30 Day Elimination Detox
Sept. 2014 – So perfectly indicative of how we grow, evolve, and learn, I read this post now, 8 months later, and think, man was I misinformed. For example, gelatin from bones is VERY GOOD FOR YOU if sourced properly. I will eventually run through and edit some of my opinions that I now disagree with – but know that the main premise of what I did, and how it began for me, still stands. This is the detox that took me on an incredible journey of health, wellness, and education. I’m still learning and growing and changing – and I hope I never stop. – DM
Disclaimer: I want to add the important note that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or any kind of medical professional. What I’ve written here are my own experiences and my own beliefs based on those experiences. You should certainly consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
I also really want to thank my friend, Ann who got me into my first 30 day detox. I’ve since tweaked my program a bit into what makes sense for me, but if it weren’t for her encouragement and support, I never would have given something like this a try and wouldn’t have had the life-altering experience that I’ve had as a result. That fateful March 2013 conversation totally changed the trajectory of my life and my philosophy on health and wellness.
The benefits of an elimination detox go far beyond weight loss, though that is certainly a wonderful outcome (for me, at least!). It gives me a chance to rid myself of toxins like gluten, sugar, & stimulants that my body comes to rely on after continued use. It gives me a chance to detoxify from allergenic foods that cause an inflammatory response in my body and intense addictive cravings. It heals candida overgrowth, which is fed by things like processed foods and meats, sugar, yeast, and gluten. Overall, when I have eaten poorly (read: Standard American Diet, aka SAD. Irony?), I find myself weak, lethargic, sleeping poorly, lacking energy, and moody. About week two into a detox, I feel energized, I’m sleeping well and am tired by like 9 or 10 pm (this a good tired, not a weak tired, and is in stark contrast to my insomniatic bouts of still being awake at 3 am!). My skin is clear and glowing and my face and tummy immediately slim down (puffiness and bloat from inflammation).
The other important piece is to figure out what foods may not make sense for you. Are you eating foods that might be causing adverse reactions like inflammation because you are sensitive or allergic to them? For me, I realized that dairy was the culprit of the chronic cough I suffered with for ten years, and the serious sinus infections I had suffered for the last three years. I also realized that gluten is definitely a no go for me. It makes me lethargic and very moody and even makes my joints hurts. I’ll leave it at that because I have talked about that in other posts. Sugar gives me headaches, and of course makes me want to eat, eat, eat, and surprisingly I find I do much better without coffee. I haven’t quite figured that one out. One working theory is that the need for coffee is a byproduct of my eating poorly (like gluten) and then needing coffee to bring up my energy level. However, I have read some information about mold on coffee beans and also that it’s one of the most highly sprayed crops (so now I make sure to do organic if I am drinking it). And just this week I read the post from Gluten Free America about possible hidden gluten in coffee! I’m not sure exactly, but I know I’m better off without it. So, when I started my first elimination detox, I had no idea of these connections. And as I mention in another post, I really had no idea how food impacted me even though many of those signs were right in my face for so long. That first detox absolutely changed my life for the better and it’s been a constant learning and growing experience ever since.
It’s Tough at First, But Stick With It!
I will warn that the first week can be rough. The first few days are tough, with days 3 or 4 usually being the worst. You might get a migraine(s), you might even get what will feel like the flu. It sucks but please don’t give up. This is your body detoxifying itself. Think Breaking Bad and the meth detox scene. It’s not quite that bad but it’s really the same concept – you are ridding yourself of addicting toxins that your body has become dependent on to function. You’ve got to purge these out of your system before you start to feel well. It’s not easy but it’s worth it because you will likely find yourself feeling more well than you ever have before! Also, I found that my first detox was the toughest, and the others since then weren’t so bad.
