Even though September flew by way too fast, I love entering a new month. It’s like a Monday or New Year’s Day, it’s a fresh start! And today marks the start of my elimination diet!
I mentioned in my last post that this would be a struggle, what with Fall bringing all the sweet treats and I can’t have any of them for the next 21 days. But I can definitely feel that my body needs this and I’m really excited to get started!
My “elimination diet” is based on the program called “Clean.” For want of a better word, let’s call it a “cleanse” and then I can stop with the punctuation marks. In this post I’m going to explain what it is, why I’m doing it, and some tips on how to do it.
Reading the book is the best way to understand what this is but I’ll do my best to give you a condensed version:
This cleanse isn’t a way to flush out your system but it’s a way to restore your body to its natural ability to heal itself. This book is written by Alejandro Junger M.D., who not only studied internal medicine at NYU, but also studied Eastern Medicine in India.
It’s meant to be a 21-day program, but some people opt to only do one or two weeks. I say go big or go home, so I’m doing the full three weeks.
The main components of the cleanse are starting every day with a smoothie. You can also do a version where dinner is also a smoothie but I’m trying to get healthy, not go insane. I need at least two regular meals a day…
And another component is less snacking at night. There has to be at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
I have to admit; I am going to slightly cheat. The food that is meant to be excluded are all common foods that most people tend to be unable to tolerate, that’s how this cleanse works and that’s where the “elimination” part comes from. I have tested some of these foods before, and I know that my body happily tolerates bananas. So I will be using those in my smoothies. I’m pretty sure my body tolerates night shades but I will be testing those after one week.
When you do your grocery shopping, Dr. Junger encourages you to buy local, organic, and fresh ingredients.
I am also going to start including other things into my diet that I don’t normally include. Such as: turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, flax seeds, and more herbal teas. These are known to help fight inflammation and that is my main problem. I know there are tons of other food that help with that as well, but these are the main ingredients that I don’t include in my every day diet already. I will also be incorporating more probiotics, such as kombucha.
So why am I doing this? The first chapter of this book is titled “why clean?” and this paragraph sums it up perfectly for why I am choosing to do it:
“One of the most common consequences of poor detoxification functioning is inflammation, the body’s necessary, but now dangerously overused, survival strategy. Modern medicine has only recently awakened to the fact that chronic inflammation is a common condition underlying the diseases that have become epidemics today, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. Yet it is still blind to the root of the problem, the toxicity of modern life, and our bodies weakness in dealing with it. Only when we start the treatment, targeting the seed of the problem, can we begin to ward off disease.”
– Alejandro Junger, M.D.
I don’t know about you, but he sold me!
Last, but not least, here are just a couple of tips I have on how to do this cleanse. I’ve done this before and here is my advice on how to go about it and what to prepare for:
- Find a partner. This cleanse is so much easier when you have a buddy to do it with so you can both support each other for the three weeks.
- Prepare for high grocery costs. Dairy substitutes, organic meat and produce, all of these things are generally more expensive than a regular grocery list. So only do this cleanse if you have the money to invest in it. (Another great reason a partner is important- you can split the cost!)
- Don’t let yourself slip. I don’t care if your work was giving out free cookies! If you only commit 70% to this cleanse than you will get the same back in results.
- Before you commit, figure out if you’re in a good place to start. I tried to do this cleanse in college and I lasted two days. Working and studying all day was stressing me out so much and I couldn’t handle looking for quick snacks between classes that I could afford and would keep me satisfied for the rest of the day.
- Keep with it when it is over. The point of an elimination diet is to slowly reintroduce the excluded food back into your diet. I will be doing this so that I can listen to my body and figure out what it likes and does not like.
Every week I will be posting an update where I will be sharing recipes and talking about my progress in the cleanse and I can’t wait to share it all with you! Wish me luck!