We (Shaina’s parents) did the cleanse last year and it had an impact on both of us. On a very basic level, we were able to experience Yom Kippur without the usual caffeine withdrawal headachy sluggishness that usually plagues us. I have given up artificial sweeteners and now drink my coffee without any splenda. When I need to sweeten something when cooking, instead of adding sugar or sweeteners I just add some raisins or cut up dried figs. This may not sound like a big-deal life-change, but for me to drink unsweetened coffee…and to have maintained it for a year…is a big deal!
So I really wanted to do the cleanse this year to see where it might lead. I don’t know if it was all the non-cleanse leftover food we have from Rosh HaShana or just my lack of discipline and energy, but I wasn’t exactly feeling the cleanse.
I got up this morning and started washing all the dishes and pots and pans from last night’s Shabbat feast. I hadn’t eaten yet and was struggling with what to eat and how to deal with cleanse and my ambivalence about the cleanse. You had yogurt and pomegranate tabouli. You gave me permission to make up my own cleanse and eat whatever I wanted or not do the cleanse at all. That was very freeing. Thank you, Shaina.
I had no problem sticking all the sweet desserts and starchy challah, potato knishes and matza balls in the freezer. I even froze the chicken soup and chicken marabella that were leftover. All the numerous, over-the-top veggie dips and dishes we made were traditional cleanse friendly, so no problem there. My big dilemma was the leftover salmon patties and the chicken salad, especially the chicken salad. There was no way it could be frozen and I couldn’t just throw it away (visions of Bubbe muttering about wasting any morsel of food being a sin)!
As I cleaned and packaged and struggled with all the food (we have tons of food in this house) and my cleanse, it became clear that this year I needed to dedicate my cleanse to my diabetes. I have had diabetes for 48 years and am most grateful that I am still alive. I have been able to cohabitate with this illness without compromising my life and I continue to be determined to be the healthiest sick person I can be.
So, this is my cleanse…
The overarching focus will be low carbs, more frequent blood sugar testing and portion control. No processed foods. No sugars or sweeteners of any kind. No dairy. A primarily vegan diet with permission to eat the salmon patties and chicken salad which are high in protein and low in carbs. I will be careful with fruits and starchy vegetables and pay close attention to the impact of different foods on my blood sugars. This is the way I should be living all year-round…a challenge that most diabetics struggle with all year-round. I do not expect this to change my life…but I am open to any change.
Thank you Shaina and Arielle!
La Shana Tova and an easy fast!
Esther (Shaina’s mom)