today is day 11 of my 17 day cleanse.
(btw, since people keep asking me what a “cleanse” is — here’s the wikipedia definition: Body cleansing or detoxification underpins many alternative medical treatments. Most of these treatments claim to rid the body of accumulated harmful substances, and their protagonists maintain that a cleansed, detoxified body is able to heal itself of a variety of common ailments. Therefore, body cleansing is expected to lead to improved health. read the whole wikipedia article here.)
and today is the beginning of hardcore cleansing. ’til now, it’s been mainly about eating lots of raw veggies and fruit, and staying away from processed sugar, processed flour, caffeine and coffee, and a bunch of other stuff. but NOW i’m into what my natural food coach ([email protected]) calls “the master cleanse”. it’s almost a modified form of a fast — but still designed to flush junk out of my body. there’s a lot to rememeber — i actually made a chart last night with 10 columns of stuff to take at different times during the day — things like acidophilus to kill the bad bacteria in my stomach, and garlic later in the day to introduce good bacteria, a bunch of fiber (in a fiber drink that tastes awful), a tablespoon of cod-liver oil (which i’m convinced, after starting it this morning, is only a part of the cleanse so my coach can laugh at me, knowing i’m ingesting oil that makes me smack my tongue and lips like a dog who just ate peanut butter). AND, today, in addition to the 10 columns, i’m eating ONLY oranges. tomorrow, in addition to the 10 columns, i’m eating only watermelon. the three days following that are juice only (and it’s a VERY specific recipe for homemade juice). then another watermelon day. and next wednesday i’ll be done.
why am i doing all this?
well, a few reasons. i think my approach to my body has sucked in the way that most americans approach their bodies. my weight has been completely tied to vanity and gluttony — both rooted in selfishness and self-sufficiency. i eat whatever and whenever i want because “i’m the boss of me”, and because i really like sugar and greasy food and all kinds of stuff that’s not great for me. then, once rotund, i’ll get sick of my fatness and go on a “diet” (usually triggered by seeing pictures of myself from a different angle than i’m used to seeing myself in a mirror). crappy motivations all around. crappy motivation for eating, crappy motivation for dieting.
but i’m made in the image of god. and, becuase i’m not a gnostic (though i’m realizing more and more every day how much our american evangelicalism really is a form a gnosticism), i don’t believe being made in the image of god is only about my soul. but the cleanse isn’t about appearance. it’s about health and respecting god’s creation — especially the part that is ‘in his image’.
as i’ve been thinking about this, my friend michael bridges (of the band lost and found) emailed me to encourage me on my cleanse. he wrote about how the church has ignored health and said it wasn’t a spiritual topic. michael didn’t say this: but i’m intrigued that we (the church) have done that to health, when the bible is so chock-full of health stuff (have we assumed all the hebrew food stuff was only about setting them apart?).
then michael really caught my attention. he mentioned a fact i’d not heard — and it’s a fact about my peeps, middle school kids:
A few weeks ago I was at a fundraiser that Bill Clinton was at and he reiterated his concern (and this is certainly a new leaf he’s turned over since his bypass operation) about childhood obesity. He cited the now well-documented fact that today’s middle-school kids, on average, have a lower life expectancy than their parents.
wow. so i’ll eat my oranges today and take my 10 columns of pills and oils, and all of them will be a prayer — a prayer asking for forgiveness for how i have mistreated this gift, and a prayer of thankfullness that i am created in the image of god.