30 Day Elimination Detox Plan
Overview: You will follow this plan for 30 days. No cheating, no shortcuts, be militant! It’s just 30 days. Every time you want to cheat, tell youself you can have that on day 31. (You may find you don’t want it then, but that’s not the point right now.) Everything really should be organic and non-GMO. Foods will be whole and not processed. There will be lots of no-nos but tons of great things to eat, too. Also, for these thirty days, while not impossible, I find it’s much better to just avoid eating out. It’s so hard to really know what’s in food you don’t prepare. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra planning. Plus, for me at least, I really enjoy preparing these healthy dinners for my family. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but there is something so great about the challenge of making some fantastic and delicious and diverse meals and knowing that you are doing so 100% healthfully!! Around 3 or 4pm, I get so excited thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner; the best, most creative cooking I have ever done has been on detox (and when taking those tenets beyond detox).
The Smoothies: You do can 2 smoothies and a healthy dinner or just the smoothie at breakfast and healthy lunch and dinner. I personally do 2 smoothies because it’s also about dropping a few pounds whenever I’m doing this, plus the smoothie is so easy – it’s one less meal to plan. Plus, if I’m doing a smoothie at lunch, I don’t have to worry about being tempted to eat out. If you don’t choose to do a lunch smoothie, do make sure to have it at breakfast. It’s definitely a great and important way to start your day.
A Word on Coffee: There is also no coffee during your detox. If you are a coffee addict like me (read: at least two triple venti lattes per day for ten years), this is a tall order. Getting off java can mean a complete inability to function – exhausted and cranky, even depressed, achey and suffering debilitating migraines. I drink caffeinated green tea to my heart’s content to wean myself off coffee. I have it every morning along with my smoothie and sip it throughout the day. Sometimes, I brew up the tea and just add right into my smoothies. It’s still a little rough, but helps me to function and after awhile, I realize I really don’t need the tea anymore.
Vinegar (Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar only)
Corn (high GI, little nutrients, and a possible allergenic food)
Nitrates, MSG, etc.; any and all preservatives/additives
This includes no:
bread, pasta, crackers, chips cookies, cereal, cakes, no processed foods, no prepared meals, nothing in a box or frozen meals; no condiments like soy sauce, salad dressing, ketchup, etc; no cheese, butter, yogurt, milk or any dairy products. If it doesn’t come from nature in a whole form, don’t eat it.
Whole, organic foods!
Beef (limit to once/week)*
Wild caught fish (not farmed)
Eggs (free range)
Legumes of all kinds (except soy beans)
Vegan Protein Powder (based on pea protein isolate. May also include rice protein and/or cranberry protein. Should contain no dairy (whey), soy, gluten, sugar, or fillers or preservatives).
*Meats should be free-range and grass fed. Chickens are fed grains but at least make sure it’s veg grain, ideally not soy if you can (but most chicken are fed soy. I had to let that one slide).
*Pork is on the don’t eat list because in my opinion, the only way to really have pork be okay is to get pasture raised free range pork from small farms to ensure the health and lifestyle of the animal. I’m still skeptical of a large-scale farm that says free range but yet, is large enough to service a grocery store chain. The impeccability of the pig’s conditions are even more important than other meats due to the pig’s simplistic digestive system which does not filter out toxins well. Usually for my 30 days, I just skip pork all together anyway. When I do indulge off detox, it’s bought from a small local farm where I know the owners and their practices. I’m going off on a soap box tangent here, but I strongly believe in treating these animals humanely. They should be allowed to eat and act as they would in nature. I do not want to eat animals that lived stressed, in poor or unsanitary conditions, that were given poor or GMO or unnatural foods, or pumped full of hormones, steroids or antibiotics. I don’t want to ingest that product, nor do I want to support the inhumane treatment and suffering of any animal.
Fruit – heavier on berries for weight loss (lowest on glycemic index), but all fruit is great! Organic.
Lots of leafy greens – kale, collards, spinach, salad etc
All veggies are also great. Organic
Yams/sweet potatoes (no white potatoes)
Nuts & nut butters (no peanuts)
Organic olive oil
Shredded coconut (no sugar added!)
