For 30 days randomly started February 19, 2010 through March 20, 2010, I followed a diet eliminating the “forbidden 5” which meant no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no gluten, and no animal products (vegan) – referred to as the vegan cleanse. And, as the old adage of “the older I get, the better I used to be” holds true, the more time that passes since my vegan cleanse, the more fondly I recall it.
Since I completed the 30 days, people have been most curious about what I am eating now and what I FIRST had when I allowed myself to go back to “anything”. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you that the moment I woke up on day 31, I went down the stairs, grabbed a fork, and headed straight for the freezer to get the piece of chocolate birthday cake that I had stuck in there from my kids’ birthday celebration. I suppose the healthiest thing to say here would be that I didn’t like it or it was too sugary for me or I felt awful after I ate it, but honestly… it was amazing!
I tried not to add things back in too quickly (apart from that clear sugar rush first thing on the first morning). The first week, I got back to dairy and meat. By the next weekend, my parents came for a visit bringing their own supply of sugar and alcohol and I partook. I was still trying to stay as clean as I could and partly that meant trying to stay away from Easter candy. And I did… until the after-Easter candy sale at Target. Then I had a rough week.
Tonight, when a friend asked if I had lost weight (which always makes me smile), I said that I had (which is true). But, I felt compelled to also admit that I had started to put some back on (which is unfortunate). As she exhaled audibly, she said, “oh, don’t do that.” She is right, I shouldn’t. I don’t want it back. I really have fought too hard to get it off. I have clearly learned that I can no longer run far enough or fast enough to erase bags of candy. I just have to keep my diet clean no matter how hard it may seem. And, it really is seeming hard right now.
Today I was giddy. For hours. Content, happy, engaged, excited, just… giddy. Today I attended the 2010 Regional Conference put on by the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (dsamn.org). I’ve gone every year it has been available since my daughter was born.
There are so many things that I love about it.
Firstly, it is held on a college campus with bonus free parking and doesn’t a college campus just feel like a place of learning and growing and experiencing all that life is? Just inside the doors starts the expo part and I LOVE expos. So many booths of people sharing information and excitement about their product or service… along with a trinket or a bit of candy for good measure. Then, to the registration table to see the smiling volunteers who seem so happy to see that you have arrived to partake in all that they have put together. Then, the keynote and other speakers and sessions where there is always a nugget of good information. I truly believe that everyone has a story and can teach us something or remind us of something we used to know. Finally, there is all of the participants… all of us brought together for the day because we all know someone with Down syndrome. Everyone on a part of this journey; be it a parent, grandparent, caregiver, sibling, teacher, therapist, or self advocate. Again, so many stories and so much humanity. I love that I know so many of these great people and I enjoyed meeting even more.
To me, any day spent learning – growing, living, experiencing new things, connecting, being reinvigorated, participating in something good – is a good day.