During the month of January, Matt and I decided to start the new year off with a 21 Day Detox. We took on the challenge to eliminate caffeine, sugar, alcohol, animal protein, dairy and eventually even grains. We followed a detailed menu plan consisting of whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables and adhered to a specific supplement plan. We enjoyed some new recipes, like Zucchini Cashew Soup and Roasted Beets (see below). We also tried some new ingredients, like Kombucha Squash and Tempeh.
As a happy side note, Matt lost 23 and I lost 11 pounds! I am feeling amazing, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with these results; I wasn’t expecting anything this dramatic since this program does not include a fitness component. This just proves that nutrition is probably more important than exercise when it comes to health and wellness overall. I’ll go into more specifics after this recipe, which is a new favorite, courtesy of the Ultimate Reset 21 Day Detox Menu Plan:
Roasted Beets – 2 servings (as main meal) or 4 servings (as a side item)
- 6 cups of beets – peeled and cubed
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Himalayan salt – to taste
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Arrange beets in large glass baking dish
- Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil, mix well
- Bake for 45 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through
- Let cool for 20 minutes
- Add parsley and lemon juice and gently stir
- Serve warm or cold
Back to the 21 Day Detox Program. It’s divided into 3 phases, each one lasting 1 week.
The first week as tougher than I thought it would be. I’ve completed and enjoyed 3 day cleanses in the past, but this was much more intense. I was cooking a lot more than usual and using all new recipes. I was jumping back into work after an extended holiday break. And I wasn’t able to workout, since part of the process was to allow my body to rest and recover – this was tough for me as I was used to daily exercise routine. Although I was warned, I was still surprised at day 3 when I was having major headaches and feeling very emotional! Once a day we needed to drink an alkalinity green beverage to help balance our systems, and as a result I noticed my skin and hair was more oily than usual. Apparently this is all part of the process… out with the bad, in with the good. The good news was that I was NEVER hungry! The meals were very filling, and I had increased my water in-take which helped curb my appetite.
By week 2 we had eliminated all animal products and had moved past the emotional roller coast from week 1. I was feeling great! There was still a lot of cooking, but I found my groove with prepping ingredients in advance and had mastered a few of the recipes we were using frequently, like the microgreen salad for lunch. The supplement protocol during week 2 included a detox drink 3 times a day, which did not taste great, but helped further cleanse our systems. I also noticed I was sleeping more soundly and feeling more energized.
Week 3 was a little harder since we eliminated whole grains – I missed my quinoa! But the vegan meals continued to be very filling, and thanks to all the work we’d done to balance and cleanse our systems, our bodies were processing fuel more efficiently and it was taking less food to feel full. Throughout the program we were allowed to have one snack a day, but until this last week, I didn’t need one.
It has been over a week since the program officially ended, but here are a few healthy habits we picked up:
- Super Hydration: I’m pretty mindful of my water in-take, but during the cleanse I increased it even more. I was probably drinking of 100 ounces of water a day! I’m continuing to have a big glass of water before every meal.
- Vegan Recipes: While I’ve added whole grains and legumes back to my diet, I still haven’t had any meat or dairy since January 7th! I’m not sure if this will be permanent lifestyle change, especially as I introduce fitness and running back to my routine, but I’m open to see where this will take me. Matt hasn’t been as strict with this, but he continues to stick to vegetarian meals most days, and even packs a healthy lunch the night before to take to work with him.
- Reduced Cravings: Interestingly, I thought I’d be craving meat or cheese (thanks to my hardy mid-western roots!), but I really haven’t noticed this. I also haven’t missed my nightly glass of red wine with a side of dark chocolate. I’ll admit I did have both this weekend (so apparently wine trumps cheese), but overall my consumption of these goodies have been reduced.
I really enjoyed the 21 Day Detox journey. I feel like I’ve started off the year in a very healthy way and have adopted several new nutrition habits that will serve me well in the months ahead. I have a clean slate to being training for my 2015 races and will start building my plan after a few weeks of PiYo to get back into a fitness schedule. I will take on this challenge again in the future. If the 21 Day Detox sounds like a good fit for you to build some healthy habits and clean up your nutrition, leave a comment to this post and I can answer any questions you might have.
Questions for you: Have you ever considered a vegan diet? Why or why not?