October 8, 2010

Detox Wrap Up

Now that the end of a long week has arrived, I wanted to share the results of my detox. This wasn't an extreme approach, no special drinks or juices, no fasting, no supplements. I simply wiped my diet of sugar, refined grains, processed foods and essentially any unhealthy excess. I followed a plan consisting of three small meals with three snacks in between, all made up of vegetables (spinach, arugula, asparagus, tomatoes, edamame, red peppers, cucumber, sweet potatoes), protein (chicken breast, salmon, egg whites), fruits (apples, oranges, berries, limited bananas) and a small amount of grains (brown rice, sprouted grain bread). Each meal was between 200-400 calories and the snacks were about 150-200. Because everything was healthy, my daily calorie intake was much lower than normal, but I felt relatively satisfied.

The first two days of a change in diet like this are hard. I had a headache (mostly because I shunned coffee for two days... I don't recommend it), a hollow feeling in my stomach and was tired. But by the third day I felt incredible. I was sleeping like a rock, had a high level of energy and nailed a hard bike interval workout after a relatively low consumption day. I wasn't missing sugar at all and wasn't feeling deprived.

Weight loss was not my goal in this, but I did lose a couple pounds. I dropped nearly two almost immediately, likely from spending the better part of Monday in the loo shedding the pound or more of fluid from my previously inflammatory diet, plus I was drinking a tremendous amount of water. I then gained a pound back, and even more oddly felt a little bloated on Wednesday. But as of today, the total weight loss for the week is 1.6 pounds.

The more interesting outcome is the change in my tastes and desires. I love almond butter, but used to find it a little bland without a drizzle of honey on it. But after two days of detox, almond butter tasted pleasantly sweet, like I could truly enjoy the flavor since I wasn't eating artificially sweet things. And the biggest eye opener was yesterday. My detox ended when I went to bed Wednesday night and yesterday I ordered cupcakes for my team at work. I had a cupcake myself - a big, 700 calorie sugar bomb - and it made me feel ill. I was unable to eat for nearly four hours after, developed a headache and was nauseated the rest of the day. A week ago, that cupcake would have seemed like heaven.

I'm aiming to follow the approach about 80% of the time. I did this most of last summer and lost a great deal of body fat and felt better than ever. But while I'm an athlete, I'm also a foodie and I'm not going to restrict anything in my life 100%. Instead I'll make choices, and hopefully it all balances out in the end. Today I'm eating super cleanly in anticipation of a spectacular dinner. A friend and I are checking out Osteria Morini, a new restaurant in Soho that just opened on Monday. It should be just the right anti-detox for a perfect Friday night.


  1. Very interesting!

    Curious, why limited amounts of bananas? I have been seeing in various places to watch it with bananas. Is it because they have more sugar or starch in them or a higher glycemic index? I eat a lot of bananas and I hope I am not going backwards by eating too many....

  2. I was trying to limit higher glycemic foods and while bananas aren't bad, they are a bit higher than an apple or orange, for instance. This was only for the detox, I eat one banana every day pretty much year-round, and during training I will often have two. I think bananas are the most perfect food for an athlete, and they come in that great little package as well :)

  3. Good for you for sticking with the detox! I think I definitely need to cut out some sugar in my diet. I don't eat a lot of it, but I could do without some of it!

  4. i need/want to do something like this... but then i get lazy. pre-made/packaged foods are too convenient and i tend to be lazy. do you have any tips on "packaging" these meals/snacks to have on the go, at work, etc?

    glad it went well! just another reminder why i need to do this kind of thing.

  5. We'll kill your detox in a few weeks ;)



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