Saturday, January 11, 2014

My 3 Day Detox

No, I wasn't IN detox. I cannot imagine what that looks like in Albania, if it even exists. In response to my holiday overindulgence in the last few weeks of 2013, I began 2014 with a gentle detox.

I've always wanted to try this, but have never before had time or the interest in doing the work that is necessary to make a detox accessible--and edible. And believe me, it is a lot of work. Although the ingredients are simple, creativity is required in taking those ingredients and making them into something that I'd want to eat, as opposed to eating plain vegetables and counting the hours until I can eat bread again.

My husband also tried the detox. He was miserable anyway. Even with all the cheating.

On December 31, as I sipped my glass of champagne, my body began to scream at me. It had been whining for the last couple of weeks, but it had reached its limit. My knees were hurting, my skin pale, and I was exhausted. And yet, it was the holidays! Have another Christmas cookie!

By New Year's Day I had decided to do something radical about my diet, but waited, of course, until we came back from Prague. A mini-vacation in the Czech Republic is certainly not the time to begin a detox.

We landed in Tirana on the 5th, and on the way home I stopped at my favorite vegetable market to stock up on produce. One of the benefits of doing a detox in Albania is that the produce is fresh, delicious, and inexpensive. If I decide to do this again in the spring there will be even more variety, and it will be fresher and cheaper. It is not organic, but it can't possibly be coated with as many chemicals as produce available in the US simply because it deteriorates faster from a fresh state and tastes better.

I used a template from Mind Body Green as an outline, and started the first full day we were home. I did not follow a strict plan, but completely eliminated wheat, dairy, sugar, and alcohol, and drank tea instead of coffee in the morning. I ate a lot of fruits, vegetables, walnuts, almonds, and cashews. I couldn't find the rubber seal for our blender until the second day, so the first two smoothies were pretty exciting. Note: a food processor is NOT a substitute for a blender.

A Super Breakfast
- banana
- frozen berries
-handful of walnuts
- ice and water

- handful of spinach
- peach 
- handful of almonds
- ice and water

Dinners consisted of salad, a variety of steamed vegetables, and protein. The first night I cooked salmon with olive oil, lemon, and salt in the slow cooker, and the second night I adapted Dr. Oz's recipe for lentil soup. The third night was quinoa with lightly roasted vegetables, and my husband had chicken. Salad dressing was olive oil, lemon juice, and a dash of dijon mustard.

Salad toppings
- avocado
- green peppers
- tomatoes

Tabouli with quinoa instead of bulgar.
- parsley
- cucumbers
- green onions
- tomatoes
- quinoa
- olive oil
- lemon juice

Lentil soup
- red lentils
- onions
- carrots 
- tomatoes
- olive oil
- cumin
- bay leaves
- freshly made vegetable stock

I was extremely pleased with the results. I felt energized and less inflamed by the end of the first day, and my knee pain had disappeared by the second day. My skin improved, and I lost a little sag in my waist and bum. I never felt hungry. 

There are many reasons to do a detox, but one of them is to shock yourself out of bad eating habits. I plan to stick to smoothies for breakfast and lunch, and do what I can to make our dinners healthier while not alienating my husband.