I am well into week 2 of my 1-week detox. Before I review the details, I have to say that I have never felt this good in my life. I have an amazing amount of energy, my mood is generally relaxed and happy without the swings (big and little) that I have within a week or even within a given day, and I'm not feeling deprived. I just wanted to put that out there right away so that when you look at what I've been doing, you keep reading rather than deciding I am just a total whack job and leave my blog never to return.
To review, my detox plan was to cut out all artificial sweeteners, added sugars, refined carbs and typical allergens: soy, eggs, dairy, peanuts. Of course I am already gluten-free, and I've been a vegetarian of some sort since 1991, which might prompt you to ask (oh so appropriately, given the title of my website and blog) "So what can you eat?" And the answer is: veggies, fruit, legumes, and non-peanut nuts and nut butters, plus some other stuff, like nutritional yeast, plain almond milk and coconut milk and protein powders. I use the protein powders as part of my breakfast, which was typically devoid of any protein. I've found that with the breakfast of a protein shake with a cup or more of spinach, a cup or more of frozen berries, a half a cup of plain almond milk, a lot of water and a total of 4 tablespoons of two kinds of protein powder with loads of fiber keep me filled up pretty well until lunchtime. No, it doesn't look very appetizing. It is, in fact, sort of grey-green and slushy. But who cracked open the first egg and thought THAT looked tasty? I figure we can get used to anything. As for taste, since one of the protein powders I am using is not sweet at all, the shake is mostly sweetened by the berries, so it is not nearly as sweet as most "shakes" or smoothies. This IS a detox about eliminating added sugars and artificial sweeteners, so it's okay with me that the flavor is on the neutral side. And the detox isn't a forever thing, so I'm not getting too hung up on the sustainability of the breakfast shake for the long haul.
My typical lunch didn't change -- I have a big green salad with beans and a few almonds with salsa for dressing. Check it out in detail here on You Tube: My delicious lunch salad. With it, I usually have a couple of pieces of fruit -- apples, oranges, or whatever looks good. And my typical dinner didn't really change. I frequently make a big pot of food on the weekend to enjoy as leftovers all week, or I make a fast dinner of beans and greens. I had been working hard on avoiding snacking between meals, which meant I was ravenous when I got home from dinner, so dinner would end up being a multi-hour eatfest without a finite ending. I could call it after dinner snacking, but there was really not much of a break between dinner and the start of the consumption of things like Rice Chex and raisins (part way through the detox I added dried fruit to the list of things that essentially count as added sugar).
So the big changes for me were eliminated Sweet-n-low and sweetened vanilla almond milk from my morning chai and my evening decaf chai (now I'm either drinking black regular or decaf coffee or unsweetened chai with plain almond milk), I started the protein shakes, I added more fruit in the afternoon when I feel hungry, and I have fruit or tea after a healthy and substantial dinner. At work I shifted to green tea without sweetener, and I'm trying to drink more water both at home and at work, which is surprisingly hard. I continued my usual exercise schedule of either running, circuit training, workout videos or Wii Fit or EA Sports Active for 45 minutes 5-6 days a week. Things I was tempted by in the last 12 days were the big container of gf pistachio caramel popcorn and gf pistachio brittle that were New Years gifts from my beloved aunt and uncle, and a gf blueberry muffin baked by a friend and co-worker who wanted to repay some kindness. Fortunately these arrived on Day One, so I had some serious resolve going for me. I had a bite of each so that I could genuinely appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gifts, then I froze the rest of the muffin, and the popcorn and brittle are still available (and I'm still strong in my resolve!). Since I'm not a big gf pasta or bread person, it wasn't too hard to leave them out. I've had a little bit of rice a couple of days, but no other grains. I am on the quest for the best GF pizza, so I had to put that project on hold for the duration.
Bottom line, this detox has totally been worth it. Below is a pic of the protein powders I tried. I settled on the RAW, which was on sale ($25 for a 22 oz can) at Whole Foods, and which was the least sweet of the three sample packs and which has 25 grams of protein per serving. The TJ's Hemp Powder is way less expensive ($10 for a 16 oz can), loaded with fiber, and a little sweet, but only has 9 grams of protein per serving, so I've been doing a mix of the two in my morning shake. Right now I plan on continuing the detox until I use up my protein powders. Maybe a couple more weeks?
Yes, I would recommend this detox to others. It's not forever, and everyone should know how good they can truly feel when not under the influence of sugar. Next I suppose I should do a detox and leave out the coffee. Maybe next time!