WEEK ONE LESSONS LEARNED:
1. Never assume something follows the detox rules: On my first day of the detox, I was happily consuming soy cheese, certain that I had found a suitable and tasty alternative to regular cheese. The next day, when looking at the label, I came across the ingredient, “casein,” a milk protein. In his book, The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, discovered that casein, which comprises 85% of the protein in cow’s milk, promoted cancer in all stages of its development. I was appalled that a product that claimed to be vegetarian/vegan friendly would have the very ingredient that particular target group is avoiding. Upon further research, I discovered that some companies include casein to give the soy cheese more of a “real cheese” quality and texture, which is ridiculous! You might as well get the real thing! I was not impressed to find out I had unconsciously cheated my very first day!
2. Check your gluten/non-gluten list twice: Your intuition when it comes to what foods contain gluten and what does not can sometimes be an unreliable source. I ate a bowl of vegetable barley soup, only to discover later that barley is a gluten food. Many types of processed food contain gluten as well, so it’s best to keep to keep it natural. This also decreases your time in the supermarket. Who wants to stand in aisles all night reading labels?
3. There are alternatives out there, you just have to do the work to find it: Wow, am I ever lucky that I live at a time when gluten-free and dairy-free lifestyles are being accommodated in the grocery stores and in certain restaurants. I think of the people I know who have been vegans or vegetarians for decades and I’m at a loss as to how they were able to do it! These days, there are plenty of options, you just have to do the research and the comparison shopping.
4. Food bloggers are amazing: The internet has been a great source of inspiration for me when trying to find something to eat. There are so many amazing people out there who have posted vegan/vegetarian and healthy recipes that fit or could be modified to fit into the detox rules. The food pictures on these blogs motivate me and reassure me that I can still eat well while cutting out the things I love. Here are three new blogs that I have stumbled upon this week: “Muddy Spoon,” “The Alkaline Sisters,” and “Healthy. Happy. Life.” If you have any other recommendations, please send them to me!
WEEK ONE NEGATIVE EFFECTS:
How about those first week detox symptoms, you ask? I haven’t experienced anything. No headaches. No nausea. I’m assuming this is because I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I’ve been feeling pretty great with the exception of some fatigue and a bit of stiffness. Whether this is due to the detox, lupus, weaning off prednisone, or change of weather is unknown. As a side note, for the last few months, I’ve been experiencing a lot of bruising on my legs that last up to two weeks. A quick search on the internet revealed that they are common in lupus, but it’s still on the list of things to report during my next rheumatologist appointment.
WEEK ONE POSITIVE EFFECTS:
I’ve noticed that the skin on my face has cleared up since I trashed the chips and iced chai lattes. It’s less greasy and my butterfly rash is less pronounced. I am, however, feeling really bloated. I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that I am consuming more veggies and beans than usual or other womanly issues, but it’s been leaving me feeling like I actually had those chips and chai lattes!
WEEK ONE WEIGHT CHANGES:
I’ve lost one pound in the first week. Weight loss is not one of my goals in doing this detox, but I figured I’d report all the stats!
WEEK ONE’S BIGGEST CHALLENGES:
1. Not feeling satisfied: My mind has had trouble accepting that I do not need a bread product to feel full throughout the day.
2. The end of “fast” in breakfast: Not being able to grab a piece of fruit or a piece of toast has changed my morning routine radically. I have to make time to whip up a detox friendly breakfast or I’ll literally have nothing to eat.
3. No cold, sugary treats: We’ve had a sudden trend of hot weather this Fall, so not being able to have a cool treat like gelati or ice cream has been difficult.
4. Conscious eater fatigue: I’m constantly thinking about what I’m eating or what I’m going to eat. I was doing this to a degree before, but with all the rules of the detox, it’s been over the top.
5. Having cravings for Indian Food: Naan and some butter chicken sounds good just about now…
6. No vinegar: I love balsalmic vinegar on salads. As an alternative, I can whip up an oil-based dressing at home, but at restaurants or grocery stores it’s difficult to find a dressing without vinegar in it. The alternatives usually have dairy in them, which I cannot have.
7. No fruit: I eat a lot of fruit normally, so cutting everything out except bananas has been tough. It’s my go-to snack because it’s portable, delicious, and gives me a sugar boost. I’ve probably been using too much honey to compensate…
WEEK ONE FAVOURITE FOODS TO COMBAT CRAVINGS:
1. Plantain bananas: My mom has sliced and cooked plantains for me as a dessert for as long as I can remember. They are healthy, filling, and although I normally eat them with brown sugar, they do not need additional sweetening. My cravings for bread are more than satisfied with a plate of warm and delicious plantains. Thanks, mom!
2. Tahini (Sesame spread) with honey on a rice cake/cracker or piece of warmed brown rice wrap.
3. Rice crackers/baby carrots with hummus.
4. My keepers: Okay, so I know my keepers aren’t food per say, but they have helped me combat my cravings. Tonight, one of my keepers went to the trouble of making a detox friendly meal for me. I have another invite from another keeper for later this week. Others inquire about and support the endeavour, even trying portions of the detox with me or making a commitment to try it at a later time. Comments on the blog from readers have also kept me on track and out of the cheese buns. Thank you, my lovelies!!
Day #8 is almost complete and another two weeks of detox awaits me. Week two of Face Forward’s Detox Challenge, here I come!