A few months back, my body (and mind) needed a major reset. Months in quarantine had led to way more drinking, cooking, and eating than normal. I just felt yuck. I’m not much of a cleanser, and not a dieter, but I do like an occasional reset. I will often remove certain things from my diet, like alcohol, gluten, dairy, for a month at a time to bring my body back to a happy place. Luckily, my best friend, Sarah Pachelli, my go-to for all things mind and body, had started offering virtual cleanses to her clients a few months into the pandemic. So, I decided to jump on board and do her new Chakra Cleanse. This seven day cleanse was so much more than your typical cleanse. It was a deep dive into one’s relationship with food, eating, and self-care. Many of you sent questions about the cleanse, so I figured it would be best to go to the expert. Below Sarah shares a little bit about herself and what the Chakra Cleanse is all about. The next one is coming up on November, 9th! You can check out more details about the cleanse on her site or DM her on Instagram @sarahpachelli.
Can you share a little bit about you and your background when it comes to nutrition and food?
In 2011, after a bout with psoriasis and subsequently healing myself from changing my diet, I went to Natural Gourmet Institute culinary school, equal parts cooking and nutritional program. From there, I started my curated personal cheffing business, cooking for clients who used food as medicine for specific reasons (autoimmune disease, cancer, weight loss, hormonal balance, pre- and post-natal). After seven years of working with clients, I began to understand there is so much more to the whole nutrition thing than just food. I’d work with many clients (mostly women) who would go into remission from an imbalance only to have the unwelcome symptoms come roaring back. Our moods and minds greatly affect our ability to heal and, thus, be happy. I completed my nutritional counselor program at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, which changed my life and my practice, ultimately birthing my food philosophies and the Chakra Cleanse.
What is the premise of the Chakra Cleanse, and how did you come up with it?
Clients had been asking me to create cleanses for years, and I’d always said no. Cleansing is often a way to calorie-restrict for quick weight loss. That is unsustainable and unhealthy. The wellness world is inundated with disordered eating disguised as health, and I did not wish to perpetuate that falsity. The Chakra Cleanse was a bit of a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality, meaning: if I was creating the cleanse, I knew it would be a do-no-harm situation where the discomfort associated with cleansing would simply serve as a way into all our other life-discomforts. Meaning: how we act when we are uncomfortable in one way (i.e. while cleansing) is probably how we act when we are uncomfortable in other ways. So, if we can shine a light on this, perhaps we can learn about ourselves and our habits. Ultimately, I hope to show that food freedom is possible for people. That we don’t have to be suckers to diet culture, that we can trust our inner wisdom about our appetite, and that we can heal ourselves if we slow down and listen to our body.
What is a Chakra?
Chakras are spiritual energetic centers in the body. The word “chakra” translates as “wheel” in Sanskrit. There are seven of these wheel-like centers in our body: The Root Chakra (base of spine), The Sacral Chakra (reproductive organ area-ish), Solar Plexus Chakra (upper abdomen), Heart Chakra (center of chest), Throat Chakra (throat/mouth), Third Eye Chakra (the middle of the brow line) and Crown Chakra (right above your head). Chakras get energetically blocked at different times in our lives. This is normal and predictive. The idea of “clearing” a chakra means that the energy moving throughout the body can flow more easily. Why is this important? A blocked chakra in perpetuity lends itself eventually to stagnation and disease — be it literally (i.e. chronic conditions often give rise to autoimmunities or sluggish metabolic responses) or emotionally (i.e. unable to accept love or have an orgasm, or anxiety disorders and depression).
How is this cleanse different from a normal deprivation-type cleanse?
There is no deprivation. If you’re hungry, you have a snack. It’s that simple. I do, however, ask participants to pause before any compulsive behavior so to bear witness on themselves. Meaning: are you indeed hungry, or is it habit. Maybe they’re just thirsty. There is no right or wrong or good or bad; there is simply observation.
How much time during the day does the cleanse demand? Can I prep in advance?
You can prep in advance! It is encouraged (and explained how!) to make some items over the weekend before the cleanse begins. Regarding the time per day, we cook a new lunch entree every other day (lunch is the largest meal of the day, so to give our bodies ample digestion time). The lunches take upwards of an hour to prepare. Daily dinners are no more than 5 minutes. Breakfasts and snacks are made in advance. However, beyond the foodstuff for the Chakra Cleanse, there are also daily movement kriyas, journaling, and evening stretches. So, ideally, you’d give yourself another 30-45 minutes per day for these practices.
Do you offer additional support during the cleanse?
Yes! I’m available via email to answer questions every day. Additionally, if you’d like to book a one-on-one session with me during the cleanse, it’s offered at a discounted rate.
What should I expect to gain from doing a cleanse like this?
A little more awareness into your habits. Maybe a few insights as to where you’re stuck in your life and how to get out of your own way. How to nourish yourself through food and not rely on all the jumbled information out there about health and wellness. How to increase the pleasure in your life so to de-stress on a cellular level. And, duh, some really awesome recipes that you’ll be making even after this reset!
Do you offer other types of cleanses and programs other than the Chakra Cleanse?
Yes! If you live in the NYC area, I have a weekly meal delivery program (called SSERE, pronounced “sah-ray” which roughly translates to “being” in Italian) where a week’s worth of food is delivered to your door. Dietary restrictions are considered upon request, and the meals are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. I am also a nutritional counselor and particularly love to tackle body image issues with women. If you loved the Chakra Cleanse, you can tier up the experience for two more weeks of additional support, including ten new recipes, eight kriyas, and eight journal prompts. Come January; I’ll be offering a month-long reset program to go deeper into the work offered in the Chakra Cleanse, as well as a subscription service of recipes and video content to delve deeper into the esoteric nourishment work. My greatest honor is to guide clients back into themselves. There is no one true blue prescription for this work. I simply wish to serve as a mirror, so my clients can live a happy, healthy, and free life. I truly believe we all have the answers inside us; we just have to slow down and listen to them. It is my great pleasure to foster this slowdown.
For more information, head on over to Sarah’s site!