In Chinese Medicine, autumn is the time when our metal element organs — lungs and large intestine — are more active and ready to work for us. You can feel this when you get that first whiff of crisp fall air, as though your lungs have been waiting all summer to take it in.

I have completed the Standard Process 21-day Purification Program (SPPP) many times, but this year I felt like I really needed it. Although I eat organic produce and meat, I also indulge in occasional sugary treats (I blame my 12 year-old) and enjoy a shot of Four Roses bourbon about twice a month. But the real reason I needed to clean house this fall: I started drinking espresso with grass fed milk every morning in the summer and it was so darn delicious that I couldn’t wean myself off of it. The coffee was starting to affect my sleep patterns, my stress level, and making my short term memory suffer. I remembered how sharp and lucid I usually become on the SPPP, and how well I sleep and digest. That gave me added motivation to embark on the three week journey again.

I will blog here how each week goes, give you a few recipes that I particularly like, and try to be detailed about the process without TMI’ing you.

Week one:

First the BAD: Each time I do the SPPP interesting symptoms express themselves. The first time I did it, I broke out in a light red and itchy rash on my forehead that lasted for 48 hours. In Chinese Medicine we have herbs that specifically “vent rashes” and they are meant to clear out latent or active pathogens through the skin. Clearly there was something in the SP Cleanse supplements doing the same job (maybe milk thistle).

This time I paid for my coffee addiction with a headache on days 1-4. Not a debilitating rager that kept me from working or focusing, but a low grade dull sensation that would start around 10am and not let up until 8pm. It would ease up a little when I drank more water, but was always lurking in the back ground. On day 5 it went away completely.

I also became “hangry” if I didn’t plan ahead well enough to keep my blood sugar steady at work. I ran out of the house one morning without enough for lunch and was a meany until I could get back home to have a shake and some soup. I also could have added more protein and fat to my morning shake to help make it past lunch.

In the “weird” category of symptoms, my left ear which had been aching and ringing off and on for a week prior to the program, started aching more frequently on days 3-5 of the program. By day six it had stopped completely.

Now, the GOOD: By day 6 I noticed something really weird happening: time slowed down. There was more space between breaths, more space in my head to store ideas and thoughts and I was able to be present in a way that I hadn’t been for months. On my drive home from work, I got cutoff in traffic and although I was momentarily startled, I was able to reset back to a calm state in seconds.

I also noticed by day 5 that my skin was starting to glow and my hair was shinier. My pants fit a little looser. Ah, vanity, you are such a motivator.

Today is day 8 and I’ve started looking back on my first week. Here are some tips and recipes I found helpful.

Photos of a water bottle and a salad spinnerTip #1: When you make your shakes, always make an extra and bring it with you, even if you think you won’t want it. Your body’s natural appetite will start to increase after the first few days of adjusting and you will be hungry. It’s okay to experience light hunger for a little while, but you need to make sure your blood sugar doesn’t dip. I like the Lifefactory bottles like this one to store shakes – they’re made of glass and easy to throw in the dishwasher.

Tip #2: Buy a three pack of organic romaine lettuce and prewash all of it, then dry it well in a salad spinner. Store the whole leaves in a very large plastic baggie lined with paper towels and keep it on the door of your refrigerator. Pull out clean ready-to-eat leaves for an impromptu salad any time. Try throwing a lettuce leaf or two in your smoothie for extra nutrients.

Tip#3: Sprout your lentils. I’m not a big fan of the “earthy” taste of lentils, but once they’re sprouted they have a much cleaner and more pleasant taste, plus nutritionally they pack a big punch. I made my own jar by cutting out non-metal screening material that I bought in a roll at the hardware store and fitting it into a plain ol’ mason jar lid. I use a wide mouth one quart size jar. You can also find complete sprouting jars online.

Here’s how to sprout: put a cup of lentils in a sprouting jar and screw on the lid with the strainer in place. Fill with filtered water, swirl, and drain, then fill the jar and let the lentils sit overnight to soak in the water. The next day drain the lentils, rinse them again and drain again. Put the jar upside down to continue draining all day in a bowl and put the jar and bowl in a corner of the kitchen. Rinse the lentils twice a day letting them drain after each rinse. On day 3 you should have lentils with little white tails about 1/4” long. Store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. They will steam in 10 minutes, or boil them for five minutes.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that I developed for my own use. I make ahead two types of salad dressing, both are good for salads. The tahini dressing is an excellent dip for sliced cucumbers and it’s also good lightly drizzled over roasted vegetables.

Basic vinaigrette
4 TBS balsamic vinegar
1tsp grainy mustard
1tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
3-4 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup organic flax oil
3/4 cup organic olive oil
Mix all ingredients except the oils in a jar and combine well. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified.

Tahini-Ginger Dressing
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 TBS Tahini
1 tsp grated ginger (peel and freeze to grate easily or buy it already grated in a jar)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
several grinds black pepper
1/4 cup organic flax oil
1/2 cup organic olive oil
Mix all ingredients except the oils in a jar and combine well. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified.

Root Vegetable and Lentil Soup
3 C. chopped carrot, red onion, parsnip, and sweet potato
2 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 TBS grated ginger
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
4 C. vegetable or chicken stock
1 C. soaked or sprouted lentils
Lightly sauté the vegetables in the olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until onions begin to soften and turn translucent, sprinkling the vegetables lightly with sea salt. Add the garlic cloves and ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and stir for several minutes until they start to break down. Add stock and lentils. Simmer until lentils are cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Let sit off the heat until it’s cool enough to lightly puree, leaving some chunky for texture. Add water or stock if it’s too thick. Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds.

Curried Pilaf
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups vegetable, bone, or chicken stock
One head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Curry powder
3 carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 red onion, finely chopped, rinsed, and drained
Finely diced red bell pepper
1 cup sprouted lentils
handful of parsley
Place rinsed quinoa in a pot with the stock and bring to boil, then lower to a very low simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes, lifting the lid to see if the stock is absorbed, but do not stir. Leave covered off the heat and set aside. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil until coated, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and curry powder, then broil on high for 10 min until cauliflower just begins to brown on the tops. Remove and let cool. Blanch or steam the carrots until slightly tender. Steam the sprouted lentils for 5 minutes, then remove and place in a glass bowl to cool.
Combine all ingredients together and mix lightly. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley.

Happy autumn, everyone!

#StandardProcess #PurificationProgram #cleanse #Livercleanse #nutrition #caffeineaddiction #cleaneating