I met Kari, a personal coach, through my friend Elyse. Through our short interactions and chats, she kept mentioning this 14-day challenge that she has been running for several months. 14-day challenge entailed no gluten, no dairy, no added sugar and just one meal with whole grains like brown rice or quinoa. I was not convinced even though she mentioned she herself lost 13 pounds. But then I stumbled upon her podcast explaining the details and benefits and decided to give it a try.
Few days before the challenge I went grocery shopping and loaded my cart with dates, nuts, fruits and veggies, hummus, gluten free pasta, riced cauliflower, cashew milk, just to name a few. Most past participants of the challenge warned me that the hardest thing was giving up milk in their coffee and tea in the morning as none of the nondairy milk tasted quite the same as cow’s milk. I love my chai tea in the morning and was fearing that I might give up half way through as I tried making my chai with almond milk in the past and honestly the taste was vile. My other concern is giving up yogurt as I believe in importance of probiotics and love the taste of my occasional treat of yogurt, blueberries and walnuts.
We started the challenge by posting a picture of scale and our current weight. Everyone was excited to embark on this 2-week journey and anticipated the results. In my group, many started by healing crisis of some sort like headaches, tiredness, cravings. By day 4-5 headaches were gone and we all started to feel lighter and more energetic. The challengers cheered one another with inspirational quotes, recipes, pictures of their meals, new food finds that follow the challenge requirements. Thereby, the brittle shell of my caffeine-slugging, hard-charging, strung-out self had been cracked in ways I hoped.
The hardest part of the challenge was not being able to just grab sauces, condiments and prepackaged food without reading the labels, planning meals and in some cases cooking a separate meal for your family. Did you know that most ready-made pasta sauces contain added sugar? How about your cereal?! Is sugar listed as the second ingredient? I ended up drinking black tea and didn’t miss my chai and yogurt too terribly.
What wowed me the most in this challenge how it empowered me to really choose, rather than be pushed around by habit, craving, addiction, or convenience. And with practice you start actually craving things that are good for you. I felt like I had gained ‘cellular intelligence.’
On day 14 my scale didn’t show a drastic drop in body weight. I had lost 4 pounds’ total. But I had gained control over what I eat and tons of energy and clarity. Thrown back into the crazy lifestyle of endless after school activities, work deadlines, ad-hoc meals I am still sugar free.
Make changes that are worth the fight. Besides, having the willingness to be open and try new things.
Slavica Gokul is a certified Vinyasa, Hatha and Power yoga teacher through Total Yoga in Bangalore, India. She has been an aspiring yogi for more than 20 years. She dedicated herself to consistent practice 9 years ago and while residing in India from 2012-14 underwent teacher training.