my 21 day detox taught me not to do a 21 day detox

I’d really love to start this post with I did a 21 day sugar detox and I killed it but instead I’m going to say that trying to do a detox when your diet is already incredibly limited was a lesson in what not to do when your diet is already incredibly limited.

For starters, my diet is currently already limited to the following list:
*veggies (minus hard to digest veggies like cabbage. and brussels sprouts.)
*fruit
*meat, fish
*nuts
*occasionally: grains like rice and quinoa
*coffee, tea, some liquors (I hate sweet drinks, so I drink all beverages with no sweeteners, even mixed drinks.)

The detox I attempted to do limited my diet to:
*veggies (but no potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets or other naturally sweet  and starchy veggies)
*grapefruit, granny smith apples, not yet ripe bananas, lemons and limes
*meat, fish (but not cured meat)
*nuts

Avoiding refined sugar is not hard for me. Unless I can find a dairy and soy free chocolate bar, there’s almost nothing sweet I can buy that is free of gluten, diary, soy and eggs. I also am not a baker, so making sweets is rare. Trying to cut back on my sweet tooth meant eating less fruit, not eating sweet potatoes,  and not drinking wine. Ok, no problem.

Here’s what 21 days eating this way (above) translated to: not eating until 2 p.m. (or sometimes 4 p.m.) because I didn’t take time to figure out what I could eat on the detox, so instead, I just drank coffee and didn’t eat until the evening when I’d make a massive meal and go to bed with a headache from not eating all day. Really. Dumb.

Here’s the good and bad of what I learned over the last 21 days:

1. Bad: I already have to plan ahead for every single meal I eat. Trying to limit my diet even more especially when I’m busy translates to: It’s too much work. I’ll eat half an avocado and a latte and call it breakfast/lunch.  This move over a number of days translates to massive headaches. That last for days. It basically moved me from eating Larabars and lattes all day to not eating and drinking coffee all day. Not healthy. Ridiculous.

2. Good: I don’t need to learn to eliminate sugar. I hardly eat it anyway. I used to have a major sweet tooth but I don’t as much any more, so why exactly am I trying to do this…? The detox was about limiting cravings. I already have a biologically built-in inability to digest so much that limits and cravings mean very different things to me now. Learning this about myself was really awesome.

3. Bad: Sure, giving up alcohol if a few weeks is probably healthy. When I crave something sweet, I crave a glass of wine, a bowl of coconut ice-cream, or a rice cake smothered in peanut butter and my mom’s homemade raspberry jam. (She makes a special one with less sugar for me now because she rules.) The only thing I craved on this detox was sweet potatoes and wine. These things are not inherently bad for me. I’m not sure avoiding them did me that much good.

4. Good: Avocados in smoothies are always a good idea. New favorite: 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, coconut/almond milk, 1 big spoonful of peanut or almond butter. Tasty good fats. Also, bacon and parsnips are a perfect combo. Who knew?

5. Bad: It’s day 22 and I ate 2 Larabars  and an almond milk latte and called it breakfast/lunch. Clearly, I did not kick my Larabar habit. I’m not clear if this is a bad thing or just my reality right now.

6. Good: It was awesome to do this diet with my sister, brother-in-law, and friends. I created a private Facebook group for people doing the detox with us and it was so great to share all our recipes and cheer each other on when we wanted to face-plant into a pile of Oreos. (Or, if you’re me, into a glass of wine and a baked sweet potato.) My one thought is that if you are ever going to attempt to change anything in your diet, get a buddy. It’s easier with a buddy. I know this after 5 years of having to eat drastically different from everyone else. Having two siblings who eat like me makes me  feel “normal” when it comes to eating.

7. Super Duper Bad: After 10 months, I decided to try eggs last week. It was a disaster. It deserves its own blog post. I’m currently reading up on the science of egg allergy testing to I can write an informed post on egg allergies. Needless to say, the science is not conclusive.

I think the good out-weighs the bad on the last 21 days. It made me realize that it’s okay to go gentle and remove things from my diet, but only if they really make sense for my well-being. Is a sweet potato and a glass of wine here and there really going to wreck me? No. But I think that given how little sugar (refined and natural) I actually consume, limiting myself more than I already have isn’t really all that worth it, especially if it only causes me more stress. (What the hell am I gonna eat? Answer: Nothing.) I think I’m going to stick to my sweet potatoes. And Pink Lady apples. And ripe bananas. I really really missed ripe bananas.

I committed to this detox to see what it would do for my skin and stomach aches. My skin is no better, but I know enough to realize 21 days is not going to change my skin. Eggs wrecked my stomach. I don’t consider the last 21 days a failure, though. I think of it more as a kick-starter to eating with a “restore” state of mind: gentle foods that heal and give your body some rest. I’m game to keep going with this. Only with ripe bananas.

 

 

 

 

 



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