On November 29, I challenged myself to a 10-day detox to rid myself of chemicals and toxins and cleanse my body before the indulgences of the holiday season. For ten days, I rid my body of gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. I focused on whole, natural, organic foods free form unwanted additives. I filled my diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, lean proteins and nothing from a box or processed any more than my organic raw almond butter was, put through a food processor.
Honestly? It went better than expected.
I had tried “cleanses” before, in my not-so-healthy days, and they never worked out for me. But this time, it worked out much better. I am much, much more balanced and healthy than I was in those days and since I don’t eat much of the above mentioned foods anyway, it wasn’t too much of a stretch. That’s not to say I didn’t get amazing results.
The first few days were tough. I was tired and run down, but I didn’t have too many cravings. The only cravings I did have were gum (I am a gum addict- trying to kick the habit) and wine. But I stuck through it. I knew it was to be expected, as my body was releasing toxins and something had to give. I still managed to have enough energy to do some easy exercise, and my energy increased significantly as the days went on. Though there were nights I really would have liked a warm cookie with my tea, my cravings all but vanished.
However the best, and most significant change I found, was my digestion. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I have terrible digestion. I have problems of all sorts, ranging from acid reflux to, well, other things I won’t mention. But they were gone. Completely. Not once did I feel uncomfortable or bloated. There was no sprinting to the bathroom (TMI?). For once, in years, I felt balanced.
I attribute this to a few things. First off, I know I am lactose-and-gluten intolerant. It’s a fact. And I eat them far more than I should. I’m ok with goat dairy and sprouted grains, but too often do I reach for a cheesy slice of pizza without a care in the world to what it might do to my poor intenstines later. But through my detox I have realized I have to worry about how it will make me feel. Because feeling bad means something is off. Something is wrong with my body and it is screaming to me to try and let me know. This doesn’t mean I am going to say no to pizza (my favorite food) for all time. It just means it will be a much, much, rarer occasion. Because I am learning to listen to my body. Once and for all.
Not only digestion-wise, I have learned how much more energy I have when I eat more whole foods than not. Now I didn’t eat a bad diet before the detox, far from it. I still ate mostly vegetarian, with lots of greens, fruits and vegetables- whole foods, but there were little bits of processed this, and processed that in my diet that I knew I needed to get away from… but I think detoxing, saying “No, I can’t have these, my body won’t be pure and healthy without them,” really hit me.
I’m saying no to processed soy, as per my nutritionist’s recommendation, as it is extremely hard to digest. This means no more tofu for me, only tempeh or miso. I’m going to focus on eating less gluten and lactose, way less, as in less than once a week. I am going to pay more attention to what foods I am putting in my body. Just because they claim to be “healthy,” or even if they are for some people, doesn’t mean they’re right for me.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with the way my detox turned out, the way I feel now or what I learned from it. I think it was an incredibly worthwhile learning experience and I wouldn’t hestitate to do another one- just not any time soon. I am excited for my cookies and wine. Just in more moderation.
Read more about my detox
Read more about starting a detox
Read about my transition out of detoxing
To see some photos of some of the meals I ate through my first week click here