Not your average master cleanse

29 Jun

Some hippy dippy stuff

January 12, 2012

When you should be doing something important but find yourself daydreaming, your thoughts probably float around to some alternate lifestyles. “What would it be like to be a billionaire?” “What would it be like to date a celebrity?” “What would it be like to eat only fruits, vegetables and rice for an entire week.”
Ok, you might not day-dream about a life free of processed food, sugar, meat or alcohol but in case that idle curiosity has ever tickled your fancy (or if it hasn’t) I can tell you exactly what it’s like spend an entire week eating like an struggling Asian farmer who lost his bean plants and livestock in an ill-fated game of mah-jongg.
Let me back up and explain why I even embarked on this experiment. My dad, a family practitioner, recently completed a fellowship in integrative medicine and is really interested in exploring the effects of non-traditional medical methodology on his patients.
Some of it, I completely buy into. Yes, multiple studies have shown that fish oil supplements make you basically indestructible.
Some of it, I need to be sold on. Not sure if my dad waving his hands over my sister’s head and “analyzing her energy” is going to help with much of anything.
So one evening my dad casually mentioned that one of his patients wanted to do a de-tox program and  asked if I’d be interested in being the test pilot for it. I was a little hesitant at first. I thought detox meant only drinking lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for two weeks and turning into a raving, albeit very cleaned out, maniac.
He showed me the literature out of a book called Digestive Wellness by Dr. Elizabeth Lipski (who also wrote a  stomach-clenching book entitled Leaky Gut Syndrome that I was tempted to consult). It seemed pretty reasonable and straightforward: Eat all you want of fruits, vegetables and rice and use olive oil and safflower oil as condiments for seven to ten days.
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Ok Dad I’ll do it. I’m just not giving up coffee,” and he said, “Ok that’s fine. You know there are studies that say that coffee drinkers have lower rates of prostate cancer and diabetes,” and that was it.
The next morning, over a breakfast of grapefruit and bananas, I sat down and wrote out a list of things I would need to buy at the grocery and went on my merry way, armed with carrot sticks and apples (because Dr. Lipski also said to eat ever two to three hours to keep your blood sugar steady). I dropped a healthy $60 at the store and came back toting sacks of mushrooms, green beans, pears, brussell sprouts, broccoli and a box of detox tea (also recommended by Dr. Lipski to aid in the elimination of toxins).
At the end of the first day, I went to bed congratulating myself that I felt fine, maybe a little hungry, but overall pretty good. Dr. Lipski said that in the first three or four days you might experience nausea, headaches, fatigue and chills as your body went through withdrawals from everything you had eliminated. After a day, none of that had hit me and I thought I was safe. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The next afternoon, I thought I had been hit simultaneously by the flu and a truck. My head felt like I always thought Wile E. Coyote might after an ACME anvil fell on his noggin. I was burning up. No wait I was freezing. Nope. Hot again. I thought I was going to toss my cookies. Except I hadn’t eaten any cookies that I could toss.
At about seven p.m. I called quits on the day and went to bed.
The next day was better, but only slightly. I could be vertical without having vertigo but it was easier to just turn out all the lights and spend the day on the couch, avoiding the harsh glare of my laptop, phone or the t.v and not trying to follow the words on the pages of my book as they danced around.
Around mid-afternoon I rallied and made an important decision. Popcorn, air-popped in olive oil, I decided, “counted” on this detox. Dr. Lipski said corn was kosher and that dried fruits and vegetables were a go, so I made myself a huge bowl of popcorn and inhaled it.
Slowly, my energy came back as my headache went away and I felt fresh and revitalized. Listening to music didn’t bruise my eardrums anymore! I could walk without feeling like I was going to puke!
I won’t lie to you and tell you that after I got over that hump everything has been sunshine and butterflies but I stopped feeling sick and started feeling the incredible amounts of energy that Dr. Lipski promised me.
I’m halfway through day six right now and have been fantasizing about drinking a tall glass of milk and having chicken fajitas (not together though) for the last 36 hours. Though I don’t feel completely sated after every meal, I’m not dying of hunger either and I never feel guilty for eating “too much.”
This experience has given me a chance to exercise a little bit of my culinary creativity, though admittedly not as much as I would like. My mom and I made an incredible Portugese caldo verde (green soup made with kale and potatoes) last night and I’ve made some pretty mean salads and stir fries.
I do feel lighter and brighter, cleaner and more energetic but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone unless you know you have time to come down with a self-inflicted flu, prepare and cook a lot of meals and snacks, and only be able to go out with your friends for sushi and coffee (no fro-yo or pizza outings guys. Sorry).
After this is over, my goal is to have one meal daily that’s “on the plan” and to incorporate more fruits and veggies into “non-plan” meals, which is something that I think would be detoxing in its own right for anyone.
Now, next time you zone out while someone is telling a boring story about how their cat got stuck in a tree and you find yourself thinking “Gee, what would it be like to only it fruits and vegetables and rice for a week?” you have an answer. Unless you zoned out while reading this.

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