The first week down. I’m trying something new in my life that I have never quite conquered: baby steps. Taking things slower. I’ve always been an all or nothing girl…diving deep headfirst into everything I set my big eyes on. Although I’ve seen many goals through to completion or at least to a place of satisfaction, I’ve also burned out quickly on many things. So my new focus for this cleanse is to take it a bit more gradually.

The second day I did what was typical of myself and I dove straight in…eating PLENTY of fermented veggies throughout the day and cutting out sugar completely. By that evening I had such extreme stomach cramps and bloating I was huddled on my couch in the fetal position wondering how I was going to get back up and out of the house. I realized it was just too much too soon and decided to slow down the process.

So, this week I’ve been focusing on cutting back on the things I will ultimately eliminate completely for this cleanse and adding in smaller quantities of the fermented foods, kefir, sea veggies, etc. It’s been going quite well. Although I’ve had some sugar in healthy forms and in small quantities, my sugar intake dropped tremendously this week. I have eaten small amounts of goat cheese, but no other dairy. I’ve stayed away from coffee. And I have mostly stayed away from alcohol, except for a few sporadic cocktails I sipped on at some events I had this week. My schedule has finally cleared and I don’t feel as though I’ll be in any situations in the near future where drinking seems prevalent. And, as I remember my experience last summer, once I got into the swing of not drinking, it really wasn’t an issue at all while being out and socializing. Finally, I am back on melatonin drops to help me sleep and I’m starting to get some decent nights of sleep in under my belt. I have been getting around 8 hours of sleep a night—it’s still interrupted, but I’m able to fall back to sleep with more ease.

This coming week I plan on tightening the belt further. I’ll be eliminating the rest of the bits of sugar I have had, except for berries basically. I’ll use Stevia when needed and I’ll be eliminating the rest of the dairy. I’ve already started experimenting with making my own dressings as white vinegar is not allowed on this plan. The idea of this methodology is to kill the existing yeast that is living off me. White vinegar and sugars feed that yeast instead of killing it. My intention is to perfect a dressing using apple cider vinegar, which has many benefits and does NOT feed yeast. By my third week, I’d like to bring this dressing out with me when going out to eat. But, I’m not quite there yet. Baby steps. So this week I will still enjoy sugar-free dressings while dining out!

After taking a step back on my 3rd day, I started to feel a lot better. Thankfully, the gassy, bloated feeling hasn’t been as much of an issue. I am prepared for some bumps along the way as I continue along this path. It’s called a “healing crises”. At times I may feel a little worse before I feel better. But it’s all part of the journey!

Arul Goldman is the Founder and Director of SanaVita.