Kathy Freston on Her 'Quantum Wellness Cleanse'

Find out how you can begin the Quantum Wellness Cleanse, just like Oprah.

ByABC News via logo
May 4, 2009, 6:56 PM

May 5, 2009 — -- Talk show host extraordinaire Oprah Winfrey has made no secret of her latest round in her ongoing battle of the bulge, and after trying Kathy Freston's 21-day Wellness Cleanse, the television staple sang its praises and even blogged about it.

In Freston's new book, "Quantum Wellness Cleanse," the bestselling author offers readers a way to lose weight and improve overall health by eliminating what she calls "the big five."

Freston claims ditching caffeine, gluten, sugar, alcohol and animal products for just 21 days will change your life by changing your tastes, curbing cravings and giving you more energy.

She believes her diet isn't about depriving yourself, but rather, replacing those foods with healthier choices.

Read an excerpt of her book below and click here to try Freston's Tempeh Tuna Salad or here for her Chocolate-Raspberry Mousse Pie.

I recently published my third book, "Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness."

That book details how small, incremental changesin whatwe eat, how we think, how we move our bodies, and how werelate to otherscan reap huge rewards. One of the practicesI recommend for "jump-starting" a quantum shift to ahigher state of wellness is a 21-Day Cleansea period ofthree weeks in which you abstain from sugar, caffeine,gluten, alcohol, and animal products, and load yourself fullof a wholesome, plant-based diet. Of all the things I wroteabout in that book, it was the cleanse that elicited the mostoverwhelming response. Easily 90 percent of the questionsand letters I receive from readers have to do with navigatingthose twenty-one days. Clearly, a nerve has been struck.I don't think it's just that people want to detox and loseweight, although that is surely part of it. I think that thepromise of experiencing real, discernible breakthroughs inbody, mind, and spirit in a relatively short period of timeappeals to the great many of us who have a serious desirefor personal development and change.

And so I decided to devote a whole book to the cleanseto answering your questions, going into greater depthabout the process, and offering you a hand as you try to gothree weeks without some of the substances you reach forwhen you need comfort. Get ready for a miracle, becausethat's what happens when you first make the decision tomove in the direction of quantum wellness, when you decideto take supremely good care of your body and work throughthe obstacles that come up when you do. When you makeyour moveeven if it's a just a single steptoward the shiftyou'd like to experience, your body, mind, and spirit arebrought to a whole new and altogether higher level.

I started doing cleanses more than twenty-five years ago becauseI wanted to lose weight, plain and simple. I hoped thattaking a little break from my (over)eating routine might snapme out of unhealthy patterns. I started off by fasting everyMonday, forgoing all food except a mixture of apple cidervinegar, honey, and water. After a while, I moved on to juicefasts, where for a few days or even a week at a time I wouldconsume only juices made from fruits, carrots, spinach, celery,ginger, and other vegetables. At other times over theyears I tried the various programs that were in vogue andthat promised some sort of miracle. What I found was thatfasting didn't work for me. I never experienced the promisedweight loss or, if I did, it didn't last. In fact, whenever Iwould fast, my metabolism would slow way down and put mybody on starvation alert. In other words, whatever caloriesI did ingest, my body would hang on to tightly because itwasn't so sure that more would be coming in.

For many people, these practices have their merits, andmany are quite detoxifying and healing, but they didn't workfor me. Plus, not eating made me anxious and I couldn't concentrate;all I could think about was what I would eat for thatfirst "break-fast" meal.

The Quantum Wellness 21-Day Cleanse is nothing likethose punishing fasts I tried. It is extremely simple and nutritionallysound. In fact, it is more a healthy way of livingthan it is a harsh or difficult discipline. It's about choosingfoods that don't tax the body and make it work so hard; it'sabout taking a break but not about starving.

The more I studied and looked into the ancient practiceof giving up certain foods for a designated period of time, themore I realized that fasting and cleansing are not only goodfor making physical improvements, but they can also be apathway to greater clarity and even enlightenment. Manymasters throughout the ages have forgone food for periodsof time so that they might feel closer to Spirit and less attachedto the pedestrian rites of this world. They would giveup a number of thingsperhaps just taking in the bare essentialsand go into a deep meditation or discourse with ateacher. Or, like Gandhi, they would give up eating as a wayof making a strong and committed statement that wouldbring about changes in social conditions and a shift towardhigher societal consciousness.

The more I learned about fasting and cleansing traditions,the more I saw the wisdom in giving my body an occasionalretreat so that I could break free from some of mylesser habits and cravings and the impulse for immediategratification. From the early founders of Western medicineHippocrates, Galen, and ParacelsusI learned that occasionallyrefraining from food was also a proven way to preventand even cure disease. Even the great philosophers Plato,Socrates, and Pythagoras regularly gave up food (or certainfoods) so that they could enhance and enliven their sense ofphysical well-being.

On first glance, it may seem like there will be nothing leftto eat or drink! In fact, you will discover that there is a wholeworld of delicious and nutritious food to enjoy that will helpyou feel more energetic, healthy, and clean. And I guaranteeyou will not be hungry (unless you forget to eat!). Thisis a "diet" you could stay on indefinitely, because it doesn'tdeny your body any of its needs and is actually rich in nutritiousvegetables, whole grains, fruits, and nuts, andchock-full of everything you need to fuel your body for alifetime.

clearer skin and eyes

weight loss

cessation of certain aches, pains, and digestiveailments

release from addictive habits

a profound and deepened awareness of yourpersonal power and the effect you have in theworld

Truly, it is a jump-start to a whole new level of living andbeing.

Here's the thing about wellness: it's a continuum. We getbetter at it as we go. We get more informed, build esteem, andfind what works as we keep putting one foot in front of theother. We develop new tastes and discover different and interestingfoods, and we move into a new rhythm. And withevery day that we say, "Okay, I'm bigger than my old habits,"we rise to our greater selves. We soar. Consider this cleansea gift you can give yourself anytime you need ita gift thatwill improve your overall wellness, not only by giving you thebest possible nutrition but also by getting you to look ateverything that comes up during the process: emotions,struggles, triumphs, new tools, and fresh ways of understandinghow connected everything is.

You will discover how some of the foods from which youare abstaining have been affecting your body and your mentalstate. You'll discover some of your emotional attachmentsto conditioned ways of thinking; for instance, when you'reunhappy, do you go for the cookies? Don't dismiss that astypicalit is, but it's also something that you can overcomeif you want to, at least for twenty-one days, and you're likelyto feel a deep sense of satisfaction when you do (and rightlyso). And that may also spur you to take a closer look at wherethat attachment came from and whether it makes sense tohold on to it when the cleanse is over.