Last month I embarked on my first ever detox. It wasn’t something I’d really considered doing however over the last few months I’ve become increasingly interested in the whole clean eating phenomenon and was intrigued with Charlotte’s clean eating posts.
Truth be told, I felt alienated by the whole thing. So many of you were so knowledgeable about chia seeds and stevia I struggled to get my head round the concept and didn’t know where to begin. Thankfully around the same time I was introduced to nutritionist, Bronwyn Hudson who was weeks away from launching the Spring version of her Wholefood Reboot; an online program with heaps of support designed to find out which foods work for your body and which inflame you. For me it made sense to start with a blank slate and reboot my system so I signed up to take part in a three step program.
Phase 1 – Pre-Reboot. Over four days I began to reduce wheat, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and processed food. Yep all the nasty stuff which tastes really nice.
Phase 2 – Reboot. This period lasted seven days and strips the diet back to whole foods. I ate seven portions of fruit and veg a day along with protein. Through the program we were guided with suggested meals and a list of foods to avoid.
Phase 3- Transition. Once my system was ‘reset’ I began to introduce potential allergens each day; for example grains one day and dairy another. Keeping a food diary I documented my reaction to all the foods to confirm if I had an intolerances.
I learned a million and one things during the whole process but pulling them all together would make one hell of a lengthy post so instead here are a few.
Everyone wants to know why you’re doing a detox
One of the first tasks of the program was to write a list of intentions. This was very helpful as it turns out everyone you meet wants to comment on your new dietary habits and find out what’s driven you to take on this crazy challenge. Here’s what I told them I was hoping to achieve:
a) Reset my eating habits and become more mindful about food and its effects
b) Expand my very small recipe repertoire to include more healthy meals James and I could cook together
c) Feel more energised through whole foods and exercise rather than reaching for sugar as a quick fix
d) Stop spending money on beauty wizardry to hide dark circles and blemishes and invest the money into healthy habits to stop them happening in the first place
e) Finally bring my IBS under control which has become progressively worse over the last three years
This was either followed by general nodding of the head and discussions about how they too wanted to do the same thing, or an announcement I was bound to become malnutritioned during the ‘fad’. Thankfully the latter was a less frequent occurrence.
It pays to be prepared
I knew for over a month I was heading for the reboot and so I started to stock up on some clean eating essentials to spread the cost. My pantry soon became filled with bags of seeds, coconut oil and lentils. Charlotte put together a helpful clean eating shopping list if you are interested in stocking your shelves with healthy eats.
As smoothies were central to the breakfasts during the detox I also splashed out on a Nutribullet. Now obviously you don’t have to use a £100 high speed blender as I’m sure any regular blender would do the trick. However we didn’t actually own any device of this nature and were short on space too. I started introducing berry smoothies (usually kale or spinach with a handful of berries and flax seeds) into my diet four weeks before the program so it wasn’t too much of a shock to the system when I went into full reboot mode.
I’m not going to lie to you, clean eating is pricey. In order to make sure the food was as fresh a possible I found myself in the supermarket every three days subsequently the cost of our weekly shop doubled. However on the whole the process was probably cost-neutral as it was far easier to eat at home than eat out so we just absorbed the cost of one weekly restaurant dinner.
It’s not just about food
Primarily the detox is about what you eat. However as part of the reboot I was also encouraged to try oil pulling, experiment with dry skin brushing and take a bath with epsom salts to accelerate the detoxification process, as well as working up a sweat with exercise. The main week of the detox I had arranged to see friends on three nights, had a meeting in London and a very hectic working week. I’d spent so long preparing my daily salads and evening meals I really didn’t have any time to do anything else. During the second week I made sure I slipped back into my old exercise routine and did whip out the body brush.
Every day is a school day
I quickly got on board with sipping hot water and lemon on rising to improve my digestions and lymphatic system. Then I read on the internet this was going to strip the enamel from my teeth. This was just the start of the confusing information! You think you’re doing something extremely healthy only to find out it has an impact elsewhere.
The more I read about clean eating as a whole, the more conflicting information I read. Luckily for me I had a closed Facebook group to chat about any concerns or questions during the reboot and it was great to check in once a day and confirm with Bronwyn and the rest of the rebooters on the best route to take.
It’s a bit of a roller coaster
I was completely overwhelmed when I started the reboot and I have to admit I wrote in my food diary I didn’t know if I could face day one. (Melodramatic, moi?!) There just seemed to be so much information to take in and so little variety in what to eat. I mean ten lemons in one week?! It did seem a bit excessive.
As a potential allergen, tomatoes aren’t included in phase two so I wasn’t particularly excited at facing the prospect of a weeks meals without my little red friends. As it happens I actually began to like kale sautéed in garlic and ginger with a fillet of salmon on top.
By the second week I felt I’d got in my stride. My skin was clearer, my sleep was deeper and I had a new found energy. Best of all my digestive issues had all but disappeared. I joked last week in my bank holiday post I planned to ‘detoxify’ after the reboot however while I don’t plan to be so strict with the food I do plan to maintain the principles of clean eating as much as I can. Wish me luck!
I’d love to hear about your own experience of any form of reboot. How did you get on when you transitioned out of the detox phase? Any advice you’d like to share?