As a general rule I don’t believe in dieting because I don’t believe that it is sustainable. I’ve done the yo yo dieting trying everything from Atkins to South Beach to Weight Watchers and had some success with them all. But inevitably I always wind up gaining more weight back and have watched the scale slowly creep up my whole life. In January of 2014 my husband and I made an agreement to be more conscious about the food we were eating and to start focusing on clean eating and a whole foods lifestyle. Pretty much synonymous in their meanings, clean eating and whole foods “diets” are really more about lifestyle changes. The basic concept is to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. This essentially means having an awareness of what you are eating, reading labels, and focusing on eating real food that hasn’t been processed, refined, enriched, or added to. It cuts out pretty much anything artificial and minimizes exposure to unnecessary additives and preservatives. And ultimately it means that you spend more time preparing and cooking in your home. We’ve enjoyed our transition over the years and take pride in viewing our grocery cart (or Costco flatbed as is more often the case) filled to the brim with fruits, vegetables, organic meats, and whole grains and it has inspired some pretty creative recipes and regular menu additions thanks to my awesome hubby and his intuitive approach to cooking (something I lack). This lifestyle change was so beneficial that when I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 12 weeks pregnant with my daughter that I didn’t have to make too many changes to my regular eating habits to keep my blood sugar within normal limits. As a lucky silver lining, I only gained 17 lbs during my pregnancy which melted off pretty quickly thanks to breastfeeding. And I’m blessed to be under my pre-pregnancy weight by 10 or so lbs at 8 months postpartum.
However, the unexpected (although really I should’ve anticipate it) side effect of being forced into avoiding certain foods is that after my daughter was born both myself, and my husband, have been on a pretty constant carb and sugar binge since January. I’m a firm believer that almost anything in moderation is okay but I admit I have a full on sugar addiction. I literally crave sweet stuff morning, noon, and night. While my husband has impulse buys at Kroger and will happily help me eat the oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies I was making to help boost my milk supply he has a job where he runs 100 miles per hour all day long and walks, no kidding, an average of 10 miles a day. I… do not. I sit at a desk in between counseling sessions where I sit in a chair opposite my clients and listen to them tell me about their problems. It’s a pretty sedentary job. And exercise? Forget about it. That’s the equivalent of a 4 letter word in my vocabulary. About the only exercise I get is walking up the 3 flights of stairs to my office in the mornings. So, needless to say, that even though I’ve been blessed to have not gained any weight during these last 8 months I won’t be able to keep this up for long before it catches up to me. So I started trying to figure out how to break my sugar addiction to get back on track.
My research led to me Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox Diet. Dr. Hyman is the author of another book called the Blood Sugar Solution. I was intrigued by his approach because he focuses on helping you break your addiction to sugar and to make positive lifestyle changes to prevent disease and maintain a healthy weight. Given my risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes (family history, GD during pregnancy, weight, etc.) I liked that he stresses the importance of foods that help keep your blood sugar within normal limits and lowering your risk of diabetes and other diseases. Once you get past the initial “diet” phase of the detox what he suggests is pretty similar to the lifestyle I was leading last year. So it seemed like a good fit for me. I figure I could do 10 days, right? Guess we shall see.
So what’s the 10 Day Detox all about? Basically it cuts out all sugar, carbs, starchy veggies, and foods that tend to increase inflammation and cause GI distress for 10 days. In addition, Dr. Hyman encourages other healthy lifestyle practices including exercise (ugh!), detox baths, mindfulness meditation, journaling and relaxation exercises to help you along your journey. I’m
cheap frugal so I didn’t want to buy the book (and lets get real, I’d read it then it would sit on a shelf and collect dust for 10-20 odd years before I got frustrated with the clutter and decided to purge my home of junk). I’m sure his publisher would tell you that you need to buy the book and in fact, you may find it easier. I’m sure it’s full of a wealth of information and guidelines, recipes and meal plans but I’m stubborn and decided to research until I was blue in the face to avoid spending the 16 some odd dollars it cost to buy the book. So if you are like me and just want the bare bones and to figure it out on your own without someone telling you specifically what to eat and when, here’s what I learned.
