Today, my one-day water fast of yesterday transitions to my annual Happy New Year Body… Cleanse. This post covers what promises to be my green tea infatuation — morning, noon and night — during the next three weeks. Green tea’s health-related properties are legendary. Increased fat loss and improved brain function are my motivating reasons to imbibe. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes great, too, especially when I combine it with herbal teas with pleasing punchlines and a dash of natural sweetener.
Ok, it’s 4:54 AM. I’ve been up for 20 minutes or so. That sleep I mentioned yesterday — the one following a day of water-fasting — is so intense and thorough, I wake not thinking of what I went to bed concerned about. (Last night, it was the Buffalo Bills football player, Damar Hamlin, who collapsed during Monday Night Football. Upon awakening, I heard that Hamlin remains in critical condition; my thoughts are with him for his full recovery.)
…Instead I have a cleared mind wondering what day it is.
If you’re like me, there’s a pocket of time when your eyes open, unsure of where you landed. That happens from time to time without a fast, but after a fast it’s nearly a given. It’s almost inevitable on the heels of such an intense, uninterrupted slumber. Fortunately, now that my kids are teens, rarely are there nightly interruptions, like when they were babies and toddlers. (Except when my 19-year-old, Ian, is home from college, I sometimes have sleep interruptions when it’s a chosen night to hang out with his high school friends. On those occasions, it’s disconcerting when at 2 AM, he’s still not home — hall lights are still on, house alarm is not set. and I’m getting more concerned by the minute. Usually, I give in and text him, and I’m always grateful when he responds… So trust me, toddler moms, the middle-of-the-night stirrings sometimes only get more interesting during the teen years. Appreciate the spilled milk, teething and tantrums… while you can!)
Uninterrupted sleep is huge for me. Heading up to bed in the eight-o’clock hour also is my set up for sleeping success . So when I do rise in the 4 AM window (if not 3 AM), as I usually do, I’ve got the requisite seven-eight hours in. And those are definitely the most purposeful several hours that truly make me feel equipped to tackle the day.
What comes next
So, hang on. What comes next, my sweets, are liberating moments and a lightened outlook, despite the busy day that awaits me. On these morning-after-fast days, I can’t help but have a ready-to-tackle-the-day self assurance. I never feel better equipped to take on the tasks ahead, one at a time. It’s probably the best day for me, from a clarity-of-mind standpoint, to allow myself not to get caught up in the stress of the circumstances ahead. Time to head downstairs to bring on the forward movement of the morning.
So 5 AM is tea time for me. On non-cleanse weeks, it’s always coffee time. I usually have a couple of ¼ cup pours of black coffee as I wake up to reading, catching snippets of my favorite morning news show, and checking my morning emails and agenda on each of my devices. On most mornings, if I let myself, I find myself getting amped up as I read through the list of things to do, people to meet, after-school pick ups and after-school activities. But today, post-fast, pre-whole food cleanse, my approach is calm. The act of drinking tea is often associated with calming properties. The tea leaves themselves have medicinal properties that make me wonder why I don’t drink more green tea beyond the cleanse. A random cup here and there is good, but it’s a smart idea to make it a diet staple. Alternatively, coffee stimulates and feeds pent-up anxieties. This is one of the reasons I cleanse — to give myself the often under appreciated gift of less morning stress, if for just a few weeks at a time.
Ok. It’s 6:36 AM, No need to sugar-coat this (and that’s a good thing since I’m taking a 3-week break from sugar). The first sips of my green and peppermint tea combo with a little xylitol, to sweeten it up a bit, are sublime. (Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the sugar-alcohol content in many plants.) I haven’t once thought of the black coffee sips I usually would be tasting right now. There’s a cleanness in each drop of tea that meets my tongue. The warmth created on my insides is soothing and takes the edge off the morning chill inside the house. This is a good start to the day. It’s also the best punchline to break the fast. Let’s see what happens next!
Written by Maria Felicia Kelley
Disclaimer: Maria Felicia Kelley is not a medical doctor. The cleanse and fasting benefits she discusses in this post are derived from her own experiences and observations. Individuals should consult their own healthcare providers when eliminating foods from their diets.
@thenorthcountymoms | @1MariaFelicia
The North County Moms