I have now completed the first week of my month long detox challenge. (See the Day 1 post here. See the Day 15 post here. See the final post here.) That means I have not had any dairy, gluten, refined sugar, soy, caffeine or alcohol. I know it’s only been a week, but I’m surprised by how mild, how manageable, and how infrequent my cravings have been. I mostly craved sugar in the first few days, but that’s probably because it rained all week and I wasn’t allowed caffeine. In fact, I feel less hungry during the day and am consequently, consuming fewer calories. I do, however, miss the convenience of 1. not having to think about my food, and 2. being able to snack on anything that’s available when I’m hungry. With any dietary restriction, meals and snacks need to be planned ahead of time. That means that both grocery shopping and cooking need to be done at least a day in advance.
Update: Late night, Day 6, I cheated. 😦 I had planned to avoid restaurants for the month of May, but I ended up in a bar with friends when the night’s plans suddenly changed on me. I had a beer and about 2/3 of a pound of wings. The next morning, I was challenged with all sorts of food cravings that I was luckily able to resist.
So far, I’m very happy that I took on this detox challenge. (See below for the health benefits that I’ve seen so far.) My dog is even happier about my detox diet, because I feel safe sharing my homemade almond milk and gluten-free waffles and bread with him.
The Foods I’ve Been Eating and Their Recipes
- For breakfast, I discovered Nature’s Path’s organic, fruit juice sweetened, gluten free corn flakes. They were perfect for my detox diet, they tasted good, and were really crunchy. These would make a great substitute for Kellogg’s corn flakes in recipes such as crispy baked chicken.
- I thought that I would miss cow’s milk tremendously, but I’ve been surprisingly happy with milk alternatives (see a comparison of milk alternatives and rice milk and almond milk recipes here).
- I also experimented with a couple of gluten-free waffle recipes. To my surprise, I found my new favourite waffles recipe here.
- Lunches and dinners are usually meat or fish and vegetables and rice noodle soup bowls. I also enjoyed hong kong curry seafood on rice and homemade beans and hot dogs.
- I tried making gluten-free bread for the first time. Although it couldn’t fully satisfy my love for gluten-filled bread, it helped to make meal and snack time more convenient (ie. less cooking and more options). I’ve been enjoying open-faced, roasted pork shoulder sandwiches with dijon mustard and maple syrup or honey.
- For the gluten-free bread, I used the “Delicious Gluten-Free Bread Recipe” from gluten-free goddess. I used instant yeast, 1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites (whipped until frothy), added 2 extra tablespoons of honey and I had to let the bread rise for 2 hours (without using a bread maker). Note that on the first day, the texture of this gluten-free bread is more moist than bread made with flour. Also, it goes stale quite quickly, so I found it most enjoyable when toasted.
- For snacks, I’ve been eating fruit, nuts, seeds, and various salads.
- Note that you can still enjoy an array of delicious and crunchy deep fried foods! Asian kitchens have always used gluten-free flours for deep frying, such as corn starch, sweet potato starch, tapioca starch, etc. (see the Asian recipes index). Also, authentic Japanese tempura is made with rice flour.
- In terms of sweets, I’ve been eating candied tamarind because I’m pretty sure they were made with palm sugar. I love them and have a hard time stopping myself from consuming too many in one sitting. I haven’t been tempted to experiment with baking yet.
Benefits of the Detox Diet Thus Far
Health Benefits: The first thing that I noticed was a significant decrease in mucous production. After just 3 or 4 days of giving up dairy and refined sugar, I stopped coughing up phlegm in the morning. I feel great about that and I’m confident that I can attribute it to the detox. I’ve seen other improvements, however, I can not contribute those to the detox at this time. For example, I’m sleeping a bit better, have more energy, and am generally in a better mood. However, I’m likely sleeping better because I’m tired from the rainy weather we’ve been having, and I likely have more energy during the day because I’m sleeping more. Furthermore, my elevated mood is probably from the excitement of the upcoming arrival of a new (my first) car. I’ll have a better idea of whether or not the detox diet is making me feel better in a few weeks.
Weight Loss: Weight loss was never the purpose of this detox challenge. The goal was simply to try a different lifestyle and to have more energy. I always thought of weight loss as a potential added bonus, so keep in mind that I have not changed my exercise regimen, and I have not counted calories or selectively eaten foods based on low fat content. As a mentioned earlier, after just a few days of being on this detox diet, I started feeling less hungry and unconsciously reduced my calorie intake. This can likely be attributed to the decreased consumption of carbohydrates and sugar coupled with an increased legume (and fiber) consumption. I don’t own a scale so I can’t tell you if I’ve lost any weight yet. I don’t plan on re-measuring my waist line until the end of the month, but my pants still feel just as tight as they did one week ago.