From Toxic To CleanPosted: February 4, 2011
Have you ever thought that your body could be experiencing a toxic overload? I’m sure most people realize that their bodies have waste matter in them that we eliminate on a regular basis. But other than that, have you actually thought about the toxic chemicals that go in, on, and around your body each day? I had never thought about this until I read my first two books on changing my health. Spent by Frank Lipman and The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin. Both of these books taught me about the health risks of consuming a Standard American Diet (SAD). We’re all aware of the SAD diet- processed food in alluring packaging, loads of sugar and refined flour, soda and coffee galore, fattening sauces and mounds of MSG. When I realized that I needed to change the way I was eating, I started to do what most Americans who think they eat healthy do. I turned to the “healthy” SAD diet. Diet foods, sugar-free, fake spreads, low fat, packages that say “all natural”. What’s truly sad about this is that most Americans think they are eating healthy if the label on a box has one of those terms. You start to think, good for me, I’m being wise about my eating habits. But, it’s a trick and honestly, causing more harm to your body with all of those artificial chemicals it takes to make food look, smell, and taste like food.
So, how do you overcome this food induced toxic state? Simple, don’t eat toxic foods! Easier said than done, but that is what I, along with my husband, set out to do for the month of January. We decided that for the first time in our lives, us former fast-food junkies would go an entire month without meat, dairy, sugar, coffee, alcohol, processed foods, or foods with preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients. We had water, hot tea, homemade juice, homemade almond milk, fresh coconut water, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, legumes, lentils, organic whole grains, herbs and spices. It took a lot of preparation and a huge amount of will-power to do this, but at the end of the month we had accomplished our goal. Here are some highlights of the month long cleanse.
The first week was horrible for me. No wait, the first DAY was horrible… worst timing ever. Alan and I started our cleanse on January 1. On January 2nd, Alan and I went to our 7th (yep, 7th) family Christmas gathering with my step-mother’s side. Papa Del’s homemade Italian sausage spaghetti, couldn’t have it! My cousin’s, who happens to be a professional pastry chef, homemade carrot cake, couldn’t take one bite! It’s sort of funny to me now but I was actually really upset about it then. I truly experienced detoxification symptoms. I was moody, weak both physically and mentally, and all I could think about was food. I don’t normally eat junk food, but every single piece of food or “food like item” that I came in contact with seemed like it was just taunting me. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo You Cant Eat Me! Caffeine withdrawal was not fun either. I only drank about 2-3 cups of coffee a day, but going from that to zero coffee was hard. I’m not an alcoholic, but every night the first week I wanted a glass of wine or just one Shiner Bock. I think part of my cravings had to do with that fact that I’m naturally rebellious. Tell me I can’t do or have something and I’ll do everything I can to prove you wrong. But, the other part was the reality that I was somewhat addicted. Addicted to caffeine (a legal stimulant drug), addicted to sugar (as addictive and harmful as illegal drugs) , addicted to cheese, addicted to the chemicals in food that make everything taste so yummy.
I know, who would want to knowingly put themselves through such misery!? But, it got better. Each week I found myself less and less drawn to the foods and drinks that I used to eat on a normal basis. I started to sleep incredibly well and had energy to get me through the day without that foggy brain feeling. Regularity, not going to go into detail, but goodness gracious I felt cleaned out alright! I actually had a lot of fun preparing menus and coming up with delicious snacks and meals that were wholesome and nutritious. This was something that Alan and I bonded over and truly enjoyed doing together. In fact, I know that I am truly blessed to have such an amazing husband that was 100% on board and dedicated to sticking to this cleanse the entire month. By the last week, we both wanted to continue eating a clean and toxic-free diet on a regular basis but less extreme.
Want to start consuming less toxic products but feel overwhelmed or have no clue where to start? I’ll continue to post more about advice and recipes soon!