Thursday, 27 August 2015

My 4 Day Detox Diary - Super-Healthy and Scrumptious Smoothies!

Hi all! Today I'm going to talk to you about detoxing, which I have a real love/hate relationship with. My regular four-day detox ends today, which is something I coerce myself into doing once in a while. I also did back in June and for three days a couple of weeks ago, and as I wrote down all the details of June's detox, I thought you might like to learn more about why I do them and what I consume.

Firstly, I must stress that I don't detox to lose weight. It can be a pleasant side-effect, as I am less bloated and my stomach shrinks, but primarily it's to rid my body of as many nasty toxins as I possibly can, and to generally get myself into a much healthier frame of mind. I also have to take quite a large amount of medication a day, so I find it's good for body and soul to eschew processed and otherwise more unhealthy foods, and just eat very clean for four days. The book I am using, Collins Gem 48-Hour Detox, suggests that you can maintain the detox for up to 30 days, but I'm not a sadist, thanks. Therefore I do it for 4 days, as it gives you a good kick up the bum and gets you into the right frame of mind without it getting really depressing. I plan on changing my diet completely, and have decided to do this once a month.

Let's start by going through the food and drink that the book suggests you should avoid. I am using it as a guideline; if I have to include something then I don't beat myself up about it. I am a notoriously fussy eater and if I didn't eat some sort of meat I would starve, so I am including grilled chicken breast into the "allowed" category. I don't eat lentils or pulses or anything like that, which makes it harder to feel full. Also, I have only just discovered that Cornflakes are full of crap (I never thought to check!) so while I ate them in my detox below, they're now a no-no. Here's what the book suggests you cut out:

  • Caffeine (chocolate, cola, coffee, tea etc)
  • Meat (red or white)
  • Dairy (cow's cheese, milk and yoghurt. Note: this doesn't include any products from goats or sheep, as there's something to do with the enzymes that sets them apart. Therefore, milk, feta and halloumi etc from sheep and goats are a-ok)
  • Wheat (bread, pasta etc)
  • All processed foods (pizza, crisps, ready meals etc)

Annoyingly I have misplaced the book, so this is what I know from memory. You're encouraged to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as you like, as well as being able to chow down on pulses, soya products, brown rice, fresh soups and juices...if you're not as picky as me there's plenty of delicious meals you can prepare! You can also drink as many fruit, herbal and green teas as you want. Another important point when detoxing is to ensure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated -  and the health and beauty benefits of that alone are obvious! The book also recommends you take a good multivitamin for the duration of the detox in case you're missing out on the essentials.

Here's what I consumed for the 4 day detox. I'll also tell you what you might expect in terms of cravings and good or bad side effects.

Day 1

Cravings = none.

I ate:
  • 1 banana
  • Various herbal, fruit and green teas
  • Pecan nuts and pistachios
  • Handful of raisins
  • Strawberries
  • Grilled chicken breast and salad

The first day can be easy and hard in equal measure. I don't tend to get cravings but if you drink a lot of coffee like I do, you could start to suffer from caffeine withdrawal. Try and avoid taking pain relief if this happens; distract yourself with a fruit tea and drink a whole load of water to get through it. My chicken breast has been grilled with nothing but spicy Season-All on it, and it's tender and delicious.

Day 2

Cravings = chocolate

I ate:
  • Bowl of cornflakes with raisins and soya milk
  • Handful of raisins.
  • Various herbal, fruit and green teas.
  • Grilled chicken breast, feta cheese and salad.
  • Glass of 100% orange juice.
  • 1 banana
My sweet tooth isn't as prominent as it used to be, but this is normally the time where I start to want some chocolate. No other real cravings though, and having the chicken, feta and a big salad gives me the variety I need in a meal. The lack of coffee is starting to kick in too, so by this point I feel pretty tired, and a little grumpy.

Day 3

Cravings = coffee

I ate:
  • Bowl of cornflakes with raisins and soya milk
  • More raisins.
  • Celery
  • Various herbal, fruit and green teas.
  • Salad with feta cheese.
  • Cup of tomato soup.
  • Glass of 100% orange juice.
This meal may look huge but there's a mass of salad under that feta! As this is the time of the detox I start to really feel hungry, I bulked my meal up with a small cup of tomato soup. I also start to really want coffee, but thanks to all the water and healthy food I feel much more awake at this point. I also feel far less bloated than before which, since I have Crohn's Disease, is a nice change!

Day 4

Cravings =  Pasta

I ate:
  • Bowl of cornflakes with raisins and soya milk
  • Various herbal, fruit and green teas.
  • Homemade fruit smoothie.
  • Salad with grilled halloumi.
  • Cup of tomato soup.
Ordinarily by this point I've more or less had enough of detoxing and am glad it's the final day, although on this occasion I felt bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! Do people even use that expression anymore? Anyway, I actually felt that I could have gone on for another day but by this point I was looking forward to pasta the next day far too much. Still feeling the hunger, but not as badly as before. I also made myself a fruit smoothie for the first time, which is something I now actually do at least twice a week, and also incorporate vegetables such as celery, spinach, carrots and kale. These don't tend to affect the flavour but contain far less sugar than fruit so they're good for bulking out your smoothie. If you add kale or spinach, your smoothie will turn a less than appetising shade of green though!

1 banana.
1 apple, peeled.
2 handfuls of frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries).
Topped with orange juice.

To summarise

My biggest problems are the hunger pangs (because let's face it, I have the appetite of 2 people), as well as regular cravings for chocolate and coffee. Occasionally I crave pasta too, which is something else I adore. Overall I feel great after a detox, as it really forces me to reassess what I'm putting in my mouth. The ultimate goal is to break my reliance on food for emotional reasons; once that happens I am confident that I could sustain a detox for much longer, and quite probably give my entire diet a massive overhaul.

Get involved!
Do you have any questions about my detox, or want to share your own experience? Join in the discussion below or on our Facebook page.

I'm off to dream about coffee...

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