The Detox

One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with"; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), U.S. philosopher.

Over Easter 2009 I did a 3 day detox. The intention of the detox was to cleanse my body after a long season on the bike, and to also draw a line in the sand as far as a new chapter of my life beginning. It ended up being so much more than this though.

The 3 day detox is from page 197 of Paul Jeffrey’s “Diary of a Fat Man”. Long story short he took a year off work and lost 64kg!! It is a good read, and most people could knock the book off in a couple of afternoons.

I fully expected to be hungry throughout the detox, but this was not the case, despite my caloric intake being just (an estimated) 50% to 60% of what I would normally have. It should be noted though, the purpose of this detox is not to ‘loss weight’. Starving yourself to get lighter is not sustainable or healthy, and I actually made a point of not weighing myself, as I don’t want to get into a mindset where I feel there are shortcuts to weight loss.

Despite having what I consider to be a fairly healthy diet, the 3 day detox left me looking at my relationship with food. I won’t dwell on this point too much, but a few observations are made below.

Tastes better than it looks...if you like beetroot. 
Each day you can drink as much water as you like. (Distilled / filtered water is fine wish, but mine was simply tap water). You may also want to have peppermint tea (during the day) or chamomile tea (in the evenings). Other than that you stick to the ingredients to the letter. If a food is not listed then you don’t eat it. Also, try to make everything fresh (not canned food), and make sure you wash everything really well.

Day 1 – “Juice”Carrots, celery, and beetroot. The ratio for juicing is 2:1:1. Drink 300mls every hour between approx 8am and 8pm. Make up juice as you go or (as I did) simply in a couple of batches. Expect to feel slightly hungry in the evening.

Day 2 – “Broth”
Same ingredients as Day 1, and you also add watercress, onions, parsley, ginger, cayenne pepper. (No salt!!). You may want to make this in smaller amounts and simply blend up the broth so there are no lumps. By the afternoon of Day 2 you will cherish any small lumps of vegetables carrot that are found and will find onion to hold more favour than you previously recall.

Day 3 – “Steamed”
Exactly the same ingredients as Day 2, but with cauliflower and broccoli added. Everything is steamed this time and you eat as you please. (No need to blend food). A small amount of extra virgin olive oil (which I don’t normally have) was recommended and went very nicely with the food. It is quite nice to almost be eating normally again, and I found my mouth was starting to feel like a bit of an ashtray by the end of Day 3.

In my opinion if you break it will be early evening on Day 2 or early evening on Day 3. Be careful for these times and don’t sit with others at meal times. (This said, I cooked dinner for my children with no problem).
You will be tempted and cravings will happen. Stick to the plan and you’ll be fine.
So what is our relationship with food?? We all need it and it would be a little fair fetched to say that food is a social construction (unlike alcohol). However the way in which we use food is socially constructed. I recall watching the food channel in the evening of Day 2, where they were cutting up a side of lamb for a large meal, and I thought, “Is this what we really do to animals??”. The need for protein via meat is (in my opinion) pretty essential, but I am now left wondering if it really has to be a part of most of my lunches and every single dinner I consume.

Thus it would be eventually transpire that the 3 day detox, like many experiences that enrich your life, left me with more questions than answers.

...and don’t forget the beetroot!! By the end of Day 3 you will pleased to finish. 
It would seem fitting that a 3 day period which would see each day revolve around what I was consuming would leave me (within 24 hours) questioning how I ate. A few of the things I considered during the detox are listed below...

How I eat – Do I really need to eat until I am stuffed at every meal?? A portion should be the size of the palm of my hand...and this doesn’t include my fingers!!

What I eat – What are ‘treats’ anyway?? A food type does not become a reward for me just because a well thought out marketing campaign has stated I ‘deserved’ that specific product.

When I eat – Smaller meals, but more meals each day, will leave me feeling better. There is some evidence this can also increase the metabolic rate.

Why I eat – Is food eaten to live, or do I live to eat. Despite having a fairly good diet to start with I found myself heading for the kitchen every time I was bored. (No I didn’t give into temptation!!). I had previously looked at food as fuel, (as most cyclists probably do), but now also view food as the source of well being for my body.

Who I eat – Yep...‘Who’. That chicken breast, medium rare steak, or fish fillet used to be a living breathing creature. I now find myself asking the question, “Does my body need this??”, rather than “Hmmmm yummy”. There is nothing wrong with eating meat, but there maybe there is also nothing wrong with asking ourselves from time to time if we need to eat it.

Many of the above points were unexpected, with especially the last thought coming out of the blue. Each of us can only answer these questions for ourselves, but the experience needs to be lived through...not read about.

Let me know about your experiences if you try this detox.


1 comment:

Dave said...

My congratulations, especially during what I would consider the most difficult holiday to eat well. Also was glad not to hear any excuses i.e., cooking for the kids. So if I try this I would like to know, were there any side effects?