After a December noshing on home baked cookies and carboloading at celebrations with the family, our bods needed some fine tuning. Thankfully, it was January so who really notices those holiday pounds, right? Very true, except for a weekend jaunt to Puerto Rico where I became keenly, horribly, and embarrassingly aware of the physical effects of my nutritionally dismal December. My skin was in rough shape; my hair wouldn't cooperate with my desire not to look like the frumpy mother image I desperately resist; I felt like the lazy version of a sloth; and my glowy, shiny, radiant self decided not to join us on vacation. (I missed her dearly.) To remedy that Christmas cheer (the same cheer that left me with lingering dismay), we chose to cleanse.
I've been following Annapolis nutritionist Lisa Consiglio Ryan, of Whole Health Designs, since we moved here. Lisa offers ten day detox plans, private consults, juices, and cleaning eating meal plans. Her programs are popular, generating participants nationwide. To accomplish our cleansing, we chose Lisa's Winter Renewal 10 Day Detox.
The plan: ten days without meat, dairy, sugar, processed foods, gluten, soy, and alcohol. The verdict: we loved it!
Here's a recap of our experience:
Day Zero: My husband is my hero!
Twas the day before detox and all through the house,
Stomped a stress-crazed wife and her supportive spouse.
On this day, I crumbled. Big time! The stress of changing my eating patterns always gets to me. Today was no exception. I hit Whole Foods during pre-Sunday supper rush hour. It was a mob scene that fried my brain! I missed ingredients leaving us without the ability to prepare Monday's planned recipes. Oops! With Jeff's help we cobbled together a plan for the next day, but I was a bundle of nerves about the whole thing.
Day One: Phew....we've begun. After the stress of yesterday, today felt much better. We were officially on the detox. After having weaned off caffeine a few days before, the morning went well, and I enjoyed the Start Your Day Oatmeal recipe. I wasn't sure that a vegetarian dinner would sate me, but Lisa's Spicy Lentil Bowl was lovely and filling.
Day Two: I feel like doo! Hooray for the detox headache that means this is working, is what I would have said if I was speaking in full sentences. Day two was my toughest day, but I kept reminding myself that the temporary bad feeling would soon fade way to a longer-lasting good one. Crossing my fingers that I feel better tomorrow, is what I would have done if I could have paused from massaging my temples long enough to manage that maneuver.
Day Three: Headache recedes, giving way to a healthier me. Thank you lord baby Jesus and every other deity anyone's ever prayed to that I don't feel like yesterday! Another bonus today: the scale was down two pounds. Yes, I know, I know, it's a detox not a diet, but come on, losing a few pounds is good news. In other good news, I ate a delicious kale salad for lunch. That seems like the true calling card of a healthy eater: using delicious and kale in the same breath. Lisa's creamy avocado dressing made kale work for me.
Days Four through Seven: Eating and cooking veg feels like heaven! At this point we noticed we were spending LOTS of time in the kitchen together. The work of preparing meals for the detox was not overly complex, but it was work. Thankfully, we enjoyed sharing the toils together. Chopping, cutting, dicing, slicing, juicing, sauteing, roasting, and otherwise preparing vegetables was a nightly ritual for us. It was mindful - this process of feeding one another. The plan clicked along, and we worked it for all it was worth. We felt the shift from how are we going to eat like this to why would we not eat like this. Ah, the magic of transformation!
Day Eight: Feeling great! On Day eight, I bounded with energy. While we'd done yoga during the earlier part of the detox, today I hit the stairs for a cardio workout. I was raring to go! My mood was also bolstered by the fact that today included some of my favorite meals - leftovers of the veggie chili made for the Superbowl the night prior and a dinner of brown rice, butternut squash and toasted pecans that will continue to be a favorite of ours post-detox.
Day Nine: A little less fine. I'm not sure if my workout yesterday caused my system to flush out some more toxins, but on this day I felt less than wonderful. In fact, I felt a big ugh-ly! But, the end was so near I could taste it...in all its veggie goodness.
Day Ten: When can we start again? Two delicious banana oat muffins kicked off this last day of detox. I couldn't believe the ten days was already over! I thought it would be an agonizing day, that the anticipation of eating whatever I wanted tomorrow would gnaw at me. But, it was just a normal day filled with healthy eating. Easy, breezy, and b-e-a-utiful!
Detox Plus One: Vegan fun! I woke up on the day after the conclusion of detox and stared at the contents of my kitchen for a long time before deciding what to eat for breakfast. I thought I would revert to eggs and toast, but I wasn't ready. My body told me "no" unequivocally. I continued with the detox plan all day, in fact. We ate dinner at a vegan restaurant with some new friends, shared our experience on the detox, and talked healthy eating long into the night. A perfect way to cap the experience! Plus, Jeff notes this dinner marks our entry into the healthy eating club: conversing with the waiter about the undermassaged kale in my salad. (Yes, you can just imagine the dirty jokes that followed.)
Overall, the detox was a wonderful thing – I can still hear our bodies chanting "thank you"! We each lost more pounds than I thought possible in only ten days (I know, I know, it's not a diet, it's a detox!). We've implemented some of the changes permanently; we're now completely off caffeine. We've also reduced our meat consumption to a few times a week instead of every day. We owe a big THANKS to Lisa for the wonderful plan. You can check out her programs at Whole Health Designs or follow Whole Health Designs on Facebook.
UPDATE: We're back in for another round. Spring Renewal starts April 22nd! Feel like trying it yourself? Get in on the detox goodness here!