8 Ways to be the BEST Partner When Your Love is on a Cleanse…(or Diet, or Detox)

This guest post was written by Bob Gower, my amazing partner in life.

But MAN, I wish I’d known all this back when I helped create Super Size Me!!

I’m always amazed at how good he is at anticipating my needs and moods when I’m doing a cleanse or detox, which I realize comes from his many years of self-experiment! 

Having a support person you can call on to help you through any food change, including the Cravings Cleanse, is one of the best ways to succeed – and I hope you’ll share this with anyone close to you as your begin your next cleanse. 

Bob has mastered the art of supporting me through dietary changes, and has some words of wisdom to share with anyone who is partnered up with someone who wants to begin their own cleanse journey.

Within the first year of knowing, and loving, Alex she supported me in changing my diet, writing a book, and recovering from major surgery. And I supported her in a few things as well like launching a website, being a mom, and redefining her business.

bob alex

What I’ve learned from being with her is that while relationships may start with passion and friendship, they grow, and are sustained by, mutual support. We love each other by helping each other be the best we can be.

I should add here that this does not mean we point out where people fall short, or define what “best” means for our partner. Rather we let them define their own vision and then do what we can to help them get it.

And, if you’re like me, you fall short over and over again. You get caught up in the day to day of your life, your needs, your stresses and forget to take your partners stresses and ambitions seriously enough. This is natural and human—and it’s something to work on.

What I’ve learned from my own dietary experiments and those of my partner is that while they can have a hugely transformative effect on your life these changes can take a toll on our lives. In fact I’m sure that one of the most challenging things anyone can do is make a change to what they eat and how they eat.

Eating is primal and deeply related to our survival. And changes or limitations can show up unconsciously or consciously as a profound threat. So it’s during these times of change that support from a partner can go a very long way to helping us reach our goals.

If you have a partner who is doing a cleanse, trying to lose weight, break an addiction—or perhaps all three at once—you can be their biggest cheerleader, support, and ultimately, their hero.

1. Get Empathetic

The first step to helping is to understand what they are doing and why. Get curious about her goals for the cleanse and also what the program entails. What foods will she be avoiding and for how long.

Understanding her plan is a good first step, but to really help you’ll want to go even deeper. Ask her about her intentions for the cleanse and what she hopes to get out of it. Ask her about her concerns and what scares her.

And also ask about her desires. If this were to be the amazing experience she hopes it will be what will change and what she’ll experience.

2. Ask “what do you need from me?”

Look at your calendars and the events you have planned. Dinner with friends, parties, family visits and ask how you can support her. Also ask what foods you can keep out of the house to help avoid temptation.

While you might consider joining her on some of the cleanse this isn’t really necessary. But it can be incredibly helpful for you to consume forbidden foods when she’s not around and to keep them out of the house altogether.

3. Outsource to save her/his/your energy & moods

digital diet aids

Cleanses and diets usually mean less energy. Her brain will likely have less glucose to work with and it’s glucose that helps us make decisions, do housework, and yes even regulate our emotions.

Help her conserve energy by offloading some tedious tasks like cleaning house, shopping, and some child care. Take over for her when you can and even get some outside, temporary help if you can afford it. Services like Taskrabbit, Handybook, Fancyhands, and Instacart* are great for times like these.

(*note from Alex: I’ve used all of these services myself to help me stick with my healthy eating goals by saving time, getting what I need to keep a wide variety of healthy food on hand, and save precious energy and willpower)

Also consider taking over some decisions—only with her blessing of course—since choice is not always a plus when you’re feeling depleted. “Hey honey tonight I’m going to handle dinner, we’ll watch a movie, then I’ll put the kids to bed.” These words can sound like heaven when you’re tired and worn out.

4. Know her self-worth is wrapped up in succeeding.

We don’t do cleanses unless we want to change something about ourselves. This often means something about how we look—weight, skin etc—and how we feel—energy, mood and more.

