Back in January I decided to do something crazy being the new year and all and deprive myself of a good portion of almost everything I normally eat for 21 days. It was all in the name of detox Dr Joshi’s alkalising body detox to be exact.
Dr Joshi and I don’t actually know each other but as this is not my first run around his deprivation course I feel like we are old friends. I have actually kept a few of his little detox eating habits from the first time we hung out so I was really interested to see what my take homes would be from this time around. I thought one month after the end would be a good time to check out what has stuck and what hasn’t.
While my goal was obviously to give the body a good cleanse, I also wanted to attempt to shift some really stubborn eczema and was at the point where I’d try any crazy damn thing. I was going to start with a good old fashioned dairy elimination but then it was suggested I should also cut gluten and something else and something else and I just thought For crying out loud, I’ll cut the lot. And there we were.
The detox is simple enough to follow and does actually include a reasonable selection food that enables you to come up with a variety of meal options. You don’t see that at first glance but it’s true. I did weekly food diaries if you are keen to try the detox but feel you need suggestions.
What I thought at the end of the detox
By the end of the detox I was actually starting to feel really great. Dr Joshi claims that the alkalising diet will even change your taste buds and you won’t even crave bad foods anymore. I was skeptical but by the end of week 3 I was actually feeling that way. I think this has more to do with consistent healthy eating than anything else.
It was an interesting transition. I ate a lot of carrot sticks for snacks and I remember by the end of week 2 being dead sick of eating carrot sticks but by week 3 I’d passed through the pain and was actually enjoying it. I was also a bit sick of chicken and fish by the end of the program. We had a few vego options on the menu too but I did miss the odd bit of meat. I also really missed tomato.
By the end of the detox my eczema had improved but was not yet gone. As it continued to improve though I took it as a positive sign and decided to continue leaving gluten and dairy out of my diet. For some reason I felt rather strongly that little to no gluten was actually really positive for me so I just decided to go with what I feel.
Reintroduction of Foods
The first thing I reintroduced was fruit. I did it across the board and there was no issue.
I also started adding tomato to salads to spice things up a bit. Again, all was great.
In week 2 post detox I made a tomato based sauce for gluten free gnocci. I included zucchini and capsicum so it was a nightshade vegetable feast. My skin reacted that night. The eczema flared right up. It calmed quickly but I put it down to either tomato or nightshade vegetables in general. I’ve avoided having them in large quantities since and that seems to be fine.
During the detox I felt that I reacted to eggs on more than one occasion. Rather than eliminate them all together I have simply reduced the number and that seems to be working fine.
I haven’t permanently reintroduced the Dairy or Gluten to test which one is causing the reaction. Mainly because I am happy with the substitutes and I feel good without them so I see no point. Maybe I’ll test it out one day but right now I’m happy with how things are.
What’s happening one month on
Well it turns out that I really did develop a fondness for raw carrot. One month later I continue to snack on carrot sticks on a regular basis. I love crunchy things and the taste out of the fridge is so fresh. I love it. The bonus? Monkey gets into them too.
I now only make my own hummus and pesto rather than buying it. My food processor gets so much more use!
I have remained gluten and dairy free 95% of the time. I say 95% as if I go out and it is challenging to find something (and sometimes it is – things seem to be either GF or DF as opposed to both) then I just choose the best I can and let whatever else it is slide through. Or sometimes I’m having a craving or something is too good to refuse. At home, where I prepare all the food though, my meals are constantly GF and DF. I am loving my Cut Out the Crap (DF, GF and preservative free cooking) recipe books for ideas. They were well worth the purchase.
The big WIN is that my eczema is virtually all gone. I have small spots of it here and there that sort of comes and goes but that is nothing compared to where I was at and probably more to do with the fact that I cheat with my diet sometimes than anything else.
The big take home message for me with this? TIME. You need to give it time. If you have a skin issue and suspect diet then a one week elimination or a partial elimination is not going to tell you the full story. If you cut dairy for a short period of time and see any sign of improvement AT ALL (initially mine just became less inflamed, still there but less inflamed. I saw that as an improvement) then I urge you to continue and see what it can really do for your body. Give it the go it deserves and not some half arsed attempt that leaves you to conclude it doesn’t work.
All in all I really enjoyed the detox. Is it better than other similar detoxes (you know, the food ones, not the juice ones)? I don’t know. I think they all do similar things, particularly they help us to pay attention to what we are eating and get back to cooking with good whole foods.
It was easier to eat this way this time around because the internet is amazing and robust and full of great vegan recipes that already eliminate dairy. Also the gluten free substitutes for bread and pasta have greatly improved in the last 10 years. I actually enjoy the replacements I use now. I don’t feel I suffer for my choices at all.
Give it a go. Give your body the kickstart to healthy it needs. It was so worth it for me. People keep telling me I look radiant. Radiant! Without makeup! And despite the fact that I didn’t calorie count the whole time and I haven’t since (although I am strict about portion sizes), I have lost or maintained weight on a continued basis while eating this way. I chalk that up to a win.