We are having just a smashing time down here in Florida, maybe just a bit too much of a smashing time. Shortly after our arrival, a few of our friends and family headed south for their winter vacations. My sister Pam and friend Laura were staying down on Pine Island for a 10 day stint, and we traveled down to catch up with them, staying Wednesday through Sunday. It was wonderful to see them and we had much fun eating, drinking, and exploring the area. Sunday we came back to Dade City to quickly catch up on laundry and lay in a few supplies in anticipation of the arrival of another friend, Mariellen. She stayed with us for her visit, and the theme of eating, drinking, and exploring was repeated. Although it was so marvelous to see all of them, the eating and drinking were beginning to catch up to Bruce and I . Their vacation became our vacation, and you all know how you feel when you come back from vacation!
Many people assume the lifestyle we now lead is one long vacation. But it’s not. We just happen to live in a home that changes location every so often. So we do not live like we are on vacation on a daily basis. We do enjoy a cocktail or two or three, but later on in the day generally, and we rarely dine out. We like to eat healthy, and that is just not a possibility when you are eating restaurant food continually! And our activity levels, as measured by my Polar Loop fitness monitor, were about half of our norm. Needless to say after a couple weeks of day drinking and eating out combined with no running, no yoga, no circuit workouts, our jeans we feeling a bit snug, and we were feeling just a bit logey. A perfect time for a detox session before our next round of guests show up!
What is a detox, you may ask? Basically it is just a time to give your system a break. Some include juicing, supplements, and weird things like enemas and colonics. I will be doing none of those. It can be done for any amount of days. Some people do 3, some 5, a week, 30 days, and one brave lady I know did 100 days. I cannot tell you how fabulous she looked and felt when it was all said and done, and she continues her healthy eating and exercise to this day. But for me, 3 days did not seem quite enough, 7 days will infringe on my weekend (catching up with some more MI peeps!), so 5 seems just right. This is my first attempt on something of this magnitude, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure right out of the gate. Maybe someday I can tackle a 30 day.
So for the next 5 days, Sunday evening through Friday evening, I will be abstaining from alcohol, coffee, salt, eggs, cheese, grains, sugar, white potatoes, and most dairy. Many people choose to completely forego caffeine, but I will be having green tea in the morning which does contain a bit of caffeine, but not nearly as much as coffee. I really cannot find any hardcore evidence that caffeine is inherently bad, but there is research to support the fact that too much caffeine is bad for the human body. Meals will consist mainly of fruits, veggies, and fish. Breakfast will be a smoothie, homemade detox soup for lunch, and dinner will consist of a big salad, fish, and a side veggie. I may add a protein in at lunch if I am feeling I need it. Bruce, poor Bruce (always willing to tag along no matter what crazy ideas I come up with), will be eating the same with the exception of breakfast when he will enjoy fruit, yogurt, and an egg.
A detox is a way to release toxins from the body, and a great way to accomplish that is to sweat it out. So lots of good, clean, sweaty exercise is in order as well. Do detox’s work? I don’t know, but I am going to find out. At any rate I think my jeans will fit a lot better when it is all said and done. And you can come along for the ride. I will post day by day on the blog, and at the end of it all let you know the results!
Day One-I had worked on a meal plan for this venture, trying to find recipes which didn’t seem to detoxy to me. I found some really great ones, different for each day to avoid the boredom factor. I am a foodie, and enjoy preparing and eating good, clean food. We spent the previous afternoon shopping, and attempting to find room for all my produce in my tiny rv fridge. Thank goodness for the mini-fridge. Without the usual beer and wine, well one bottle of wine and two Mike’s Hard Lemonade, taking up space, I had just enough space to make it work. I did not want to have to do multiple shopping trips.
This morning upon rising I drank a cup of lemon water. It is said to detox the liver and rev up the digestive system. Then it was on to the green tea. Yeah, I missed that morning jolt of dark roast, but it was ok, and I treated myself to a second cup. Then it was off for a run before the fog lifted. The weather in Florida is hot and steamy right now (sorry northern folks), and is cooperating right nicely with the sweating part of my plan. Bruce enjoyed a walk, normally he has been running a bit, but is currently babying a sore ankle. Then back to the rig for my smoothie. I am using almond milk, spinach, a banana, flaxseeds, and plain Greek yogurt, which is my norm for breakfast, most times having an egg for dessert (I freakin’ love eggs!), but instead I added a bit of fresh pineapple to the smoothie for it’s kidney detoxing properties. It was delish.
Lunch was a veggie soup with broccoli, spinach, carrots, onion, garlic, celery, and a turnip. The recipe called for a parsnip, but they are hard to find sometimes, so I substituted a turnip. They have similar flavors. Add in a couple cups of veggie broth, cook til the veggies are soft, then blend to a smooth consistency. Top with some slivered almonds and sunflower seeds. It was ok, but bland. So I went to my RV spice cabinet (2 shoe boxes) and tossed in some thyme, oregano, and cumin, and it was quite tasty. Then I took a nap, because I can. Dinner will be a kale salad, brussel sprouts, and pan-fried fish. I feel pretty good right now, but hey, it is a gorgeous day in FL, and anyone in their right mind would feel good today. I’ll check back in tomorrow.
