Below is a brief overview of my experience on the raw food detox, without the nitty gritty of the details of my every day.
Every day I ate from this list for meals and snacks:
- 1 Apple
- 1 Banana
- 1/2-1 c blueberries
- Salad: Spinach, tomato, zucchini, avocado, cucumber, jicama w/ the juice of either lemon or lime on top...tiny bit of cayenne pepper & sea salt sprinkled on top
- Lazy Sushi: When I didn't feel like eating a salad with a fork, I rolled up the salad ingredients in nori (seaweed), cut it in half, and ate it like a wrap.
- Green Smoothie #1: Spinach (or kale), banana, mango, blueberry, water
- Green Smoothie #2: Romaine, apple, banana, celery, parsley, cilantro, lemon (juice), cayenne pepper, water
- Caffeine-free, Herbal Tea: I spent a bunch of time at cafes doing work on 3 of my 4 detox days, so I had to order *something* to keep me warm...and also so I wouldn't get kicked out!
- Lots of hot and warm water
I was surprised that I didn't really get sick of eating this stuff. I stuck with the same recipes because I enjoyed them, but there are a bunch of other foods I could've eaten if I had wanted to.
Wanting to avoid strenuous exercise during my detox, I stuck with hot yoga and walking. Yoga helped me focus on my breath, connect with my body, and sweat out any toxins that were in my body. Walking was a gentle way to get my body moving while at the same time getting some fresh air.
I got about 7-9 hours of sleep and didn't set my alarm for a couple of the days so let my body naturally wake up when it wanted to.
When to detox is a matter of personal preference, but I really enjoyed doing it for 2 days over the weekend and then 2 days at my full-time job. I've actually had a really busy 4 days, so that was a nice distraction because otherwise I imagine I would've been thinking too much about food or my hunger levels.
I experienced some mild headaches in the afternoon and evening on Day 1 and Day 2, but they went away shortly after after eating or drinking water. In general, I experienced more positive side effects than negative ones, including:
- Weight loss
- Absence of menstrual cramps, cravings, bloating (such an incredible feeling that I think I'm going to repeat this detox for 1-3 days every month to alleviate the symptoms that are typically associated with that time of the month)
- Feeling "lighter"
- Great mood despite having a stressful few days
- A "glow"
- An appreciation for what true hunger feels like
- A sense of empowerment knowing that I'm doing something good for my body
Set Yourself Up for Success
I admit, while I am happy that the detox is done now, overall it really wasn't too difficult for me. But that wouldn't have been the case a few years ago when I was drinking 1-2 cups of coffee (with 3 packets of Splendas per cup), not eating any vegetables, barely any fruit, consuming lots of bread and "fake meats" (back when I thought "fake meats" were the staple of a vegetarian diet), and other processed foods.
This detox would've been a lot more difficult if I:
- Made plans to go out to restaurants, bars, parties, any social event
- Had been a coffee or soda drinker/addict prior to the detox
- Had been a sugar addict or had a diet consisting mostly of pre-made/packaged/processed foods
- Lived with someone who was not doing the detox with me
- Focused on all the foods I couldn't eat, instead of getting excited about all the foods I could eat
- Didn't have a support system of other people doing the detox
- Wasn't living in a warm climate (raw food detoxes are more challenging to do in the winter if you're living in a place that's cold...the daytime temps were in the 70s here, so it felt like I was detoxing in the summer!)
If you are interested in doing the raw food detox for one day or several, keep in mind that it can be more challenging than I described it, especially if it deviates significantly from your normal diet.
Remember, foods like cheese, chocolate, sugar, and coffee are addictive so experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you're abstaining from these foods during your detox is not uncommon.
To alleviate some of the side effects, I'd recommend that you ease your way in by cutting out one diet staple (like coffee or meat) for a week and then cutting out something else while adding in more fruits & vegetables. This transition should make the detox less shocking if you'd prefer to go a more gradual route before diving right in.
What Do I Normally Eat When I'm Not Detoxing?
I don't associate myself with one particular school of eating. In my blogs, recipes, and posts on Facebook and Twitter, you'll notice that I've raved about the raw food diet, vegan diet, vegetarian diet and a carnivorous diet. I try to maintain a diet high in local, organic fruits and vegetables. When I eat grains (which isn't that frequently), I try to stick with ones that are gluten-free, such as brown rice or quinoa. When I eat animal products, I don't eat too much and I do my best to only eat organic/free-range/grass-fed beef, organic/free-range eggs, and wild (not farm-raised) fish. I'm not perfect, but adhere to the 80/20 rule (or sometimes the 90/10 rule) meaning that 80% (or 90%) of the time I eat really clean and that compensates for the 20% (or 10%) of the time I eat less than perfect.
In general, I do my best to eat what makes me feel and look good (no shame in having a vanity incentive!) and what's best for the environment. I've found that I enjoy eating raw or vegetarian for breakfast and lunch followed by a dinner of raw and/or cooked veggies with some meat. My diet is constantly evolving, so I'm just going to continue to eat what works best and see where that takes me.
So, What's Next?
I'm feeling so great with my "clean slate" that I'm going to continue eating a high raw diet for a few more days and then transition to a vegan diet this weekend when I'll be on vacation with some vegan friends.
Tomorrow night, I am treating myself to my favorite gluten-free, vegan pizza from one of my favorite "feel good" restaurants, Pizza Fusion. I love their Farmer's Market pizza ("A farmer’s medley of roasted artichoke hearts, red onion, roasted zucchini and roasted portobello with tomato sauce") with their vegan Daiya cheese. It's so delicious and light (I attribute that to the thin, crispy, gluten-free crust) that I *always* feel wonderful and not weighed down when I eat there. I can't think of a better pre-flight meal to have after my detox. Mmmm yummy...
Thanks again for coming with me on my journey and taking a peek into my day-to-day life :-)