10 Tips for Sticking With Your Detox
I started The LEAP therapy detox to manage my Crohn's disease and get off of medication. See this post for details. It was pretty intimidating to distill my entire food world down to a few single ingredients for at least a month, and even longer as a lifestyle change.
Here are a few tips to avoid going crazy and eating an entire brick of cheese in your underwear in front of the refrigerator.
1. Get a rice cooker and make it your best friend. Besides being my favorite food, rice tested very low inflammation for me. It is an important staple of my diet. I always have rice ready to go in my refrigerator. It keeps well for days and will take just about any seasoning. The rice cooker is the simplest kitchen device I own. You just plunk two cups of water and one cup of raw rice in the pot, close the lid, and click the button. You can steam all your veggies in with it. I do not even use the steam tray, I just throw in rice, fresh dill, fresh basil, water, and carrots right in the cooker. You can cook quinoa and buckwheat groats. Do not put veggies in with your groats. It turns into a thick paste; I eat it anyway.
2. Always have eggs in your fridge. They are cheap and a good source of protein. Do you have rice with some vegetables in your fridge?! Good. Now scramble an egg using olive oil and throw it in there. You just made stir-fry. That’s it. You did it. Bonus points if you put a few avocado slices on top.
3. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. This one may sound obvious but the best way not to feel deprived of food is to not deprive yourself of food. I am always counting calories, if not formally, I keep a running tab in my head. The best part about eating this way is I had to stop counting calories.
For the detox, you need to keep a log of everything you are eating to track symptoms. I started doing this on an app called LifeSum. The problem with LifeSum is it tallies the calories of what your tracking. I found myself getting hungry and going over my allotted calorie count for the day and feeling bad for doing so. My body was finally gleaning nutrients from my food, so I was starving when it was time to eat. I started using MySymptoms app instead. It just catalogues what you are eating and symptoms, not how much. This was liberating for me. I started thinking about food in terms of nutrient benefit as opposed to solely a source of pleasure or in many cases pain.
4. Eat when you wake up whether you feel hungry or not. It helps get everything moving and keeps you from getting hungry later in the day. Snack on cashews during the day, get up early and juice carrots, celery, spinach, apples, strawberries, lemon (whatever) and carry it around with you. I know it sounds like a pain in the ass because it is. It’s annoying to have to religiously plan your meals, but that’s what controlling your diet is. The first few days of the detox I found it was very difficult not to eat some random snack offered by a friend or coworker. I never realized how much I am offered sugar and alcohol until I started refusing both on a regular basis. Being full when offered these things made saying no much easier.
5. Get a juicer and make it your best frenemy. When I started this holistic adventure, my dad bought me a fancy juicer to help me get more nutrients in. Though a good one is very pricey, it’s been game changing for me. I juice my fruits and veggies at night and carry a 32oz. water bottle with it around all day. It’s the perfect breakfast when you don’t have time to actually make something. My go to is: carrots, pineapple, celery, any leafy green left in the fridge, lemon juice (pre-juiced), and strawberries (sometimes I will just throw some frozen ones whole in the the water bottle). The juicer is a frenemy because I love it, but it’s a pain in the ass to clean.
6. Pack lunch, dinner, and multiple fruits for snacking. I am usually out of the house for 12 hours at a time. It is very unusual that I make it back to my place in time for dinner. In order to prepare, I make a huge tupperware of stir fried rice, eggs, veggies, cashews, avocado, whatever, and carry it with me everywhere. Seriously, I’ve been the weirdo at a wedding spooning quinoa onto my plate. I have a cooler in my car with ice packs, so i’m basically a mobile kitchen. I’m a little anxious to see how this system will play out on my road trip, but more on that in the next post.
7. Drink a ton of water. Like for real, at least 10 glasses a day. Again, seems obvious, but until I made a commitment I never did it.
8. Eat lots of fruit. I know a lot of people with Crohn's have a low tolerance for fruit, but I find I can eat plenty of pineapple, bananas, oranges, and strawberries without issue. I always have at least a bag of oranges on hand, I keep them at the office and in my car. These curb hunger and are sweet enough that I can deal without having sugar.
9. Do not eat right before bed. This is a tough one for me since my schedule is always so unpredictable. If I eat right before bed, the next morning my stomach is always killing me. I need at least 2 hours in between sleep and eating to avoid feeling bloated in the morning. If I am starving before bed, I will eat some fruit since it tends not to just sit in my stomach like something savory would.
10. Exercise at least 5 days a week. This one is imperative. I’m nervous to see how this will go when I am driving across country. I imagine myself standing on my head at a rest stop somewhere in Texas. I use the ClassPass app, although they have upped their prices so I will see how long I can stay on it. I like it because I can diversify and pick classes around my hectic schedule.
I know it’s hard, but bodies are hard, and being present is hard, and thinking about your physical being is hard.
Above all be kind to yourself.