So much has happened since I completed my cleanse and stepped back into the world of regular life. It kinda makes me wanna jump back into the safe womb of cleansing!

Funny, many people have expressed their admiration for undertaking a 37-day cleanse. Now that I have been back in the eating world with the bulk of the population, I have to say that cleansing is by far easier! Finding the balance of being in the world, while keeping your boundaries and taking good care of yourself is so more challenging.

I had an epiphany that the missing link, ironically, was animal protein. The sleeplessness, the difficulty keeping myself grounded and calm, the bruising that would take forever to heal [in addition to being Type O blood (the meat eaters blood type)], Pitta-Vata (Ayurveda), having half a dozen people tell me that I should be eating meat and the fact that I work out like an “animal”, all lead me to the conclusion that it was time to add some meat into my diet. It’s been a difficult adjustment. In my mind, I still see myself as a vegetarian. My body may physically be showing the signs of wanting meat, but emotionally, I don’t crave it at all.

But I went for it. I started reading up on the Paleo Diet and it makes a lot of sense —eating like a cave woman, primal, instinctual and simple. Lots of veggies, fruits, healthy fats and meats, in that order. I started easing my way into this new lifestyle. I went to the farmers market and stocked up on all the fresh veggie sprouts and bought some organic, naturally raised and humanely slaughtered (wow, that’s still a tough one to wrap my mind and tongue around) animals and went home and started cooking more. It was great to eat some hot meals. Lots of sautéed greens, some fresh eggs. And then I got my period. I cooked up 6 oz. of ground beef and ate it mixed up with my greens, just about 2 oz. worth at a time. I did that for 3 days in a row during the first 3 days of my menstrual cycle, fortifying myself and my anemia with some high-quality, home-cooked red meat. Just a little at a time. And I felt great! Until the 3rd day.

Then the pain started in my gut and throughout my entire body. It felt like food poisoning. I wanted to puke; I wanted to s_ _ t my brains out! But I didn’t and the poisoning just circulated through my system, giving me the most intense body aches all over. Even my hair hurt! And the gas in my belly! OMG. My stomach was so hard and distended. I would double over in pain that literally brought me to my knees. I was sick like that for four days straight. It took another week to slowly start feeling better, stronger and to slowly start having normal bowel movements and release the trapped gases. But the next week I got sick, a head cold, a cough, a sore throat. I guess my immune system became weakened. I threw my neck out and I had to stop working out for days at a time. I literally felt like my body was breaking down! WTF?? I just spent 37 days feeling like a super human and now I can’t digest anything, I can’t work out, I’m gimpy, my belly hurts my body hurts…JEEZ!!

I had a Biofeedback session and discovered all these organ systems under stress and the realization smacked me in the face hard! When you cleanse, when you detox, you are not ending a cycle, you are beginning one. You are beginning an opportunity for greater and deeper cleansing and healing. But the work isn’t finishing, it’s really just beginning.

I miss my cleanse. Plain and simple. I realize I have more work to do and am working with bioenergetics to understand where exactly my work is, both physically and emotionally. I met with Gabe today and told him I wanted to start another cleanse. He impressed upon me that I was running for safety in something that is familiar; I am already on a different kind of cleanse, a restorative cleanse that’s going to require dedication and faith. And some change of habits.

Breaking patterns is probably the toughest work there is. Some of you might think I am crazy for being on a 37-day cleanse. Or it might seem unbelievable that I am way more comfortable jumping from one cleanse to another, rather than facing a new me, with new needs and new lifestyle choices. Whether it be food or sleep aids or men or whatever else challenges you, breaking the patterns that aren’t working is where the real work is. And so I’m gonna take it even slower, but I’m going to stick with giving this new lifestyle a real chance.

I am really lucky. I have an amazing team of support and wisdom around me. I have a fully-stocked tool belt and friends and family behind me. I am making different choices and learning to discern what works for me and what I need to let go of. I haven’t figured it all out yet. Like how exactly do you let go of something when your heart still desperately wants to hold on? But, at least I have the AWARENESS to let go. And I have my beloved spinning, pole dancing and yoga to help me through when all else fails.

And the best news is, I am sleeping better than I have in ages! I am still taking melatonin drops, but that’s it. I’m off all other sleep aids and all pharmaceuticals. I’m waking up only once or twice max to pee and then going right back to sleep again and staying asleep until 5 or 6am. I am actually getting a solid 6-8 hours a night, which is miraculous from where I started.

Life is a journey. It certainly doesn’t end here. Actually, from what I understand, it’s just beginning.

Arul Goldman is the Founder and Director of SanaVita.