You can blame the long weekend for this post being so delayed! Whew! Anyway, the detox officially ended on 1 September! Huzzah! (I like that word. Don’t make fun of it.) If you are a first-timer around [blank] this, you can find my week one review here and my week two review here. Get it? Good.
Day sixteen started off pretty rough. The ice cream indulgence I had on Saturday totally rocked my world (in a bad way) Sunday morning. Luckily a good breakfast at our local greasy spoon (and tons of water) helped me out. We spent the whole day on our feet shopping and cleaning, so we worked up a big appetite. Dinner was big and delicious and completely gut-pleasing, and I even had enough energy to do some strength-training at night.
Day seventeen began in a hungry, tummy-rumbling way. I chose to have a quick swig of coconut milk straight from the can and chomped on a few hazelnuts on my way out the door. Because I’m not used to eating so early anymore, I was stuffed all morning! I had to force myself to eat what’s usually my brunch at noon because I had crap-tons of meetings throughout the afternoon, leaving little time to eat later. That held me over well into dinner-time, which was composed of two chicken sausages pan-cooked in olive oil with garlic and tons of veggies from my CSA box (eggplant, arugula, and red bell pepper). A few handfuls of coconut chips… which I may be addicted to… followed the meal along with a mason jar full of water. Sleep came easily yet again!
Day eighteen was an early morning, like most Tuesdays. I wasn’t hungry like the previous day, so it seemed that my appetite was back to normal. I ate a good brunch and all was pleasant. I worked late so I actually had a snack between brunch and dinner, but I had plenty of room left for a nice filling dinner when I got home! Falling asleep was effortless, as usual.
Day nineteen started off with tons of tummy trouble, I think because of eating too many handfuls of coconut chips the night before. I’m noticing a trend here…! I actually ate breakfast (a kick-ass smoothie of coconut milk, macadamias, ice, 1/3 frozen under-ripe banana, vanilla, and cinnamon!) because I knew I’d be eating lunch with coworkers at the “normal” lunch time of noon-ish. Can’t be rude and say no to a “congrats!” lunch for a coworker who is getting married this weekend, right?
Day twenty was my “Friday” at work even though it was Thursday. I was excited for the four-day weekend to begin and with work being busy busy busy, the day flew by! Food was good, tummy was good, and I had a pretty good workout when I got home. No news is good news!
Day twenty-one! Home stretch! The boyfriend had work (sucks for him!) so I had the day to myself. I had a quick morning meal then I hit up Wholefoods and EMS to get last-minute stuff for our weekend camping trip. Being so busy worked up an appetite so I did have a second meal along with kombucha, which I haven’t drank in at least 3 months. So good! In the evening, we left for our campsite. After pitching our tent and setting all of our stuff up, we made a fire and cooked a quick dinner of hot dogs (no bun for me) and sides (roasted eggplant for me, potatoes for the boy). We also had marshmallows just shy of midnight to officially end my detox, and I think they were well-deserved after setting up our tent, making a fire, and cooking dinner! The ooey gooey goodness was a great way to conclude my 3-week sugar detox!
So, I don’t have side and front photos of the end result, but here’s a recap of the previous ones:
And here is a full-bod shot taken during our long hike on our camping trip:
So, here is my big conclusion and reflection of the past twenty one days: a hearty “meh”.
Despite the fact that I’m very much not sugar addicted or dependent (except for the occasional ice cream treat or piece of fruit), I was still expecting… something. I don’t know what, but I thought something would happen. I’d go through withdrawal. I’d have an epiphany about some kind of inner anguish that food has brought me. I’d feel stronger, or thinner, or clearer. I wouldn’t bloat after meals. I didn’t have anything like that. Nothing close.
Instead, I had lots of GI issues. They sucked. Seriously. I’ve never had major tummy/bowel/gross-down-there issues in my life, with the exception of a couple of bouts of food poisoning. Even after the anticipated candida die-off in days 2 and 3, I wasn’t “right”. I had sour stomach a lot, and going to the bathroom was usually a roll of the die if it was going to be normal or unpleasant (and usually it was the latter).
I’m not blaming the detox creator at Balanced Bites at all. I’m sure that this works fabulously for so many people, paleo (like The Civilized Caveman, who was my inspiration to do this, and who is doing it for another 3 weeks) and non-paleo alike. People’s lives have been changed dramatically because of this program; go visit the website and read some testimonials – they’re freaking incredible.
Maybe it was me. Maybe I ate too much coconut in week three. Maybe that ice cream cone at the end of week two screwed me. Maybe my cortisol levels were too high from craziness at work. Maybe it was the one to two handfuls of almonds I ate almost daily in week one. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But all I know is that I didn’t get any kind of positive result, mental or physical, that will make me testimonial-worthy… or even likely to give this another try.
For me, it’s just not worth it. The GI issues I had were absolutely one of the most awful things I’ve ever gone through health-wise. I dare to compare it to getting food poisoning. Furthermore, since reintroducing carbohydrates in the form of dried fruit (and marshmallows… ahem…), all of the aforementioned painful “icky-down-there” stuff is completely reversed and back to the comfortable, uneventful, “regularity” that I’ve always known. I even had a sweet potato tempura appetizer and two vodka and seltzers at dinner Sunday night and felt absolutely fine immediately afterwards, and today as well. No cramps, no rumbling, no rushing to the potty (all of which were a common, nearly daily occurrence after meals during the detox). I even had a scoop of high-quality ice cream after dinner on Monday and lived to tell the tale.
I don’t know what this means other than nothing is changing about me. I’m still going to live la vida wheat-free, but I don’t have any reason to fear sugar. I’ve never been one to guzzle syrup or eat a pint of raspberries in a sitting. I may love ice cream (like… reeeeeally love!!) and marshmallows (as they stood no chance in front of me while camping this past weekend!), it’s not doing me any obvious damage to indulge in these things when I want to. And, luckily, since cutting out wheat and eating more whole foods, the cravings for those kinds of things are a fraction of what they once were. That is a success.
In the end, this still wasn’t a failure. It just solidified in my mind what I’ve felt all along and what I mentioned in my introductory post about my considering doing this detox: I’m not a fan of them. I’ve always disliked the idea of telling your body “no” just because of rules that somebody else came up with based on what worked for them. Different strokes for different folks, ya know? I personally feel that detoxes are only needed by certain people (those who consume certain things in excess, folks who are showing signs of food sensitivity, etc.) and should only be recommended by a doctor of some kind… and I’m just not one of them. Obviously I completely rock at choosing and preparing my foods, and both my medical history and my family’s medical history have no signs of anything requiring such measures.
Should you do this detox? Sure! Go ahead! It was an interesting little experiment, despite the end result (or lack thereof) and the physical awfulness that occurred pretty much throughout it. I don’t want to scare people away from giving it a go! Again – many people have found this to be a huge benefit to their health, wellness, physique, and lives in general. You may end up being one of them! But, it’s completely up to you and I would strongly recommend seeking out a doctor who is open-minded to get their opinion first. Speaking of which…
I’m seeing a Naturopathic Doctor on Tuesday to get an allergy screening and just to see that I have a clean bill of health, and I am seeing an MD soonafter for a full check-up (and to finally have a general practitioner for the first time in years) – blood work and all. Regardless, life continues with the usual: eat this, do this, try this, make this. That’s how I roll.