Remember how, in my last post, I said that I was ready to take on a new challenge? Well, it appears as if that “new challenge” is tackling my first ever three-week detox. A year ago, if you had told me that I would be trying a detox, I would have told you that you were crazy. “You want me to give up coffee? Are you INSANE?” Well, for whatever reason, I am here. I can’t tell you what brought me here: no major intestinal issue, no desire to lose weight, just pure experimentation (for the sake of my own knowledge and to help better educate people on what a detox involves).
First, let me clarify that a detox is not the same thing as a fast. Too often, people mistake the two and assume that detoxes involve drinking some liquid concoction all day long. Or omitting food altogether. Let’s be real. There are a lot of fads out there to help people lose weight but the objective of a detox is not to alter how you look but rather change how you feel by adjusting to a healthier regimen and eliminating anything that has a negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being.
I first began toying with the idea of a detox after seeing Imani’s raw food demonstration in late August. Since then, I’ve made an effort to incorporate things like kale, bananas, apples, and almonds into my daily diet. However, my three weaknesses (which I am choosing to eliminate for three weeks) are:
Beer: love a good Oktoberfest, especially around this time of the year, but it causes bloating and reduces my productivity.
Caffeine: coffee in the morning, soda occasionally in the afternoons. Apparently I just need that travel coffee cup in hand as I leave for work every morning and that extra sugary boost to pick me up in the afternoons.
Cheese: drawn to anything cheesy: Pizza, mac n’ cheese, a slice of manchego…all of my favorite comfort foods that taste like heaven but wreak havoc on my digestive system.
The great thing about a detox is that you can choose how much or how little to eliminate. If red meat is your weakness, try cutting that out for three weeks. As I move through this process, I will be documenting the ups and downs of this three-week detox, telling you about my raging headache (head cold or coffee withdrawal…or both?), and trying to draw conclusions about whether or not the foods we are typically drawn to are just those that we were taught to eat at an early age. (Ask yourself: What do you eat now that you used to eat as a kid? Is there anything in your refrigerator that reminds you of childhood?)
While speaking with my holistic health coach, I realized that my lack of creativity in the kitchen is an obstacle for me when it comes time to eat. It also seems to stem from two things: 1) my mother’s love of cooking made it a solo project for her (in other words, she enjoyed the process so much, she rarely asked us to help) and 2) my impatience around eating when I’m hungry determines how quickly I can prepare something. Pasta in 10 minutes? Done.
Once I was able to identify the reasons behind my kitchen anxiety, I sat down and copied down recipes for the week. [Clean Food by Terry Walters is a great place to start.] I then went to Whole Foods and bought the ingredients I would need for the week (e.g., broccoli, carrots, pears, avocado, squash) and have mapped out the week to give myself the time to cook.
A detox is not just about eating, it’s about being kind to yourself. It’s about nourishment.