My 10 day detox is complete.
There are a lot of detoxes out there – I’m referring to the one created by Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the book by the same name and also the NYTimes bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution
The book was pretty thorough and I only gave it a cursory read because I assumed I knew most of it already. This was confirmed when I saw the list of kitchen staples – healthy oils, seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin), nuts (walnut, almond, macadamia), olives, canned fish, apple cider vinegar, tahini, almond butter and so on. I already had the whole list in the pantry.
The 10 Day Detox (“10DD”) is mainly an elimination diet – NO sugar, caffeine, dairy, grains, alcohol, starchy vegetables, 1 serving of red meat, no or very little processed foods. Snacks are limited to a handful of seeds and nuts, and some carrot and celery sticks. Add in a few supplements, and some fiber (PGx – which weirdly enough I actually started liking?) and you’re ready to rock your detox.
It’s basically a very strict version of paleo.
So why would I do this? According to the book
“…energy, sleep, and mood improve, that chronic problems including joint pain, digestive problems, autoimmune disease, headaches, memory problems and brain fog, sinus and allergy issues, even acne, excema, and psoriasis will get better or disappear entirely.”
Who doesn’t want all of that?!
Also, I had a few bouts of gout in the past year and I speculated that it was due to some blood sugar issues so I wanted to nip that in the bud.
Gout hurts. Alot. And I don’t want it no mo (my post on gout is coming soon).
The price of admission for getting my body onto this Disneyesque fountain of youth ride? Eating clean for 10 days.
Enough already – let’s detox this body!
It started out kinda rough.
I started by skipping my beloved 2 scrambled eggs cooked in ghee, fruit, bacon, a chai + mate tea with full fat coconut milk and then for the road – a coffee with coconut oil. I have that same breakfast combo probably 5 days a week. Luckily, the 10DD included a hearty replacement – Dr. Hyman’s Whole Food Protein Shake. By the way, each meal is preceded by drinking a 10 ounce glass of fiber infused water. It seems to help overeating. Over the 10 days I missed the fiber ritual probably 3-4 times.
Beyond Dr. Hyman’s protein shake, which I had some version of each morning depending on what I had available, I really did not use any of his recipes or suggested meals. By the way, in a fruit smoothie – guacamole is not a good substitute for avocado. For lunch and dinner each day, I had a protein (usually fish or chicken grilled or broiled) with a couple of veggies steamed, baked, sauteed or a salad. I also made a couple of pots of soup which were good for multiple meals. Food prep is always an issue on a new diet, so if you can batch some food prep then it’s a great help.
I kept a journal recording my meals, mood, energy and attention levels, blood pressure, pulse and weight. I dropped 3 pounds the first day and I think that’s where I stayed (the battery on my scale went out half way through). I’m ok with my weight anyway so that wasn’t a big deal. My blood pressure went from good to great and my pulse remained in a good zone as well. As I look back on my journal, I recorded feeling low-ish energy and focus the first several days and my mood and general optimism wasn’t great either. I attribute that to caffeine withdrawal and really not knowing what it was like to not be jacked up on caffeine. It took awhile to re-calibrate. By day 5 or so, I wasn’t snacking as much and found my energy level was on an even keel throughout the day – no crashes or high peaks. I’ve kind of gotten used to it now and I think I like it better. But, I can definitely see where ingesting some caffeine can be useful for increasing your output in spurts.
Challenges of the 10DD
I don’t think I had to battle cravings as much as habits. I realized I was a constant caffeine drinker and snacker. It took several days before I didn’t have to battle the urge to stick my hand in a bag of something or whip my truck into a Starbucks. It could’ve been cravings but I feel like it was more of a habit. Something akin to changing my routine in the shower or how I brush my teeth.
Disappointments of the 10DD
I have a lifetime of bad habits and eating incorrectly so I didn’t expect to have any spectacular results in just 10 days. But, I was hoping to have some more energy. And, maybe I really do have a form of more steady energy. I can’t say that I am more energetic, but, I am less tired. Before the 10DD there would be some days when I would come home from work and be totally exhausted or sometimes I could barely stay awake after lunch. I didn’t really have that on the 10DD. Fewer peak periods, but also fewer crashes. All in all, I guess not really a disappointment. Maybe I should re-label this section.
I’m going to incorporate some of the 10DD practices into my diet going forward. I’m going to eat more of a variety of veggies, cut back on starches to maybe 3-4x week, cut back on dairy to almost nothing, limit my intake of pork and beef to 4x per week (down from probably 14x), cut back on caffeine (I used to drink it from morning til afternoon and sometimes into the evening). I think I could eat this way forever. So my current plan is to try this post 10DD plan for another month with no supplements or fiber, and then get some bloodwork done. Based on the results, if an area needs improvement, I’ll tweak my diet and add in a supplement here and there and check again 30 days later. Not sure if that is a good scientific protocol for self improvement so if you have any advice let me know.
I’d recommend everyone going through the 10DD. First, buy the book. Get your kitchen in shape (remove temptations as best you can). Get support from others in your household. Keep healthy snacks in the car and at work for the first few days. Remind yourself – it’s only 10 days. You got this!