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Friday, January 6, 2012

Clean: Days 3+4 and Dealing with Hunger

How is everyone doing on their cleanses? Yesterday I think I was feeling a little stressed out with some work and wedding planning stuff and noticed my resolve wavering a little. I tend to be a bit of an emotional eater and all I could think about was bread. And cheese. And chocolate. I just really wanted a tasty snack to make me feel better. 

The Clean book talks about hunger and the emotional connections we have to eating and food. Anytime I feel like I must eat, even though I know I've had enough to nourish my body, I read the passage below and it helps me to understand if I'm actually feeling hungry or if I'm trying to fill some other void:
When hunger hits you during the Clean program, it's not an obstacle. It's actually an excellent opportunity. Redefining what hunger means to you is one of the most important and life-changing aspects of Clean. Examining, questioning, and redefining that thing we call hunger will free you from the traps you might be in around food... As hunger creeps up during the day or evening, ask yourself, what does being hungry actually mean? Do you really know? Have you ever been truly hungry, or have you ever actually been "starving" - the word we unconsciously use when we're telling our friends that we really feel like eating right this minute? Probably the truth is that you have not. The body sensation you recognize as "being hungry" and that makes you eat whenever you feel it coming on may have nothing to do with your body's actual need for calories... Take a moment before reacting to the hunger to ask yourself, what is it that I'm feeling right now? This thing I'm calling hunger, where it it? Is it in my stomach, my guts, my chest, my heart - where is that body sensation? Then ask, what is the sensation? Everyone has different descriptions of this experience that they name "hungry."Stay with it, watch it, and try to distinguish its qualities. Is it hot or cold, does it feel like pain or pressure, is it fixed or moving, is it in waves or is it constant? By asking yourself those questions, you are directing your attention to this body sensation; it's literally putting the light to it so you can see it better... It might actually be a very different kind of need that has nothing to do with food: a need for company, for contact, for forgiveness, for acknowledgement, for purpose, or for security. (Clean by Alejandro Junger, 186-190)
This passage makes so much sense to me. It seems fairly simple, right? But it's not something we, as a culture, think about too often. 

Here's a lunch recipe for you that I have posted about before and is actually a recipe from the Clean book. It is one of my absolute favorites and never gets old no matter how many times I make it. Prep time is about 20 minutes. 

Quinoa Tabbouleh
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup scallions cut thinly on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon raw agave nectar or stevia
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup olive oil

Measure 1 cup raw quinoa and add to a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once quinoa is mostly cooled, mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

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