Last month my daughter turned six. I started reflecting on the last seven years of my 41-year journey. So much has happened since the conception of my first child, seven years ago this October. I took a good long look at myself and while I see my many outstanding achievements — three of which are my children (my two babies and SanaVita) — I also see the toll the intensity of these last seven years has taken on my body.

The biggest debt that I’ve had to pay over these last seven years has become dependency. Dependency on caffeine, to get me through the morning. Dependency on caffeine, to get me through the evening. Dependency on sleep aids to get me through the night, leading to more dependency on more caffeine in the morning. Dependency on a glass of wine or two to take the edge off at the end of a hard day. Further disrupting my sleep, creating a greater need for more sleep aids. It has become an exhausting roller coaster that has affected the quality of my life.

Before childbearing, I never suffered from sleep issues. As anyone has been through it knows, sleep deprivation is torturous and although some babies come into the world and sleep soundly off the bat, it’s probably the minority that are that blessed.

So I’ve decided to embark on a 37-day cleanse. In an effort to learn to sleep again, my intention is to use these 37 days to be completely stimulant free and retrain my body to get back into its natural rhythms of sleeping. You may wonder, why 37 days? I originally mapped out a 40-day cleanse in which I started and stopped and re-started several times over the course of three weeks and then settled into it this past Saturday, realizing that 37 was my magic number. We LOVE the auspicious number seven of perfection in our family. I am in the start of my third day now and am finally feeling the momentum…

I started planning for this cleanse months ago when I gave up caffeine on the spot. Again, I was never a coffee drinker before childbearing, but sleepless nights led to double espressos in the morning, every morning, and sometimes a booster shot in the afternoon. I stopped cold turkey and faced my headaches from withdrawal (I suffer from migraines and it wasn’t pretty). I’ve been completely caffeine free (with the exception of some high- quality dark chocolate) for about two months now.

And now I am off the sleep aids as well, leaning on natural melatonin drops, valerian root drops and Relax Tone. I have also upped my iron and started a regimen of two doses a day of high-quality iron supplements, as I’ve always been somewhat anemic. Insomnia and migraines happen to be side effects of a low red blood cell count. These first few nights have been rough but each night I’ve slept a little deeper, a little longer and feel optimistic that by the end of these 37 days I will be able to lie down and get a solid night’s rest. Without the sleep aids I’ve been getting between four to five hours of sleep a night, which are broken up into one to two hour segments. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

So what exactly am I cleansing on? Being the hardcore girl I’ve always been, I thought I’d do just juice! But after starting and stopping several times I had to reevaluate my priorities. If I had the time and space to carve out to just cleanse and not do much of anything else it would be one thing, but it doesn’t work for me at this point in my life. I have to admit that was a pretty big blow to my ego. My ego threw a three-week-long open house party to every negative thought and self-deprecating argument I could pour upon myself…all the tapes playing at once, “you’re such a loser, you’re weak, you’re a failure.” But it’s not true. I just needed to see what was real and adjust accordingly.

So I am cleansing on fresh juices and super food smoothies, many of which I make myself. I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes with you during these 37 days. I am also on a specific supplemental regime that I, along with the help of Gabriel Hoffman, SanaVita’s Pharmacy Director, have put together and will modify accordingly.

I have chosen to continue with my exercise regimen during the cleanse. I will modify during class as I need to, but just to fill you in on what I do physically in a day other than the basics of getting around, taking care of my children (who are six and almost five), preparing them for school, and working, I take a two-hour pole dance class once or twice a week, spin class three to four times a week and yoga two to three times a week. Finally I ride my bike all over the city for transportation and take long bike rides for fun! This weekend Gabriel and I rode our bikes over the Williamsburg Bridge, through Brooklyn and back home over the Manhattan Bridge. Fun stuff!!

I am really excited for this as I’ve been yearning for a deep transformative cleanse for a long time now. These last seven years have been a wild ride. I’d like to share some of the highlights…

In seven years, I have:

  • Carried two babies to full term and gave birth to them naturally
  • Moved three times
  • Opened three businesses
  • Closed two businesses
  • Got married
  • Got divorced
  • Fell deeply in love (post-divorce), had my heart shattered…and survived
  • Watched, witnessed and participated in the developmental milestones of my children…crawling, walking, talking, writing, reading. We now have deep meaningful philosophical conversations. They have been away with their father for three weeks and return home today. I cannot wait!

I’m really excited for this 37-day cleanse as I’ve been yearning for a deep transformative cleanse for a long time now. I look forward to sharing my journey with you. I will write as much as I am able to and will include things I notice about myself, my energy, my moods, my sleep, the supplements I’m taking and the effects I feel. And, I’ll also post recipes and photos.

If anyone has any questions, thoughts, insights, please feel free to contact me at anytime!

With LOVE!

Arul Goldman is the Founder and Director of SanaVita.