I. Hate. Diets.
I actually hate them. I feel like it’s so stupid to count calories and limit portions and to cut out whole food groups you don’t need to. I’m not down with juice cleanses or experimenting with fasting. That being said, I do sometimes try to take a break from some foods that might not be the best for my body.
Two Fridays ago was a huge wake up call. After eating some of the desserts I made for my friends (M&M blondie bars) I regretted it almost immediately. I felt sore, nauseous and bloated, which was not fun at all, especially going into a weekend. Of course, I don’t think one blondie bar did all that on its own, but coming off of Valentine’s Day, where there’s candy everywhere… you know the deal. So below, I’ve lain out my rules for the detox.
No refined sugar. This means no cane sugar, brown sugar, rock sugar, powdered sugar, etc. Things like “cane juice” on labels also mean sugar. Natural sugars, like those in fruits, are fine, as are sweeteners such as coconut sugar and honey. Sugar was recently uncovered as the main culprit behind major health issues–not fat. Eating less refined sugar can clear up your skin, help you lose weight and improve your overall health; cutting it out completely for a while is hard, but is super helpful, because sugar is addicting.
No gluten. I’m not actually gluten intolerant, but staying away from gluten makes it easier to stay away from other harmful things in processed food. Things that are labeled “whole wheat” often have lots of added insoluble fiber, which can be really hard to digest and can make you feel super crappy.
That was a pretty easy resolution to stick to, because it meant I could be creative with what I cooked and ate. Plus, healthy food can taste really, really good.
On the first day of my detox, I made the above meal for lunch. Weekends make it easy to have a hearty but healthy lunch, so both Saturday and Sunday of that week I made myself something nice. Above is a skillet sautéed veggies and chickpeas, and below is a quinoa bowl with brussels sprouts, avocado, hummus and salmon.
Even after a few days, I was feeling a lot better. I have an autoimmune disorder, so I’m already not feeling well, and the addition of so much sugar and gluten was making me feel disgusting. Cutting it out worked almost immediately, and I spent an entire week staying away from candy and looking at labels. Literally everything has some sugar it in, I swear. So I made sure to make all of my own food.
A new staple of mine has been a green smoothie. I blend up some kale, ½ an avocado, some coconut water and some frozen fruit, and it creates this cold, thick smoothie. All the experts say to listen to your body when you eat, and I feel so good after drinking this. I feel satisfied, awake and responsible–though I’m pretty sure that last one is because I’m getting some veggies in before lunch.
Two days ago I babysat from 4pm – 11pm, and so I had to eat some of the food they provided there. That’s when I reintroduced gluten (it was pizza). It made me bloated as hell, but I don’t know if that was all because of the gluten or due to the soft cheese as well. In general, though, gluten is the least of my problems; sugar was the real culprit, so I was a little wary of eating it again.
So yesterday I ate two small squares of dark chocolate, because I thought that would be a safe and limited way to eat sugar. While I ate it, I loved the taste, but realized that I would miss feeling so good. Long story short, I’m going to try to severely limit the amount of sugar I eat from now on, just to keep my body happy. And if my body is happy, so am I.
Sugar can mess you up. I’ve always sort of known that, but hadn’t experienced it at such a high level until now. Limit sugar as much as possible in your day to day life, and make sure to take care of yourself when you do happen to eat a lot, like at a party with birthday cake.
A happy body is a happy mind. I feel so good when I eat well. I get really stressed with school–the trimester is almost over–and the better I eat the better equipped I am to deal with that stress. Fruits and veggies, healthy fats, complex carbs and sufficient protein can give you so much energy, so that’s how you should aim to eat.
Kale is better than spinach. I hate spinach. A lot. And putting kale in my smoothies is infinitely better than using spinach.