Spring Detox: I do Love a Challenge

Here I am, on day 10 of a 14-day “Spring detox” with a big group from my gym.  And I’m miserable.  Okay, perhaps that’s a bit too dramatic- I’m not miserable, but I’m definitely not feeling like myself.  However, I am learning a lot…

Past cleanse experiences have left me feeling weak and hungry- not something I was willing to put myself through with a young family and busy career to manage.  Jennifer Morris, the owner of Crossfit Altitude, and Dr. Jordan Robertson, ND, are leading this group, and explained that the meaning of this detox is to:

  • give yourself a break from daily habits
  • incorporate more nutrients, sleep, and healthy habits
  • learn about how your body works
  • overcome cravings, vices, and unhealthy habits.

Bingo.  I decided to join in to break myself of a few habits that have crept in; namely, near-nightly sweets, a drink with dinner, and far too much coffee. There’s strength in numbers, right?  And it’s been a couple of years since I’ve done a cleanse, so it seemed like a good way to kick-start myself into better health and better nutrition.  And I do love a challenge.

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The “rules” of this cleanse have been pretty easy to follow- it’s basically strict paleo-style eating, which I tend to roughly follow in my day-to-day life anyways- no wheat/gluten, dairy, legumes, or nightshade vegetables, which are all pro-inflammatory.  But it’s eliminating sugar, alcohol, and caffeine that’s been the challenge.  I’ve also been having one superfood-shake per day, a “detox formula” twice/day, some apple cider vinegar, and litres upon litres of lemon water.  Simple.  Easy to follow.  Except it hasn’t been for me.  I’ve had headaches, fatigue, digestive symptoms, and moodiness.  I’ve been choking down my superfood-shake and gagging on apple cider vinegar (you can see that lovely video here).  I’ve been dreaming of coffee and thinking about sugar.  I haven’t had the energy bursts, the lack of bloat, the clear-headedness that everyone else seems to be having.  So why am I doing this?  Ah yes, I do love a challenge.  I’ve been assured that the reactions I’ve had are likely all part of the “detoxification” of my body, mingled in with the complex processes of adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, psychological challenges, and liver processing.  In short, everyone reacts differently.

Aside from two cheats on the weekend (coffee on Mother’s Day and a glass of wine with my girlfriends on Saturday night), I have followed the plan to the letter, 100%, all-in.  So there’s a sense of accomplishment there, and the horizon is in sight.  I’ve definitely broken my candy-on-the-couch habit and although the caffeine cravings are still there, they’re lessening.  So even though my body has reacted poorly to this, I’m still glad I did it.  I’ve gained some willpower, some misery-loves-company stories, and some knowledge about how my body and mind operate.

And I only have four days left…


Wheat-free Recipes? Yes, please!

I changed my diet to be wheat-free about seven months ago, and it’s become my ‘new normal’.  Being a bread/bagels/cereal/pasta lover, that’s a big shift in my perspective, and I’m surprised at how easy it’s been and how much better I feel.  In an effort to avoid feeling deprived of the foods I love, I use wheat-free alternatives for my ‘go-to’ favorites: oatmeal, spaghetti, pizza, and muffins.  Here are some of my tried-and-true recipes:

BREAKFAST:

Seed ‘Oatmeal’ with berries

Seed ‘Oatmeal’ with berries

Soak a variety of seeds (this pic shows chia seeds, hemp hearts, and ground flaxseed; I am a regular at the Bulk Barn!) overnight in almond milk.  In the morning, stir seeds up and microwave for 60-90 seconds to warm them up.  Top with whatever you like!  I usually use cinnamon, a bit of honey, berries, and almond milk.  Other common breakfasts at our house include omelettes loaded with veggies, protein/fruit smoothies, and plain Greek yogurt with fruit.

LUNCH:

Bento-box style: chicken, cheese, avocado, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots

Bento-box style lunch

Lunch is almost always an assortment of finger-foods or leftovers these days- a big change from regular sandwich-lunches of days past.  Now it’s simple foods that are easy to prepare, and provide the ability for little hands to pick and choose.

DINNER (here’s TWO of my favorites):

Hybrid pizza

Hybrid Pizza 

Ingredients Needed:
8 oz (weight; about 2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Sauce, cheese, and toppings of your choice

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mound the cheese mixture on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Using damp hands, spread it out into a disc about 1/4″ thick.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, flipping it over at the 20-25min mark (TIP: do not undercook before flipping the crust over or the uncooked cheese will stick to your parchment paper; cook for 20-25 mins before flipping over, and the other side will only take 10-15mins to cook).  Spread on your sauce, cheese, and toppings and broil for 2-3 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Peppers in Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti squash

This one is super easy!  Cut a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise (TIP: you can microwave the whole squash for a few minutes to soften it up before cutting), place rind-side up on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 375F for 30-40mins.  Using a fork, ‘comb’ the inside of the squash and it will quickly peel into spaghetti-shaped strands (the texture is very similar to al dente pasta).  Top with your choice of sauce- my personal favorite is chicken, onions, mushrooms, and peppers, in a spicy marinara sauce.

SNACK/TREAT:

Cinnamon swirl muffins

Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

Ingredients Needed:
2.5 cups almond flour
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut milk
1/2 cup honey
Topping Ingredients:
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 325F.  Mix together all the dry batter ingredients.  Add the wet batter ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter evenly into a muffin tin.  Mix all the topping ingredients in a separate bowl, and drizzle over the muffins.  Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown.
Other common snack ideas are veggies/hummus, boiled eggs, or a shaker of protein powder and water.
I’d love to hear about your wheat-free recipe successes too!  
Share away!