Friday, May 24, 2013

Results of My Clean Diet

I made it through the 3-week Clean diet and it wasn't until the first few days of going back to life as usual until I noticed just how good I felt during those 3 weeks. I didn't realize it at the time, but I felt great. Sure I was sometimes cranky because I was hungry or missing my chewing gum and there were plenty of times that I felt tired and weak while hiking or exercising, but overall I felt great. I woke up hours before my alarm clock every morning and felt refreshed and ready to get up. Never once did I have a head ache or a stomach ache. I never felt overly fatigued or had my usual "ick." What is my "ick?" It's that unexplained feeling of nausea that I often experience in the afternoons. On so many afternoons it just comes over me, as if out of nowhere. One minute I feel fine and the next minute I want to crawl under my desk. Over the past 15+ years I blamed it on every possible thing in my office: mold, dust, the heat/AC system, until finally I decided that I must be allergic to work! Nothing seemed to help. I removed stagnate water (fish tank) from my bookshelf, I dusted and vacuumed like crazy, I had the AC turned off to my office, I switched from plastic drinking mugs to stainless steel . . . I tried everything. Everything except changing my diet.

I lived through these three weeks of detoxing and I can't believe it didn't hit me that I never had a bad day at work. I never had an episode of the "ick." Then Monday came along and my diet was officially over. I can't say that I jumped right into eating breads and sweets. I've been very good at keeping a very healthy diet. The only foods that I've added back in include fruits & veggies on the no-no list, a couple of eggs, peanut butter, and very small amounts of dairy (yogurt and a little milk). As far as drinks, I started having some caffeinated teas and I also had one glass of wine. Over the weekend I started to feel not-so-good, but I blamed it on my husband blowing sawdust all over our yard with a leaf blower, the dust from cleaning the house, and the seasonal pollen. Never thought about any foods I was putting into my mouth.

Then Monday came and i went back to work. Every morning I get a cup of tea around 10 o'clock and up until today it was always caffeine-free green tea. On this day, I splurged and had a cup of caffeinated spiced chai with a bit of milk. Then at 11 o'clock I had a banana. Boy did I miss my daily banana.

And by noon I was dizzy and nauseous. It was then that I instantly realized how good I felt during my detox and how quickly I went from feeling great to feeling terrible. Oh my goodness, was it the caffeine, the milk, or the banana? It had to be one of them, or maybe the combination of all of them. Those three things are my daily ritual. I have them every day and every day I felt sick at the same time (coincidentally right after consuming these items.)

At this point I'm going back to the elimination diet and this time I am going to add the no-no foods back into my system one at a time in hopes of trying to find the culprit. I should also note that this is probably the worst time of the year to be experimenting with this because of my seasonal allergies. I could have the greatest diet in the world and still be effected by the pollen in the air right now so I'll have to take that into consideration.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Attempt at the Clean Diet

I recently read a book called "Clean" and it has really opened my eyes. Over the past year I made some drastic changes to my diet and tried to eliminate all processed foods. I thought, because of this, I was doing so good and living as healthy as I could. But the reality was, I still had a long way to go to remove the dangerous toxins.

This book was incredible. Even with my vast knowledge of health and nutrition it was still enlightening. I loved that the book is written by Alejandro Junger, a medical doctor who tells his story about his own health issues and how he, himself began to question the entire system of Western medicine. He talks about his discovery of Ayurveda, meditation, and Eastern medicines and his desire to try to change the medical system here. It was just so nice to hear about a doctor in the US that finally sees how everything about our system is wrong! One of the best realizations that he made was the uncanny similarity between the words "medication" and "meditation." That is one of those 'things that make you go hmmmmm.'

Dr. Junger explained all about the toxins that are literally EVERYWHERE in our lives and how they effect our health. It was both enlightening and terrifying at the same time. Everything he explained made so much sense and I wondered how I got this far in my life (especially given my strong desire to constantly learn about health and nutrition) without gaining all this knowledge. After reading about how these toxins hurt our heath and especially after reading all the stories about how so many people completely turned their health around, to the extent of curing themselves from deadly diseases, there was no doubt that I had to give it a try. My main goals for this diet were to:

  • Try to determine what was making my ears constantly itch

  • See if my constantly running nose would stop

  • Try to clear my increasingly foggy brain. I often find myself at a lose for words and I'm having a harder and harder time with short-term memory. Sure it can be age or pre-menopause, but it can also be a build-up of toxins.

  • Try to equalize my energy levels. Seems I'm either raring to go run a marathon or completely exhausted and unable to function.

  • Improve my skin and complexion
At this point I'm 2 weeks into the 3-week plan and (aside from the food preparation, which is killing me) it's not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Just like the doctor explained, you feel less hungry than you normally do. Without the constant spikes and dips in your sugar level, your body remains at a constant and even flow. It's amazing how quickly you realize the difference between real hunger (from needing nourishment), and cravings for food due to dips in your sugar level.

I do have to say that exercising during this diet has been a challenge. I do feel much more tired and weak than usual and I hate that. But the book warns that you shouldn't try to sustain your normal level of activity and instead, just do half of what you normally would. But, with that said, my energy level throughout the day is better. I no longer have those afternoon slumps where I want to crawl under my desk and nap.

I also feel compelled to report that I'm already feeling some improvement with the brain fog. It's not perfect, but I'm not fumbling for words as often as I was before. I hope this continues to improve.

Unfortunately my ears are still itching despite the fact that I've completed avoided all the "non-approved" irritant foods. I'm wondering at this point if it's something I'm putting "on" my body rather than in it and I'm taking steps to change all my cleaning products to natural ones. The book recommends you do this prior to your detox and I wished I listened to that advice.

Same holds true for the running nose, but I am allergic to dogs and dust and, well, my house is full of both so I can't expect miracles.

I'm going to hold off on the skin and complexion report until next week because the book said that improvements to the skin will only happen if you took the detox out to the full 3 weeks. The hopes of nicer skin is definitely the motivation behind continuing for another week. Fingers crossed that it works.