I don’t like diets, or dieting, or any such thing. It generally doesn’t make sense to do something that you won’t be able to maintain long-term. Much as I’ve been cheating recently (!) I am probably still 95% paleo-compliant in my eating. And, apparently, when it comes to cheating my performance leaves a lot to be desired. Seriously, if I ate all that I think I would need to go to the hospital to have my stomach pumped.
However, rules are meant to be broken. Just as having malva pudding on Christmas is kind of necessary, sometimes so is a self-imposed challenge. So from January 1st (emphatically NOT a New Years resolution, just that I did want to be able to drink on New Years Eve!), I’m going on a detox diet. Why?
Partly because I can, and I have been noticing recently just how crap I feel after small little cheats. It used to be I would cheat and feel guilty. Now I cheat and feel sick. I preferred guilty. So, I’m interested to see just how awesome I can feel if I am very strict.
Also, I think it’s generally a good idea to do a general detox every so often … kill off any parasites or other nasties that might be living inside you.
Last but not least, I went in recently to have a brain scan. Sounds more hectic than it is, but there is a type of machine that scans the electrical frequencies of your brain (alpha through theta waves) to determine the health of various aspects of my body. Not surprisingly this correlated highly to the results of a questionnaire I filled out, which indicated that while overall quite healthy (apparently my stomach, heart, and lungs are particularly healthy), my liver and digestive system have room for improvement. What does that tell you? Time to clean out the system.
Happily, though, the scan did confirm that my stress levels are much lower than normal. So I’m not fooling myself when I say that I have managed to get my stress under control.
I’ve told a few people about this planned detox and a few (actually four or five!) people have said they want to join me. This blog post is mainly for them (to see if they are crazy enough actually to do so!).
Note that this also relates to my post of a few weeks backabout stress and hormones. Diet is one aspect that is necessary to regulate/maintain/repair proper functioning of the endocrine system. Regular exercise is another, keeping stress levels low, and removing the chemical toxins from our environment, to the degree possible.
If you haven’t already, try to do some or all of the following in conjunction with the detox (remember: we’re one creature, everything is connected, mind and body):
- Exercise regularly, 3-4 times a week
- Sleep at least 7.5 hours a night. Preferably 9 (I’m clocking in at about 8 currently, and I can feel that I do need more)
- Do what you can to reduce stress. Meditate. Do yoga. Go hiking. Play with children (ok, maybe don’t play with children …). But find what works for you, and make time for it.
- Get rid of all your chemical and petroleum-based products. If it looks like it’s a petrochemical it probably is. Beware also of the cheap foaming agent sodium laureth sulphate (found in almost every beauty care product). I still am keeping a few ‘cheats’ here … but do your best.
- Drink lots of water. LOTS. Without water your body is going to have a hard time detoxing.
OK, on to the eating part. Because I am, after all, obsessed by food.
One thing to note – it turns out that I am my mother’s daughter in more ways than one. Turns out I have an intolerance also for members of the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplants/aubergines, and peppers). Hopefully this will resolve itself in time but I’ve been told to take a break from these for the next three months. This does not apply to everyone, however.
Here’s the deal, the diet is basically strict paleo. We’ll start with what is not allowed:
- Grains of any sort
- Sugar of any kind (including fruit, honey, etc)
- Vegetables that are high in sugar (sweet potatoes, any winter squash, carrots, beets, corn, etc.)
- Processed food (most especially including soy!!) … exceptions being some of the protein powders & supplements I explain below
- Coffee (almost all coffee contains mould of some form, and aside from this it puts a strain on the central nervous system AND while caffeine can be good for athletes in competition, having a lower tolerance is only a good thing)
- Mushrooms (while we are trying to kill any bad fungi in our body, best to keep away from all fungi – they are, after all, taking over the world. Just ask Eric Stromberg)
What does this leave you ask?
- Proteins: eggs, fish, hemp/spirulina, and healthy meats (properly-raised chickens, grassfed game & livestock)
- Carbs: Pretty much all other vegetables. My staples will be: salad greens, kale, swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower.
- Fats (stupid blogger won’t let me indent!!)
- Oils: Olive oil, clarified butter, coconut oil
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, chia, etc.
- Nuts: Anything except cashews (which are not actually a nut and often contain low levels of mould, believe it or not…)
- Other: Fresh coconut, coconut milk/cream (the kind without preservatives!), avos
A word on nuts: make sure they are fresh. Nuts stored longer than 3 months not only get stale but can get mould, and one of the things we are trying to do is clear our body of toxins.
To make this even more fun (quite the opposite, but no one said this would be easy) for the first three weeks no meat products and vegetables are to be eaten as raw as possible (i.e. raw or steamed). Oils can, of course, be added on top and seasonings are allowed (so long as they are things like Himalayan salt and dried herbs, not MSG!). Meat products can be added for the second six weeks. Add them back in SLOWLY …
Cool, so we’ve covered diet. The next thing is supplements. These are:
- Zeolite powder. This natural volcanic ash has negatively-charged ions that bind to non-organic compounds in your system. Apparently it was given to residents and put in the soil after Chernobyl. What I know is when I first started taking this in high doses I could feel the heavy metals on my tongue. Unfortunately this stuff tastes vile so what you do is mix 3 tablespoons in a liter of water, shake it up, and wait for the large particles to settle to the bottom. These aren’t useful anyway and taste terrible. The good stuff stays in solution. Apparently, zeolite also helps reduce hangovers. Actually if you read the web site it’s pretty much a wonder-compound doing everything from the above-mentioned heavy metal removal to fighting free radicals, alkalinising the body, delaying muscle tissue oxidation, I could go on but it’s all on the web page. Take a few swigs of this solution morning and evening. I’m going to go take some now.
- Psyllium husks. Basically a super fiber: expands quickly in contact with water, and sweeps out garbage that’s been stuck in your intestines (probably thanks to the gluten … but that’s a subject that’s been covered elsewhere on the web). Take 1 tablespoon of this 2-3 times a day, mixed with some water. Drink quickly, then drink another full glass of water immediately.
- Wormwood, black walnut, and cloves: in combination these kill parasites. The wormwood and black walnut kill any live parasites, and cloves kill the eggs. These must be taken in combination. Now, dosages vary depending on whether you get these things in capsules or tincture form, so I’m not going to suggest anything there. I’m going to do this combo for the first month.
- A good probiotic (I’ve been told the best SA brands are The Real Thing, AviPro, and Intestiflora), once a day in the morning on an empty stomach. This replaces the bad stuff you are killing with good, healthy gut bacteria.
In my particular case the demands of my recreational activities are such that I need very high doses of protein. We will see how I do for three weeks without meat; I may not be able to hack it! But I’ll give it a shot; I’m planning eggs for breakfast, protein shake snack, fish for dinner, and another protein shake after training. I will be substituting xylitol for the banana in the smoothie (drinking one now and it tastes acceptable). While it may not taste very good, spirulina turns out to be wonderful. Even 1 teaspoon and I feel full for hours. But that’s without hectic training so we shall see.
That’s about it. Wish me/us well!
The six weeks happens to wrap up at Fittest in Cape Town so, if all goes according to plan I’ll be a lean, mean, happily energized machine in mid-February and after that, on to the rest of the competition season. To a healthy 2012!