I just reread my post on my struggle with food (“It’s a Big Fat War”) and got really discouraged. I’m in day two of my 14-day raw food detox diet, and it is not easy. Rereading that post was terribly disheartening (why do I self-sabotage???), so today I’m going to write about what a detox diet plan is and why I’m doing it. I need a pep talk to return to on those days when I really feel like I need a gigantic slice of pizza topped with pepperoni and dripping with–okay, without further ado, let’s talk detox.
Detox diets are founded on the notion that our bodies are overloaded with toxins from environmental pollution; chemicals in our plastics, cleaning products, beauty products, and building materials; and preservatives, pesticides, and hormones in our food. Yes, it can get a little alarmist and conspiracy theory-ish if you take it too far (the government PUT those chemicals in our food to control our minds!). But the general concept–that bad stuff in our environment that can make us unhealthy–isn’t too much of a stretch.
So the idea is that we eat whole, fresh foods that are packed with fiber and nutrients, thereby giving our poor overloaded bodies a chance to dump those accumulated toxins and function better. The first three or four days of a detox diet are pretty rough. As my body flushes out the poison and withdraws from sugar, caffeine, and complex carbs, I usually experience unpleasant side effects: headaches, lethargy, and stomach pain. It’s a tough obstacle to overcome, because I’m telling myself that I’m doing this diet to feel better, and instead I feel like death warmed over.
However, having done it before, I know that there’s a light at the end of a pretty short tunnel, and that in about 72 hours, I’m going to feel like Superwoman. Detoxing improves my life in every way possible, short of handing me a million bucks. Along with exercise, it clears my skin, brightens my mood, gives me more energy, shrinks my waistline, helps concentration, makes me sleep better, and just about eliminates bloating, indigestion, and the host of other stomach ills that typically accompany a poor diet.
There are several different ways to detox, but Tim and I usually do it by eating raw food. A typical day starts with a mixed berry smoothie, with a little flax seed added for omega-3’s. Mid-morning I’ll juice 8-10 carrots and two beets. Lunch is always a salad; today it’s going to be kale, spinach, cherry tomato, pumpkin seed, avocado, and castelvetrano olives, with a little dressing made from olive oil, vinegar, and liquid aminos. Afternoon snack consists of a handful of raw nuts and seeds. The only cooked food we eat is whole-grain brown rice and beans, and that constitutes about 1/4 of our dinner. The rest of dinner is a mixture of chopped vegetables tossed with a light sauce (last night’s sauce was lime juice and crushed ginger), and there’s always whole fruit for dessert. We also drink 2-3 cups of green tea a day. While it does get old after two weeks, there’s simply no denying the health benefits.
I know I’ll never be a health guru or fitness freak. It will always take effort to haul my lazy butt off the couch and into the gym, nachos will always taste better to me than broccoli, and protein shakes will never replace brunch. However, I want to live my life to the fullest, and if it takes a few wheatgrass smoothies to get there, then so be it. Well, I must run for now. I hear 8-10 carrots and a couple of beets calling my name.
Okay, I feel a little silly putting a disclaimer on here, but (happily!) I have a lot of random people reading my blog these days. This diet works well for me and Tim, but it isn’t for everyone. Always consult a doctor before changing your diet.