Clayton and I are trying a combination of two detox/diet programs - one called Arbonne called Figure 8 and the other called Fresh Start - that my brother Eric and his husband Ryan did at the start of the year and liked. To give you a basic idea you remove all simple carbs (gluten, wheat, etc. replacing with brown rice versions of pasta, bread), sugar, dairy, caffeine, and yeast promoting foods including alcohol and vinegar, and veal/pork (grass fed beef in moderation, chicken, and seafood is okay) for 1 WHOLE MONTH. Arbonne does sell nutritional and cleanser products that you can use in conjunction with the program, but we are opting out of that because we don’t want the extra costs and want to keep this as realistic as possible.
The goal is to remove your body of toxins that can lead to extra weight (toxins are drawn out of vital organs and stored in fat cells), tiredness, poor skin health, headaches, etc. Also many people don’t know that they have an allergen towards a certain kind of food and by eliminating the common causes (gluten, dairy, soy protein, etc.) and slowly reintroducing one at a time back into your diet after the month, you can see how different kinds of foods affect you (it literally takes seeing how you feel just 30-60 minutes after having that kind of food again to see if it has any affect on you). The post-program advice is the 80/10/10 rule, “80% of the time follow the 4 week principles, 10% of the time stray slightly (perhaps have a roll at dinner, eat a slice of pizza), 10% of the time FORGET IT (have a glass or two of wine and your favorite dessert...ENJOY!!).” More we want to force ourselves to try meals and foods we wouldn’t otherwise try and incorporate them into our regular diet after we finish the program.
For me personally I hope it will take my focus off of food, cut down on the urges, clear up skin, cut down on any stomach discomfort, and cut down on headaches (which I think I have already solved by drinking more water!!). My challenge will be alcohol, as I do love a glass of wine after a crazy/non-stop workday. Sparking water is the best substitute, though. Giving up caffeine will actually be much easier – I don’t drink coffee and only have tea in the morning which has gone down to only a few mornings a week because the other mornings I go to classes at the Sony gym and just have a Luna bar beforehand. Luckily from what I can tell my Luna bars are still okay! Even though it has sugar there is no sugar listed in the ingredients, which must mean it’s naturally occurring and fine (like fruit). Though even with fruit they split the kinds into ‘glycemic levels’ depending on amount of sugar from low - green apples and berries to high - bananas, melons, and grapes so you know which to focus on more, though I don’t think I’ll beat myself up if I have a banana, especially after a hard workout.
Another difficult “food” will be sugar free gum, which I’ve grown a recent affinity for because it helps me to not snack. The program says to avoid processed foods including mints and gum which I thought was interesting, but think will be good for me as I do have TMJ and that was why I never chewed gum before! I continue to work on drinking more water; I have an awesome water application on my iPhone that helps me to track my intake. The program information says you should take in half your weight in oz. of water, which probably means more than the 8 glasses (or 64 oz.) that you’ve been told your whole life.
Something you might find surprising, though, is eggs (yolk and all) are totally fine. On days where I do not have gym classes in the morning I can do eggs and gluten-free waffles from Trader Joe's which I was already eating anyway. The alternative is flaxseed cereal from Costco + almond milk. I know the cereal sounds dreadful, but it actually isn’t - it reminds me of Go Lean since it’s somewhat sweet! Also raw almonds have been my go to snack for a while now, which fits in perfectly with this program. Here are links to view the various documents we used to put our plan together:
We have been going to Farmers' Markets now for about a month to buy locally grown organic foods and have really been enjoying it. This will certainly help keep pesticides and herbicides out of out system, which this program calls for. Our first visit we thought the best method would be to see what items they have and go from there, but we found we potentially end up buying more than we need and since it can get kind of pricey we figured out specific meals the next time (mostly using our Williams Sonoma Farmers’ Market cookbook and revising where necessary) works much better for us! The program also supplies lists of specific foods you can have from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Costco (i.e., brown rice pasta and vacuum-sealed pre-cooked brown rice from TJs and quinoa/frozen berries/almond butter from Costco). We started working on the program partially last month, i.e. not replacing ‘avoid’ items once we ran out and buying more program friendly foods so that has helped to set us up for this month. In conjunction I have been reading ‘Omnivore’s Dilemma’ by Michael Pollan. He explores the industrial and organic food industries from start to finish. I would definitely recommend.
We completed 2 days so far. I had a Luna bar yesterday morning, my regular almond and berry snack mid morning, and then had my first true test, going out to sushi with co-workers. I ordered a plate meal, teriyaki chicken with teriyaki sauce on the side because it probably has sugar and used very sparingly. Unfortunately they didn’t have brown rice so I got myself a salad instead. Turns out miso and edamame, which I had both of falls under soy protein meaning I shouldn’t have eaten them. I had strawberries later and finally tilapia, onions, carrots, celery, and some Food Should Taste Good Jalapeno chips that actually fit into the program and finished it off with a plum! As I get further into the program I’ll have to remember the advice given, think of the good you’re doing your body rather than seeing is as all these foods you can’t have.
Hopefully we’ll find a half marathon for late December/early January, which would mean we start training end October/early November. This will make for good timing because I honestly don’t think we could make it on longer runs if we couldn’t take in more filling kinds of carbs!