{How This Blog Became Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Mostly Vegan} Answering Reader Questions

by Valerie on August 2, 2009 · 1 comment

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.     

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.
A couple more reader questions, though the first one is actually not a question, but a comment that reminded me of something I wanted to write:

This looks like real detox as opposed to the drink something weird and end up with a weird colon kind of detox.
Yeah, there are no weird drinks in my diet AT ALL. I can’t emphasize this enough. I do have a protein powder I use in fruit smoothies {the naturopath encouraged me to make sure I got enough protein for several reasons specific to me} but it’s not a mandated part of my diet. If I am really short on time or need a portable snack, I will sometimes make a shake with rice milk and the protein powder, but again, not mandated. I should also add that I would not have done any diet that involved a lot of liquids over solid foods or a weird drink.

Just curious–have you lost any weight and was that something you wanted to achieve through the diet?

I get this question often in real-life, but this was the first time I was asked the question online.

The short answer is that no, I was not looking to lose weight when I started the detox diet, because I had just lost 40 pounds in the preceding 9 months. Since starting the detox diet, I lost 7 pounds by the end of week 8.

Of course, the full answer is more complicated than that.

I had just lost 40 pounds over the course of 9 months, and had hit what I thought of as my minimum goal weight. It’s not a weight I love being at but, until my life went all topsy-turvy in and after law school {surgeries, bar exam, living between two cities, steroids for my sinuses} it was one I had been able to maintain before in my life for very long stretches of tiem. And, more importantly, it is a weight I like being at. Not love, but like.

My “skinny jeans” weight is about 20-25 pounds under that. I have been at that weight before in my life. To do so basically was a part-time job, and I was miserable.

So when I hit my minimum goal weight I was more concerned about the fact I had NO energy, despite losing weight, eating an 80% healthy/20% treats diet, drinking very little coffee or alcohol, sleeping 9 hours a night and exercising. I had lost the weight by cutting portion size and increasing vegetable intake mainly though I firmly believe a big reason I lost the weight was because I was sleeping more and better since I had finally stopped having sinus problems at the end of 2008 and was no longer commuting between two cities.

Because a naturopath will ask about everything, both physical and emotional, my naturopath asked me about my relationship with my weight. I basically told her what I told you – I had hit a weight I was ok being at which, while above my ideal BMI, was one that in previous times in my life had been one I felt very healthy at and could maintain. I also told her that the skinny jeans weight (which is, incidentally, at my ideal BMI) had been a struggle to maintain.

Losing the 7 pounds has been a really nice added benefit – 3 pounds just about fell off when I started the diet {i.e. within less than 10 days – I assume it was water weight} and the additional 4 pounds came off between weeks 5 and 8.

As happy as I am about the weight loss, I think if weight loss is the only reason I was undertaking this diet, there’s no way I would have stuck to it – it is a lot of work. The fact I am doing it for health reasons and to isolate food allergies is what kept me disciplined the first few weeks. The increased energy has become an additional motivating factor. There are times I am SO sick of food prep I could cry – I used to LOVE cooking and find it relaxing, but when most of your meals are from scratch, it’s a LOT of food prep – there’s no way I would do this diet just to lose weight.

Weight loss is literally at the bottom of my priorities right now – i.e. if it’s dinner time, and I have had all my veggies and fish and I am still hungry, I will eat something else that is within the approved foods of the detox diet. The naturopath encourages me to snack every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar up, and I do that, and I eat real food, like crackers and hummus and raw vegetables or a mini-meal of quinoa salad with vegetables. When I was trying to lose weight and I had snack attacks, I generally just drank more water.
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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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Vienna August 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm

It's very interesting reading about your detox process. I like the way you emphasise the reasons why you are doing it and also the reason why you wouldn't/shouldn't do it. Thanks for sharing.


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