The first 10 days you get none of this:
NO Caffeine, including tea, soft drinks, coffee, lattes, etc.; NO Alcohol, including beer, wine, or spirits; NO Sweetened beverages, including juice; NO Processed foods – if it comes in a box or a can, unless it is a whole food in a can like tuna, don’t eat it; NO Sugar or anything that has added sugar in the ingredients (read carefully!); NO Gluten, including wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, and oats; NO Flour or any food made from flour, including crackers, pasta, bread, pretzels, etc.; NO Grains – no rice or even quinoa during the first 10 days; NO Starches, including sweet potato, potato, squash, parsnip, beets, etc.; Beans and legumes, including chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, kidney beans, etc.; and NO Dairy, including yogurt, sour cream, cheese, milk, etc.
A little of that:
Fruits – in moderation, low-sugar fruits, single portions, including berries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi, lemon, and lime
And unlimited amounts of non-starchy veggies, including:
Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Bean sprouts, Beet greens, Bell peppers (red, yellow, green), Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chives, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger root, Green beans, Hearts of palm, Jalapeño peppers, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Onions, Parsley, Radicchio, Radishes, Shallots, Snap beans, Snow peas, Spinach, Summer squash, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Zucchini, etc.
In addition, you are encouraged to stock up on lots of foods that will help detoxify, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy weight loss, including:
Lean proteins (preferably organic, grass-fed and sustainably raised) like chicken, turkey, salmon, omega-3 eggs, tofu or tempeh; Extra virgin olive oil; Extra virgin coconut butter (often called coconut oil); Other healthy oils that you like (walnut, sesame, grape seed, flax, or avocado); Nut butters (raw if possible; choose from almond, cashew, macadamia nut or walnut); Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts; Seeds: hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, Tahini (sesame-seed paste — great for salad dressings and in sauces for vegetables); Canned full-fat coconut milk; Unsweetened hemp or almond milk; Almond meal; Apple cider vinegar; Balsamic vinegar; Low-sodium, gluten-free tamari; Low-sodium broth (vegetable or chicken); Dijon mustard; Sea salt; Black pepper (peppercorns that you can grind fresh); and detoxifying and anti-inflammatory dried herbs and spices, including turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, paprika and parsley.
Dr. Hyman recommends a prep phase where you rid your home of the tempting ingredients you aren’t allowed to eat and start to taper yourself off of your daily caffeine intake. I’m a bad example and totally skipped this step. It didn’t seem fair to hubby to make him completely follow the diet just because I wanted to detox so there’s plenty of stuff I can’t eat in the house for him to indulge on for lunch, snacks, and add-on items for his dinner to ensure that he is full enough and doesn’t want to kill me! lol! And I only really drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day and no other caffeine so I decided to go cold turkey.
The first 10 days is the actual detox phase. It is the most restrictive phase of the diet. After the detox is what Dr. Hyman calls the transition phase where for the next 6 weeks you pick the plan that best meets your needs. There are several options including the Super-Advanced (if you need to lose 25+ lbs or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure and are wanting to get off your medications), the Advanced (which is basically the Super-Advanced but adds legumes), and the Basic Transition phases (Chewfo has a good breakdown of the Transition phases). While I could probably stand to lose 25+ lbs I honestly don’t have it in me to stick to such restrictive diet. Even the Basic Transition phase continues to prohibit dairy and gluten but does add back in legumes, gluten-free grains and starchy veggies in moderation. Truthfully, here at the beginning of my adventure my plan is to pretty much skip the transition phase. Although I do think I will follow the guidelines suggested for adding back dairy and gluten after the transition phase to see how my body reacts to these things after not eating them for awhile. I’m curious how my GI tract and any general inflammation (like carpal tunnel) may react. But I guess we will get to the end of our 10 days and see how it’s going. If I have some crazy amount of weight loss and am feeling great I may just try the Basic Transition phase out at least until our vacation (because really? Who diets on vacation!?!).
