Saturday, January 12, 2013

Post Holiday Detox: Lessons Learned

It's been 7 days since the end of our 4-day post holiday detox/cleanse experiment.  I've eaten pizza 3 times: free pizza day at the gym, at a committee meeting, and pizza Friday at school, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every bowl of cereal I've had this week.  My cough and cold are nearly gone and I feel back to my normal self.

So now that my head and body are back into the normal routine, I am in a good place to look back on our experiment and reflect on it logically and realistically.

So here we go.

The Hunger
I expected to feel pretty hungry.  Looking at the meals, there was almost no protein, and some fiber, but not too much since the whole point was to give our digestive track a break.  We were basically eating water mixed with fruit and vegetables.  So we were hungry for most of the 4 days.  The food was filling, but it only lasted about 2 or 3 hours.  We tried to curb the hunger with herbal tea and tiny oranges, which did the trick, but just enough to get us to the next meal.  We attacked each meal like zombies to fresh brains.  The hardest part was at night.  I feel like hunger pangs are much more painful when trying to fall asleep, and this was true for all 4 nights.  It pretty much sucked.

The Food
Some good, some not so good, but when you're really hungry, any food is pretty darn delicious.  There are some recipes I will keep in my arsenal, and some I will never make again.  (Can you say green kale smoothie? Gross.)  In case you haven't read the posts with the recipes that we tried, or would like to revisit them again here they are: The First 48 and The Final 40.

The Mind
Meh.  I don't think I was any more or less focused or at peace.  Just hungry.

The Body
I think my energy levels were up on the first full day, but after that, I can't say that I felt much different.  Though we were hungry and knew that we had little by way of energy coming from our food, we made sure to do something active each day.  On the first day we did some gardening and backyard work, on the second day we went to see the birds at the Nisqually wildlife refuge (a post on that to come later,) and on the third day we decided to do some gentle yoga.  The yoga was NOT good for me.  Halfway through, I felt incredibly nauseated and spent the rest of the afternoon feeling green and sipping on ginger tea.  Shawn, on the other hand, stated he was feeling pretty darn energized on the third full day.  He messed up his neck on the first day and was really feeling the caffeine withdrawals on the second day so the third day is when he finally was able to focus on how the detox was making him feel.  He also noticed a big improvement in his digestion.  I may have mentioned before, but we wonder about a gluten issue with him so this may be why he felt the effects of the detox more postitively that I did.

The Weight
We don't have a working scale at our house and I was afraid to know how much I weighed before the detox so I have no idea if I lost any weight or not.  Probably not.  I wouldn't be surprised if my metabolism decided to get back at me for not giving it enough energy by slowing down and storing as much as it could.  Asshole.

The Lessons
1. Almond milk is delicious.
2. Coconut milk is not.  Too thick.
3. Smoothies make great breakfasts.
4. Brown rice is nice and chewy.
5. It's ok to not have a large lump of protein with every meal.
6. Garbanzo beans aren't so bad.
7. Starving yourself of all the things you love about life is not the best way to feel better, or to make yourself eat less of those things.  After the detox ended, I spent a couple days eating all of the things that I dreamed about during the cleanse.  I don't think I overdid myself, but I did eat more that I normally would have.  I just couldn't help it.  I really couldn't.
8. Vegetables are delicious and I will eat more of them.

The Conclusion
After weighing the pros and cons, I think the pros barely outweigh the cons.  I discovered some new ways to eat healthier and I know that I can eat less during the day and feel ok.  I'm glad enough that I did it, but will never do it again.  I just didn't feel "cleansed" enough.  Sure, I felt alright, but it just wasn't worth it to me.  It is just who I am to love sweets and delicious food and I just have to be able to live with this love in a way to have a relationship with food that is not abusive. 

Shawn and I signed up for a 15k race in March so we have some serious motivation to get moving and train our bodies for a long distance run.  I'm confident that this coupled with my new knowledge of food will get me the results that I was hoping for from this detox.  That's the better way to do it anyway.

Final thought: My feelings and results from this detox are purely my own.  We all have very different compositions and it could be that your experience will be very different from mine.  So try it.  And if you do, I want to hear all about it.

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