A while back I had alluded to this crazy diet/detox I was on during the month of January, but I haven’t taken the opportunity to blog about it, until now. If you know me personally, you’re already familiar with what I’ve been through — but I thought it’d be nice to write it down for posterity’s sake (and elicit some well-deserved snarky comments, I’m sure).
But before I begin — you may know the company promoting this particular detox or have heard me talk about it. I won’t mention them since they’re making good money and they aren’t paying me to advertise for them. I don’t expect this to be a puff piece — just a summary of my experiences and results.
On occasion I’ve heard of other folks going on a detox for a few days at a time but it’s never really appealed to me. Either because I found the method of the detox to be quite unappealing or because I didn’t have a particular interest in changing my meal planning to eat less-than-appetizing meals. I can assure you that in this particular detox program, you’ll be receiving a healthy dose of the latter.
My lovely wife Sarah, who is already familiar with the company in question, thought this detox program would be a great way to
kill me in the process jump-start healthy eating habits in the new year. Admittedly, I had been whining about the poor state of our pantry for some time and I believe Sarah got tired of hearing me blame my extra weight on her sweet tooth. So she signed us up for a detox and promptly threw out all most of her sweets.
Over the years I’ve heard multiple people (usually the ladies) comment about some detox they were following. I don’t ever recall hearing anything particularly exciting about any of these detox programs (because none of them are) so I always regarded a detox as one of those fads that people underwent to make themselves feel better without any outward change in their eating habits or appearance.
But sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.
“You must really love your wife,” I recall someone saying in response to listening to me talk about the detox.
And they were right, because I couldn’t see myself going this alone. Until I was…
Sarah was certainly more excited about the detox than I was. I was more interested in the potential long-term benefits than I was enduring a detox for four weeks. However, Sarah only participated for about two weeks until we discovered breast-feeding moms shouldn’t be doing a detox. Oops.
But I stuck it out alone and followed the meal plan almost entirely to the ingredient. Okay, I wasn’t entirely alone; I was seated right next to Sarah who was eating foods I couldn’t. 😉
So what does this four week detox consist of? Well, it’s easier to tell you what it isn’t than what is in it. No sugars/sweeteners of any kind, salt, caffeine, alcohol, anything processed or containing preservatives or GMOs. In other words, it is mostly organic raw vegetables, some fruits, some legumes and a small amount of grains. That’s it.
Each “phase” in the detox (which could be anywhere from 3 to 7 days) is designed to clear your body of specific toxins based on the combination of foods you’re eating during that phase. You could say it did that and much more. O.O Some weeks sucked (the first) and others weren’t so bad (the last two). Much to my surprise, I learned a couple new recipes that become regulars in our weekly meal planning.
During this whole process, there were a few things I didn’t anticipate:
- I didn’t expect our grocery bill to go up as much as it did. Buying organic foods really takes a toll on the budget — and it also underscores exactly how dependent we are on GMO (genetically modified organisms) for cheap food. Of course, arguments can be made about the cost (to your health) in the long run…
- How preparing several meals in advance would free up so much more time during the day to tend to other tasks. Makes sense right? But are you feeding your family this way?
- The short mealtimes. Many of the meals were smoothies and the rest were simple recipes in small quantities.
- How little I could eat. I was shocked that when eating an all raw-food vegetable diet (and maybe a small amount of legumes, grains and fruits) how little I could eat during the day and not feel hungry. When it comes to what you feed your body, quality over quantity is apparently important.
- How often I’d have to go to the bathroom. (Consider yourself warned.)
- Better sleep. I honestly never saw that coming — but with no stimulants artificially propping me up throughout the day I went to bed sooner, slept better and woke up more energized in the morning without all the aches and pains I’ve been regularly experiencing the past couple years. I just thought that was part of getting old. Perhaps it was just part of a crappy diet?
- My addictions. At the start of all this, I just knew that caffeine would be my nemesis. Every morning of the first week was absolutely horrible. The second week wasn’t nearly as bad. Didn’t even miss it the third/forth weeks. Caffeine was relatively easy to go without. Salt, on the other hand, brought me to my knees. Every. Day. After the first week I couldn’t hardly make it through a meal without whining about how much something-or-another would taste with “a little salt.” Frankly, I never got over this throughout the whole detox.
Of course, there were the things I knew to expect:
- That it would mostly stink.
- I wouldn’t be able to continue with my P90X routine because I wasn’t consuming enough calories to maintain the energy level required.
- Generally not participating with many folks in any sort of social outing. We continued our weekly meetings with our small group but brought our dinner instead. That always made for lively conversation at the table.
- All the astonished looks and commentary from friends and work colleagues as they asked questions about the “green stuff” I’m eating. In a way, that only served to drive me onward toward successfully completing the detox. Many said they didn’t think I could do it without cheating or abandoning the entire program. They were wrong.
- One day it would end… and then what?
Well, I’ll talk about that and my reasons for doing this detox tomorrow. Stay tuned!
UPDATED 2014-02-14: “quantity over quality is apparently important” should have read “quality over quantity is apparently important”