A big part of these changes is often how attractive we feel to our partner. But here’s the cruel irony: in order to feel and look better over the long term we have to go through times when we feel less energetic and less attractive. Things often get worse before they get better.

So keep in mind that 1) she wants to look and feel good for you and 2) while she’s on the cleanse she may actually feel like she’s looking and feeling worse than usual. And this means her self-worth may feel challenged.

A few words from you can go a long way at times like these. Express your love and attraction more than you usually do. And don’t forget the physical expressions of love and desire like flowers, back rubs, and kisses.

5. Know that mindset is half the battle

Change is hard but remember that this program she’s on is temporary and trust that things are going to get to a better place. And remind her of this, too.

But also know that her changes will lead to deeper and more permanent changes for her, you and your family if you have one. Be willing to step into that new life with her and also willing to look at and deal with your own fears of change.

Are you afraid she might want to take away your pie or beer? Talk about how her changes might lead to your own changes and what this means for you.

6. Love her up

I kind of covered this in the section on self-worth but it deserves it’s own section. When she’s struggling with one aspect of her body like diet it’s incredibly helpful for her to feel positive things deeply. If she’s complaining or feeling lousy don’t try to talk her out of it. Love her out of it.

Try things like extra physical contact like hand holding, foot massage, and even more special kinds of touch *wink wink nudge nudge*.

Treat it like valentines day (sans chocolate) and treat her to massages and bath time. She may be experiencing a lot of physical and emotional discomfort – step up and help provide the pleasure she can experience in her body and life.

This may be as simple as taking over the child care for an afternoon and giving her the opportunity to do nice things for herself like a bath, pedicure, or even a nap.

7. Intend support

This last one can be the most challenging. She’s changing and feeling down but let’s face it — your life isn’t easy either and you still have the same demands from job, and family. It’s not always easy to not want to lean on her the way you’re used to and the way you have a right too. Good couples support each other after all.

She may also have mood swings and be a bit harder to be around at times during a cleanse. Do your best not to fight and not to nag. And if she is being especially difficult you might ask gently if she needs to eat something (from Alex’s Cleanse approved list of course) since cleanse foods tend to burn a lot faster than “regular” food and she’ll be depleted faster than she anticipated.

8. Celebrate Success

And lastly when the cleanse finally finishes both of you should do something nice like a meal out together to mark the end and celebrate. Choose a place that has a lot of healthy, cleanse-approved options, and perhaps a great wine list if that’s one of the things she’s looking forward to adding back first.

You are a part of each other’s success — and when Mama’s happy, everyone is happy! As a couple, you deserve to feel good as individuals and together.

If this inspired you to support your partner even more, wonderful! If it even inspired you to do the cleanse together — even better! But do talk before hand about the possible challenges you may face when you’re both feeling your way through the cleanse.

But hear me now: you can do this. Both of you, no matter who is on the cleanse. If she (or he) wants to join the Cravings Cleanse, know that it will be good for both of you.

And no matter what, it will be one of the best things you both do for each other, and yourselves.

Respectfully,

Bob Gower, Author & Consultant

Alex’s main squeeze

 

 
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Soup For Fatty Dairy Lovers: Creamy dairy-free Avocado Soup Recipe

I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend.

Last week I went to a memorial service for a dear friend. It was so beautiful to see all of our shared friends, but while at the party I ate a ton of soy and refined flour - foods I haven’t eaten much of in the last six months.

The next day, I woke up feeling puffy and tired. And that lasted for three days!

avo soup cc

On Sunday I remembered this amazing soup I once ate, filled with green vegetables, which was blended, cooling, and alkalinizing.

Yet the lemon and avocado blended together to taste rich and fatty, zingy and tasty, like a dairy-filled soup would. Dairy is an acidic food, and makes inflammation worse for most people.

