Friday, July 17, 2009

Introducing Quantum Wellness

The other day I listened to an interview on OprahXM between Mehmet Oz and Kathy Freston, author of "Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spritual Guide to Health and Happiness".

The idea of "quantum wellness" seriously caught my interest so I went out and got the book. Talk about validation! It summarizes so much of what I believe, even when admittedly I don't practice it 100% of the time. (Progress, not perfection right?)

It would be easy for me to write an entire (long) blog entry enthusiastically describing and supporting the philosophy and exercises. Suffice it to say I highly recommend Kathy Freston's book!

For now, I'm focusing in on the "jump start cleanse" which is covered in chapter five and then much more detail in Kathy's follow-up book, "Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit".

When I hear "cleanse" in this context I instantly think of diets involving concoctions I might have drank on a dare (or for $10) in the fourth grade.

Luckily, that's not what this is about.

The major "DO" part of the exercise is to give up these five things for 21 days, or as long as you can make it:

1. alcohol
2. caffeine
3. sugar
4. gluten
5. animal products

When I mentioned this list in the lunchroom at work the other day, someone said the exact same thing Oprah Winfrey wrote on her blog which was,"What's left?"

As I contemplate embarking on this exercise myself, it's interesting how I struggle to prioritize my potential ability to give up these five things for any length of time. Here are my first impressions:

1. Alcohol: I hate to admit it publically, but this is the one which stands out to me as the most difficult. Three weeks without my boyfriends, Kendall Jackson and Robert Mondavi?? I'm not sure I can do it. In the past ten years, the longest I've gone (consecutively) without a glass of wine is about five days. The exceptions being during pregnancies, which if you know my story, actually was a fair amount of the time. Sadly, getting knocked up is no longer an option. I suppose my thought process alone should be a sign that I need to lay off the sauce. It doesn't help that my husband is already conspiring to keep me drinking -- for his wellness.

2. Caffeine: This one should be easy. I gave up caffeine for three weeks last year because it was causing this ridiculous breast pain. Eventually I went back to one cup of coffee a day, a drastic reduction in my previous consumption. I *think* I can give up the one cup. We'll see I guess!

3. Sugar: I don't think I'll have a problem with this on a day-to-day basis since I'm already pretty careful about my sugar consumption. It will be more difficult if there are a couple of good parties during the 21 days. I likes me some birthday cake and all. Then again, I won't be drinking so maybe that will make it easier to control my urge to go bobbing for frosted flowers.

4. Gluten: My kids' babysitter recently gave up gluten and I see "gluten free" all the time on food labels. I've heard people say they solved multiple health problems by giving up gluten. But really, I have no idea yet how this will go. Isn't gluten in like, everything? I think I saw a commercial for gluten free air recently. (Kidding.) This will be an area of education for me which I'm strangely excited about.

5. Animal Products: Lots of friends and family members eat from the "no animal zone" so this shouldn't be intimidating at all. I even hosted my sister's vegan wedding reception at my house last summer. During the planning for this event I learned a lot. For example, did you know that there are various "animal stuffs" stashed in all kinds of unexpected foods and ingredients? (Ew!) My little bit of extra insight actually makes this seem more daunting somehow. That said, of the "foul five" this is the one I'd actually most like to keep as a permanent change.

My friends want to know why oh why I would want to do this "Quantum Wellness Cleanse." Aside from being truly interested in the concept overall, I'm curious to see if I can do it.

If I can do it, will it make a noticable difference in my overall well-being, inside and out? How will the "doing" affect my "being"? It is already providing insight into my "attachments," as Kathy says. I'm curious to see further how these specific attachments affect my ability to maximize both my physical and spiritual health.

In addition, I'm hoping it may inform and help you. Or at least entertain you with the high jinks which is sure to ensue. STAY TUNED!
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Gena said...

shooo, I have someelse who is like me with the Alcohol (sad to admit also). I have given it up for months, but I enjoy it. Animal Products would be another thing hard for me to give up. All the others I could do pretty easily. I gave up sugar before and you actually don't crave it after awhile, just like alcohol (which is sugar). Gluten I have not done but think I could. I should consider this 21 day trial. You realize not only will you feel stronger mentally and personally but your body will benefit from this quest!

Angela said...

Here are my favorite blogs for "no animal product" cookery:

and my friend's blog about gluten-free stuff:

It's pretty fun to have to be inventive and get more veggies and grain while getting the protein you need!

Sit10 said...

what DOES it leave? Is fruit sugar? I guess it leaves rice... vegetables/legumes...both very good. Water - we don't have enough of. I would want to keep cheese and eggs. may I keep cheese and eggs?
Who am I kidding - i just ate cold mushroom pizza from 3 days ago at 915. I clearly don't give a HOOT about my quantam wellness.

Angela said...

It leaves quite a bit, actually! There are so many more grains than rice. Quinoa, barley, millet, and even cous cous. Then there are beans up the wazoo for protein -- chick peas, black beans, mung beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and then all sorts of lentils. Veggies are wonderful on the grill or roasted, or sauteed. Or you can make a curry dish with a little coconut milk or soy milk and thai curry paste. To get your tofu that spongey consistency like in the restaurants, you freeze it and then defrost it again. Squeeze tofu between two plates to get the water out before you marinade it. (If you have ten minutes, place it between two plates and then put something heavy on top, like a big dictionary.) To make a sautee with a bit of a sauce, use veggie bouillon and add a bit of water with cornstarch to thicken it up.

We make vegan pizza all the time. There are loads of fake cheeses out there that taste very close to the real thing (tofutti makes a good one), or you can simply leave cheese off all together! Add a little extra sauce and load up the pizza with veggies and olives and roasted red peppers, or sundried tomatoes. You won't miss the cheese.

People think that vegan diets are limited, but they really aren't. But if you are looking for something truly without animal products, read the labels, because many many vegetarian products like fake meats and such have eggs and casein (a milk product) in them.

Charlene said...

Thanks Ange!

Hey Gena -- you should do it with me! ;-) Nothing beats support and accountability of friends going through the same experience!

Anonymous said...

I'm on day five and I have to say this Quantum Wellness diet is a mess. I feel like bloated composter. I'm tired. I'm cranky. Frankly, I'm showing all of the symptoms that that guy in "Supersize Me" showed. I've been steadily working out (three times so far - a mix of cardio and weights) and I haven't lost a pound. I don't feel cleaner or healthier - I'd feel more refreshed and cleansed if I'd simply knocked back a couple glasses of water in a day. I'm also a foodie - so much of my fun is gone.
The South Beach diet yielded better results, was good for my heart, and tasted good. This Quantum Wellness diet stinks. Literally.

Charlene said...

Well, the good thing is you're trying and investing in your health. I think the key is what you mentioned about having fun with the food. At least for me, I really had to get into the positive experience of trying new food, playing with recipes. As long as you focus on "loss" and "giving things up" it will be hard. In my mind QW wasn't for the purpose of losing weight as much as cleansing my body of toxins. It makes sense that we'd feel some side-effects of that, right? For me I started to feel better by day 5 but maybe give it a few more days? Or just lean into it, be a little more forgiving with yourself. In any case, it's great that you are putting in the effort. All the best to you!

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