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.
Week 7 of my detox diet was interesting because that’s when it really hit me that part of what this diet does is that it is a real reminder of listening to your body. I know many people who read this blog practice yoga, but even if you do not, I think the concepts of “honoring your body” or “working at your edge” will make sense. And, I discovered, these were really applicable to the detox diet.
Now, as I have said before, this diet allowed me to regain a tremendous amount of energy almost eerily quickly. While I will not get fully tested for food allergies until later this year, clearly something in what I was eating was not helping my body, because following the detox diet made a difference in my energy level very quickly.
All that said, so much of this diet is not just about what you eat, but how you eat. For example, one of the requirements is to eat breakfast within an hour of getting up, a snack two hours after that, and lunch no more than two hours later. That is very different than my past approach, which was breakfast sometime in my first hour of being at work (so well over two hours after getting up) and no mid morning snack (just water) and lunch around 1 or 2pm, but often more like going on 3pm. Obviously, steady, regular eating before 2pm has made a huge difference in avoiding afternoon slumps.
The other thing that really hit me at about Week 7 is that before I was often low-grade tired and would just power through, not really realizing I was actually tired. Then I would get incredibly tired and crash, and sleept/relax but would never feel like I rested. Now, I am not tired often, but when I do get tired, I get really tired – like “I must stop and get rest or I will crash badly” BUT the big difference is, all it takes is a night of 9 hours of sleep, or a couple of naps, and I feel like new. Also, I get that feeling of “I am SO tired” after several nights of less than 7 hours of sleep and long hours at work when it actually seems normal to feel “I am tired, I need a little more R&R” as opposed to on a Tuesday, after sleeping a ton over the weekend.
I think something else that has changed now is that there is nothing clouding my perception of being tired. I was never one to have a lot of sugar or caffeine running through my system, but having none has definitely made me more in tune when I am feeling tired and need to rest. This is really where “honoring one’s body” comes in – I have found it a lot easier to listen to my body on this diet because there is no noise int the communication – either I am not tired or I am. There’s no low-grade tiredness which gets masked by things like sugar or caffeine in such a way that eventlly you are past a point of no-return on being tired.
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.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers