciating being alive. I could breathe clearly and my whole body felt alive and energised. My breakfast acted like an espresso charging me with energy and optimism.

The results

The most unexpected effect of this three-day experiment was that my eyes seemed to clear and everything looked a little brighter. I have had something similar on occasion, after meditating, when I open my eyes and everything looks a little sparkly. Three weeks later and I can still feel the effects of the detox. I have lost my craving for sugar and have started spontaneously spring cleaning the house. I’m no domestic goddess so I’m running with this while the feeling lasts.

I choose a green smoothie most mornings for breakfast and have started planning a new business venture. Watch this space as it’s going to include providing a place in Norwich to experience your own personalised mini-retreat.

To conclude, although I’ve dabbled for years with health and fitness stuff, this 3 day detox taught me that a small shift for a very short time can have lasting beneficial outcomes. My creative juices have been well and truly moistened and I can now recommend such cleansing  behaviour wholeheartedly.  I look forward to hearing your own experiences with detox and am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Anne Francis

Anne Francis

Anne set up her first business in 1985. She currently runs Carnival Consulting specialising in socially motivated business support and a fitness company Dance Fitness Norfolk. She regularly contributes to local media, is a former ambassador for Norwich Lanes, a Princes Trust mentor and was on the committee of FSB for several years.
Anne Francis

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One Response to How Cleansing Can Activate Your Creativity

  1. Lucy April 17, 2014 at 12:44 am #

    Really interesting to read about your experience – especially with all the tips on what food you used and how it worked out for you. Thanks for sharing!

    My own experience regarding creativity: as a student, one summer I struggled to find constant work and lived off my loan on minimal food and while I wouldn’t recommend it, it was one of my most creative periods to date. Possibly because art became something of a filler rather than food, because I thrived on fresh air and Montreal festivals, and my emptiness seemed to welcome thought like a vessel. I am not trying to trivialise any situation where we can’t always afford to eat (for some, fasting is a luxury), but I find there is a very fascinating aspect to several artists’ lives where the absence of sensory and essential stimuli/sustenance plays a very powerful role.

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