Yep – you read that title correctly - but it’s not what you are think. I am not talking Betty Ford clinic. I need a Betty Crocker clinic.
My body has taken a beating lately. If you read my blog then you know that I had an emergency appendectomy at the end of November which resulted in a six week ban on working out. This hiatus coincided with the onset of the holiday season which at the best of time wreaks havac with a healthy diet. The inactivity made me crave (and eat) more “holiday” food then usual. It was a steady intake of cheese, chocolate and other assorted treats. I began to feel the effects and I knew that I had to do something to kick start my health. I conducted some research on “cleanses” and “detox diets” to see what they were all about.
“Cleanses” are fasting programs that allow only the intake of water combined with some sort of colonic. Some religions have spiritual traditions that involve fasting, (e.g. Ramadan, Yom Kippur) and historical figures such as Gandhi, Plato and Socrates would practice fasting in order to obtain clarity of thought. Fasting does not sound healthy to me in the least. And let's face it, I am a heathen and what do I need clarity of thought for? Karaoke? Don't even get me started on the idea of a voluntary colonic.
“Detox diets” are short term dietary plans consisting of specific foods that have the ability to convert toxins into water soluble form in order to cleanse the body’s waste system (i.e. liver, kidneys, intestinal tract). Food that is common in a detox diet is food that I like, so this sounded like a more appealing option, however it was not without its drawbacks. This diet has a significant lack of protein and iron sources. In addition, although I was willing to cut down on my caffeine intake, I knew that I could not give it up completely. Commuting on the GO Train is a daily test of patience and tolerance, and if I didn’t have a cuppa tea in me in the morning somebody could get injured.
So I decided I would undertake a modified version of the detox diet – which I am calling Revised Eating Habits – or REHAB. REHAB would be a modifed version of a detox diet but would allow for exceptions such as protein and iron (and moderate caffeine and sugar intake instead of an outright ban).
Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a medical professional, nor am I a nutritionist. This is simply a diary that documents my experiment that I conducted over a three day period.
** Note** I kept well hydrated all three days with lots of green tea and water.
Tea – with a splash of skim milk and one sugar – this was non-negotiable.
Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake – I chose the Arbonne brand because it is made from pea and cranberry protein instead of the usual whey protein which can be hard to digest and it is also packed full of vitamins and selenium which has great cleansing properties. I also liked the fact that it came in ready to use packages - simply mix a package with 255ml of water and shake vigorously. On line reviews stated that shakes were delicious. I don’t know who wrote these reviews, but I am sure that they must have been tree-bark eating druids. It was awful! It was gritty and had the consistency of wall paper paste.
I had to have at least one cup of coffee with a splash of milk and sugar to help stave off a caffeine withdrawal headache.
Lunch was comprised of foods from a typical detox diet – miso soup, edamame, a blood orange and homemade coleslaw made from a ready to use bagged mixture containing cabbage and carrots which I combined with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grainy Dijon mustard (condiments would not be permitted in a detox diet). The coleslaw was impressive – tasted like the KFC coleslaw but way healthier.
This is where things went a bit pear-shaped. On the evening train I started having massive sodium withdrawal. I began to identify with Ewan Macgregor’s character in Trainspotting when he climbs into The Worst Toilet in Scotland for his last hit of heroin. At this point I would have cheerfully stuck my face in the GO Train toilet to fish out a bag of potato chips. To help the situation, I chose Morning Star Farms Veggie Buffalo Wings. Since it is a processed food it would have been forbidden on a traditional detox diet, but it is loaded with protein and iron and it satisfied my sodium craving.
Tea – with a splash of skim milk and one sugar – again, this was non-negotiable.
Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake – Although the directions state that it should be mixed with water only, I took a risk and blended the sachet with ½ skim milk and ½ water, hoping that it wouldn't curdle the mixture, but based on how it tasted yesterday morning I am not sure that I would have noticed the difference if it was curdled. Thankfully, it did improve the consistency of the shake. It certainly didn’t make it delicious as the druids would have you believe, but it did make it smoother and more palatable. Maybe it was because I prepared it in my cocktail shaker and the poor thing went into shock not having alcohol in it and tainted my tincture?
Again, I limited myself to one cup of coffee with milk and sugar.
Again lunch featured a traditional detox diet food– boiled beets, chopped avocado, chick peas and lentils in garlic olive oil followed by a fruit salad with red grapefruit, blueberries, strawberries and cherries.
Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake – I went the full Monty this morning and mixed the power with skim milk only. This was the most palatable version that I had tried thus far. It was by far a lot smoother and it was hardly grainy at all. Or perhaps my cocktail shaker had gotten over the shock and was resigning to a new life as a teetotaler.
Again, I limited myself to one cup of coffee with milk and sugar
Boiled beets, chick peas in garlic olive oil, a salad of lentils, split peas, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, followed by a fruit salad with red grapefruit, blueberries, mangoes, cantaloupe and cherries.
By this point I had come down with a cold. I also had absolutely no appetite and couldn’t face eating. Clearly germs like my newly cleansed system so I should keep my body as inhospitable as possible with sodium and Spiritz in the future.
I’m not sure if getting the cold was a result of the change in diet or if it was just a coincidence so I will put that fact aside, but it did impair the results since I am not sure if I would have had more energy or not. Not to get into graphic gross detail, but let’s say that that my body did get a good cleanse and it is safe to say that there is no longer remnants of cheese ball or marzipan left in my system. Lastly, not to make the men out there uncomfortable, but a note to the ladies – this is the first time in my life that I have not suffered from the monthly bloat.
Would I do this again? Yes, I will try this at least another time down the road just to see if there was an increase in energy or if it results in suffering another cold. I am glad that I did the experiment and I am now ready to continue on with a more balanced lifestyle – the good food with the bad – all in moderation.
I am thinking of pitching a new show to the networks – Food Network Celebrity Rehab – in which I am Dr. Drew and I try to help Food Network hosts with their greasy food addiction. After six years of hosting Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I am sure Guy Fieri would be sweating Crisco during his detox.