Last Sunday, I completed my 14 Day Detox Plan. It was hard work but I think I learned a lot - mainly that restricted 'diet's are not for me and more fruit, nuts and desserts are they way to go! Here's some of my thoughts and also a few piccies of some of the food I ate.
I didn't follow a food plan as such, just the recipes and ideas from The Detox Health Plan Cookbook , and a few recipes from two other books I got out of the library. I decided to cook and eat whatever I wanted from the book and to snack on unlimited fruit and nuts. The book advised cutting out booze, caffeine, cow's milk, dairy (except a few cheeses and yogurts), processed food, sugar, red meat, added salt and wheat.
I was hard, but I did the full 14 days hurrah!
Here's some of my thoughts/findings
Day 1, and I was already dreaming of cappuccinos and meat, a lot more than I'd usually do. I had soup for lunch but missed having a bit of bread or Ryvita with it. Also felt protein was lacking.
Day 2, Found myself very hungry soon after breakfast. The withdrawal headache started!
Day 3, Bad, bad awful headache. I had to take aspirin, even though painkillers were frowned upon on the detox. It didn't even touch the sides to be honest and my head was killing me all day. I felt bloated and fat and oddly, full of food by still somehow 'empty'. The headache was so bad I had to skip my workout and decided to start having caffeine again in green tea only (managed the full 14 days without any coffee or black tea though) I also decided to add chicken to my veggie meal as I really felt like I was lacking in protein.
Day 4, Woke up with no headache - hurrah! Didn't need any caffeine during the day and felt so much better.
Day 9, Headaches have all but gone, but I did suffer a few small ones. Felt pretty bloated and have noticed my hunger level has increased dramatically. Also, feel my IBS type symptoms are getting out of hand :(
Day 10, So glad to be able to eat dairy - really loved all the yogurt and cottage cheese that I've been able to have. I would have been lost without it!! But this made me question how varied a detox diet really is if I was to rely so heavily on diary?
Day 11, There was a party at work - I had brought my detox friendly soup but decided to join in with the 'suitable' party food. I had a colleague's homemade veggie pasta (yes, wheat!!) and some bananas. No harm done!
Day 12, Not sure whether it was just because it was the end of the week or what but I had no energy today. Also noticed my nails are getting really brittle and splitting :( Hope I've not become deficient in anything. I've become fairly sick of chickpeas and am craving variety again. I do love all the extra fruit and veg that I've been eating, and the no booze and no sugar is a great idea.
So...what are my final thoughts?
Well, the reason I started a detox type diet was to try and cut out sugar and any 'nasties' for a while, to try and eat a more veggie based diet and to try new recipes and experiment with food. I don't actually believe the idea of a 'detox' as such - our bodies detox themselves all day every day anyway!
I will continue to try and cut down on refined sugar and booze, and to try and eat more vegetarian meals and experiment more with more cooking. The plan has encouraged me to eat a lot more nuts, which I'm loving, and I've also had a nutritious dessert every night on the plan and every night since and it's made me realise I can do that and suffer no ill effects. I used to be scared of desserts but I'm doing ok with enjoying them and not feeling tooo much 'guilt'.
It's been good to have more 'real' natural food and not have bars and stuff for a while - but I felt I was having a real lack of protein and carbs which I think did reflect in my energy levels and how well I did in my workouts.
The whole thing felt too restrictive though, cutting out caffiene completly felt extreme and no red meat or wheat seemed a bit pointless. Cutting back is fine as it would encourage me to have more fish, chicken, veggies etc, but cutting out whole food groups just didn't feel right to me. And as much as I like diary, because it was permitted I felt I relied on it quite a lot - another reason why this plan wasn't all that balanced.
The book has got some gorgeous recipes in and I've ate some really delicious stuff. Stuff that I will certainly cook again! As a recipe book rather than a full on diet plan, the book is really good actually and I'd recommend it for that.
Loooook Baked Peaches (served with yog)
Aromatic Chickpea Curry
Wholewheat Pasta Salad (I used gluten free pasta)
Brown Rice Risotto with mushrooms (I added chicken to this too)
Vegetable Couscous with Olives and Almonds (I added a sea food mix of squid, prawns and mussels)
Noodies with veggie sauce (I added makeral to this)
Greek Salad Apricot and Ginger Compote with yog & granola (this was by far my favourite recipe I tried...I keep dreaming of it, it was that good!!)
Warm Oriental Chicken and Rice Stir Fried Salad
North African Spiced Soup
Rose water Scented Oranges and Pistachio Nuts
Fruit Smoothie Yog topped with a seed mix, dried fruit and a banana (not a recipe from the book actually, just something I came up with for brekkie with 'detox' friendly ingredients)
I had loads of fruit!!
Buckwheat Noodles Salad with Smoked Salmon
Baked Apples with Figs and Walnuts
And not from the book but still detox suitable, Over Night Oats with Prunes and my homemade coconut butter :)
See, all good stuff! But just a bit too restrictive for me. I feel proud to have done it though, I do like a challenge and have come away from it knowing that I am a meat and wheat eater at heart who wants to have caffeine, booze and sugar every now and then, but who adores fruit and nuts and nutritious goodies.
Oh, and as a footnote - I didn't do this to lose weight!! People at work (who, bless them, are always telling me I can stop exercising now as I'm slim enough already or asking when my "diet" is going to finish!!) did of course assume I was doing this to lose a few pounds. I weighed myself before and after and it didn't budge a bit.
My next foody adventure starts tomorrow! I was contacted recently and asked whether I'd be interested in taking part in the 14 day Activia Plan , and I was indeed interested so that all begins tomorrow. I've been baking muffins and making cous cous salad in preparation :)
Have you ever gone down a 'detox' diet route? What are your feelings on such things?