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12 Things I Learned from my Food Detox

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In the winter of 2014, I was given an opportunity to participate in a 15-day food detox program offered by Nourish2Live.com in exchange for writing and sharing about the experience. The detox was divided into three phases: a 4 day pre-detox preparation transition, a 7-day detox practice, and a 4 day post detox transition.  The detox is designed to help you eliminate a number of food items, live without them for a week, and then slowly re-introduce them. The goal is to help you begin to create your own “blueprint” for what foods and practices most effectively fuel you, as opposed to inflaming you. Coach Chris DeHollander believes in “bio-individuality,” that we are all created uniquely and there is not a “once size fits all” lifestyle. She also is clear that this program is not meant to be your permanent eating plan. It’s a “jump start” to educate and empower you to design a healthy program for your unique needs. I like that.

For each of the days of my process, I shared a photo and caption explaining my journey. I also found Scripture verses and passages that seemed to fit what I was learning and what God has to say about living a healthy life. That slide show is available here:

[slideshare id=”32585607″]

I learned 12 key things from the experience to help me create a blueprint for me. To some degree, these principles will also impact my husband, who cooperated with the process and participated in some parts of it.

I learned:

1. While I don’t seem to have a serious sensitivity to any particular food, I do sense issues if I have too much of a particular type of food. For example, I love cheese and sometimes I also enjoy eating out or eating some type of processed food. But I now realize that these choices should be more of a “seasoning” in my diet than a main foundation of it.  I’ve discovered that my digestive system can rebel with bloating/irregularity when I get into unbalance in this area. 

2. I need protein almost daily, and can find creative ways to incorporate it. This means more use of seeds, tuna/salmon/chicken salads (without fatty mayo but something like Veganese instead), fish, occasional beef, avocado, Greek yogurt, etc.

3. It is good for me to limit carbs and to focus on whole grains when I do want that type of food. I’m actually not finding it that difficult to cut down on bread and pasta when it used to be something I wanted often. I believe that I tend to crave carbs and cheese when I’m tired or stressed—they represent comfort to me. Knowing those triggers can help me make healthier choices or at least add a healthy component or two to a meal that also contains those items.

4. It’s best for me to limit regular coffee to a couple of times a week, if that. I like the ritual of coffee, but decaf and other alternatives can accomplish the same thing. The jury is still out regarding a particular brand of caffeinated coffee and I may have to further limit, or replace, that brand.

5. There is no food that is off limits (for me, so far). This may be a controversial statement, but my personal conviction is that God no longer condemns any particular type of food, but does teach concepts of moderation, wisdom, restraint, and not becoming addicted to any type of food. So I feel I can occasionally enjoy a moderate portion of a dessert or crunchy snack without guilt.

[callout]“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV (note: Paul seems to be quoting the Corinthians who were making these statements.)[/callout]

6. I need to be more intentional about water. I should be drinking 8-10 cups a day, or enough for urine to be pale or clear. I freeze different types of fruit to use as ice cubes to make it interesting.

7. Eating out has consequences. Not only does it affect my wallet, many foods in restaurants come from processed sources. I can make healthy choices, but the healthy options are limited. The day I wrote this I happened to be at two coffee shops and one restaurant throughout the day, thus having three of my meals for the day out. I feel I did reasonably well in my choices, but I wouldn’t want to have to make such choices several days a week.

8. Probiotics are very important. I’d already discovered the value of a probiotic and am strengthened in my conviction that probiotics and probiotic-rich foods are very valuable in building the immunity and warding off illness. I have become more familiar now with a couple more sources of these helpful bacteria (i.e. Kefir and Kombu.)

9. Variety helps you incorporate many important vitamins and minerals into your diet. While I personally decided to return to a daily supplement after detox, a healthy, nutritious food plan does not have to include a particular product or supplement, although it is understood that they can be helpful for some. Often we hear about “magical” supplements, powders and pills. But the core foundation of nutrition is the food we take in.

10. It is important to rest, to listen to your body and to de-stress. I introduced dry body brushing to myself in this process, and got more active again on my rebounder. I use essential oils for various purposes, and am very committed that weekends should be for recreation and Sabbath type rest and restoration–thus I rarely do any professional work on Saturday/Sunday unless for a scheduled professional event.

11. An 80/20 food lifestyle is an actionable and enjoyable approach for us. This mindset means that 80% of the time I want to be choosing “clean” nutritious foods–meaning foods that are not highly processed and don’t have a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce–and leave 20% or less for foods I eat simply because I enjoy the taste.

12. God wants to guide me in this. There were several verses and passages that applied to various parts of this detox, and it should include getting rid of toxic attitudes and putting healthy boundaries on potentially negative relationships. God is interested in guiding me through the process. I sense His guidance in the thinking process and I highly encourage any of you to learn about Chris’ programs and participate in one. You’ll learn a lot…you won’t be perfect at it, but you’ll be that much farther ahead in your mindset and actions than you may be now. And you may be surprised. You may be able to happily choose not to partake of junk food, like I was able to do today when some goodies were brought into an office I was at on “Fat Tuesday.” I was able to walk away with very little temptation or craving. That doesn’t mean at a different time I wouldn’t have enjoyed a treat. I just wasn’t willing to let those things be my treat for the day.

Chris is offering a Spring Detox that starts April 24. If you decide to participate, I’d enjoy hearing what you learn! Be sure to tell her Beth sent you!