Last week my editor checked in and offered a post suggestion; “5 Funny Things You Think About When On a Detox.” I at first agreed to write the suggested post, thinking I could weave a funny little tale about life on a detox, and be done with it. But the more I sat on it, I wrote her back and told her no. Because I wasn’t going insane on this detox, wasn’t starving, wasn’t craving everything in sight, wasn’t a raving lunatic bitch. I actually felt pretty dang good in fact. So instead of that funny post about surviving a detox without killing someone, I wrote about detox myths and today, I’d like to share a little a bit about how I not only survived the cleanse, but thrived.
If you need a rundown on the details of the cleanse, go ahead and visit the 21 day cleanse recap post I did when I first started. As I’m writing this, I am cruising through day 21, with just dinner left to go. To tell you the truth, when tomorrow comes, I don’t plan on going bonkers on everything in site, nor do I plan to tiptoe around adding foods back in. I have an appointment with an Endocrinologist and Hematologist over the next 2 weeks, where more blood work will be completed, so until I have answers as to what may be wrong, if anything, I’ll go back to life, sort of as normal. But I do plan to try and walk along a very similar path as I have these past 21 days. More on that later.
First, what did I eat during the cleanse?
I’m working on a comprehensive 21 day printable meal plan that I can share with you, so you can see exactly what I ate, drank and snacked on for the last 21 days. I hope to have that up and ready in 2 weeks. Wish it could be sooner, but we leave on vacation Sunday and I just don’t think I can get it done before then. In general though, I ate the vast majority of meals at home, as eating out, for the most part, was a complete pain in the ass. I ate lunch at Wahoo’s twice, and ordered their grilled fish bowl with brown rice and black beans, and topped with their tangy cabbage slaw, which has no added sugar – I checked. Eating at CPK or Corner Bakery, when I tried, was a joke. Every single food item had one of the top ten allergens, which is what I was avoiding, or at the very least, sugar, added to every single menu item. If eating out while on the cleanse, either call ahead if it’s a small restaurant, and to make it easier on yourself, just tell the manager you have dietary restrictions, and ask if they have dishes without the top allergens. If eating at a chain restaurant, they should all have a list of ingredients and allergens behind the counter. Ask for it and review it. You’ll probably be disappointed and will understand how people with severe allergies feel. Then you’ll sulk and go back home and cook some more.
Back to what I ate, sorry about getting off track! Since breakfast is a juice, for morning snacks I mainly ate apple slices and almond milk, carrot cake energy bites, if I was really hungry after a hard workout, I’d have a rice tortilla with avocado spread on it, or on days when I wasn’t really hungry at all, I’d eat some cashews or a “nice” pear. Lunch was usually a salad because it’s the easiest thing to whip up during the day, my afternoon drink was often a smoothie or water with Aloha pack in it, because I couldn’t bear the thought of cleaning my juicer again. And dinner was a whole myriad of things, which I shared over on Instagram almost daily.
Was I Starving?
I can say this with utmost sincerity, I was not! Of course I got hungry, as we all do before meal time, but I was able to function very well all day and not be consumed with hunger. I was not limiting calories here, and really the only main difference was that I wasn’t eating breakfast, rather drinking it with a green juice, which I do some days anyhow. This does not mean you won’t be hungry, I don’t know what your daily meals look like, but with my existing eating habits, I felt satisfied. To avoid after dinner munchies and cravings though, I did often get into bed by 9pm and read or watch TV so I wasn’t tempted to sneak into the pantry for my chocolate covered almonds. And late night munchies are usually about cravings rather than hunger anyhow.
Keep in mind that when your body gets on this pattern of eating and drinking around the same time everyday, and when you’re feeding it nourishing foods like you *must* do on the cleanse, you will naturally end up feeling full and satisfied because you’re giving your body what it needs to function, not supplementing with empty calories. Also, several studies show sugar consumption can make you actually feel hungrier.
What About Cravings?
I’m not going to lie and say I never had a craving, because of course I did! But not giving into my cravings was both a testament to some mental fortitude, but also science. Sugar and salt when consumed, serves to fuel more cravings for sugar and salt because it’s pretty addictive stuff. When you eat less of it, your taste for it changes and you crave it less. I found myself not even being fazed by sweets by the end of this, but savory, salty foods is another story. I ordered pizza for the kids on Friday night, 18 days into the cleanse, and I almost bit my arm off it looked and smelled so good to me!
