To catch you up to speed, in late August I saw an integrative medicine (IM) doctor who started me on a 30-day liver cleanse, which involves 3 types of homeopathic drops given throughout the day, and a modified elimination diet. The diet at first seems innocuous, how bad can it really be? I can still eat things like: chicken, turkey, eggs, legumes, lamb (like I ever eat that anyway! but would love to try!), coldwater fish, fresh or frozen fruits & veggies, certain nuts, gluten-free products, sweet potatoes, rice, and drink herbal tea. Pretty decent, huh?? It's only until you start realizing there are all these other things you'd LOOOVE to eat, like: ice cream, cheese, cookies, lots of chocolate, a french fry or a potato chip, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich (mmmhhm), that the self-control really comes into question. I have to say, though, for the last 2 weeks, I've only given into my weaknesses maybe 3 times. I did have a strawberry (for some reason, not allowed). I did take the smallest bite of a BBQ kettle-cooked chip, and was instantly disappointed. And I rationalized that drinking an Apple Izze was a non-sweetened fruit juice. But it's probably not, and it was definitely not "fresh-squeezed," albeit in my opinion, highly refreshing!! Gotta love a good fruity sparkling water drink.
Surprisingly what was easier to give up than I imagined was the coffee. I was told I could wean myself off it gradually so as to avoid those monster headaches, which I've experienced before. Yet since I couldn't have sugar or my usual dairy creamer in it, and was trying it with almond or coconut milk, the soothing and comforting taste was really lost on me, and as much as I wanted the caffeine, I just cut the coffee out after just a few days. Thankfully that was easier than anticipated.
I'm not sure what will happen after the 30 days. My friend, who is about 3 weeks ahead of me on this, ended up having to continue the diet for 2 more months!! When I heard this, my hopes plummeted, but it was good for me to know at this point what I might be facing too. It might not be a 30 day quick fix. And I'm not sure what symptoms or changes exactly they're looking for, but my follow-up appt will address that. And the humongo blood test I had last week, involving 19 vials out of my poor left arm!
But regardless, here's what I've learned:
- You can do a lot still with olive or coconut oil if you can't use butter.
- Sweet potatoes taste great with a little coconut oil & cinnamon. Mia loves it too! (Double-bonus)
- The creamy sauces you love can easily be substituted with coconut milk, plain yogurt, lemon juices, some herbs, olive oil, and a little S&P. We had the most divine salmon I've had in my life last week, and we will definitely be making that again!
- Gotta love eggs. I mean, they're like a perfect anytime food.
- Baked goods can also be made with the right flour (hazelnut, almond or coconut), and simply swapping out honey or maple syrup for sugar. Go forth & conquer!
- When you drink herbal tea, you instantly feel cooler and more intelligent. I mean, isn't that what really sophisticated people in shows & movies always drink? (Of course, the same spin could be put on coffee.)
- Turkey burgers are where it's at. Mix in some good herbs or spices (no MSG!), some onion, and let it sizzle. Mia approves, again! This is esp good when chicken is not sounding so appetizing anymore.
- How happy am I - less than $5! on Twitpic
- And lastly, Fuji apples with Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter, as a substitute for peanut butter), so hit the jackpot! I took a nap yesterday afternoon and was dreaming of this before I woke up, and definitely realized that dream before it escaped me!
This diet is not as arduous and tortuous as one of the elimination diets I was considering, for which I'm grateful. But who knows, perhaps in the future if I'm still have challenging digestive problems, I'll try that route for real. For now though, I'm just thankful there's food in my tummy. Because no one enjoys a rumbly stomach.
So go on, grab a snack. It's good for ya.