Last week I wrote about Dr. Mark Hyman's new book, The 10-Day Detox Diet, and my experience as a program beta tester leading up to the book's launch.
Long story short: I'm a huge fan.
So much so, that's I'm inviting you to join me in a 10-Day Detox starting next Monday, March 10. Our last day will be Wednesday, March 19 (conveniently before Portland's official spring break).
How Does it Work?
Basically, we'll read and follow The 10-Day Detox Diet as a group. I'll set up a private Facebook group so we can post updates about our progress, share our challenges, post pictures of our healthy meals or habits, and give each other support.
Here's what you'll need to prepare for next Monday:
- Buy your copy of The 10-Day Detox Diet. You can order the book on Amazon (hardcover or Kindle) or get it at Portland's own Powell's.
- Start reading the book now so that you know what to expect next week.
- If you drink coffee, start dialing it down… now! You don't want to go cold turkey when the detox starts, or you'll be miserable with headaches and sluggishness. The book has instructions for how to wean yourself off coffee gradually.
- Let your friends and family know you'll be following a special health program for 10 days so that they can support you in this goal.
- From March 10-19, reschedule or politely decline social commitments so you're not tempted by hosted bars and buffets. If this feels like social deprivation, remind yourself that it's only for 10 days. During the detox, you'll be enjoying some relaxation activities instead of running around to all those social engagements. After the 10 days, you'll probably feel as if you've been on a mini vacation. I know I did.
- Plan on reducing or eliminating your social media and television use for the 10 days. I think it's especially helpful to avoid social media in the evenings. You'll need that time to get centered and relaxed.
- Review and familiarize yourself with the daily meal plans, ideally by Thursday or Friday of this week.
- Start detoxing your refrigerator and pantry, as instructed in the book. If you feel bad about throwing away opened containers of crackers, snacks, etc. maybe you can put it all in a big box and have a friend store it during your detox. Believe me, you don't want that stuff around if cravings or old habits start calling your name.
- Saturday: Make your list and go shopping for the week's groceries. You may also need to make a smaller grocery run on Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Sunday: Start your meal prep. Wash and chop veggies, spin your salad greens, line up small jars of nuts and seeds in your refrigerator so that making your morning smoothie is quick and easy. Poach some chicken, boil eggs, or broil tofu so you'll have some protein on hand for lunchtime salads or a very basic dinner.
- Have a small journal on hand so you can complete the daily writing prompts.
- You'll also need a tape measure and scale so you can track your progress.
Does it Sound Too Scary?
Here's Some Encouragement from Maria, (former) Detox Virgin
When I was doing the detox as a beta tester, I was allowed to invite a friend to join me. Many of my friends wanted to participate, so I held a random drawing to keep it fair — and the lovely Maria J. ended up joining me. A local creative, Maria was drawn to the detox because it resonated with her New Year's Resolution:
And yet, when I let her know her name had been drawn to “win,” she replied:
I bet she's not alone, right?
If you're intrigued by doing a detox, but shaking in your boots at the thought of giving up caffeine and sugar (or wine!), you might find some encouragement in Maria's story. She started the detox with a very serious caramel latte addiction — and afternoon sweets/snack habit — and came out of the detox with some great results, and an experience she called “life changing.”
Here's what she had to say about the experience:
What were some of the positive physical outcomes of the detox? (weight loss, clothing feeling better, etc.)
Weight loss of five pounds. My clothing felt like it fit as opposed to feeling tight. I had even energy throughout the day, no ups and downs, no afternoon crashing. I had a reduction in headaches, and I was less bloated. I also had fewer physical pains and aches in body.
What were some of the positive emotional/mental outcomes?
My even sense of energy helped to maintain focus and a consistent work level. I realized that my emotions were directly connected to what and why I was eating. I developed a better understanding of the role food was playing in my emotional expression. I feel healthier in my mind knowing I am making better decisions about what I am putting in my body. I realized the connection of food as a healing AND as a destructive force.
What were some of the biggest challenges?
The initial three days were ROUGH. I had frequent and severe headaches. I was emotionally unstable and found myself being very aggressive and snapping at people and in situations I wouldn't normally react to. (note: Maria didn't wean herself off of caffeine gradually — that's why I don't recommend going cold turkey).
What was your rock bottom moment?
Day 3. I came home from work, curled up on the couch in a fetal position and said I was giving up, it was too hard and I didn't want to do it. What's the point of feeling so crappy when you are supposedly doing good things for your body? I was on the verge of throwing in the towel. I had a good long cry, had some words of inspiration and motivation from my fiance, and went to bed to face the next day.
What was a “hell yeah, I'm doin' this!” moment?
Day 4. The morning after my “rock bottom night” I woke up from a solid sleep without a headache. I actually felt good. I had no aches and pains when getting out of bed. I didn't struggle with my shake in the AM and felt great about bringing my lunch in to work and eating healthy. I enjoyed the food more. It all became less of a chore. The dinners were all super tasty and my fiance was complimenting the cooking, which made me feel good. The baths were more than an epsom soak — it was a little bit of time that I could carve out to relax and unwind.
What were some of your favorite parts of the detox (recipes, experiences, etc.)?
I really liked the variety of lunches, how you could really experiment with different veggies and protein so it didn't feel too repetitive. The dinners were also very delicious. I had fun learning how to use new spices and cook salmon for the first time! My favorite recipe by far is the Almond & Flax Crusted Chicken. The marinade is amazing.
What feedback would you provide to people so they're prepared for the experience?
I would warn them that the first 3 days are probably going to be the worst. It's going to be a little pricey [groceries, supplies, etc.] and it's going to require a lot of effort and focus. Also, have a support system in place, try to do it with someone or let someone know you are going through it so they can help you through downs and cheer on your accomplishments.
What lifestyle changes do you think you'll incorporate for the long term?
I already find myself not wanting to stray far from the detox diet. I've discovered a new way of eating, and I've realized the physical and emotional side effects from eating too much sugar or dairy. And I've become a big fan of the epsom salt baths!
Any last thoughts on the Detox?
I felt an obligation to you, Monica, for giving me this opportunity and I felt a strong obligation to myself, to see this through. I've always wanted to learn how to eat better and live a more healthy life and I knew it was the perfect opportunity and that it might never present itself again. I had to embrace it all, good and bad. I also learned of my Grandma's terminal illness during this time and I thought about my future and how I have the opportunity to make some good choices for my life.
I think the 10-day Detox is a great way to hit the reset button. I didn't realize how miserable I was feeling — it became normal and now that I feel really good and healthy it's shocking to me that I was existing in the state I was before the detox. Thank you Monica and Dr. Hyman for the opportunity to make a meaningful change in my life!
A couple of days after the detox, Maria and I posed for this picture — finding ourselves a little lighter on the scale, our clothes a little loose. More importantly, we found ourselves lighter in spirit — feeling better in our bodies, more energetic, less frazzled — the kind of empowered, vibrant state that's the perfect antidote to the Standard American Lifestyle.
If this all sounds good to you, please join me in the group Detox from March 10-19 — all you have to do is fill out the form below.
I'm not charging anything to be included in the group, although you'll need to buy the book, food and optional supplements on your own from your favorite retailers. Just sign up using the form below and I'll provide additional details.