Flax seed and oil
Dairy Milk Alternatives
Unsweetened Almond Milk – Because most brands have carrageenan, I had to settle on an almond milk that is not organic but is certified NON-GMO. I use Silk unsweetened original.
Coconut Milk – Because I wanted organic and no carrageenan, this was tough but finally found a good one. I love Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk. It’s in cans but they have BPA-free liners. I open a can, pour it in a pitcher and add equal amount of water (otherwise it’s very rich and goes too fast at $2.79/can) & it will last about a week or so.
-lots of water
-teas of all kinds (lots of green tea. Tea should be organic as well)
DAILY MEAL PLAN
1 scoop vegan protein powder
8 ounces coconut milk or almond milk or filter water
Misc frozen organic fruits and vegetables. (I moved from fresh to frozen bc it’s better pricewise, lasts longer, & also gives smoothie that frozen texture w/o having to add ice)
1 scoop of psyllium husk (if you need it to help with constipation which you very well may. Your body gets used to eating processed, sugary crap.)
1 Tbspn organic flaxseed oil or flaxseeds or chia seeds (for essential fatty acids)
I also throw in my multivitamin right in because I have a Vitamix that will blend it right up.
If you find the smoothie is just not sweet enough for you, add 1/2 an organic banana. For weightloss, you’d generally stay away from banana because it’s very high GI, but in my book, it’s fruit, it’s full of fiber, and if it helps make the smoothie palatable for a palate that is used to very sweet things, it’s worth it. Again, make sure that banana is organic. (I don’t follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Thirteen – GMO seeds, pesticides in the soil, etc. I don’t think it’s enough to say something has a thicker skin. Sorry. I know it’s more expensive this way but will hopefully save you in medical bills down the road.)
Smoothie Example: I’ve been changing up the flavors so I don’t get sick of the same thing. My new favorite is frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, and frozen spinach & almond milk. I do about a 1/2 a cup of each frozen fruit and a cup of the frozen greens. You can really do any kind of fruit/veg/liquid mix you like as long as it’s meeting the detox rules.
LUNCH – Another smoothie
Something similar as breakfast minus the flax seed oil, psyllium husk, or multivitamin (the morning shake is enough for the day). When I’m not detoxing, I still do daily breakfast smoothies and sometimes even do it for lunch. Off detox, a favorite of mine is a peanut butter (natural!! no sugar, oils, etc added. JUST PEANUTS) and banana smoothie. It’s amazing!!! But stay clear of peanut butter for now because it is a common allergen and because of the calories. You may find yourself dipping in for way too much of it and would inhibit weight loss if that’s one of your goals.
SNACK – late afternoon I do get a little hungry.
I may snack on carrot sticks (as many as I want) or almonds but that’s tricky because I can easily eat a million of those and 1 ounce has over 100 calories so I have to be careful there. I also started making my own Popsicles with the frozen berries or coconut milk. Just feels like you are getting a treat but you control what’s in it. I also make my own hummus without all the added tahini and other stuff that makes it so high in calories. It so easy, throw it all in food processor and it’s done. I eat a lot of this.
DINNER – Try to eat before 7 or 8pm if possible. I don’t always succeed at that.
It’s pretty simple. Lots of veggies, a starch like rice or yams etc., a protein.
–Roast chicken, brown rice, hummus and salad.
–Burger no bun, sweet potatoes fries (make yourself, don’t buy), salad. Off detox, I have a small amount of organic/no sugar added ketchup, but not during detox.
–Grilled fish, wild rice, roasted veggies (maybe you’re sick of salad tonight!)
–I’ll be posting more recipes on this blog…
You also need a good daily multi. Also make sure no gluten, sugar , etc. It should be a vegan casing (gelatin is ground up meat bones!). Either take it at night with dinner or in the morning with your breakfast shake.
That’s pretty much it! Give it a shot. It’s just 30 days. Try it and see where it takes you. You may stop after the 30 or it may just change your whole way of life like it did for me.