28-Day detox. I know what you’re thinking – “Why would anyone choose to do this?” – Read on to see what happened on my month-long journey, and discover the myths versus the reality.
I wasn’t planning on a long or involved detox like this one. I prefer to fast and had thought about it, but then this opportunity presented itself. Via Facebook, a ‘friend’ whom I’d never met, posted this plan and asked more ‘friends’ to get involved. This is my first social network cleanse.
Like everything else with social media, you’re alone, but you’re not. That seemed intriguing. There’s support in the form of recipe ideas from the health coach leading the cleanse, other participants’ experiences and questions, and the sense of community. I had to give this a go.
I didn’t have many goals going into this cleanse aside from seeing what happens.
Some of what happened surprised me. I was confronted by questions and myths, curiosity about what a detox is and why someone would do that. It seems like only tree-hugging vegans or those weird macrobiotic types would come up with a scheme like this, doesn’t it? That’s the first myth I encountered. Here are a few more.
Myth: Give it all up. Suffer. Starve.
Reality: I gradually gave up some foods. They were: wheat and gluten, dairy, meat, sugar (all natural sweeteners, that is, except for honey and maple syrup in small doses), caffeine and alcohol. If you consumed soda, processed foods, refined foods, artificial anything, of course those would gradually go, too. In the beginning it was unpleasant, even for me, but before you know it, you feel better and you realize there’s still a ton of food available to eat.
Myth: You have to drink green juices. No one wants to drink anything green.
Reality: Green smoothies and juices have come a long way. One of my favorites was spinach, mint, ginger and pineapple made with coconut water. There were other gems like this in the mix. Yes, greens help eliminate toxins, the entire purpose of a detox.
Myth: You eat only rice cakes or worse steamed vegetables for breakfast.
Reality: Bread isn’t the only thing to eat for breakfast. I’ve had quinoa with purslane omeletes, delicious gluten-free coconut pancakes, oatmeal with coconut milk, amaranth with drizzles of honey and fruit. With a green smoothie, of course.
Myth: You lose a lot of weight but then it comes back.
Reality: You might lose some weight. It might come back if you suddenly go back to eating exactly like you did before the cleanse, regardless of how “healthy” your diet is or you think it is.
Myth: You can’t think clearly because you’re always hungry.
Reality: You think much more clearly because you’ve freed your body from one of the most taxing processes, the digestive one! By giving your digestive system a break, other functions in the body get a tune-up, too. See how everything is connected?
Myth: Busy people can’t detox because they need energy.
Reality: Busy people might find it harder to commit to something like this because it does take planning to do it well. As above, you’ll find you have more energy!
So, what else happened?
- My brain fog cleared completely.
- I felt hungry at the beginning but then realized that it was because I had stopped snacking so much. Didn’t think much about that little habit before.
- I began to do other good things for my body with more consistency such as get on my yoga mat more and run, run, run!
- I lost a bit of weight, but I suspect that’s mostly from NOT being bloated after eating gluten.
- What I was afraid of, was actually confirmed. While I don’t have an actual allergy or intolerance to gluten, I do much better on a diet containing very little or no gluten in it. (My ancestors were not a gluten-eating people, so why would I be?) I was sad about this. Even though I have an arsenal of info and skills on what to do for GF diets, this was a blow. But, I am going with the flow and seeing what happens!
By far, the best thing that happened from this cleanse was that I took myself out of a routine, which can quickly become a rut. By making this one change for 28 days, I invited other and different things into my life. New recipes, different conversations, experiments with green smoothies, and more exercise all helped me in my cleanse but they also inspired me. It’s also made me look at my diet yet again in a whole new light.
As a health-supportive chef, I do this for a living. I help people with their own food journeys that often include detox/cleanses and I practice what I preach. If all this happened to me on a cleanse, what might happen to you?
If you give a 28-day detox a go, please let me know how it goes.