An Autoimmune Paleo detox, a juicing-inspired detox, and other experiments

So as I mentioned  earlier this week, I’ve decided to embark on a 10 day Paleo-esque type detox. I’m calling it Paleo-esque for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not my intention to increase my meat consumption. I’ve been trying over the last few months to cut back on meat and add more produce in its place. Second, what I’m doing for this detox is actually stricter than paleo. I am also cutting out eggs, nuts, and nightshades as I have been reading up on autoimmune-oriented paleo philosophies. Today is day 3.

I’ve written extensively about what a game changer that first 30 day elimination detox was for me. As I’ve mentioned, I had a number of chronic issues that I just sort of dealt with. I was probably about as healthy as many of us are: walking around living my life – but having these various little issues that I think today we consider the new normal. The “sick healthy” perhaps. Additionally, being pregnant set off a number of issues for me that I had never had. I know this is a very common story for many women.

Although I had been very active and fit prior, I had a difficult pregnancy near the end, diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. I also had a difficult postpartum recovery with back issues, joint pain, and a thyroid imbalance. None of which I had prior to being pregnant. It was very tough having always viewed myself as healthy and strong, someone who lifted weights religiously and never asked for help carrying something heavy, to understanding there were things I truly could not do now as I tried to get better. “Better” was a long road of doctors, specialists and physical therapy (again, stuff I had never needed to do ever before and I can’t stress the emotional toll that took)  and while some things helped to a degree, I still didn’t feel like my old self.  I eventually gave in, deciding that I guess it was my fate to never feel like my old self again. But flashforward three years later when I cut out gluten, soy, dairy and processed foods the world changed for me. Many of these issues just went away. In 30 days. Crazy business! Plus, I now look back on that strong and healthy me and realize I was not so healthy with my various “new normal” issues and the kinds of supplements and things I loaded myself up on in the name of dieting and gym stamina.

So ever since, I’ve truly been on a journey for continued and elevated health and wellness. I’m focused on whole foods, no sundry food allergens or “food product” including the alluring gluten-free processed junk (thank you, Michael Pollan. If it weren’t for you I’m pretty sure I would have fallen for it.). I’m kinda paleo but not, kinda vegan but not. Ha! That’s an oxymoron, huh? I just try to eat whole, organic, foods that provide solid nutrition, that I’m not sensitive too, that is not GMO or bioengineered in any way, and that is as close to nature as possible – and do so in a way the respects the land and animals that feed me. Oh yeah, and they must taste great! I have a blast experimenting with yummy meals and desserts that make my family want for nothing. The biggest joy is when my daughter chooses an apple over candy or asks for my sorbet or ice-cream over the store-bought stuff. (Not that she doesn’t have her candy hoarding moments!).

I’m forever reading about nutritional philosophies. And I know for sure that food is medicine. I’d bet my life on that one. And frankly that’s exactly what I’m doing! I’m still not 100% where I want to be though. I still have some issues that impact me so ever in search of continued health , a few weeks ago I decided to embark on a 3 day fruit/veg detox. For 3 days I drank only blended fruits/veg and ate steamed vegetables. I took in a small bit of fat with coconut and olive oils. I thought a few days of such clean alkaline eating would help push me to a new level. Well, long story short, I felt awful. I was moody, felt undernourished and went to bed with a searing migraine every night. Having detoxed several times before this, I knew this time felt different and by day 2, I thought maybe I should stop. But ever so stubborn, I wanted to see it through since it was something I had told myself I would do. And since then, I have seen the return of a number of issues (sinus, back pain, brain fog, joint pain). After such a long road forward, it sucks to have taken a step back. .

I’m not sure exactly why this happened but one scenario is that the detox was good and I just needed more of it; am I stuck in a healing crisis because 3 days is simply not enough?

The other scenario I can conceive of is the polar opposite: that this was just not a good move for me. Did I put my body under too much stress with such a reduction in calories, fat and proteins?

Either could be valid hypotheses. So in evaluating those results further, I ask myself more questions. Perhaps I was detoxing animal meat which some research points to as making your body way too acidic and a place where disease can thrive. This is partly why some folks just don’t eat any meat at all. I do eat meat. Grass-fed, pasture-raised when possible or organic. But I eat meat. Although, as I said, in recent months I have been trying to eat a little less of it and add in more produce in its place.

Or perhaps as indicated by the research that paleo folks stress, legumes and grains are an issue with their antinutrients like lectins, phytates and enzyme inhibitors. Since going gluten and dairy free, I eat a ton more than I did before – lots of beans and quinoa and rice and I take a daily vegan raw protein supplement made from peas and hemp. Perhaps I was detoxing from that?

Or perhaps it was simply way too little calories and/or nutrients and put undue stress on my system.

In short, I have no idea. There is research and anecdotal evidence out there that backs up each claim.

But after doing some reading, I decided the next phase for me would be to try this autoimmune detox.

What am I not eating?

So in addition to my typical diet of no gluten, soy, dairy, processed, gmo, conventional foods, refined sugar and then my usual 30 day detox items of no alcohol, high GI fruit, white potatoes, unrefined sugars, plus my recent struggle to rid myself of organic corn (which became such a crutch for me when I went gluten-free), I am also abstaining from:

Nuts and seeds

After this detox, I will slowly reintroduce these items one by one and monitor their effects to see what, if any, may be causing me problems.

So what am I eating?

Pasture-raised or organic meats (no pork per my own philosophy about that)
Low GI fruits
All vegetables except nighshades
Most spices except nightshades
Fermented foods – which I plan to start making this week, including this awesome kimchee recipe from one of my favorite bloggers!

So all this to say, it’s a continued learning process. It’s trial and error and I am the lab experiment. I may not have all the answers but I do know with 100% certainty that food is medicine. It’s just about finding the right prescription for each individual.

I would love to hear about your adventures in nutrition and health! What are some of your philosphies and how did you arrive at the point? Or tell me about your ongoing journey.