Once a year or so for the last several years, I’ve spent about a week—sometimes more, in this case less—”detoxing” my body by reducing my food consumption to the basics: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. Nothing processed, no chemicals, no alcohol, no soda. It’s really just a stricter version of a vegan diet, which isn’t that much of a stretch for me, but whenever I feel like I’ve overdone it (usually, but not always, around the holidays) with breads and sweets and liquor, I just need a recharge and reset.
The latter is more important and more lasting than the former. By really focusing in on what I’m putting into my body, I am reminded of just how good these whole foods can be. How sweet and fulfilling a freshly sliced orange can be. How hearty and tasty a steamed pot of vegetables can be. And how much fun it can be to try new things in the kitchen, to break away from the routine that—although I like my normal regimen—gets a little too comfortable after a while.
I would have never thought to take a bag of kale, simmer it in vegetable broth and olive oil, and enjoy it as a meal on its own. Hell, I’ve never given kale any thought. But this week—not counting the two times I coincidentally had a delicious kale-and-sweet-potato salad at Culinary Dropout—I prepared kale as described above, seasoned to taste, and…well, let’s just say I know what I’m having with salmon next time I make it.
The first day of these things is always a little rough, but I eased into it on New Year’s Day by having a nice, hearty (but not heavy) breakfast at Blueberry Hill with Sara, and then officially moved into “clean” mode thereafter. So Thursday was my fuzzy headache/lack of focus day, but by today (Friday) I was feeling good and refreshed, never terribly too hungry, and was focused and productive. And the weather was great, again (thanks Las Vegas!), so I eschewed driving my car today and instead biked to and from the office, plus a few miles to get fresh juice at Rachel’s Kitchen.
To be honest, as anyone with involuntary dietary restrictions or food sensitivities knows, the hardest part of being this strict has nothing to do with what I’m doing or eating—it’s the social disruptions. Not going out to dinner with your loved ones. Not enjoying drinks with your friends. But in the case of this particular detox, I’m only going four full days, just through Sunday night, so as not to be too much of a pain in the rear for anyone else.
As usual, though, I look forward to taking away some of the lessons learned from really listening to my body (and mind, it’s all connected, you know), and making those minor adjustments to my normal routine that sustain long after the official “detox” period is over. Baby steps toward enlightenment, I guess.