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 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!

10-Day Detox: More Than You Think… Join Me?

I am fat. I don’t look fat; but from a number of indicators, I know I’m fat, at least on the inside. (This can really happen. Look it up!) I love donuts, liquid sugar in my continuous flow of teas, chips, cheese, anything sold at a bakery and all things dessert-like. I even convinced my kids I have a “dessert pocket” in my tummy. No matter how full I am, if my dessert pocket is not filled, I am not done eating.

What's wrong with this picture? My car before my diet. I need some serious help!
What’s wrong with this picture? My car before my diet. I need some serious help!

Since this is a “community for the young at heart,” I thought I’d share my journey into making my heart and body younger… through the gift of better health for the next 10 days and hopefully beyond.

And this is certainly a GIFT I’m giving myself because it COSTS!

First, I purchased a book to get started: The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. After some research about ways to beat my autoimmune disease,  I found this book by Mark Hyman, MD. The doctor explained the problem and the solution in ways that made sense to me. I’m paraphrasing here but the general idea is that my autoimmune issue is like an infection caused by stepping on a rusty nail. Instead of treating the infection only, I need to get that nail out.

So when the proverbial nail comes out, I might even be able to gradually come off my medication (and bonus – lose 10 lbs. in 10 days while kick-starting myself into a healthier lifestyle.) An important note here: I am not getting any benefits from endorsing this book; I just like sharing a good thing!

Second, this gift is costing me my comfort. To begin with, today is a prep day before the  detoxing tomorrow and I have the nastiest headache and nausea from cutting off all my caffeine. I am an addict! Thankfully, this painful fog is supposed to go away within 2-3 days… I’m counting on it.

Another cost is on my time. I will have to prep food and cook more. But this is also a good thing, right? Right. (There’s even a recipe for Korean bibimbap and kimchee – just WOW!)

If you can see my notes, you'll see this is very difficult for me!
If you can see my notes, you’ll see this is very difficult for me!

This “gift” also costs in terms of supplements (at least $130 worth!) But then again, my autoimmune drugs, bad health, trips to coffee/tea houses and eating out costs me more in the long run.

I know changing my diet helps. Once I did a pure juicing detox for a couple weeks and my blood test improved dramatically. But I couldn’t live that way… just drinking green juice 24/7; so I fell back into my unhealthy habits.

Unlike my juice diet, the 10-day detox is full of eating (only with certain foods and excluding mostly carbs and sugars) and so more doable.

So for the last 2 days, prep days before the plunge, I have cleared out and organized my cupboards, bought a ton of new and weird foods and supplements, connected with an online community of detoxers, weighed and measured myself, and have decidedly committed to the regiment of the next week and a half (including daily detox baths, my favorite part!)

So begins my journey to good eats and health. Join me or at least tell me if you’ve ever done anything like this and how it has helped! Then throw up a prayer for me. This happy eater needs the support.