{How This Blog Became Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Mostly Vegan } Preparations and Days 1-3

by Valerie on July 18, 2009 · 3 comments

Update June 2010 on How This Blog Became Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Mostly Vegan – I had originally named this series the Detox Diet Diaries, but my experience with these changes in my diet, while incredibly positive, has made me decide I really do not like the concept of  a detox diet.   It is ironic in that the diet my naturopath put me on was incredibly helpful, and a year later, it has become clear I have non-Celiac gluten intolerance, as well as a strong dairy intolerance.  I continue to avoid all dairy and gluten, as well as other problematic foods such as corn, but have grown to really dislike the concept of “detox” – the term promotes the concept of a quick fix, which is just nonsensical.  I firmly believe that the vast improvements in my health are based on the long-term changes I made, and want my posts on the experience to convey this.    

Black bean and spinach quesadilla on rice tortilla

Background: The Detox Diet Diaries recounts my story of doing a detox diet for health reasons and to isolate food allergies which may have been a contributing factor to some of my health problems. This diet involves real food. I am not on the Master Cleanse, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cleanse, or Oprah’s cleanse, nor are my posts on my diet a way to support their actions.
As I explained in my background post, I am doing this under the care of a naturopathic doctor.

I decided to keep the first couple of days simple. After my first appointment with the naturopath, I took a couple of days to go through the fridge and cupboards. I worked off the lists the naturopath gave me. Because husband and I eat a lot of organic products, there were very few processed products in the apartment to begin with -so there were very few products that I had to declare off limits. Aside from some whole wheat products I gave to a friend {we kept the white pasta for husband} the other things I had to eliminate from my diet were a couple of mustards, agave ketchup {I don’t eat regular ketchup} and salsas and that was because of the fact they had white distilled vinegar in them.

A quick aside note: why white distilled vinegar was a bad thing was not something I asked the naturopath for an in-depth explanation. I had never bought it to use in salad dressing, because growing up in Switzerland white distilled vinegar was something my mom used for cleaning, so it never occured to me to buy to use with food. I didn’t think not eating would be a big deal. When I got home and started checking labels. I did discover that “Organic Vinegar” in my beloved organic Roland mustards actually means white distilled vinegar – boo! I did some online research to include here as to why it’s a bad vinegar to eat, and there seem to be so many reasons, some conflicting. It’s also derived from corn and/or wheat which, since I can’t eat either on this diet, was good enough reason for me to not use. The interesting part to me is how many salad dressings, condiments, pickles and spreads (think packaged caponata) have this ingredient. I was mostly sad about the agave ketchup, but figured I could always make my own with apple cider vinegar.

Incidentally, if you are doing the detox diet for just 10 days, I supposed you could just stick some of those food items in a corner of the fridge. Because I knew I would be doing this for several months, and some less strict version forever, I figured I might as well just figure out all the off-limits food right away.

But back to pre-detox preparation. At that point, I was just as focused on getting my eating/supplement protocol down as I was on the diet itself. The naturopath had really emphasized that I needed to eat on a schedule to keep my blood sugar stable. The schedule is a whole separate post in itself, but basically she gave me a schedule of when to eat and snack and when to take my various supplements. I ended up writing it as a checklist that I carried around with me the first few weeks. Before even officially beginning the detox diet, I tried to get the schedule in place for a couple of days. The diet involves enough work as it is that I wanted to make sure I had the rest down as well.

So after cleaning out cupboards and making a checklist, let’s talk about food.

I kept the first few days really simple. I started on a weekend, which I recommend – it gives you two days to get a feel for things and see how you feel. Also, I didn’t try to make any new recipes at first, mainly because I had enough recipes/ideas to work with from my existing repertoire.

Here is what I ate the first few days:

Breakfast – Smoothie made with the basic recipe of 1 banana, 2 scoops of rice protein powder, and 3/4 cup of unsweetened rice milk. Then I played around with different additional ingredients, whether it was berries, raw almond butter, cinnamon or other fruits. I came up with about 5 permutations I liked, so I didn’t get sick of smoothies until well into the third week. I stuck to breakfast smoothies for that long for breakfast because it was hard enough eating breakfast at home within an hour of waking (I usually ate within 2-3 hours of waking, on my way to or at work) so trying to come up with variety was more than I was going to be able to deal with.

Snacks –
*Homemade hummus or red pepper hummus with baby carrots
*Various cut up fruits and veggies
*Green Mountain Roasted Chile Salsa {check labels, this was one of only a handful of salsas that were detox diet friendly} with Marys Gone Crackers Crackers {I only ate herb or original}
*Raw almond butter with Marys Gone Crackers Crackers
*Raw almonds

Meals {this is just the first few days while I got the diet down, then I started cooking more}
*Steamed broccoli with steamed halibut topped with
Green Mountain Roasted Chile Salsa
*Spinach and arugula salads with a no-dairy, no-anchovy version of this avocado dressing {I also cut back on the oil in that dressing, and used a mixture of rice and apple cider vinegars}
*Mixed greens with lemon juice and flaxseed oil
*Many no-dairy quesadillas you see in the picture above {rice tortilla with 1/2 cup of either cooked black beans or pinto beans with 1 cup spinach, toasted in husband’s Foreman grill. I didn’t start experimenting with vegan cheese until later} – I say many because that was kind of my go-to meal to take to work. It’s nice and portable. I usually ate the quesadilla with either homemade salsa or more of the
Green Mountain Roasted Chile Salsa when I was eating them at work, or a bit of homemade guacamole when I was at home.
This weekend I will also talk about how I felt the first few days and answer some of your great questions. Thank you so much for asking such thoughtful questions and please feel free to ask more in the comments section.

Disclaimer: I am just a regular person posting about my experience doing a detox diet for health reasons and, ultimately, to isolate food allergies that may be the underlying cause of said health problems. I am not a medical professional or nutritionist. Please do not use information from these posts to do your own detox diet. Rather, seek advice from a doctor, naturopath or nutritionist to determine what the correct course of action for your health is.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melita July 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm

it doesn't seem so bad. it's just getting readjusted to another schedule. the food sounds pretty great so you don't really feel like you are depriving yourself. i think the deprivation factor is what leads most people to fail on diets (whether it is just to lose weight or a detox diet). btw, is agave ketchup really that good? i'll have to give it a try.


2 Kiki July 18, 2009 at 7:37 pm

This news about white distilled vinegar is completely unexpected. People talk about the benefits of apple cider vinegar all the time, but never about the facts of what it is replacing and why. Any idea where balsamic vinegar falls in this issue?


3 Sarah July 19, 2009 at 3:06 am

Smoothies after 3 weeks…I know how you feel. I lasted drinking protein smoothies for breakfast for about 3-4 weeks. The thought of a smoothie now makes me a tad disgusted!

I didn't know you grew up in Switzerland. What part? My boyfriend has family in Switzerland (he was born in Germany).


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