By Sarah Gianelli EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Patterns, habits and routines—healthy or unhealthy—take hold of me quickly. When nearing the end of the Camino, the walking pilgrimage across Spain I mentioned in part one of this chronicle, I never wanted to stop walking.

Halfway through the seven-day kitchari phase of the Big Sky Community Cleanse, I felt like I could go on eating the Indian-spiced rice and lentil dish forever.
 
By day nine, I was feeling clear-headed, bright and light, finally having shrugged off the muck I had to slog through during the first phase of the two-week cleanse. That night I had the horrifying thought that alcohol was the culprit—and gasp!—that maybe I would have to give up my beloved wine. (This despite the fact that I was already daydreaming about the special bottle I would treat myself to after the cleanse, having saved a pretty penny in that regard.)

Dreams became incredibly vivid during this time; and this was to be expected, the idea being that while your body is detoxifying, so is your subconscious. In my case, a significant ex-boyfriend for whom I had not had a conscious thought about in 10 years, showed up in my dreams two nights in a row “wanting to talk.”

Part of me now wishes I did not suggest writing about my cleanse experience for this newspaper: Even though I started day 10 with a yoga class, I felt restless, agitated and pent-up all day. Everything was tempting in the kitchen where I work, and while I was able to stick to the dietary regimen, that night I poured myself a glass of wine and had a smoke. It felt good to soften the edges of my mind, and feel warm and hazy in my body. And it didn’t take much.

The next day I felt awful—due in part to the alcohol, but even more so because I felt like I had failed myself, and was being terribly hard on myself about it. I kept thinking about our Ayurvedic guide through the cleanse, Callie Stolz, and her reminder that there’s the “ideal” and then there’s the “real.” The idea is to be gentle and forgiving with ourselves if we need to loosen the restrictions of the cleanse, and to not give up entirely if we do.

So I got back on the wagon and stayed on for the remainder of the cleanse, while doing my best to ignore the self-defeating words from my inner perfectionist. I feel great. My body feels clean and lean and my energy levels are up.

A week later I’m still eating more consciously and selectively. And while I did treat myself to a spendy bottle of Italian Barolo, it lasted a whole lot longer than it would have before the cleanse.

Read part one of Sarah Gianelli’s community cleanse chronicle at explorebigsky.com/community-cleanse-chronicle-part-1/19503.