Sam’s Detox – the vegan way!
When Dave asked if anyone in the office would like to join him in doing a nine-day metabolic detox I initially thought that it would be pointless for me to join in. After all I’m vegan, I eat a good balanced diet and I take regular exercise. What do I have to detoxify? But as I started to think about what I would consume in a typical day I began to reconsider. I drink several cups of coffee, I tend to get hungry regularly throughout the day despite eating generous portions at meal times; all too often those snacks are carb heavy or full of fat, or both. So I agreed to sign up to see how much of a difference I would feel afterwards.
The first day of the cleanse doesn’t involve taking any of the nutritional supplements but is a gentle introduction to the food regime followed through the rest of the programme; no meat, eggs or dairy (no problems there), no refined sugar, no alcohol or caffeine, no soy products or anything with gluten. Giving up coffee was always going to be the hardest part for me. Over the last few months I’d managed to acquire a three-a-day habit – I probably hadn’t had a day without coffee for at least two years – it would be fair to say that I was an addict. So of course, in the name of science, I decided to go cold turkey. The first day was (unsurprisingly) permeated by a nagging headache that started around lunchtime and lingered for the rest of the day, along with a deep lethargy that was the result of not having my afternoon pick-me-up.
Over the remaining days the detoxee takes a nutrient shake along with capsules containing a blend of antioxidants. The shake is vaguely vanilla flavoured, chalky, and pretty foul. The kit comes with a huge tub of the mix – when I first opened it I thought I’d never get through in nine days! On the third day you begin to cut out more foods (nuts/seeds, all fruits besides apples and pears, and various vegetables). As a result I would typically start to get hungry at around 11am. This would usually be the point when I’d reach for the cookies, chocolate or a handful of nuts and seeds. Instead I had apples and the shake. Initially the shake was bearable, but by around day 4 it had become unpalatable to the point of having to take a deep breath and force it down. Then came the revelation: mixing the powder in apple juice and adding a sprinkle of cinnamon made it taste just like apple pie! After that it wasn’t at all difficult to drink.
The hunger lasted until around the fifth day, after which I was starting to get used to the new rhythm of eating. I could eat a modest breakfast and go through until lunch at 2pm without feeling too bad. The headaches lasted a little longer, always coming on at around 3pm but decreasing in intensity day by day. By the seventh day I was fine.
On day seven you can start eating white rice again. On day eight, the majority of vegetables and fruits are reintroduced. What luxury! I ate a tiny cherry tomato – flavour exploded in my mouth. I ate watermelon – never have I tasted anything so sweet and delicious. In those few moments I regained a respect for the flavours of fruits and vegetables that are so often masked by salt, sugar and fat.
Day nine came around quicker than expected. Did I feel different? In actual fact I did. The coffee cravings were gone, as was the need to constantly graze throughout the day, and I’d noticed that I wouldn’t be quite so tired at the end of a day at work. But, the most important learning for me was that I could be healthier. Even a healthy vegan like me can experience a positive change by detoxing!
Contact Linda Ljucovic, Registered Holistic Nutritionist if this sounds like something you want to do. p.s. you don’t have to do the ‘extreme’ version that Sam did…call me to learn more. 289-291-0254