Starting Detox Cleanse/Elimination Diet

I am So NOT a fan of fad diets, including diets that eliminate foods; I’m an even bigger non-fan of celebrity doctors that make tons of cash promoting a health fad…but I’ve been feeling really crappy lately and I’m desperate to try to figure out if I do indeed have some sort of food sensitivity, or at the very least, to reset my buttons and get my body feeling better again.

Originally, when I lost weight (3 years ago), I felt healthy, vibrant and alive! Slowly, as time moved forward, I began to feel sluggish, foggy, and depressed, probably worst than I felt before the weight loss. I felt like my energy was disappearing and I didn’t feel like “myself” anymore. I blamed being peri-menopausal.

I recently began reading my library copy of the book “Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health” (Dr. Alejandro Junger) and even though I’ve read other gluten/dairy-free and elimination diet books, the timing must have been perfect, because I felt a little hopeful.

I found the My Clean Program web site, with a helpful “welcome letter” and started to read, read, read. (*Note: membership is required (free) to access all the diet documentation.)

The “clean gut” diet led me to the original “cleanse” detox/elimination diet, which then led me to the Dr Oz 30 Day Detox Diet (details: Dr Oz Clean Detox manual)

Diets Compared

I initially liked the idea of Junger’s “clean gut” diet (the one from the book I was reading). It allowed eggs, other lean meats & fish, and tomatoes, but there was some concern, because the diet did eliminate most fruit (except berries), all grains/beans (but quinoa and lentils) and some veggies like yams, sweet potatoes and beets. It suggested a shake for breakfast, and solid meals for lunch and dinner.

The original “cleanse” detox diet eliminates eggs, tomatoes/nightshades, some fruits, but it did allow some gluten-free grains like buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and also allowed chickpeas, beans, etc. It suggested a shake for both breakfast and dinner, and a solid meal for lunch.

The Dr Oz (*gasp*) Detox is more “user-friendly” – of course they have to cater to all his followers, who need an easy diet fix! ha! It was much less structured, without elimination of any vegetables or fruit, and it suggested a shake for breakfast, and solid food for lunch and dinner. They unfortunately promote it as a super easy way to drop some weight, but that’s not really what the cleanse is about.

All programs completely remove all gluten, dairy, peanuts, and processed sweeteners, but the original “clean” allowed sweeteners like dates or figs, to be used sparingly.

I decided that the list of allowed foods in the original cleanse was much more doable, but I didn’t like being forced to “drink” breakfast and dinner meals, so I’m modifying to only one smoothie in the morning. I also do not want to use isolated protein powders, so that is an adjustment as well.

The last modification is that I’m not following their daily supplement advice, at least not right now. I’ll still be taking my usual vit D, Calcium, and fish oil, but I added 200mg magnesium before bedtime. I’m hoping it will help me sleep better. (thanks also to Angela for her magnesium advice, I’ll also be searching her web site for inventive blender breakfasts.)

Here’s the list of Edible Foods For Cleanse:
whole vegetables, leafy greens
brown rice, non-gluten grains
stevia
beans, lentils
green tea, yerba mate
wild fish, organic chicken & turkey
nuts, seeds, & nut butters
avocado & coconut
whole fruits & berries

Here are the exclusions:
dairy, eggs
gluten
processed sugar
soy
coffee, soda, alcohol
beef, pork (I’m still going to occasionally eat beefalo)
corn
tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes
bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes

There is a lot more detail in the downloadable Clean manual.

The most difficult part is giving up dairy and gluten, ha! Sunday, as I was deciding to try the diet, I had just taken a fresh-baked loaf of bread out of the oven! What a big change this will be for me!

Day 3 Feelings

So here I am, Day Three, of the cleanse.

I’m still trying to feel my way around, and I’m sure I’m not doing things perfectly, but there’s 21 days, so I’ll get better as time moves forward.

I need to get more organized about meal planning, especially making grains/beans ahead of time. I can’t rely on bread-pizza night or fried eggs as a quick go-to dinner anymore. I know I’m not eating enough greens and veggies, especially with dinner. If ONE benefit comes out of this, it’ll be that I learned to better manage my ingredients and create more true-blue healthy vegetarian meals.

It’s also been scary because I realized that I am extremely caught-up in food and it makes me sad that there is a possibility of a dairy or gluten sensitivity. I think that is what stopped me in the past from trying an elimination diet. The fear of finding answers, answers that will be difficult to deal with.

I am keeping a detailed journal, and also keeping an open-mind.

Day one, I was ready to give up! I think it was due to feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. Day two started very dark and depressing, but it worked its way out with a good old fashioned cry. LOL. Nothing like a blast of cleansing tears!

And here, Day 3, I feel good. I’m trying to “rate” my days feelings with a #1-10. Today was a 7. I’d like to believe that my rating system is going to adjust itself, as a “7” in 10 days might feel more like a “10” today. Ha!

Believe me, I’m not fooling myself, thinking that the most difficult part is over. I’ve prepared myself for a lot of doubt and depression bubbling up, which will tempt me to give up…but I trust I’ll have the strength to remain diligent to reach my light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel goals: energy, clarity and happiness.

4 thoughts on “Starting Detox Cleanse/Elimination Diet”

  1. Debbie, good on you for researching, making a plan, and taking action!

    What you are experiencing is completely normal in terms of going through a true nutritional cleanse – I can completely relate and went through the same emotional rollercoaster a few months ago. It will be worth it though, when you find out what is keeping you down and when you feel better.

    One thing to keep in mind, too, is that even if you discover that dairy or gluten (or whatever) sets you off now, it may not do so after being eliminated for a period of time. So, think of this as a “for now” experiment, not a “forever” directive.

    Good luck and keep it up!

  2. Thank you so much Angela! You really have been a big inspiration to me along the way! Thankfully that “dark” day was the worst of it so far. I don’t feel super-energized yet, but I do feel POWERFUL today. I’m hoping to post an update on the blog, but for now, I’m keeping a very detailed daily journal in the ‘Notes’ app on my ipad/iphone and it’s been really helpful.

    And thank you for reiterating that even if I feel a sensitivity now, it might not be forever. I’m holding onto that thought to get me through.

    Do you think that you will eventually be able to eat gluten again, Angela? How often are you going to “retest/reintroduce” gluten? Just wondering.

  3. Hi Debbie,

    Thinking back to the cleanse I did, the second day was by far the darkest, and it just got better from there! I remember going to bed at 7 p.m. that day!

    I have been eating gluten again for about the last month, with no obvious issues. I started small with a little sourdough here and there (easier to digest) and now, I don’t restrict it, though I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to. I was totally off gluten for about 6 months before I started putting it back in, which I was nervous to do but also knew that the worst scenario would be to avoid it again, so really nothing to fear. So, there is hope!

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