A lot of my herbalist colleagues recommend detoxing to patients. The form of these vary from hardcore juice fasting to a more gentle approach.
As a scientist, I am quite skeptical about this sort of thing but having recently listened to a herbalist that I respect immensely talk about how we used to feast and famine and how our bodies have evolved to live this way, I thought I would try it out. After all, if I want my patients to do this sort of this I should try it myself..... and of course drag my husband into doing it too!
I share what I've learned about detoxing in this month's email newsletter but here is my diary....
I realised quite late that some of the food needed preparing in advance (note to self, read the instructions). This was things like sprouting beans which can take 3 - 5 days. Rather than postpone it as I had already postponed it to take the collaborative oncology course, I decided to alter slightly what I was going to it and make some of the recipes twice.
I feel quite relieved about this as frankly I am not liking the look of quite a lot of these recipes.
Anyway, day 0 involved some last minute shopping to get through day 1 and preparing day 1's breakfast and lunch. I can honestly say that now it's here I am not looking forward to doing this.
Breakfast had been mostly prepared the night before and stored in the fridge to make getting work easier. All there was to do was whizz up the smoothie and eat. And eating took a long time! There was a huge amount of food and I felt exceptionally full at the end of it. It's not a breakfast you can rush either. And although it looked more like space food than an appetising start to a 5 day detox, it did actually taste really good. I'm feeling slightly more hopeful about the rest.
Today I also did the rest of the shopping. Wow! It's really expensive. I've spent twice as much on 5 days of food than I would normally spend on my weekly shop. Some of it are cupboard staples but they expensive staples that include maca powder, coconut sugar and gogi berries. All well and good but I'm not convinced my Saxon ancestors would have been eating gogi berries! Still I said I would give it a go so onwards....
I have to say that lunch and dinner were amazing. Two beautiful salads which I would never normally have made (one including aforementioned gogi berries). The recipes call twice as much vinegerette than I would use normally but that's easily solved by making less.
I would definitely eat everything I have tried today. It's been delicious and very filling. I've not been left wanting at all..... even after eating essentially a whole bag of spinach for dinner.
I decided to prepare day 2's breakfast and lunch the night before. Unfortunately it was our meditation night which, as cooking dinner had taken up all available time earlier on, meant a late night cooking session. It look nearly an hour! Detoxing is not for the time constrained!!
Day 2 feels very much like elimination day. Things have definitely started shifting. I've noticed a change in bowel movements, I've broken out in spots. None of this is necessarily a bad thing but it is noticeable.
And once again the food has pleasantly surprised me. Tonight was marinated salmon and it was so delicious. Admittedly it came with more cucumber than a woman knows what to do with but it was great nonetheless. I will definitely be making this again.
Today has been the first of two liquid days and after just one I am craving solid food..... followed by a glass of wine and dessert!
I had not really been looking forward to the juice and soup days but they have all been really pleasant to drink. And even though I'm feeling slightly hungry as I go to bed,I feel like I've had a lot of food.
It has felt slightly constraining however. With juices for breakfast and a midmorning snack, soup for lunch and then more juice in the afternoon, I feel like all I've done all day is prepare food, eat, then wash up. I'm feeling very thankful.for our dishwasher!
I want solid food!!! It's only been two days but I am really missing it. I am really appreciating the bite and crunch of just about anything.
All but one of the juices and soups have been really delicious and as they are freshly made, filled with nutrients. I can't say that I don't feel full but neither can I say I feel satisfied.
It's also been a lot of hard work. All I have done all day is prepare food, eat food (well drink), then wash up afterwards. My sink is permanently covered in dishes and the dishwasher is constantly on.
And do I feel better for it? I'm not I can answer that definitively but I have certainly emptied my bowels!
Day 5 - the final day
I started the day with some homemade granola (made yesterday) which was delicious and ended it with a delicious chicken thai curry (also prepared yesterday). It feels good to eat solid food again! While I was skeptical about many things about this detox, I never really appreciated that it would be solid food I'd miss.
Has it been worth? Well it's certainly been a great experiment and I've enjoyed trying new recipes and eating lots more veggies.
As for conclusions.... you can find them in them in this month's newsletter!