I am seeing green everywhere I look these days. From the fresh green leaves on the trees to the first tender shoots of grass in the yard to the food on my plate. Green. All of it.
I promised to update you on the progress of my detox and am proud to report that I have successfully completed all ten long days. Right now I am in the process of slowly reintroducing foods that I am suspicious I may react to – namely corn, soy and eggs. I have been gluten-free and dairy-free for almost three years now and have no intention of ever reincorporating those foods back into my diet. They simply make me feel too miserable to be worth the short-term satisfaction they offer.
My detox experience was very up and down. The first few days were easy. Those were the days that gluten and dairy are eliminated, so the food I ate was not much different from what I normally consume. The only major changes were completely eliminating both sugar and caffeine. The sugar part was hard for me – my sweet tooth was out of control those first few days! I craved things I haven’t eaten in ages. I was a little (my husband might say, a lot) grumpy and I had to learn to choke down the gross, gritty, too-sweet protein shakes that were a staple of the detox program I used. That shake was tough. Ugh, I shutter when I think about it.
By day five I was struggling. On days five, six and seven I was only allowed to eat cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage and greens, or an occasional apple or pear, along with the aforementioned icky shake. I did manage to rediscover my appreciation of pears (especially with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top) but my love for kale was tested. By the end of day seven my usually-beloved green felt stringy and dry in my mouth. Physically I was completely depleted at this point. I don’t know if it was a result of my body working so hard to detox, or because of my limited diet, but I was tired. Now, I’m always a little tired – that seems to be a fact of my Lyme Disease experience – but I was a different kind of tired. My limbs felt weighed down and my mind was slow and cloudy. By Sunday afternoon (day seven) I was even having a hard time getting the words I was thinking to come clearly out of my mouth. I slept a lot.
Once I was able to start reintroducing more and more food I felt like I was in the home stretch. Deprivation is never an enjoyable experience and I was glad to move beyond it. Tomatoes and avocados never tasted so sweet! I drank my last shake on Monday and finally was able to wean off of the supplements yesterday. My energy is still low, but I am beginning to feeling nourished again. I indulged and snacked on some yummy gluten-free pretzels with the kids after school yesterday and had my first blood-sugar crash since I began my detox. No more refined flour for me. I learn slowly, I guess.
I am not noticing any marked physical differences now as compared to before the detox. I am, however, about to get a complete round of blood work done and I’m hoping the evidence of my hard work will be seen there. If nothing else, this detox has served to reconnect me, and my whole family, with some of the delicious flavors found in simple, nourishing whole foods.
Just last night, with our regular grocery shopping day quickly approaching, Eric and I both noticed how full our fridge still is. Because I wanted every part of my detox diet organized and planned out before I began, we shopped and ate from a very specific menu plan over the course of the last two weeks. I would say about eighty percent of our grocery budget went to fresh fruits and vegetable and the other twenty percent covered staples like brown rice, quinoa, beans and olive oil. We didn’t consume any meat at all. The kids surprised us both with how fully they embraced many of the new foods we presented them with. Who knew these little people would devour a chilled black bean salad?
We have always been very aware of our food choices and have, over time, weaned ourselves off of almost everything processed. We enjoy working together to make our food from scratch – corn tortillas, yogurt, granola – it’s what we do. This experiment helped us kick our last few bad habits. For me it was refined sugar. Oh, how I have struggled and struggled with that addiction over the years. For the family it was most of the salty, crunchy snacks they mindlessly grabbed throughout the day. (How did those pretzels end up in the pantry?)
We are surprisingly excited to maintain this new level of clean eating as a family. It was easy on our budget, most of the foods were quick and simple to prepare, and we all ate really, really well. Everyone seems to have discovered a new food to enjoy. Eric ate asparagus without grimacing for the first time in years. Willow ate a sweet potato and admitted she might like it, “just a little.” Sage ate kidney beans and exclaimed, “I do like these! They are yummy!” I’m looking forward to my next juicy pear or luscious ripe avocado with renewed enthusiasm.
These little victories fill me up in a way food never will.
So, would I do this detox again? Maybe. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely, yes. Will our family eat differently from now on? You betcha.
I’m hoping to share a few of my new favorite recipes with you in the weeks and months to come. Is there anything in particular you would like to see? Any food you have always been curious to try, but weren’t quite sure what to do with it? Leave me your questions or suggestions in the comments section and I’ll see what I can cook up!
PS: We should all still, “Eat More Kale!”