Day 2-I am feeling a bit restless today. My partner in crime is nursing a bad ankle so we cannot do the hikes and beach walks I had planned for this time period, and I am not quite sure of what to do with myself. I am not a person who sits well with boredom. But I am determined to see this process through even if it means doing numerous walking laps around the rv park! I did get a nice solid circuit workout in the morning and am logging 13500 steps on my monitor and it is only 4:30, so I guess I am doing ok.
The food has been wonderful. Last night we had a giant salad of kale, shredded carrots, red, yellow, and orange diced peppers, parsley, and cilantro, dressed in a lemon vinaigrette, and topped with sliced almonds. I would have never thought to add cilantro to a salad, but it really added a fresh taste, and herbs are powerhouses when it comes to nutritional value. We also had some pan-fried tilapia which was very tasty. Tonight I will be preparing a salmon salad, similar to tuna salad, but prepared with olive oil instead of mayo, and some beet soup. I love beets, but have never had them soup-style. We shall see…
Day 3-The beet soup was tasty enough, but I really couldn’t get past the color. It resembled magenta tomato soup. We ate it, but neither of us was thrilled with it. From now on I think I will eat my beets roasted and tossed with blue cheese and walnuts which makes for a delightful salad that we both enjoy.
Yesterday, shortly after I wrote the day 2 post I noticed a slight headache coming on, and was quite fatigued. As the day wore on the headache got worse, and the fatigue lingered even after a nap. I am not prone to headaches beyond the self-induced type which results from too much booze which are easily cured with food, water, and exercise. I take pain relievers maybe a few times per year, but generally for the aches and pains that come with an active lifestyle, and me forgetting I am 54, not 24, never for headaches. It progressed through the evening into what I imagine a migraine may feel like. I suffered through it, not wanting to take any pain relievers as they are hard on the liver, and I am trying to give my liver a rest. The headache probably is a result of caffeine withdrawal (even though I am drinking green tea, it has nowhere near the caffeine of coffee), although when I looked it up online and although some folks are convinced it is part of the detox process, I am not. Fatigue is also common, a metallic taste in the mouth which I am also experiencing. There are more side effects, but they are supposed to fade away after a time.
I took a nice run this morning and it was difficult. I am not sure if it was because of the detox, the humidity and heat, or the fact I have upped my running time. Shortly after lunch the headache and fatigue returned with a vengeance. And I feel either a cold or allergies coming on with many sneezes. I should have figured this because when I quit smoking (all 20 times!) I always got sick. Great, Bruce is feeling it as well. That may have something to do with the fatigue, but not the headache, as I said I am rarely prone to headaches. Smoothie, salad, and sweet potato soup served with fish were on the menu. All were good, if not great. Well, the smoothie is always great because it has the consistency of ice cream as well as a similar taste. It is getting tough. I used my neti pot and some peppermint essential oil to try and relieve the head pain, and it did work for a bit. When it returned I gave up and went to bed.
Day 4-Same thing different day. I opted for a lighter workout of pilates today in hopes of combatting the fatigue. Shortly after lunch came the headache and fatigue. We went to pick up our bikes from the repair shop (dang tires keep going flat!) and the sun was making my head pound harder. Today I opted for the Tylenol, took a nap, and feel much better. I am pretty sure my liver was bored with nothing much to do, and needed a workout of it’s own. Same meals today, and although each day has a different soup, salad, and fish, it is starting to get boring. It is a gorgeous day in western Florida, and right next to where I am typing outside is my mini fridge with an icy cold bottle of chardonnay that is beginning to sing to me. Will my resolve hold out? Or will I cave? Guess we will have to wait and see….
Day 5- I did not cave! So I did reward myself with some coffee this morning so I did not have to deal with a headache. Caffeine, to me, seems to be the lesser of two evils when compared to Tylenol. Had probably the best run I have ever had intensity-wise. Running has always been difficult for me due to, I imagine, the many years I spent smoking. Another big salad for lunch, and then about 4:30 I called the detox DONE! We promptly went out and enjoyed some ice-cold beer, some hot wings, and later on some good music down at the local VFW.
Conclusion-Would I do it again? Maybe, but with some modifications, mainly the caffeine thing. And I would not plan any strenuous workouts during that time period. Yoga, I believe would meld well with a detox plan. Physically, my skin seemed clearer, and my jeans fit again! Bruce lost a total of 11 pounds and I lost six. Now don’t think this is a magical plan for weight loss. Remember we cut our carbs way, way back, and (without going into too much of the science of nutrition), generally speaking each gram of carb stores with 3-4 grams of water. Lose the carbs, lose the water weight. This is why people lose so much weight the first week or two on a low-carb diet plan. However, I usually eat pretty low carb, but during my vacation-like fun with my friends, there wasn’t a low carb day in the bunch! I will keep drinking my lemon water first thing in the morning, and continue with my smoothie breakfast, and giant salad for lunch. The nice thing about a detox is you always learn a thing or two about good health that will continue to stick with you. But I am really glad it’s over!