Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Time for a Tune Up

Time for clean eating. Luckily my backyard garden can
provide delicious meals like this salad.
Lately I have been feeling not quite right after eating. Bloated, gassy, cramps, lethargic, acne, weight gain. I knew what I had to do - detox.
The time wasn't right until school was over for the year when I would have more time to plan, shop, prep, cook and clean up every meal, as I can have no processed, convenience foods that I occasionally rely on when I am busy working. I have detoxed many times in the past so I knew what I was getting into with this. Before having children I did an extended candida cleanse for a year and then at regular intervals throughout the year (aiming for two to three times a year). With what felt like almost constant pregnancy and breastfeeding this wasn't possible for the past eight years (I did one or two in the short breaks before getting pregnant again). 

I decided to start the new year by giving up coffee as a first step in detoxing and making myself feel better. I knew that coffee "owned" me and I didn't like it. I wanted to see if I could make it one month and reevaluate at that point to see if I wanted to go back to drinking it. To my happiness I discovered that my PMS symptoms, which had gotten quite unbearable, vanished. So that was a no-brainer: coffee was out! Except for one mocha frappuccino in Disneyland after several 12+ hour days in the park, I have been coffee and caffeine free for almost seven months. I still enjoy a morning hot drink ritual so I have found several herbal teas I enjoy (rooibos teas for their boldness). The difference this has made for my monthly cycle cannot be overstated. 

From food and allergy testing I know I am intolerant of dairy, corn, sugar, caffeine and chocolate (!). I have found that in small doses I can have these foods in my regular diet and if I notice any issues I cut back or cut them out for a while. However, I am wondering if I should be retested for gluten because of the bloating and cramps I have after a heavily carb centred meal. 

These fruits are out. Good thing I don't really like them.
These are for my daughters.
The detox I am following is similar to the candida diet I followed over a decade ago. I have eliminated dairy, sugar (including honey and molasses) and sweet fruits (limited to "local" fruits like apples, berries, and non sweet fruits like lemons and limes), flours (even gluten free flours), fermented foods (including soy sauce, vinegars), peanuts, mushrooms and alcohol. I am eating a lot of quinoa, rice, beans, lentils, leafy vegetables and root vegetables, onions, garlic, cherries and local berries, among other foods. 

As I write this I am halfway through the extreme phase of the detox. I plan on continuing some of the healthy habits after completing the detox. There are, however, some negatives. 

Pros of the Detox:
  • I don't feel bloated, crampy and gassy in the hours after eating. This took a few days but now I don't feel so lethargic and cranky after eating. Goal achieved!
  • I am rediscovering foods and ways of cooking that I have enjoyed in the past. 
  • We have had some amazingly delicious guilt-free food: My husband cooked a yummy meal seasoned with nothing but tonnes of garlic, ginger and coconut oil. Best meal this detox!
  • I know that this a short term food plan and I can slowly add in foods I want to eat again at my leisure. 
  • We are cooking whole foods and eating at home almost exclusively. No processed food at all!
  • I do not miss dairy as much as I have in the past. 
  • Avoiding flours and starches has not been as challenging as I was worried it would be.
  • Doing it at this time of year when there is so much delicious local produce has made it easy to avoid all sugars.
    All local, all delicious! I can eat as much of these as I want.
  • I know this is short term.
  • I needed a kick-start to eating more whole foods and this has worked. 
  • Planning meals for our whole family has not been hard. Our daughters largely eat what we are eating (or at least portions of what we are eating), but they are still enjoying limited processed food (one battle at a time) and sweets. 
  • Avoiding ice cream has not been hard at all. Even though it is summer I don't miss it because my last experience with ice cream is what clinched the deal on this detox for me. Gut. Wrenching. Cramps.

Cons of the Detox:
  • I have to plan my outings around mealtimes as I either have to bring food with me or choose where I eat carefully. We have had one meal out and I found one dish I could order, minus the sauce.
  • Socializing, which usually involves food, is difficult. I dislike giving a list of food restrictions to hosts. We have had to time this detox to be in between family celebrations.
  • It has been a challenge to make sauces without soy sauce and balsamic vinegar (staples in my cooking repertoire) and salad dressings without vinegar.
  • I miss chocolate so much. 
  • I miss alcohol almost more than chocolate. I enjoy having a nice drink while cooking dinner and I am looking forward to having it again.
  • It has been challenging watching our daughters enjoy cold treats like the Hawaiian shaved ice treat at the farmer's market and freezies in the summer heat.
    It was a hot day and I was jealous
    that I couldn't have a taste of her shaved ice.
  • I have been crankier and more hungry, although that is definitely getting better. Sorry family.

I intend on adding alcohol and my homemade chocolate (made with coconut oil and honey) almost immediately upon finishing the detox. Unless my problems persist I am crossing my fingers that flours can come back, albeit a bit more limited. I will be a little slower adding flours back into my diet and I hope to make more with alternative gluten-free flours such as amaranth, kamut, and coconut "flour" for treats.

Overall this detox has been a good restart for me. I knew that making gradual changes to move away from the processed food I eat would never happen because I am an all or nothing person. I needed this "shock" to my system. For that reason alone the detox has been successful - I have had zero processed foods and I am surviving quite nicely. 

No comments:

Post a Comment