I’m sharing my experiences during a 21-day food detox. If you’d like to start reading from Day 1, click here.
When I tell someone I’m doing a food detox for 21 days I typically get a response similar to “I could never do that!” Believe me, I get it…who would want to willingly torture themselves like this for three whole weeks? Insane, right? The truth is, I’ve been doing various forms of detox diets for about the past 15 years and for me, it all began with a realization I can only describe as “I have to do this.” Without going into all of the details here (I’ll share the long version another time), the decision to change my long-term diet was one I made after struggling with mysterious symptoms for many years and being diagnosed with PCOS (a chronic metabolic disease affecting hormones and ovulation). PCOS brings with it an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, ovarian and cervical cancers, and diabetes.
The common treatments available for PCOS are:
Option 1: Take birth control pills to suppress symptoms
Option 2: Manage it through diet and exercise
Option 1 was fine for a while but when we started thinking about getting pregnant that obviously had to go away, leaving me with Option 2. The PCOS diet is pretty restrictive when compared to a typical American diet. PCOS management is all about balancing blood sugar and insulin (much like being diabetic) so a PCOS diet should consist of mostly vegetables, lean meats and fish, nuts, seeds, limited whole grains and limited fruits. Much like a Paleo (or hunter/gatherer) diet, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, bread products, pasta, cereals, baked goods, and anything fried or processed are all discouraged.
I choose to eat this way and detox occasionally because I feel it’s necessary in order to keep my body healthy and to be here long-term for my family. If I didn’t have the “scare” of this disorder, I really don’t think I would give my food anywhere near this much thought or scrutiny because there wouldn’t be an urgent reason to do so. However, at some point we’re all in the same boat when it comes to struggling with health problems. I just happened to hit that point earlier than some. Maintaining this diet is definitely not easy, though it has become more routine over the years as I’ve learned to adapt and figure out satisfying recipes. However, I still struggle frequently to make the right food choices and I definitely go through rebellious times where I throw all I’ve learned aside and eat whatever the heck I want. BUT, my body always reminds me (not so kindly) that this is something I must do for my health. Period. End of discussion.
The encouraging takeaway for anyone struggling with any health challenge, is that eating healthier often vastly improves symptoms. Food is so healing if we give our bodies the RIGHT foods. If you’re struggling with PCOS (or any disease) or just not feeling as well as you know you could, why not consider making positive changes to your diet for a few weeks and see what happens? What if providing our bodies with the right foods could prevent or drastically delay health concerns? How much more could we do? Enjoy? REALLY LIVE? I encourage you to start with some of the recipes listed on my 21-day detox challenge page and feel your symptoms melt away.
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