Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Detox Diet

hormonedietAs a fitness instructor I am required to get learning credits every year to keep my certification.  It makes a lot of sense.  The rules in the fitness industry are in flux. Things change all the time.  As new studies come out, new and better ways of working out are put to the test.

This year I attended a one day conference held in downtown Toronto.  The guest speaker was Dr. Natasha Turner.  She’s a naturopathic doctor who works in Toronto.  She’s been on the Dr.Oz show and does a lot of speaking engagements.  She’s well known in the industry and has a great reputation.

Honestly, I went to the conference to get the credits.  I’d never even heard of the woman. But when I started listening to her speak about diet, exercise and hormones, I was immediately hooked.  I just had to go out and buy her book, The Hormone Diet.

I’m not sure why I decided this would be a good read during our trip to Samana.  But I dove in and read 600 pages before the vacation was up.  Next trip I’m picking a lighter read – something smutty :)

Turner discusses how food affects the hormone levels in our body, cortisol just being one of them.  When we eat certain foods, or mix foods or even eat at the wrong times of the day, it sends our body into a hormonal imbalance.  In the book, I learned how to pair foods, what foods to avoid, what triggers bloating, gas pains, irritability, etc… I learned it all.

At the end of the book, Turner recommends you start a detox diet where you take out certain foods for 14 days and then slowly re-introduce them back into your diet one by one to see how your body reacts to them. The Husband suffers from all kinds of allergies, some skin related. I really felt this needed to be done for his sake.  Seeing as I’m the grocery shopper in the house, plus the primary chef, I thought it best to do it with him.

So one Monday morning not too long ago, we woke up and started our diet.  We did not eat dairy, sugar, wheat, beef, or pork.  We didn’t have any caffeine or alcohol.  The first week was hard.  Not hard because I was hungry,  but hard because I wanted to eat the cake and chips at Angel # 2′s birthday bash.  It took some serious willpower.

Truth – I cheated at the end of day 12.  I made it 12 days.  TWELVE days.  But on Good Friday I just couldn’t take it anymore and had a glass of wine.  And then, things just went downhill from there.  I followed the wine with a cookie, then another glass of wine. By the next morning I was drinking coffee.  Bad!  The Husband was furious with me.  He kept calling me a cheater.

All in all, the diet was good.  The recipes in the book are AMAZING.  There was only 1 recipe the Husband and I didn’t like.  It was a canned salmon salad.  It just looked like cat food on a plate to me.  Barf!  Otherwise, everything else tastes mouthwatering.  I even went out and purchased Turner’s second book, The Supercharged Hormone Diet.   I’m not sure I will be reading another 600 pages of pretty much the same thing, but I will enjoy ALL the additional recipes.  Turner lays out a schedule for you: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This makes planning and shopping a piece of cake.  Pun intended.

Here’s what I found during detox, I did not feel bloated or tired after eating a big meal. Every meal is paired with a protein.  This helped to stabilize my blood sugar.  So I really didn’t have any insulin spikes during the day.  I normally get these when I eat too many carbs (bad carbs).  Then I get irritable and hungry between meals.  We ate an abundance of vegetables.  I thought I was a healthy eater, but no, we ramped it up 100%.

I felt like I was in the kitchen prepping meals non-stop.  It’s not that they are hard to make, it’s just that there is a lot of chopping required.  I was also making special meals for the Angels.  I started getting smart as we went along, I’d make extra chicken the night before so we could eat it the following day  in our salad at lunch.  I started getting more creative with the prep work.  That’s how it should be.  That’s how things were long before the invention of processed foods and ready to go meals.

We all discovered a love for morning smoothies.  Turner has some incredibly healthy (with protein) smoothie recipes.  Even the Angels loved them.  At first I wasn’t convinced that drinking my breakfast would be satisfying.  How wrong I was.  I didn’t even get hungry for a morning snack the first day.  The smoothie carried me through to lunch.  We now alternate smoothie days.   They are a welcome change to our diet.

I’m reading food labels much more in-depth after reading her book.  I avoid whenever possible any added colouring, sugar,etc…  Sugar will be the death of all of us.  It’s in EVERYTHING.  We are also limiting our wheat intake.

I’m not giving up my 2 cups of coffee a day. I just enjoy it too much.  I’m not giving up my sweets either.  I’m only buying quality chocolate though that’s 90% cacao.  We tried the 99% cacao.  Good god, it’s bitter as hell.  So I have a small square of the 90% cacao after dinner and I feel no guilt.

I’m also not giving up wine.  Why?  It’s my happy drug on the weekends.  I don’t exceed 4 glasses a week (unless we are at a party or on vacation) so I don’t see this as a problem.

I love cheese too much to not eat.  I’m just eating more goat cheese than before.  It’s delicious in salads BTW.

The Husband is being far more disciplined than I am with his eating habits (and I’m good) but he’s even better because of his skin allergies.  We really hope to see an improvement.  My guess, it will be at least 6 months before we see any dramatic and permanent changes.

The Angels are slowly being weaned off their old diet and are being introduced to our family’s new way of eating.  It’s going to take time.  Yes – they will still eat the occasional boxed mac’n cheese.  And yes, there will be cheat days for all of us.  It’s inevitable and not something to beat yourself up over.  If you do – food becomes an unhealthy obsession.

My goal is to make small changes over time.  I will start buying more organic foods, foods in glass jars rather than plastic whenever possible.  I’m slowly phasing out beauty products that have terrible (and I mean terrible) chemicals in them.

I think we are taking a step in the right direction.  We won’t be perfect.  I know I won’t be perfect.  But hopefully, I’m instilling better ways to eat for years to come and making my Angels’ life that much more fruitful.

If you are interested in learning more about this book and my experience, drop me a line. I won’t spam you with emails, I promise.  Your information is private. I seriously recommend this book.  You’d be surprised how much you can improve your overall health by making minor changes.  Plus, if you are looking to drop a few pounds, this book will help you achieve this.

Happy Reading!

Simply Yours,

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