After having spent a significantly longer amount of time in traffic in Sweet Home Alabama over the past week on our family driving trip, I had to look up the phrase, “Roll Tide.” What I found I liked. Other than the official greeting and cheer for the University of Alabama, this phrase can also refer to carrying on. I like that. Seeing the tide roll in along the Emerald coast of Florida was also a reminder that life is constantly changing and beautiful. So now that upon our return home, locally schools have reopened fully to in person learning, it is time to roll tide and carry on.
This week, my way to start anew again and carry on has meant cleansing. I think the phrase, “doing a cleanse,” has a negative connotation. Doing a cleanse can mean many things to different people so I decided to create my own. However, this is not an extreme juice cleanse or anything radical at all. This is an overall cleanse that will be multi-faceted with the purpose of creating a renewed sense of well-being; a stride toward keen living. The first phase of the cleanse is clean eating. The next phase will be home reorganization and minimization. And the third phase, running throughout, is a spiritual cleanse.
First, the way that I have attempted to reset my body this week is with three cleansing techniques:
- Eating foods that are good for me – simple, but challenging.
- Drinking 100 ounces of water every day
- Returning to intermittent fasting at least 12 hours a day
Starting Sunday, I went online to grocery shop as we drove back home. I focused on a heavy dose of lettuce, vegetables, whole fruits, no meat, fish and tofu. I am attempting to follow the Orthodox Lenten fast in a way (Orthodox Easter is May 2 this year), but not fully to the vegan level. Instead, I am shooting for my best effort in a “pescatarian” diet (vegetarian plus seafood). I knew my body was in need of clean eating. I was out of balance from snacking on spring break and eating later than usual. I have focused on having my breakfast later and sustaining my morning with black coffee. This is a particular challenge because black coffee alone does not sit well with my stomach so this may change. I try to put off breakfast for as long as possible. I start with a lot of protein: Oikos triple zero vanilla yogurt with Hemp seeds poured on top. For lunch, I have had salads. I definitely feel better when I have one every day for or with either lunch or dinner. Snacks are cheese and nuts with the occasional bites of tempting blueberry muffins here and there that were really meant for the kids’ breakfasts. Dinners have been focused on high protein paired with a roasted vegetable. However, I splurged with a takeout tofu pad thai yesterday following a busy day where we all needed dinner on the fly. Nothing has to be perfect. Each day ebbs and flows. Roll tide. Carry on.
Next, I am attempting to drink more water and limit other caffeinated/dehydrating liquids like coffee or wine. The first day I definitely drank 100 or more ounces of water. I felt great. More alert and less weighed down. The challenge has been keeping up with that. Water gets boring. I bought Collagen Strawberry lemon water and liked it. I have spiced it up with Vitamin Water lemonades. I drink lots of herbal teas anyway, and I have attempted to keep myself to one black coffee first thing every day. This didn’t totally happen because I did grab a Flat White fully leaded Starbucks on a dark and dreary, rainy day this week, but that’s fine. Roll tide. Carry on.
Third, I went back to intermittent fasting. What is this? Again, like cleases there are many different styles and methods. My baseline intermittent fast is just 12 hours. That’s it. It is not a high bar, but it does keep me from snacking at night when I really want to or starting with breakfast too early. It motivates me to exercise in the morning as a way of pushing the clock a little further to maybe reach a 13 hour fast. The best part of intermittent fasting is that its effects are palpable very quickly. There is almost immediate feedback within the first three days. I feel leaner and lighter by doing it, which provides a great incentive and positive feedback to keep going. If however, I take a bite of chocolate after 8pm so be it. It happens. I can push back the fasting clock in the morning or just try again the next day. Roll tide. Carry on.
Throughout this cleanse and really starting over my trip last week, I am also attempting to unplug from technology to make more time for prayer. This coincides for me with Lent. It doesn’t have to, but having Easter as the guiding light is helpful for me. However this might look for each individual is always going to be different, but the idea being to reset the day and fill more space with meditation and prayer. I use the YouVersion Bible app. This week, I tried to tweek my morning routine to put prayer first after my alarm goes off. I tried it, but I really prefer getting up and doing my morning exercise routine first. So what I found was that I need to do that exercise to feel awake, and I modified my prayer and journal time to tie together with my cup of coffee. This is working. I also have books that I enjoy reading every day or right before bed that give a spiritual boost – Emily Ley’s newest book, “Growing Boldy,” and Hoda Kotb’s, “I Really Needed This Today.” The thing is all of these spiritual practices haven’t happened every day, even though I have wanted them to. And my attempts at decreasing texting and checking my email only twice a day have resulted in fails to only the slightest of perceptible decreases. That’s ok. Roll Tide. Carry on.
Finally, as a guiding principle for this attempt at cleansing, this verse really speaks to all elements:
Hebrews 10:22: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
I feel like any attempt at well-being is a difficult one, but with a heart filled with good intention, it is going to be a journey toward some wisdom and self-discovery at the very least. Any times there are frustrations or disappointments, letting that guilty conscience roll away will provide a reset that allows a new focus on the next horizon and what beauty there is carrying us toward it.
© 2021 Megan Davia Mikhail