Words of Warning: it is generally NOT recommended to attempt any detox or cleanse while pregnant or breastfeeding. The main reason why is because if you consume too many toxins for your organs to safely process your body has a fail safe system where it attaches a buffer molecule to temporarily reduce the toxicity and stores the toxins in your cells as a way to keep them out of your blood stream and away from your organs. A good detox is designed such that it knocks these buffer molecules lose and releases the toxins in your cells into your blood stream to be sent to your liver to be processed. Once they have been entered into the blood stream they are not only released through urination, bowel movements, and the skin (acne anyone?) but they can also then pass through the placenta if pregnant, or breastmilk if nursing. Since you are obviously trying to rid your own body of nasty toxins you most likely are concerned enough to not want your baby exposed to them either. In addition, during a detox you run the risk of dehydration or too little nutrition which can impact your milk supply if nursing.
“But wait, are YOU still nursing!?!” you may ask. Ah! You’re paying attention! I am still nursing my 8 month old daughter. However, I have done my research and made an educated decision to go ahead and commit to the 10 Day Detox even despite this. Because I tend to follow a clean eating whole foods lifestyle as a general rule and have long since cut out processed foods, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and most of the toxic junk people are usually trying to rid their systems of I figure that a sugar detox for me will have much fewer nasty toxins being released into my system than the average person. I already drink nothing but water throughout the day and it’s a pretty easy fix to bump up my water intake to prevent dehydration. And lastly, I’ve created my own meal plan to follow that ensures I will get enough nutrition throughout the day, without calorie counting, by adding in healthy snack options and also adding in some Brewer’s Yeast and Flax meal to my morning smoothies to help boost supply. I also researched to some degree the 21 Day Sugar Detox which is safe to follow while breastfeeding. Overall, the similarities between the 21 Day Sugar Detox and the 10 Day Detox Diet are remarkable. The breastfeeding modifications for the 21 Day Sugar Detox pretty much just ensure that you are eating enough of a caloric intake to support both you and your baby. So I figured that was a pretty easy modification to the 10 Day Detox while only restricting my diet for 10 days instead of a full 21. If I have good luck with the first 10 days, I may just consider pushing another 11 for good measure. But I know me, and that seems really overwhelming, so I’m taking it in baby steps. However, you should do your research, and a lot of it, before committing to any detox diet if you are breastfeeding (and I wouldn’t recommend it at all if you are preggers).
So there you have it. Today is the start of my new adventure on this 10 Day Detox. I’ll be adding additional posts about my Oily Support for Healthy Weight Management and my Daily Journal and Meal Plan over the next 10 days so stay tuned to hear how it goes! Wish me luck!
Have you done the 10 Day Detox? I’d love to hear how it went for you and any tips or tricks you learned! Comment below!
Want to know what online resources I used to research the 10 Day Diet without springing for the book? Check out these websites:
Dr. Hyman’s website (lots of general info and some good recipes too):
Dr. Oz’s episode on the 10 Day Detox (The first link has several other links embedded that you can click to take the Toxicity Quiz, get the link to the Meal-Plan One Sheet quick reference, and to get Dr. Mark Hyman’s breakfast smoothie recipe):
An alternative to Dr. Hyman’s breakfast smoothie (note: I chose to use unsweetened Almond milk instead of the Soy Milk listed in this recipe as the Soy Milk she used has added sugar):
A good Food List to help get you started understanding what’s allowed and what’s not during the 10 Day Detox:
Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox One-Week Quick Start Recipe Guide:
An ingredient cheat sheet for Dr. Hyman’s Super Salad Bar: