The Detox Diaries
So towards the end of September, I started toying with the idea of doing some sort of detox to prepare my body for weight loss. I've been struggling with my weight for the last (almost) 8 years and it's been so frustrating. It seemed like the very day I turned 40 I just started putting on weight and couldn't manage to drop more than a few pounds. Then I'd gain that back and a little more just for good measure.
I am a very health-conscious person and I firmly believe that the foods we eat on a regular basis have kept me (and my husband) off a lot of prescription medications that most of our extended family take. We both have family histories that include diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, yet neither my husband or myself have these issues or take any sort of maintenence medications.
So why was the weight thing so hard?? I eat an almost completely plant-based diet, avoid refined sugars and grains and processed foods, I watch my sodium intake and I don't drink soda or juice and refuse to ingest the poisons of artificial sweeteners. And I almost never consume alcohol. I just prefer not to drink my calories. I drink water all day long and spend most of my time on my feet.
I became convinced that the problem had to be hormonal, so I finally saw a doctor who ran a complete metabolic and thyroid panel. And guess what?? All my levels were normal. Now I was thrilled that I have the blood pressure of a 22 year-old athlete and that my blood sugar levels are normal but now I had to face that the problem. was. just. me.
At a weight I care not to divulge, I got a bit scared. That number was major health problems just waiting to happen. Yes, I was healthy but I had a feeling that the aches and pains, the fatigue, the trouble sleeping were all indicators that worse things were on the horizon.
So I decided October was going to be the month of CHANGE!!! I started really researching the process of detoxing and my own knowledge along with help from a few websites helped me come up with a sort of individualized plan that I knew I could stick with and that would fit into our family lifestyle. The detox was not in itself for weight loss but rather to get rid of any gunk that might be keeping my body from functioning at it's optimum potential.
So here's what I came up with:
1. I decided to do a detox prep so that I was gradually going into the process. This wasn't super hard for me as I do most of this anyway, but generally, this is how a detox prep should go:
No caffeine, limit gluten and dairy to 1 serving each day, no processed sugar or refined carbs, no artificial sweeteners, increase veggies and water intake. Do this for 2-3 days before starting detox. Agave or something like erythritol or xylitol can be used to sweeten things if needed.
2. During both the prep and actual detox, start each day with a large glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon or cucumber. I also drank a cup of room temperature water with lemon, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
3. Drink 1/2 your body weight in water everday. The toxins have to have a way to get out.
4. Eat lots and lots of raw fruit and veggies (organic if possible) and up to 1/2 cup of raw nuts or seeds per day.
5. Aim for no more than 2 cups of whole grains (gluten-free) each day.
6. Think along the lines of mostly raw foods and a little bit of cooked foods, 80%/20% is a good ratio.
7. Take a good multivitamin each day, preferably one derived from whole foods.
8. NO dairy, meat, fish, gluten, sugar, alcohol or caffeine during the detox period
9. Add as much raw juice, veggies, and fruit as you need for energy.
I decided to do the detox for 4 days, feeling that was a reasonable time period for me. After my "detox water" each morning, I had an all-fruit smoothie. For lunches I ate a large green salad with lots of veggies and a homede vinaigrette. Dinner was cooked grains, beans or legumes and veggies in some combination with plenty of variety. For snacks, I stuck with fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds and occasionally a little hummus.
What I noticed initially was that my energy was insane. I felt great. Then, I didn't. As my body really got into it, I felt fatigued, foggy and just not great. By day three, I felt normal and food just tasted so much better. After the fourth day, I was ready to really commit to weight loss. I lost 4 pounds during the detox period, which I was completely happy with.
Detox isn't for everyone. And some people experience the negative symptoms I had for longer periods and some people have even more extreme symptoms. I think it's wise, as always, to do the research and talk with your healthcare provider. I am not a dietician or doctor, so this is not a plan I would recommend without getting the okay from your doctor first.
These are the websites I used in formulating my own detox plan: