I’m a few days late in blogging, but the cleanse is well underway and I just might be past the hardest part! I promised to document my August cleanse–away from Facebook and away from all potentially irritating foods, so here I go…
This cleanse is a strict gut-healing version of autoimmune paleo. I’m calling it Whole 30 on steroids, (or without steroids if I can help it!). A big boom of thunder happened right after I typed that–just to accentuate the significance of this cleanse. The whole 30 part means no grains, no dairy, no processed foods and the autoimmune part is the elimination of nuts, eggs and foods from the nightshade family. And actually, my diet follows the SCD or Specific Carbohydrate Diet principals too–eliminating certain types of starches that can be hard to digest (even sweet potatoes, sniff, sniff).
Why am I doing this??? That is the question–hahaha! My first answer is to “experience this diet”, so, as a nutritionist, if I come across a client who has severe digestive troubles and really needs a reset–I can recommend this from a place of experience and confidence in its benefits. I can also learn how much prep is needed! I thought I was going overboard by roasting two organic chickens the day before I started, but it has been so useful! I’ve made chicken bone broth, chicken curry, kale and chicken salad for tennis, and today a lovely chicken veggie soup.
My second reason for doing this is because of chronic soft-tissue issues I have faced, most recently culminating in a partially torn hamstring that felt like a knife went in beside my knee during a tennis match. Thank goodness it was the last point and I made that shot and my husband and I won! Many of the aggravating foods I already pulled out after the injury–especially grains and nightshades, which are known to be inflammatory and to contribute to soft tissue pain. I also added in healing nutrients such as vitamin C, omega-3s (from supplements and eating more fish), and collagen protein from grass-fed beef to speed-up my recovery. The doctor said 6 weeks to heal and I was playing tennis again in 5.
The question I’m trying to answer by doing this cleanse is what is the cause of my chronic pain? A girl can only roll on a foam roller so many hours in a day…and this gives me the opportunity to “reset” from all irritating foods and see if anything in particular causes a flare-up during reintroduction. People who know me may question my pain–since I’m mountain biking and hiking and playing tennis on a weekly basis. What they don’t know is I’m also going to physical therapists, chiropractors, licensed acupuncturists and/or massage therapists several times per week. Not to mention waking up feeling like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck each morning.
So, the first 3 days have gone like this: August 1 was day one and I started things off by heading out for a mountain bike ride at 8am up in Betasso Park above Boulder. I was with a very fit friend (endurance runner) so I was nervous about my energy level. Fortunately, what I lack in endurance fitness (which is a lot after 5 weeks of hamstring healing), I make up for in my 30 years of mountain bike experience. So, I didn’t put in my fastest ride, but I kept rubber side down and only had to take one real–I can’t breathe–rest break. As is key in this diet, I had prepped breakfast the night before, so I quickly sautéed my bok choy, butternut squash and 1/2 salmon burger at 6:30 am in olive oil and it was delicious and satisfying. For an on-bike snack I brought a couple dried apple slices and coconut chips.
For after the ride a bit of protein in a Wild Zora lamb and veggie bar. (No gluten, soy, nuts, milk or nightshades–yay!). I was tired later that day, but kept eating every 3 hours and was able to take a 1/2 hour nap after lunch. This is why I recommend starting on a weekend or taking a few days off–which I have thankfully been able to do.
Day 2 was the doozy for me with cravings like crazy, fatigue like a zombie and concern that I had a tennis match that night. So I just suffered through–did my functional fitness and stretch routine in the late morning (that actually gave me some more energy), and made sure I had a very nutrient-dense lunch and afternoon snack. Lunch was a big salad with organic smoked turkey and avocado. My afternoon snack I had a little late to sustain me through tennis at 6–it was actually 1/2 a bison burger with steamed broccoli and carrots and dairy-free ranch dip. I kept my energy up through tennis by sipping on organic coconut water, good for electrolytes and a little natural sugar to fuel my muscles. I had some space-cadet moments where I lost track of the score or what side of the court to be on in the 2nd set, but with my strong partner pulled off a win. That “brain fog” of the forgetting the score and even a couple errors where my hand-eye coordination went out the window is a pretty normal symptom of detoxing allergens (or eating allergens if someone experiences this stuff regularly). I hope to see improvement as I progress with the cleanse. I ended the day with a lovely hot bath with lots of epsom salts, magnesium flakes and lavender essential oil.
Today the weather changed into a cool, overcast and peaceful state. Perfect for soup and being indoors. So I decided to do a morning pilates reformer class, cook ahead (more about that next time) and work at my desk today. I stopped at Isabelle Farm on the way home from pilates and picked up onion, cabbage and golden beets. I had a cauliflower and some cut-up squash in the fridge and decided
to roast a big veggie tray–carrots, beets, squash and cauliflower with fresh rosemary from my garden, garlic salt, onion and extra-virgin olive oil. Yum. Quick re-heat veggies for the whole family.
I also made soup with the bone broth I had cooked-up in the crock pot with my roast chicken bones. The soup had 1/2 of a cabbage, 3 carrots, an onion (that I sautéed ahead to bring out flavor), fresh rosemary, thyme and lemon sage from my garden, and I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum! Just enough of a citrus finish to make it bright and flavorful. We actually had it for lunch with cubes of avocado on top to add some healthy and satiating fats.
So now it’s almost 4, and I’ve been sitting too long. Time to run upstairs, change some laundry and do some more stretching. I have to say my mood is lifting and I have great pride in my determination to get through this. We’ll see what the weeks to come hold…