I just finished a 21 day cleanse, in which I avoided many delicious things...the toughest being coffee and alcohol, but no surprise there. But in addition to the avoidance, I added many foods that I hadn't been regularly eating (avocado! kale! coconuts in every form!).
The Doctor explained that a cleanse is a bit like taking a shower - something you need to do occasionally, depending on how dirty you are. After each shower, you can prolong the need for another shower by basically taking better care of yourself, being less dirty, etc.
If his explanation holds any truth, then I should hop into the shower pretty damn soon. I was feeling so great both during and at the end of the cleanse, but the couple days have been a bit, well, excessive in my food/alcohol intake. Of course it's all relative, and I'm still doing a good job of avoiding anything artificial, but I really went a bit wild.
After going out and enjoying (more than) a few drinks on Thursday, I went grocery shopping at 10pm to buy a vegan brownie, ice cream, and other snacks. After consuming them promptly at home, my roommate says to me (without any knowledge of my cleanse) - "you look like you've lost weight!" I probably had chocolate smeared on my face, and I'm pretty sure I effectively reversed some of the cleanse in one sitting.
But then I decided to take a step back and recognize the good. In the words of Craig Finn, 'there is so much joy in what we do up here!' I know much more about what my body needs and how I can take care of it.
Also, this cleanse brought some perspective to my diet - and helped me realize that there is always someone stricter than you. Being vegan is restrictive enough, but even with the additional cleanse I realize that this a city of extremes.
Lesson #17: There will always be someone more extreme in their eating/drinking habits than you, so follow up that raw cashew "ice cream" with another glass of locally brewed beer and thank God that you live in a place where this is all possible. And if you're lucky enough to not have any food allergies (mmmmm gluten! so delicious!), then the city is your oyster. But I wouldn't recommend eating those. (though it's one of the few cases of animal farming that doesn't seem to be a despicable idea.)