But I didn’t give in, because I was feeling so good I didn’t want to rock the boat. See, I wasn’t doing this cleanse because I wanted to lose a few pounds (although I did do that), I was doing it because I wanted to feel better, and after I got past the caffeine withdrawals of the first 3 days, I felt 10 times better than I had felt in the past 6-9 months.
How Did I Feel?
While on the cleanse, I continued to work out 4-5 times a week, and felt great doing so. I got a ton of projects done around the house that I had been putting off, and I continue to avoid the afternoon slump. All in all, I feel annoyingly great! 😉
Tomorrow I plan to wake up and try out a cup of the Allegro decaf, which is guaranteed to be 99.9% caffeine free, through the Swiss Water Method. I don’t plan to back to caffeine, if I can help it. I also plan to be very mindful of my sugar intake, as I think that was another big reason why I felt so full of energy. Plus, sugar helps to feed infections, giving me even more reason to try and limit it as much as possible. As far as the other foods I avoided, I don’t think I’ll worry about them too much unless I get results back which indicate I have an autoimmune issue, which then I would consider following this sort of diet indefinitely.
Read your labels, you’ll be surprised how often sugar in some form is in packaged foods, from almond milk to roasted chicken you get at the supermarket, sugar is added to so, so many foods!
Cook in batches and reserve leftovers just for you. This was crucial! Each week I cooked one separate dish just for myself, to eat for lunch and dinner for a couple of days.
Get a few convenience items to make your life easier. You will be cooking and cleaning a lot, and you’ll get annoyed and tired if you try to do everything yourself. I went through 2 bottles of Tessamae’s dressing during this cleanse, as I was putting it on all my salads and marinating chicken in it on the days I was too busy to whip up an elaborate detox meal. I found a bulk package of beets for example, to add to all my salads to make them feel fancier and so I wouldn’t get sick of eating salads.
For afternoon drinks, signing up for the Aloha pack was a lifesaver because I would just add a pack to water or a Suja juice or even almond milk, and drink it on the go.
MEAL PLAN! Plan out your meals each week and shop accordingly. This isn’t something you can just do flying by the seat of your pants. Fighting cravings and giving up some of my favorite things was made much easier knowing that I had a good meal coming at me, just around the bend.
Lastly, I just want to say that this is a serious process, as in, it’s pretty dang strict. Even Whole 30, one of the more strict programs out there, allows for eggs and red meat. I don’t recommend anyone to try this if their current diet is on the other extreme of healthy. Not to say everyone couldn’t benefit from something like this, I just think it would be really, really hard. I know how to read labels now, what to look for, and for the most part, how to cook this way. My prior familiarity with this way of eating and cooking allowed me to not feel chained to a meal plan, allowing me to feel more flexible. My taste buds, I think, have also changed so that I love the taste of fresh green juice and I’ve learned to love the tastes of food with limited additives. I think if I didn’t have this prior knowledge, and I was still eating a lot of “junk”, it would have been much, much harder for me to stay on track. I don’t say this to try and dissuade anyone from a cleanse of some sort, but just consider you may want to start a little smaller, something like we did during the 30 Day Challenge.
I can’t tell you how good I feel compared to just a few weeks ago. Perhaps because I was feeling so lousy, the results of the cleanse are even that much more remarkable, so please don’t be disappointed if you don’t seem to feel as good as I do, in comparison to pre-cleanse. At the very least though, you’ll improve your health in the process, and see what you’re made of 😉
Oh, and did I “cheat?” Yes, I did; twice. Two weekends ago I went out to dinner with my brother, sister and our spouses and I called the restaurant ahead of time to get a lay of the land. They were happy to make ingredient accommodations for me. But I drank a beer with a 4% alcohol level, had a glass of wine, and then later, had a wine flight, all over the course of 4 hours. I can’t remember being so sick you guys. I threw up several times and regret it so much. It was pretty obvious that my tolerance was already lowered. Along with the fact that I hadn’t had any substantial oil or carbs during dinner, it was a recipe for disaster. And this past Saturday we celebrated my friend Wendy’s birthday, and I had ½ a beer and couldn’t even finish it, nor did I want to.
I’ll keep you posted on the meal plan and in the mean time, please ask me any questions you may have!