God Gives the Goods, Youth Renewed

Photo courtesy of images online
Photo courtesy of images online

Praise the Lord… who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. -Psalm 103:5, NIV

As I watch my 6-year old hop circles around me (because walking is “too boring”), I’m reminded of an idea I often hear — the desire to bottle a child’s energy and sell it for a fortune.

My renewed energy is like a drop from that bottle. Except, it is not harnessed from a child, it is a gift from God. Nature is from God; so when it comes to veggies (whole and simple foods),  I eat as Daniel in the Old Testament ate, and my body responds favorably, as it is meant to function and thrive.

In the Bible (Daniel 1:12-16), Daniel and his buddies are given “royal food” for their optimal health. But Daniel challenges the thoughts of the time and responds, “‘Please test your servants for ten days (sound familiar? 10-day-detox!): Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food’… At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”

The “royal food” of our day is the stuff of rich nations: convenient, abundant, fatty and preservative-filled to last longer. What seems “good” to us is in many ways, a bad habit that has forced our taste buds to change. I am right in there with everyone who suffers from this “royal food” habit. So the psychological switch to alter what I’ve known all my life is daunting… but ultimately doable.

I took my blood test on Friday and will share my results when I receive them at the end of the month. So for now, after the official detox and roughly 17 days on my new meal plan, I take the next step… in the direction of wholesome and sustainable eating habits. Even if my blood result is not as impressive as I hoped (maybe in time it gets better?), this change in lifestyle is ultimately good. But I have a sneaky suspicion my results will speak loudly for itself; and like in Daniel’s time, I will be and look healthier than when I ate the “royal food.”

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Detox Days 5-7: The Benefits

Good food tastes (and looks) good! This accompanied cod with an olive mixture.
Good food tastes (and looks) good! This accompanied cod with an olive mixture.

On Day 1 I was warned to “Follow the program, to the letter.” I know I have failed here, yet the benefits are still amazing to me!

My skin has cleared up. I long for walnuts instead of chips. I don’t need to take naps; so I haven’t. My pants don’t fit anymore, in a good way. I actually crave exercise. My sinuses are clear. I didn’t know it needed clearing until it was and then it was like, “Oh, that feels good!” I was chronically stuffed in the head and didn’t even know it. And these are the small changes.

To me, the big changes have been:

I like water again. This is huge because not liking water was a psychological problem (my own diagnosis). I used to drink a whole lot of tea (and coffee and a variety of other drinks), spiked with liquid sugar because water was soooo boring, so blah, a waste of my time. I thought, “there’s water in anything liquid, right? Of course! See I’m getting my water for the day.” I included tea in the “bad” list because of the sugar, but don’t get me wrong, many teas are great on their own. And I will be drinking those, after I do a little more research on which are best for me.

Scarfing it like mac & cheese, but not.
Downing dinner like it’s ice cream, but not.

Another biggie, I’m less irritable and more happy, calm-spirited, energetic and clear headed. Everyone’s glad about this one. And speaking of others, my kids not only like the new mom, they like the new food mom is cooking. Yes, that’s right, good-for-you food actually tastes good (not some of my morning shakes, but I can change that easily by adding certain fruits). Furthermore, I’m not hungry all the time. Good food fills you up and keeps you satisfied.

So all this to say, I’m kind of liking this detox. It’s not as painful as I initially imagined. And the benefits… well, the above speaks for itself. It’s a gift to be able to get my life back again and feel youthful.

Now the biggest proof of change (for me) will be when I take my blood test. Will this diet help my autoimmune issue? We will see…

Detox Day 4: It’s Tough to Follow the Plan

image by istockphoto
image by istockphoto

I really wanted to follow this detox to a “T.” Whenever I commit to a project, I want to give it my all and receive full benefits. But in the interest of time (not having much of it), I’ve come to peace with simply doing what I genuinely can, prioritizing what I believe to be the “majors.”

I don’t eat all the prescribed meals. It’s actually too much food. I haven’t had a detox bath yet (and I was looking forward to this most!) I don’t always sleep 7-8 hours. Two nights ago I only got 5.5 hours. I don’t drink the entire recommended 8 cups of water or take all the suggested supplements. And I haven’t found the time to exercise daily. But I have found time to take my 5-min. detox breaths – yea! I celebrate where I can.

