So, I have been following my slightly modified version of Diane Sanfilippos’s 21-Day Sugar Detox for a whole week (my modification is the addition of grapefruit to the list of allowed fruits, which I explain in this post). I have been doing this in conjunction with following the autoimmune protocol, not allowing myself snacks (except 1 day, which was really only because I made pork rinds and they were just too darned tempting not to), and starting to wean myself off of caffeinate tea (well, I really only started this 2 days ago, but that’s because my mom was visiting and it’s really hard not to drink tons of black tea around my mom).
So, how is it going? Actually, pretty well. I have been taking photos of my meals and posting them on Facebook to share with anyone who is interested. Many people see the autoimmune protocol as so restrictive that you can’t possibly eat good food, so it’s nice to be able to show evidence to the contrary. It’s also nice to share with you just how often I eat fish, organ meat, broth, and fermented foods, which many people are intimidated by when they first approach the autoimmune protocol. I hope that you have found these photos useful and/or inspiring. I’m still not sure if I will keep this up for the whole 3 weeks, but I’ll try.
Maybe, I should have been taking photos of the foods I found tempting that I didn’t eat. Mostly fruit, since I know that any paleo baked goods with nuts or eggs will exacerbate my autoimmune disease, those rarely hold my attention. There have been daily (several times daily) temptations, times when I would have normally eaten more and more fruit. Like when my youngest sat beside me with a small bowl of dried apricots that her Daddy gave her (it was more than I would have given her and if it had not been the 21-Day Sugar Detox, I would have easily relieved her of 3 or 4). Like when my oldest ate three quarters of an apple (my kids like Fuji apples, which are too sweet to be considered 21-Day Sugar Detox-compatible) and I normally would have popped those last few pieces into my mouth without even thinking of it. Like when I bought the nicest looking green grapes at the grocery store yesterday. They must have been good because my kids demolished half the bag between snack and lunch today. Like any time I have honey or maple syrup on my fingers and I would normally just lick my fingers and instead I have to wash my hands. These temptations have been on top of the few that are related to me being on the autoimmune protocol, like my kids eating fresh pecans from my CSA box (which I have to crack for them), or my husband sneaking an entire bar of extra dark chocolate into his lunch box to bring to work (which he said was to eat over several days, but I can’t fact check that one).
In the normal course of life, this extreme deprivation would not be good for me. I would get frustrated and resentful and eventually binge on a giant bowl of frozen mango or banana chips. I do mean giant. I feel so dedicated to this experiment though, that I’m feeling at piece with the deprivation. I need to know one way of the other if my fruit habit is hindering the healing of my autoimmune disease. It’s only 2 more weeks. I can make it.
I can make it in part because I am cooking foods I love. I am eating bacon (never a bad thing). My meals are large and satisfying. And it’s only 2 more weeks.
So, how am I feeling? I haven’t had any headaches. I did have trouble falling asleep one night, but that may or may not be related to my lower carbohydrate intake and have slept very well since. I have had tremendous energy for my yoga classes and a hike on Day 3. Actually, if anything I feel like my cortisol is better regulated, in the sense that I wake up with some energy (would probably have more energy if my kids let me sleep later) and feel that energy slowly drain throughout the day. I was crazy hungry on day 4, but felt my appetite reduced on day 5, and then leveled off again. So, all-in-all the transition is going very smoothly.
Have I seen any benefits yet? Well, erm, not really, but maybe, I guess, I don’t really know. I have not lost any weight, but that was not my primary goal here. A friend actually mentioned that I looked like I lost weight a few days ago and I wonder if that has something to do with a little less bloating. Hard for me to tell but I do think my pants are fitting a bit better. I wish I had measured myself when I started so I could say for sure. My skin seems about the same. My lichen planus lesions don’t look any better or worse. The little bit of cystic acne I had from some chocolate nearly a month ago has completely cleared up (finally!) but at the same time, I feel like I have more small surface stuff going on, maybe more redness, but it seems to be healing quickly. Might be because I ran out of fermented cod liver oil two days ago (more should be arriving tomorrow!) or it might be a bit of a die-off detox-type reaction. Or it might completely be imagination and this is what my skin always looks like. The skin on my hands feels dry, but so do my kids, so I’m guessing that’s the weather instead of my diet. I feel like I’m desperately searching for any one thing that I can say is for sure better or for sure worse. I just can’t yet.
Just because I can’t point to obvious benefits yet doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I happen to know that changes tend to be slow with my body (especially positive changes). I happen to know that 7 days of anything is really too early to be making any judgements. It’s also possible that nothing will be obvious until I try and add more fruit back into my diet. Or maybe the conclusion to my big experiment will be that my fruit intake doesn’t really matter.
So, the great experiment continues… on to week 2!
I shared these photos on Facebook (with a description of what each meal included), but I thought those of you who aren’t as plugged into social media as I am (or for those who find the week in review interesting) might enjoy seeing them here.
I’m not going to re-itemize everything I ate this week (you can go back over my Facebook posts if you’re really interested), but since I’m on the autoimmune protocol, I thought you might be interested in a few super/healing food facts:
- # of cups of bone broth: 3
- # of meals with bone broth as an ingredient: 4
- # of meals that included organ meat: 6 (heart and kidney this week)
- # of meals that included fish: 6
- # of meals that included bacon: 4 (pastured, sugar-free, nitrate/nitrite-free from )
- # of meals that included vegetables: 21
- # of meals that included meat on the bone: 1 (that seems low for me)
- # of meals that included fermented food: 8 (that also seems low for me)
- # of meals that included seaweed: 1
- # of snacks: 1 (on day 3)
- # of days with a spoon of coconut oil between meals: 3 (days 2,3 and4)
- # of meals shaped like a smiley face: 1 (this needs improvement)