how to start a sorta-detox

My friend and her hubs are going to kick the sugar/carb addiction and I’m pretty stoked that she asked me for advice. What a compliment! She has yet to decide whether her two teens will be doing the cleanse too. I don’t have kids so I can’t really weigh in there. But I can say that the cleanse didn’t feel like a diet, so they might not even realize it’s going on! So here’s my breakdown of how to kick-off a sorta-detox.

1.) may I suggest that you don’t look at the scales and that you don’t count calories during your time on the sorta-detox? It’s hard enough to plan to eat clean. Focus on eating things that are good for you, not worrying about calories. It’s a short period of time and you are retraining yourself- don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  If you are hungry, eat. Also, only plan to do it for 10 days. That way you aren’t thinking, I can never have a diet coke again and then give up.

2.)  watch one of the documentaries to pump you up before you start planning. If you have netflix search for food documentaries or one of the following:

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is a good one if you want to see dramatic change. This one follows a guy that had a litany of health problems (from obesity to a skin disorder) and he went on a juice fast and eventually became so healthy he didn’t need his medicine anymore. amazing.
Hungry for Change is the one I watched right before the cleanse and convinced Jeff to get on board too. Although it’s production could have been better, (it was a little cheesy) it was very, very interesting. It explains how processed food are addicting.
Forks over Knives is inspiring me to add more meatless meals into my diet. I was already doing that but this doc. really upped the ante focusing on studies which show that plant-based diet can reduce the risks of cancer. (The “knives” in the title is referring to surgery scalpels.)

3.) Pick your “rules.” You can pick anything from just kicking out artificial sweeteners to a full scale detox where you go completely vegan and/or wheat free. It just depends on what you want. For me, somewhere in the middle was good.

My rules were nothing refined (foods that have been so broken down that they only have one nutrient: white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sugar, bleached flour, etc.); no artificial preservatives (sodium nitrates, etc. That means no deli meats, and most salad dressings are off limits.), no hormones (in my meat or dairy); organic for the dirty dozen; and no preventative antibiotics. So my rules allowed natural sugar. I ate honey, maple sugar, and fruit. I was really addicted to sugar and the second day I came home and just ate a spoonful of honey straight. I had to have something! But the honey isn’t as addicting because it’s whole. I don’t think I would have been able to go off natural sugars too although some people do and swear by it. God bless em’.

Hint, if you are trying to save $, skip the organic fruits and veggies- In my opinion the pesticides hurt us less than the hormones and antibiotics, but the good thing about organics (fruit, veggies, dairy) is that they last longer. I don’t know why, but they do. I guess when you poison something a little it dies faster. If your goal is just to kick the sugar/carb addiction, obviously you can skip the organics all together.

4.) Plan your 10 days. (or 14, or 30!)  It’ll be difficult to stick to the game plan if you don’t know exactly what to cook when you get home from work. As you know, cooking from scratch takes longer, so you don’t want to be hungry and trying to think of what to have for dinner. (Hint: plan for snacks too.)  Here’s what I planned.  (The red bean curry was amazing! The pumpkin spiced oatmeal was not. Surprising, no?)  You don’t have to stay on your menu if you feel like free-styling. I mixed my breakfasts around. It’s just good to have a game plan mostly for grocery shopping so that you won’t have to make a mid-week run.    

5.) Go grocery shopping. Plan that it will take longer than your typical run and expect it to cost a little more. Produce is more expensive than processed carbs. And that’s because the way our governmental subsidy system is set up…. but that’s a long (and controversial) story. But I can say, it’s not going to be as much as you think because you aren’t going to have waste and you hopefully won’t have to be making little trips to the grocery store on the way home.

6.) Have your last supper! Go out to eat and let someone else cook for you. Enjoy it, realize you aren’t giving it up forever, and then pack your lunch for tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “how to start a sorta-detox

  1. I would definitely vote for the Hungry for Change documentary over the juicing documentary (juicing seems less powerful because it's more of a outrageous/temporary fix rather than a change in the way you think about food)

    My added hint would be to plan a preparation day: After you go grocery shopping and Before you have that last supper before the ten days start–Pre-COOK!!!! Make the snacks beforehand, make some of the lunches that will keep. Trust me, it takes longer to cook from scratch and most nights you wont want to make the next day's lunch. So get a head start by planning a pre-cook day.

  2. Excellent tip, Jeff. Especially with our group because we had to divey things up and figure out who wouldn't be around for the next dinner and junk. I'm glad we had our group because I don't think I would have stuck with it on day 7, but at the same time, it def. took more work for us to coordinate.

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