I’m sharing my experiences during a 21-day food detox. If you’d like to start reading from Day 1, click here.
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We shared time with family this weekend and celebrated my adorable nephew turning six. The five cousins (all boys) had so much fun together. The detox was challenging to stick to for sure, but I made an effort to not get too far off-track.
My sweet Max asked, “Is it almost May, Mom?” I told him that it would be May in about a week and asked why he wanted to know. He responded, “Because that means your birthday is soon, AND you’ll be done with your detox!” (Yes, I’m right there with you, buddy!) Although, this upcoming birthday carries a bit more anxiety than most—I’ll be turning 40. As much as I want to believe that age is just a number, it’s still a milestone that is perplexing to process. It’s just amazing to me how quickly life zooms by and how many more memories I want to fit into this life’s slideshow.
I believe living a health-conscience lifestyle will help me to build those memories—the better I feel, the more likely I am to enjoy life to the fullest and this will be even more important as I continue to age. I don’t believe in diet fads since they are not sustainable, but I strive to make consistent healthy food choices on a day-to-day basis. But, what exactly does “healthy” mean these days?
We can learn from the past.
Yes, a detox requires a change in diet, but, really, the foundation of a detox is not that different from the way all humans used to eat only 100 years ago. Diets during this time typically consisted of whole foods, minimal sugar or processed ingredients, meats, fresh vegetables, fruits, and plant-based foods. This is the food baseline that just makes sense to me and it’s quite a simple approach when I think about it.
For me, looking at food through this minimalistic lens takes so much of the guesswork out of what’s “healthy” and what’s not. For example, if it’s in a package with 20+ ingredients (many of which I can’t pronounce), and the package says it’s natural and only 100 calories, that’s usually a good sign to put it back and walk away. Those 100 calories can actually cause us to put on more weight and add more toxic load to our bodies (which gets stored as fat). A better choice would be to reach for a whole apple or banana.
In a nutshell, if a food didn’t come from the ground or directly from an animal,
it’s likely not a good choice.
No argument, eating this way does NOT fit into our American culture (which makes it even more challenging) but I think if someone is serious about improving their health, making this “hunter and gatherer” type of diet one’s base can be very beneficial. Along with exercise, I have seen vast improvement in my own PCOS (hormonal/metabolic imbalance) symptoms and two of my family members have stabilized their symptoms of diabetes and heart disease. The results are very real and very encouraging!
Repeating smart choices leads to smart habits.
A detox can be an effective way to jump-start a food lifestyle change since it requires you to be hyper-focused on your diet for a few weeks. This awareness, in turn, starts to build long-standing positive habits of choosing the right foods for your body’s optimum health. The really cool thing is that once smart food choices become consistent, you’re more likely to build off this success and create more healthy habits in other areas of your life.
If you’re interested in learning more about the specifics of a food detox, Dr. Brayko, whose program I’ve been following, has shared this 3-page document. It provides a brief summary of the key aspects of a detox (many of which I’ve touched on over the past 14 days). Page three is especially interesting as it details how the detox is designed to help several of the body’s main systems. (By the way, I recommend this program because I believe in its benefits wholeheartedly and I don’t receive any compensation for this recommendation.)
Days 12, 13 and 14:
As I mentioned, we visited family all weekend…it was fabulous, but it also meant time spent away from the safety of my own detox-friendly kitchen. I made the decision before the weekend started that I would allow myself a few small treats so I wouldn’t feel completely deprived. However, I was careful to pay attention to how much I was indulging and I listened carefully to any messages my body was sending. For example, I discovered after three bites that I didn’t even want to eat the birthday cake. It just didn’t taste that great to me (something I would normally be all over!).
Wins: A said “no” to a lot of foods.
Flubs: I said “yes” to many “not allowed” foods, too. Tomorrow, I know I’ll be back to my routine and much more likely to make good choices.
Only seven more days to go! Thanks for hanging in there with me.
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