This week on the blog, a guest post by yoga teacher, Lisa Mitchell. I had the privilege of supporting Lisa as she did a Candida Cleanse. Lisa's thoughtful reflection on the experience of the cleanse and how it relates to taking on any new behaviour is a beautifully written and informative piece. I hope you enjoy it! To read more about Lisa or try one of her yoga classes, check out her website, lisamitchellyoga.ca.
A Recipe for Change by Lisa Mitchell
I recently had the humbling experience of radically altering my diet. For the past month, I have embarked on a rigorous Candida cleanse. No sugar, no fruit (ugh), no raw honey, no maple syrup, no refined grains, no coffee and no alcohol. What is left, you say? That is what I discovered. This was my very first cleanse, ever. Up until this point, I have pretty much been a Canada’s Food Guide kind of girl; a healthy eater who could obviously make some improvements. As I embarked on the cleanse, I was flooded with strong feelings. I felt overwhelmed. The whole exercise seemed daunting. It was an involved process getting prepared for it - shopping at different grocery and health food stores and talking to merchants as I tracked down unusual supplements and food items.
As I pursued the cleanse, I consciously tried to step back and witness my own process. I have always been fascinated by how and why people change. What does it take to adopt a new behaviour? It was an illuminating experience to watch myself experiment with a new way of eating within the context of a busy family.
As I reflected on the process that accompanied my cleanse, I came up with a list of ingredients that helped make this diet happen. A recipe if you will. I believe these ingredients are applicable to changing behaviour in general. The behaviour could be adding yoga or meditation to your life, incorporating a walking regime, or quitting smoking.
Step 1: We require a spark to ignite action. We need a compelling reason to change. This reason provides us with the motivation to move forward. In my case, there was a health issue driving me. Know why you want to change. In yoga, we call this “intention”.
Step 2: We need information/resources. We need to educate ourselves and become familiar with the task. This is the preparation phase. For me, this meant consulting with a doctor of Oriental Medicine and a Holistic Nutritionist. It also meant seeking out new recipes and buying a new cookbook. Maybe you need to mobilize funds to pursue your new behaviour.
Step 3: We need to build skills. In order to change behaviour, we are letting something go and adopting a new way of being. This may require us to build capacity in a certain area. I became intimately reacquainted with my kitchen. I had to learn how to cook new foods and recipes outside of my comfort zone. Perhaps you might take a workshop or a course.
Step 4: We need to enlist support. There is absolutely no way that I could have completed this cleanse on my own. I needed advice, encouragement and the practical assistance of my husband in the kitchen when I grew tired. I frequently texted my holistic nutritionist with questions, i.e. Are you sure I can’t eat popcorn?
Step 5: Examine attitude - cultivate patience and perseverance.Whew! – change is hard. Change is also a process. Sometimes we slip up, and that’s part of growth, which is not linear. Be kind to yourself.
Step 6: Celebrate your successes. Cheers!
In case you want to know, I feel great. As I wrap up my cleanse, I am setting an intention to continue on with many of my new ways of eating. That said, I’m looking forward to my first gluten-free beer on Saturday night to mark the end of this journey.