 

The celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley, and Romaine were all anti-inflammatory and when blended together, the mild flavors soothed my body and energy.

avo soup ingredients

So I got the ingredients together and tried my hand at recreating this soup, to see if I could calm this puffy inflammation I was feeling.

I blended the ingredients together until the veggies were smooth and creamy, added a pinch of salt, and tasted. It was heavenly.

I ate the entire recipe in a few hours – about 6 cups worth.

Ingredients: 

1 lemon, rind removed

1.5 cups cucumber

1 stalk celery

6 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1.5-2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

avo soup

The next day, I woke up feeling refreshed, calm, and my eyes were no longer puffy, and my skin was clear.

This is just the kind of easy recipe I love to share – food that heals and tastes good.

It’s the kind of recipe I’ll be sharing in my Cravings Cleanse, which kicks off next week with a free 3-video series all about cravings, how to change your food habits to grow your energy, and how you can turn willpower into wellpower.

I hope you like the recipe, and I hope you’ll watch the videos when they go live next week!

xo,

Alex

 
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An open breakup letter to Dairy

My good friend Jeannine wrote a post on Facebook this week:

“what is the meaning behind craving savory creamy flavors and textures ALL THE TIME? What do I REALLY need? 
Alexandra Jamieson, you are the cravings whisperer! You must know.”

I totally feel her pain. Dairy has been a huge craving of mine, and I didn’t feel like taking the old “just avoid it and you’ll feel better” line.

Dairy is a more emotional craving than most – so I decided to answer her in a more emotional way:

With a break-up letter:

Dear DAIRY,

I love you. I crave you.

Breaking up with dairy dairy
You’re creamy, fatty, and often sweet or salty, which just makes me love you more. When you’re mixed with salty niblets like pretzels in a sweet ice cream, or mixed with chocolate in a salted caramel, my brain lights up with extra dopamine, because it loves texture, contrasting flavors, and the heady combinations.

And dairy, my dreamy love, there’s nothing wrong with you. You were my first food, perfect in nutrients, bonding me with my mother. My brain and body are built to crave you, otherwise I wouldn’t have thrived as a baby.

But sweetie, I don’t know if we are right for each other anymore. I think I need some time alone. A couple of weeks without you, so I can feel what my life, energy, and body are like without you.

See, I’m wondering if when I eat you, I’m also taking synthetic growth hormones that may have been fed to the cow, thereby upsetting my own hormones. Even if you’re organic, I know that I’m still taking in extra hormones, and that could be enough to set me off kilter.

I think I’ve become allergic or sensitive to you in my adult years. You didn’t used to bother me as a kid, but now that I think about it – I did get a ton of acne growing up, and I did eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. Could it have been you all along?

And what about your lactose? Is this really hurting me, more than helping me?

I thought you were helping me – giving me what I needed to grow healthy, strong bones! But now I hear that this was a lie all along: that many people and animals (traditional Asian cultures and most large mammals like elephants) don’t eat any dairy and have no problem growing strong bones…nor do they have any problems with osteoporosis, so what gives!?

It turns out your naturally acidic nature might be part of the week bone epidemic, rather than a solution. I feel so betrayed…

I think it’s time to try my life without you…for a little while.

I’ll get my calcium from the natural sources that other animals get it from: greens, like broccoli and bok choy, salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds…they don’t need you, and perhaps I don’t either.

Then, after a couple of weeks off, let’s have a date. A steamy, indulgent date. Full-fat, yogurty creamy goodness, buttery and milky. Then I’ll leave you alone for a few more days to feel into how my body, mood and digestive system react to you.

It’s nothing against you, and I hope we can stay friends. But I need to get clear if this relationship is really working for me or not.

I’ve loved you my whole life, and I’ll always love you. But that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to live together or see each other every day. We may see each other after this experiment, flirt and spend a fabulous night together every once in a while. And I’ll not feel guilty or punish myself for tasting your deeply pleasurable goodness. But what I’m open to discovering is that you may not be the one for me.

