Just after the New Year, I did a cleanse. I wanted to enter this new year, perhaps even a new era (which is what I believe began 12/21/12), fresh, healthy renewed, having had 2 major surgeries this year and a not-exactly-healthy diet over the holidays. I went to the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica where I get once-a-week acupuncture, and got the special powder, pills and tea that Dr Mao prepares. these chinese herbs help with cleansing and detoxing and are probably available from any Chinese acupuncturist place (in case you’re interested).

Besides these special products, I had 3 acupuncture, infrared saunas, and cupping sessions. Infrared saunas go deeper into your body than regular saunas and cupping is when the doctor or nurse places a heated glass cup upside down on your oiled skin so that a powerful suction is created. The cup is then moved around, first your stomach and then your back. All these 3 things help with lymphatic drainage (detoxifying).

As for my cleansing diet, I had no coffee, alcohol, wheat, red meat, dairy or anything acidic, except for a cup of hot lemon juice first thing in the morning. Breakfast consisted of hot oat bran or steel-cut oatmeal with almond or rice milk, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks of fresh vegetable juice (mostly kale, spinach, apple, ginger and beets) or vegetable broth plus an apple (Fuji are my favorite cause they’re crunchy and sweet/tart). For lunch and dinner, I’d made various stir frys with bean sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, chicken, fish or firm tofu and other variations of veggies, which we ate with brown. I stuck to it 100% for one week.

Now, and probably forever, I still don’t have coffee. I still start off the day with hot lemon juice. I still won’t eat red meat and very little wheat. But I do have a 0% fat greek yogurt every morning, fish three times a week (the fatty ones like salmon and tuna–very important when you’re older, especially), and chicken or tofu stir fry. No wine. I suffer from osteoarthritis and so have to stay away from anything acidic like wine, coffee, eggplant, white potatoes, tomatoes. I do indulge in vodka a few times a week–like maybe 4-5 times :-)

What else? I am doing my yoga DVD. One 10-minute segment in the morning to get me revved up and ready to go and one 10-minute segment in the evening to chill me out. Sometimes with Richard, my honey. And 3 times a week or more I lift light weights and 4 times a week or more I do 20-30 minutes of some form of aerobics. I live at the top of a hill, so I have Richard or my assistant drive me down to the bottom far enough so it will take me 30 minutes to get back to the house. There’s also a recumbent bike and treadmill in the house so other days I do those.

I have increased my meditation to every day for 10 or 20 minutes and sometimes Richard does that with me too. When we’re doing it together, I do the 10 minute meditation that is on my recent (last year’s) DVD called “Firm & Burn” under “Extras” (as in bonus track). I like it because before the actual meditation, I take you (us) through some breathing exercises that gets energy flowing in your body. You can really feel it. It’s like coming alive. It gets you in touch with your body— inside—something too few people do and it is amazing how it changes your life and how you look…your eyes get brighter, clearer. As an actor, these breathing exercises are great to do right before going on camera because you actually look different. The energy you can feel coursing through your body after the breathing exercises, a sort of tingling sensation, that energy is you, your being, what leaves you when you die. It is precious and the more we can tap into that feeling inside us the more alive we’ll be. To save time when I’m not actually doing the Firm & Burn DVD and don’t want to take the time to select the Bonus Track, I used my iphone to record just the breathing exercises and the entire 10-minute meditation which begins with a chime and ends with a chime. I like the chime because then I don’t have to keep worrying about how much time has elapsed. And when I do more than 10 (when I’m alone), I simply turn off the tape after 10 min. and continue in silence. Highly recommended.

A few days ago I filmed an episode of “The Newsroom’s” 2nd season. Things came easier to me. I felt more relaxed (something that Bill Murray told me I really need to work on) and I truly believe it had to do with the cleanse, the yoga, the breathing and meditation.

When it makes me feel this good, I am motivated to keep it up and I will because I don’t want to have to report to you that I fell back to old habits. And I won’t lie.

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