Friday, April 05, 2013

Pure Eating

Julie and I decided to try a two week "food cleanse".   She may add a third week, but I will be traveling.  There are so many foods and additives that either cause allergies or don't process well in our bodies.  The cleanse tries to get rid of all the likely problems and give your body, more specifically your liver, a chance to clean out, flush toxins and get rid of any inflammation. If you find that you suddenly feel better after two weeks, the trick is to slowly add things back into your diet so that you can figure out what was causing problems.

I have tried a number of diets over the years, focusing on low carbs, low fat, or just low calories.  Changing your eating habits to adjust to those can be awkward, but it isn't that hard.  In contrast, this cleanse is a true challenge.  Here are the things we have to stop eating and drinking:

  • Alcohol - straightforward and fairly easy.  I stop drinking almost any time I need to lose some weight because I know the calories are complete trash.
  • Caffeine - Harder for me as a serious coffee drinker, but fairly easy to do.  We did have to taper off for a few days to avoid the caffeine headaches.  I wouldn't mind decaf coffee, but even that has caffeine, just less than normal.  We have been sticking with herbal teas.
  • Beef and pork - awkward because it narrows the choices, but there are enough ways to do chicken (organic only), fish (not farm raised) and bison.
  • Peanuts - lots of allergies for people, but very easy to give up.  You still get to have all the other nuts, so we just switched from peanut butter to almond butter.
  • Gluten - wow, now it gets hard. I really feel for people with celiac disease.  Pick up almost any packaged food and you will find something that sounds like wheat or yeast. It is in hundreds of products where it seems to have no place.  Even "healthy organic" soups often have it as a thickener.  Going for veggie burgers to avoid beef?  Nope, they have gluten.
  • Corn - wouldn't be that big a problem except that a lot of the Gluten-free foods have some corn instead.  Tough combo.
  • Sugar - we can do honey or agave but nothing else.  As everyone knows, they add sugar to absolutely every processed food in order to appeal to our sweet tooth. Even things we thought would be ok, like dried fruits, often have cane sugar added.
  • Eggs - this one is hard simply because I eat a lot of them.  They are a frequent breakfast and make a great lunch omelet with leftovers.
  • Dairy - Ouch!  The milk is easy.  If you haven't ever tried almond milk, it is a reasonable replacement. Butter is easily replaced with olive oil or coconut oil.  Cheese?  I put cheese on everything!  I hope to God that I don't find I have any problems with cheese.  Julie is a regular Greek yogurt eater, so that had to be replaced.
I am sure I am forgetting some other restrictions.  We shop with a cheat sheet.

What do we eat?  Oatmeal is an easy breakfast and I do that a lot anyway. Lunch can be some homemade soups, carefully selected chicken sausages, fruit, nuts, ....  Dinner is a lot of chicken and fish meals,  veggies, and salads with a very select group of dressings.

We are about 5 or 6 days into this and I think we have found the groove for what to eat, although trips to the grocery store are still a very slow, label-reading adventure.  I have mixed feelings. I would love to find some food group that if either avoided or restricted would make Julie or I feel a lot better.  At the same time, it sure is a lot easier being able to eat any food group and just tend towards the healthier stuff.  We've been doing that for years.
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