In January, I went on a halfhearted detox with my cousin. I was going to give up meat, dairy, gluten, refined sugar, coffee, and all processed foods, and live on a pescatarian, plant-based diet for two weeks. I was good for an entire five days before I walked into my mom's house on a bright Saturday morning, ready for a little road-trip to Seattle with my sister. I was offered pancakes and readily accepted. It wasn't until I was nearly half-way done that I even realized, "Wow, I just ate gluten, dairy, and refined sugar all in one meal." After that, I had a couple slices of bacon, figuring I'd already messed up my detox, so a little bacon couldn't hurt, and then, while eating white rice and delicious teriyaki chicken at a little Thai restaurant in Seattle, decided that I would take the weekend off from my detox. (The irony is that once you quit a detox, it's over. There's no taking a break for a weekend. I was aware of this.) I went back to my detox that Monday, and then gave up on Thursday. Gluten is just too good.
I don't have a horrible diet. I do love me some fast food, but if I make the decision to stay away from it, I can. At home, we eat whole foods. Whole grains only, full-fat milk, no high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, hydrogenated oils, dyes, and so on. I never buy boxed, pre-packaged, pre-made food, and make all our meals from scratch. We can't afford to eat 100% organic, but I buy what I can afford. One might say we have pretty healthy eating habits, especially compared to a typical American diet. But the truth is that our diet is quite typical, in that we eat a lot of sugar and a lot of grain and a lot of dairy, whereas a healthier diet would consist of primarily vegetables and a small amount of meat.
Before my non-committed detox, I had gone to town eating every sort of junk food imaginable. During the holidays (starting on Thanksgiving), I gorge myself with sugar, fat, processed food, and frequent restaurant meals, and enjoy every minute of it. Going from that to eating fresh foods, limited grains, and no dairy or gluten, even for just five days, I could feel a significant difference in my body. I felt light and clean, as opposed to heavy, bloated, and just a general yucky, acidic, full feeling. I was challenged to create meals without the staples normally found in our dinners -- dairy and wheat -- and was amazed at the variety of plants God has given us to add full, eccentric flavors to our meals.
As part of my monthly resolutions this year, I decided that for the entire month of March, I would give up dairy, gluten, processed food, and refined sugar (though I am not giving up meat). I feel the need to eat more plants and rely less on wheat and dairy to create tasty meals. I don't believe wheat is the enemy (however, I do have my thoughts on dairy, as much as I love it) and a huge factor in deciding to do this was the fact that I have struggled with pretty bad acne since I was a teen.
I try not to put myself down, especially in front of my kids, but my skin really bothers me. I'm not so vain that I can't go out of the house without makeup, but I am embarrassed by it, especially when I have a particularly horrible breakout, which happens at least once a month. I feel sloppy when I don't wear makeup, and it's harder for me to respect myself and feel confident. My face is very red (usually people think I have a bad sunburn) and it's painful & itchy. My mom was diagnosed with mild rosacea and it is hereditary, so I've wondered if that's what I have (or will have, eventually).
A couple years ago I read an article that said if you've tried everything, cleanse your body of gluten, dairy, & refined sugar. So this month, that's what I'm going to do. I have to be strict about it, or I may not see any changes. I'm even limiting my intake of natural sugar to try and kick my sugar addiction. What is going to make it really hard is that my sister's birthday is this month and my mom is sure to make her amazing homemade chocolate sheet cake, and I can't have any!
I hope to post some recipes that I'll be making, as well as a month's worth of gluten-free, dairy-free meal plans. And if you have any recipes you'd like to share with me, please do!
Resolution for this month:
- No wheat
- No dairy
- No refined sugars
- No processed food
- Less grains
- Less naturally occuring sugar
- More water
- More green tea
- More vegetables