So, I did it. 21 days without fruit, sauces, sugar, bread, and dairy, to name a few. During Thanksgiving Dinner, I stood defiant as my family members tried to coax me to indulge in not one, but three of my favourite Filipino desserts. If that were not cruel enough, my sister brought a Marble Slab Creamery Raspberry Ice Cream Cheesecake . That’s a mouthful, but I definitely didn’t have one. I was about to crumble into a trembling heap, but instead, I chose to cheat in the form of one piece of sliced mango. And even then, I clutched it in my hand so long before eating it that I drew confused looks. Yes, I was lost in a moment of crushing guilt and temptation, but amidst the ridiculousness of that moment, I had a realization:
For years, I was absolute in my knowledge that I would never have the will power to change or sustain the kind of diet I knew could make a difference in my life with lupus. I had heard of many people with chronic illness who had changed the quality of their lives through diet, but everyday there was a new craving that needed to be satisfied: Bubble tea, M & Ms, tootsie rolls, chocolate almonds, chips, pastries, Nutella, pad thai, deep fried banana cheesecake with ice cream. I felt like I deserved these “foods,” that I was allowed to have them because I was feeling so crappy. It was my reward for getting through the day, the release from hiding the pain from others. By thinking I owed myself these treats, I was contributing to my body’s decline. I was “feeding the wolf” and it was a vicious cycle I didn’t have the will or desire to control. It didn’t help that I couldn’t cook, nor did I want to. I needed something that I could enjoy and indulge in and my inner treat monster was the way to get it.
During the detox, I felt better, lighter, and cleaner, but more than that, I felt responsible. It was the first time I truly took responsibility for everything I put into my body. By completing the detox, I found the iron will I never thought I had! In the face of my most desired desserts, I “cheated” by eating a piece of MANGO. So clearly, the final word on the detox is “hope.” After completing the 21-day detox challenge, I feel like there’s hope that I will be able to make the right food (and treat) choices for the long haul. The first thing I wanted to eat when I finished my detox wasn’t bread, nor cheese, nor chocolate, but plump and juicy, organic raisins!! Nothing has ever tasted so good in my life! I think that speaks for itself!
My next food challenge: Going “raw” for a week… but I’m definitely going wait a while before I attempt to do that. I think I deserve at least a few months of “laid back eating!”