A detox is not a diet.
A detox is not a diet.
I’ve been repeating this mantra over and over as I come off my my liquids-only day.
My inner-teenager, who danced with bulimia and an enforced diet, can never be skinny enough. She looks at pictures of my raw- boned ancestors and cringes wondering why she didn’t inherit our mother’s bird bones and Audrey Hepburn visage.
A detox is not a diet, I repeat to myself on the day I had two solid meals and bone broth for only one.
A detox is not a diet, I say again on the day the first day of back to three meals.
There is a part of me that fights for a few more days of liquids only even though I know, with my personal constitution and daily busy-ness, that a prolonged period with only bone broth is not, in fact, good for me.
This is how I come off every detox– reminding the wounded parts of my psyche that food is not the enemy.
I’ve been reading Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef and owner of the New York restaurant Prune:
I had no fewer than sixteen girls with “allergies” to dairy and wheat- cheese and bread basically- but also to to garlic, eggplant, corn, and nuts. They had cleverly developed allergies, I believe, to the foods they had seen their own mothers fearing and loathing as diet fads passed through their homes.
I breathe this in.
Are my food intolerances— which lead to hives and migraines and horrible exhaustion– the energetic boomerang of my own mother’s yo-yo dieting?
Or is it bigger than that, has food and eating become so contorted that those of us who are “overly sensitive,” who taste the energy fields around us for breakfast and sip the resonance of our cultural zeitgeist at teatime, are we embodying the attitudes and confusion of an entire generation?
Is it as simple as stepping out of that energy or are we canaries in the coalmine, warning of rising smoke?
Is it a metaphor for a society that gives us too much to take in, to ingest, until we simply can’t digest it all?
Or perhaps, simply, are we simply adults who were kids with negative body images and low physical self-esteem?
I head over to the Witch Camp forum and join the struggles and triumphs there. I marvel at how many ways we can beat ourselves up with food. At how this detox is as much emotional as it is physical. And I make myself a vow:
One day, I will do a detox, and afterwards I will joyously add the meals back in, savoring the sensuality of food in my mouth.
And on that day, I will know that I have truly detoxed… and truly healed.
What Witch Camp shows me, over and over, is that we support each other through our shared stories. Please add yours in the comments below.
Tuesday, March 3
Restless night with a detox headache.
Or a headache from eating steamed veggies with mung bean noodles, as my solid meal yesterday.
Why mung bean noodles? Because I’m not eating rice (it’s a grain) but I still wanted the the sensation of a starch. And mung beans are a bean, beans are not on the detox list, so it sort of made sense.
Until my stomach felt like it was full of buckshot and I got a side stitch behind my shoulder blade.
Clear, logical thinking goes out the window when I am cleansing. My brain focuses on food, on want, and blindsides me to the obvious. Like the (obvious) fact that mung bean noodles are a processed food and who the heck knows what’s in there.
I go through this every time I do a detox: I start eating weird things that I don’t normally eat in a attempt to replace the foods that I’m cutting out.
And it backfires. Every. Time.
There are some things I have down pat at this point, like:
- Day #1 of a detox is always the hardest.
- I’m a black tea junkie so, instead of cutting my black tea intake entirely, I reduce it by halves.
- And, to get off to a good start, I have to trick my brain into liking a liquid breakfast on the first day.
This year’s super yummy first day smoothie flavor? Banana-chocolate.
That shut my brain right up!
Here’s the recipe:
- Hemp milk (Tempt brand doesn’t have carrageenan, which is important for me)
- a scoop of chocolate protein powder (I use a product called Alive! that has mixed greens and herbs as well as protein and, most importantly for me, it doesn’t have nightshades)
- small handful of almonds*
- a spoonful of sunflower nut butter*
* Some people cut nuts while cleansing but my body does well with them, so I simply avoid the ones that can get funky (peanuts, cashews, and pistachios).
Blend and enjoy.
It’s ridiculously good: plenty of sweet, but no added sugar and no grains or dairy.
Notice that this is not a low-calorie breakfast: that’s because I am detoxing, not dieting.
The plan is simply to give my body a rest from a few tough-to-digest food groups. This isn’t how everyone detoxes but it is what works for me!
Andrew comes home this evening. By dinner time, it will be 24 hours of liquids only and I’m already looking forward to a light dinner. No weird foods and no mung beans.
Monday, March 2
Sometimes I’ll make a pot of kitchari and munch happily on that all day.
Or I’ll simmer broth until the scent of parsley and thyme and chicken fat creeps into every room in the house. I won’t want anything else and will slurp soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This week the Witch Campers and I are doing a little spring detox. Nothing extreme or hard core, just giving our digestion a rest by moving toward lighter foods and liquid nourishment.
Many cultures traditionally detox in late winter/early spring.
Studies show that a modified fast (i.e. cutting down as opposed to not eating at all) will have lasting benefits for the whole body including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
For our modified fast, we are drinking dandelion tea (root & leaf) and cutting out one food or food group per day:
– Monday: sugar
– Tuesday: dairy
– Wednesday: wheat
– Thursday: eggs
– Friday: corn & soy
– Saturday: meat
– For those who feel called, Sunday is liquids only: bone broths and juices
Witch Campers who have never done a detox before are simply cutting out one food each day, while those who are more experienced cleansers are going cumulative.
Sounds easy, huh?
Andrew was out of town through Tuesday, so I decided to jump right into liquids only. Might as well get that done while he’s gone and I’m not tempted by someone else’s yummy, greasy sweet potato fries, right?
This is kind of like going from 0 to 60 MPH; it makes most cars and most humans sputter and roar.
But I figured it should be super simple: all I’m asking of myself is one solid meal and two meals of bone broth, something I do on occasion anyway. Basically eating the way I already like to eat… sometimes.
But today doesn’t seem to be one of those times. Today I am wanting *crunch*… and I have broth.
All day I watched my dogs steal bones from each other and thought about my primal relationship to food.
It’s not that I’m feeling particularly hungry, it’s more that I’m feeling particularly denied.
I hop over to the Witch Camp chat room: one woman is laughing about how she never eats sugar, but since we have eliminated it today she is desperately craving sweets and salivating over candy in the grocery store.
Wanting what we don’t have, only because we don’t have it.
I watch Nyssa steal Finn’s bone.
Share your detox stories in the comments below and I will share more of mine tomorrow.