Even though I’m not able to do every bit of the program, I am doing most of it and it’s still paying off! I’ve kept away from the big “no-no” ingredients (sugar, dairy, flour, gluten and caffeine). I do a cardio exercise at least 3 times per week. I don’t eat out. I cook a whole lot more (only fresh foods). And I am sleeping longer hours than before. So for this wife/mom/writer, even the adjusted detox is definitely worth it.

Before I started this program, I tried to figure out the best time to jump in… but there was no best time for me (I have 2 active boys and both my parents living with me as I manage my dads medical situation and more!) I simply had to make a decision to take a step: to break bad habits (in eating and thinking) and start getting (and feeling) healthier.

Detox Days 2-3: From Fog to Fabulous

Running because I want to, not because I have to. Photo by Jordan Weeks
Running because I want to, not because I have to.
Photo by Jordan Weeks

Yesterday, I felt so awful, I didn’t want to write. I still had a headache on top of being hungry, fatigued and grumpy (and I had committed to sing for worship at church- not the best day for this, but God showed up anyway).

I took a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day and was still tired. Watching “Gravity” ’til 1 AM the night before, on top of all the withdrawal symptoms didn’t help (but I wanted to watch it before the Oscars!)

Though I was on day 2 of the official detox, I was on day 4 of no caffeine, flour, gluten and added sugars. And I was starting to wonder if my head would ever feel better? Then low and behold, I learned late last night as I was reading about what to expect from this detox, that all my complaints were actually indications that my body was being purged of it’s toxins. My achy muscles, itchy skin and even the bad breath my son commented on was because my body was getting rid of the poison. The detox was/is working!

And when I woke this morning… Hallelujah! I felt amazing! I was hungry but energized, clear-headed and even a tad giddy. My husband said, “You just woke up; how can you really tell?” And then he said it was because I took a record-long nap the day before; but I say “NAY” to the naysayer! I know when I feel different and this was different. I even went for a jog because I wanted to. I don’t think I’ve ever run because I wanted to; it’s always because I have to.

After the kids went to school, I made myself a breakfast shake (recipes in the “10-Day Detox” book alone are worth the money!) Actually, the shake from today was nasty; but the ones from 2 days before were great. And the salmon dish, cauliflower soup and chicken vegetable soup were even big hits with my finicky boys.

And bonus… I lost another 2 pounds.

Detox Day 1: Already Lost 1 Lb. From Prep Days

The never-ending breakfast shake.
The never-ending breakfast shake (and still more in the blender.)

Let me reiterate from my introductory detox post: I am not doing this to loose weight, but that is certainly a welcomed side effect! I’m doing this because:

1. I have autoimmune liver disease/PBC and I don’t want to have it anymore.

2. I’m getting older and the bad food I put in my body doesn’t hide as easily. It comes out as sickness and a growing waistline and…

3. I want to be an example to my family, that we can all do this and still enjoy good food. I truly want to make this the beginning of a life change, not a 10-day test of my will.

But this is tough!

My head is still aching, albeit less than 2 prep days ago when I cut off tea, liquid sugar, excessive carbs and dairy.

I have to prep and cook 2-3 times a day, no more easy stops at a drive-thru.

This morning I made a shake, a delicious and satisfying breakfast. And it kept me full until dinner because I sipped it for hours thereafter. I still couldn’t finish it by dinnertime.

But the instant gratification is the weight loss. When I weighed and measured myself this morning, I was lighter and thiner… already, from just 2 days of prep work. During those days, not only did I take myself off the aforementioned, but I got the okay from my liver doc to take all the supplements (make sure you do this if you are on any prescribed medication.) But I’m easing into the supplements and not taking the full dose of everything that was recommended. Use your own good judgement about any diet or detox (usually they are general guidelines for the entire population.)

So how do I feel on day 1? The truth is, not that great. Like I mentioned, I still have that nasty headache, I’m grumpy and tired, and my head is in a bit of a fog, as I was warned. But I will continue because I said I would and because I know this is good for me in the long run. So I press on!