Not every day. Or maybe you are. I know you’ll wait for me, and that you won’t hold it against me, no matter what I discover. I know you just want what’s best for me.

And I’ll always love you.
No matter what.

Xo,
Me

 
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Eat THIS when you crave THAT – Cravings Swap chart!

What is your body really craving?

Is it the sugar, or is your very wise body, really asking for something different? 

Don’t you sometimes wish you knew what to eat to give your body what it REALLY needed? 

In my work around cravings, I’ve discovered that there are three root causes to what our body asks for:

Nutritional
Physical
Emotional

Some of the foods your body craves are its best guess at how to get more of the nutrients or minerals it needs!

I’m creating an extensive chart filled with the nutritional needs your body asks for, so you can start eating more of the nutrient rich foods to get what you need!

And hey – a little bit of chocolate here and there won’t hurt.

Just be sure you’re getting enough of the minerals you also need, so you don’t find yourself face-down in a pint of double-chocolate brownie ice cream, when what your body needs is just a little magnesium!

The full Nutritional Cravings Swap chart will be available to everyone who signs up for my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program, so keep an eye out for my 3-part video series on how you can begin turning your body into your ally, and follow your cravings to the body and life you truly desire.

Click here to get your 3 top cravings swaps chart! 

And let me know in the comments below what was helpful, and what you’re going to try!

 

 

 
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How do you manage cravings?

I was recently asked where cravings come from, and how to “fix” them.

I thought it was interesting to be asked to fix something that I don’t think is broken.

See, I don’t think cravings are bad or that they make you wrong for having them.

Rather, cravings are messages from your body about your true needs. We can learn to listen to our cravings and give our bodies exactly what we really need to be happy and have the life of our dreams…bold statement, right?

How

First, let me just say that we all have cravings – cravings make us human! Without cravings, desire, wants, and needs, we wouldn’t eat enough to thrive as babies, we wouldn’t feel the passions that carry on our genetic DNA, and we wouldn’t feel the inspiration to create great works of art.
So, I believe that cravings are divine!
That being said, our modern food landscape has changed so drastically in the last 80 years, that we now have cheap and easy access to highly addictive foods that our bodies naturally crave.
Until recently, fat, salt and sugar weren’t easy to come by, but they are very important to the health of our brains and bodies, so the way our bodies evolved was to make us happy when we eat those foods!
Our brains actually light up when we eat sugar, fat and salt – a release of dopamine, a pleasure chemical, follows every bite of fatty, salty or sugary foods. So we keep eating them, especially when we feel stressed or otherwise unwell.
So cravings for food are not “wrong” and don’t make you bad, or “weak-willed.”
You are simply responding to a positive feedback loop.
I believe our cravings for foods are rooted in three areas: nutritional, physical, and emotional imbalances.
Basically, a craving is a request from your body to balance something.
In that way, and so many others, our bodies are so brilliant!
Our bodies are either craving missing nutrients like minerals, which can cause salt cravings, or our blood sugar (AKA “brain sugar”) is low, and our brain needs glucose to operate, so it craves sugar.
Physical imbalances can be a need for better sleep or more exercise. We feel tired, so we hear the craving for energy and hear “caffeine!” In reality we need to move and rest more.
Then there is the world of emotional imbalances, which almost always overlap with the nutritional and physical needs. Stress, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, and anger set off a stream of chemical reactions in the body, like a release of adrenaline or coritsol. Over time, this makes our bodies uncomfortable, and we crave something to calm us down and feel “good” again.
Our bodies, in their wisdom, know that sugar or fat or salt will make us feel physically better, release the happy hormones in our brain, so we eat something that isn’t necessarily best for us long-term.
In order to manage our cravings, and have them work for us as our best allies, we need to take in the whole picture of our cravings and lifestyle so we can give our bodies what they truly need: real nutrition, rest, movement, physical fun, and joy.
 
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