Diary / Wellness / Sep 26, 2022
My First Time: A Nutritionist-Approved Reset
Written by: Anjali Kumar
I am about 70% cheese at this point. The other 30% is largely red wine and mezcal. I am not certain if that is the exact percentage breakdown, but probably close. While I had been doing pretty well on my Ayurvedic program up until about mid December, to say the wheels came off during the last 3 weeks of holiday cheer would be a gross understatement. The car crashed into a 10 car pile up of camembert and Côtes du Rhône. But as they say in France,Je ne regrette rien.
I spent all of January being bombarded with "New Year, New You" messaging from all sides — Instagram, my email inbox, the book store, my friends doing various detoxes and cleanses. If I am being honest, I love a cleanse. I am good with following rules. But (as Bobbi can attest) the second I am done with the three week deprivation, I tend to go right back into my old habits.
So this time I am determined to do it differently. No punishing cleanses. No “detoxes” only to “retox” a few days later. But I don't quite know where to start...so I start by dialing an old acquaintance, nutritionist Meredith Geller.
Meredith is a holistic nutrition and lifestyle consultant who combines nutrition, mindfulness, movement, and other holistic modality recommendations to assist clients in reaching their goals. I told her my predicament (one she has undoubtedly heard before) and mentioned that my birthday was coming up soon too and I would love to enter this next stage of my 40s with a more sustainably healthy approach. I had a few health scares this past fall and it made me realize just how much I take my wellness for granted. But no more. My body is a temple and I need to treat it as such. Or least as well as I treat my living room and wipe my shoes off before I go inside.
As we discussed meal planning, I asked Meredith to provide me with a combination of things I could buy ready made and make at home so that I didn't have to do hours of complicated meal prep. Things were getting hectic at work already and I wanted to make this program easy for myself. Meredith sent me an email with a simple to follow meal plan for Day 1 to begin the next morning.
Our first exchange ended with a cheerful note from Meredith:
"Text me daily with updates!!!! OH! We need to talk about pooping, too. If you aren’t going daily, DEF let me know, k?"
My alarm went off at 6:25 am and I did one minute of breathing as prescribed by Meredith before getting out of bed. It was a nice change from the usual grab my phone and check the time/email/Instagram habit I usually have. I went to the kitchen to drink two big glasses of water, and then cut up some fresh ginger to steep in hot water to drink as a tea after my morning meditation.
I had a big headache (blame it on a combination of the heat in my apartment being up way too high, and the mezcal I drank last night in anticipation of cleaning up my act for a few days starting the next morning) and the ginger water wasn't doing much to relieve it. After a cool shower proved not much more effective, I popped two Tylenol and had an espresso. I texted Meredith later in the morning to ask whether coffee was permissible, she suggested I skip it. I felt the need to confess that I already had some, to wash down Tylenol. And she said she would rather I skip the Tylenol and drink the coffee with a non-dairy milk if needed. I decided to interpret that as "an espresso a day is fine,” but I suspect that isn't what she means so I promised myself to try to cut coffee for the next four days.
The rest of the day was so busy that I didn't have a chance to pick up my morning green juice til after 2 pm. I drank half of it and didn't have time for lunch, heading straight into more meetings. For dinner I ate a baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, pitted olives, a serving of kimchi, all drizzled with some olive oil and felt pretty good. Although an hour later I was wishing I could have a piece of chocolate.
I was more organized having gone to the grocery store the night before to gather all the ingredients I needed for the day's meals. Being organized seems to be key to getting this right.
I came home after the gym to make the (optional) morning green smoothie and heat up and blend a vegan soup to carry on the road so I wouldn’t end up not eating all day like on Day 1. Worked well and felt pretty sated all day, although I was late to my meetings because of the mess I made trying to pour the smoothie into a too narrow mason jar. Note to self: mason jars have smaller openings than Instagram wellness bloggers would lead you to believe.
Felt good and not bloated after eating for the first time in weeks. All this kimchi and blended soup is suiting me better than I would have expected. I am not hungry until late at night when I am working, when I snacked on a spoonful of raw almond butter which admittedly tasted a bit like paste.
Meredith texted me an idea for my sweet tooth that involved coconut flakes and tahini. I think I am in love with this combo or I have been on this Nourishing Reset too long.
I woke up with amazing energy levels and am pooping like a champ (TMI? Meredith and I have been having daily text exchanges about my bowel movements so it felt like fair game to share with all of you). I marveled to Meredith that I didn’t know a general level of stomach discomfort didn’t need to be my baseline state of being after meals. She responded: “Feel like going for 5 more days?” And in my excitement (Meredith’s encouraging texts are infectious) I said, “Yes let’s keep going! I feel great!”
And I did. Who would have thought I wouldn’t have called in for pizza on Day 6. New Year, New Me.
Meredith’s program was simple and easy to follow, consisting largely of things readily available in a local grocery or health food store. Her work focuses heavily on theories of food combining, which is something I now want to learn more about. And the Nourishing Reset plan she developed for me is something I will lean on regularly as my baseline way of eating (and certainly for the days following an overly indulgent weekend or vacation).