The Pillars of Wellness
Best-selling author and spiritual counselor Kathy Freston has been an expert on inner makeovers since she went through one herself. "In my teenage years, I was filled with anxiety. I had tons of insecurity," she says. "I was one of those people who just wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I never felt like I was pretty enough or smart enough or interesting enough."
Kathy began modeling at age 17, but rather then boosting her confidence, Kathy says the industry made her insecurities worse. "The art director would lean into my face and point out my pimples, and they'd look at my waist and say that they were disappointed," she says. "I would be sent home from jobs."
Around that same time, Kathy says her addictive personality began to act up. She says she was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, eating unhealthy foods and getting involved in destructive relationships.
"I had so much failure, and life kept clunking me on the head. I was forced to confront the structures within myself," she says. "So I started reading books about philosophy and spirituality. Of course, that's when life opened up. ... When I stopped looking for the results, everything just sort of appeared."
The first pillar of wellness is meditation. "For anybody who is looking to change your life, I would absolutely recommend that [meditation] be the first thing that you do," Oprah says. "I think there are a lot of misnomers about what it is. People think it's something that it isn't. ... Meditation is not religious."
At the heart of meditation is stillness, Kathy says. "It's really just getting quiet, going inside and connecting to that inner light. For some people, it's religious and spiritual, connecting to that higher power. For other people, it's just a matter of becoming present."
Kathy says meditation rescued her in her darkest hour. "I was constantly beating myself up, trying to figure out what was wrong with me and how to change it," she says. "Meditation pulled me into my center."
See how eating consciously has become a part of Kathy's life
Kathy is a vegan, which means she doesn't eat meat, eggs, or dairy. "Nobody was harmed—that's conscious eating," she says. "If I want to be someone with spiritual integrity, I have to think about the principles that I want to adhere to—compassion, kindness, mercy and the alleviating of suffering when I see it. ... I thought, 'If I want to further myself on my spiritual path, as well as my health path, I need to have more integrity. I need to be conscious about it.'"
If you only focus on work, Kathy says you lose the spirit inside. "Get back to that spirit," she says. "That spirit actually is the thing that generates the good ideas, the inspiration."
To follow the 21-day cleanse, Kathy says to eliminate the following from your diet:
- Animal products
So what's left to eat? "Everything that is so healthy," Kathy says. "I say if you can give up a few things for the period of the cleanse, your body will learn to regenerate and produce the brain chemicals it needs, lose the taste addictions it has."
Foods Kathy says are great to eat on the cleanse include beans, grains, nuts, avocado, soy, fruits without a high gylcemic index (nothing too sweet) and vegetables. Kathy isn't on the cleanse at all times—just once or twice a year. See what Kathy eats on a typical day.
Oprah commits to trying the 21-day cleanse for herself. See what happens and how she feels by reading her blogs about her journey. Plus, find the recipes and menu plans of what she'll eat!