This month I embarked on a detox to cleanse my body after a long (and glorious) summer of indulgence. I am also in dire need of better iron absorption with recent blood work indicating anemia. Yikes! Thus began “Sober September”, an eye opening experience for many reasons, not least of which is just how difficult it is to cut out simple pleasures. I avoided the following foods based loosely on the recommendations outlined by the Candida Diet:
- Wheat and most gluten
- Processed everything
- Dairy (except yogurt)
I prepared all my food fresh and used seasonings such as Udo’s Oil, lemon, fresh basil, garlic, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. I cut down on fruit consumption in favour of fresh vegetable and avoided dried fruit entirely. I limited starchy vegetables and avoided fermented foods as well. For three weeks I committed to cleanse the system with the goal of improving digestion and increasing iron absorption.
So how did it go? For the most part I was successful: I feel great, have more energy and sleep better. Some of this can be attributed to the iron supplements, but also the increase in vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains and avoidance of alcohol, gluten and sugars. I provided some sample meals below to inspire you to undertake a similar challenge.
- Breakfast: Plain yogurt. Pumpkin seeds. Chia Seeds. Half banana
- Snack: Smoothie – Kale. Half banana. Cocoa powder. Flax seeds. Hemp hearts. Almond butter. Almond milk.
- Lunch: Green salad. Can salmon.
- Dinner: Beef and vegetable stir-fry
- Bedtime snack: Hagan Daaz chocolate ice cream (I cheated)
- Breakfast: Smoothie – Kale. Spinach. Pear. Yogurt. Fresh ginger. Cinnamon. Flax seeds. Almond milk
- Snack: Almonds. Apple
- Lunch: Green salad. Poached eggs. Pumpkin seeds
- Snack: Celery. Almond Butter
- Dinner: Fish. Rice. Broccoli
- Bedtime snack: Banana mashed with cocoa powder and yogurt
- Breakfast: Quinoa pancakes. Plain yogurt.
- Snack: Almonds
- Lunch: Broccoli salad. Avocado. Egg. Chicken
- Snack: Apple
- Dinner: Chicken pizza
- Bedtime snack: Brownie. Plain yogurt (I cheated again. I’m not perfect)
I did not offer quantities as these will vary depending on your body’s dietary needs and activity level. There were times when I felt hungry, however this started to change around week two when I was fueling with whole foods and quality calories. Everything that I put in my body was being used and gave me the energy and nutrients needed to function. With that said, in week three I started to slip and started eating sugars once again (brownies, chocolate and ice cream). The process of avoidance and awareness at just how difficult it is to manage cravings was enlightening. The biggest realization was how social food and drink are and the difficulty of dietary restriction in making the right choices. I am grateful to have no allergies because eating out would be extremely difficult. I enjoy my food to the full extent and continue to believe in eating everything, in moderation.