Monday, July 18, 2011

40 Days of Yoga: Week Four Recap

Just to spice things up a bit, this week's yoga practice included a fruit fast (so, I suppose "sweeten the deal" is a better turn of phrase here). It is not technically a "fast" because you are eating during the three days, but you get the point.

All along, the 40 day yoga "personal revolution" has included some teachings regarding food and eating. Most have resembled thoughtful prodding: be mindful of what you are eating, choose fresh foods over processed junk, etc. How we jumped from that to "eat only fruit for three days" I am still figuring out, but suddenly there I was in week four turning mango madness into full-blown mango mental illness.

For the record, neither of us is one for cleanses, fad diets, or other general craziness under which you would file a fruit fast. Then again, I am not normally someone who undertakes 40-day journeys to personal revolution, so there was a bit of a leap of faith to this whole venture. Wanting to be a good sport, I signed on for the fruit fast/feast. My good will only goes so far, however -- I drew the line at what I read under the heading "A Word About Colonics." Shudder.

I was skeptical of any of the benefits promised by the fruit fast. After detoxifying for three days I was to feel "lighter, cleaner, and infused with more energy." Having spent the last three weeks forsaking meat, caffeine, and alcohol, I wasn't sure what toxins were left for my system to expunge. That Snickers bar I sneaked in a moment of weakness last weekend? Yeah, probably that. Ok, fair enough. Let's detoxify.

I am not sure who made the rules, but our definition of fruit included most things that have seeds. That meant cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and pumpkin. These less-sweet foods helped me avoid diving headfirst into a sugar-induced mania.

Our guidelines allowed us eat avocados, which would have been awesome if they were in season and available here. Sign me up for a three-day unadulterated avocado binge. Alas, no avocados. Thankfully coconut and coconut milk counted -- lifesavers.

The verboten: anything with additives, salt, sugar, or other seasonings, and anything that goes against the spirit of 100% unadulterated fruit. Part of the whole exercise is an on-your-honor, mind-over-body detoxification, so bending the rules is pretty much automatic failure. That said, I accidentally ate an almond while munching on a dried fruit mix. I don't think this disqualifies me from enlightenment.

Claudine is a bit of a Jedi master when it comes to using a blender or food processor, so smoothies were a huge treat during the fruit feast. My favorite combo was coconut milk with frozen banana and perhaps mango. Claudine loved our refreshing morning smoothies of frozen watermelon, banana, and some fresh lime juice. I wasn't complaining.

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Eating lots of fresh fruit was a treat, although we generally eat lots of fresh fruit anyway, so I am not sure the fast worked quite the way it was intended. For the pack-a-day smoker who breathes steak and hasn't seen an apple outside of his grandmother's pie, this fast would probably be more impactful (and presumably more difficult). For Claudine and me it was just a bit annoying. It kept us from other healthful foods in our lives and did not leave us feeling particularly lighter, cleaner, or infused with more energy. In fact, I questioned the wisdom of replacing certain food with an all-fruit diet. Detoxification perhaps, but at what cost?

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