10 Tips on Starting a “Detox” Protocol

Nov 23, 2012 by

Ok, so as I mentioned in this last post (thank you all for your  kind and supportive words, by the way; you guys really are amazing), Mike and I are starting a 28-Day Clean Eating/Sugar Detox challenge on Monday. We’re following the guidelines of a Whole 30 as well as Balanced Bites 21-day Sugar Detox. Basically, we’re eliminated ALL sugars including the natural ones: dairy, honey, agave, alcohol, starches and fruit (with the exception of accepted amounts on WOD days). We’re going to focus on eating clean meats and lots of veggies and treating our bodies well between the holidays. We’ve started a Google Group for those of you who wanted to join us and so far we’re near 50 members!

I figured that since I’ve done this before and I kind of know what to expect, I figured I’d try and give you guys some advice on how to set yourself up for success.

1) Clean out your pantry and fridge. Toss anything that isn’t something you’ll be eating in the next 28 days and would go back. Donate cans, throw away old cheese or bottled sauces or half-eaten bags of chips. If you need to keep this stuff in your house because of other family members, organize and clean out your fridge and pantry to create your own shelf. Tell them it’s YOUR shelf and that everything on it is to support you in your endeavor. This way when you go looking for food or snacks, you don’t have to sift through bags of Fritos.

2) Make a Meal Plan and Stick To it. Sit down, go through blogs posts, Google Whole 30 recipes, and decide what you want to eat for the week. Write it down BIG where you can see it every day. Keep a notebook nearby or an app on your phone to jot down meal ideas that pop into your head. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I will be posting my meal plan tomorrow or Sunday for the week (in legible form but this is what Mike and I jotted down as we talked this week)

3) Make your shopping list from your meal plan. Go through each meal you have decided on and figure out what you need to buy from the store. I recommend shopping on Sunday for Mon-Thurs and then another shopping trip mid-week for Thur-Sun. Most of what you’ll be eating will be fresh and chances are since it’s almost December, it will be out of season and will go bad fast. Instead of wasting food, buy only what you need for a few days based on your plan.

4) Plan to feel like total hell for the first week or so. Often called “the induction flu” the process your body will go through as it detoxes from sugar (and likely caffeine if you’re giving up coffee too) will leave many of us feeling literally sick: run down, cranky, with headaches. Some of you may also suffer from “Candida Die-off “- a process where as you stop feeding the bacteria in your gut the sugar it uses to multiply, it dies off. While this is a good thing (since we want a GOOD BALANCE of bacteria in our bodies), the rapid process by which the sugar-eating bacteria dies off can sometimes cause stomach issues for a while: gas, bloating, diarrhea. To prevent this, you may want to add some additional supplements such as extra probiotics and Super Digestive Enzymes. Last time we did this, Mike was miserable until we figured this out.

5) Decide which condiments you can’t live without and make them. Love mayo in your tuna salad or deviled eggs? Make this one from Well Fed. (Note: it is PARAMOUNT that you make sure all your ingredients are room temperature). Can’t survive without ketchup on your bunless burger boat? Make it. Need more substance to your salad than just oil and vinegar? Check out the  Basil and Garlic While Balsamic or the Lemon Oregano Vinaigrettes from Holly.

6) Tell your friends and family ahead of time what you are doing and ask them to respect it. Some will roll their eyes. Most will make a comment or two. A few will give you a really hard time. But stand your ground and tell them you’re doing it for you because you deserve to feel better and if they can’t support that, then they can shut their face-holes for the next 28 days.

7) Plan for social occasions. It is the holidays afterall and you may have some parties or work functions during these four weeks where it may be more difficult than a night at home. But I’m a firm believer that if you plan ahead, you can avoid a lot of stress or feelings of WOE IS ME when everyone else is shoving pie and wine down their gullets. 1) If it’s at a restaurant, go online and find the menu ahead of time. Figure out what you’re going to order and don’t cave into peer pressure when you get there. 2) If you’re invited to a party, offer to bring a dish or two. Sure, you’ll have to cook but at least you know when you get there you’ll be able to eat something and not sit in the corner, sober and hungry and crabby. Use this opportunity to show your friends and family how delicious eating real foods can be.

8) Buy a couple of books or magazines to read a little of each day to keep you on track and remind you why you’re doing this. My current favorites? It Starts with Food by The Hartwigs, Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan, and Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. These three are the top choices I tell people because they are easy to read, well-written, and informative without making your brain mushy from science-y stuff. Reading a few chapters each night before bed will give you a renewed sense of commitment each day.

9) Keep a food log. This doesn’t have to be a detailed with food, calorie or macronutrient breakdowns, but if you take a few minutes a day to write down what you’re eating, it can keep you on track. Share it with the group for added accountability.

10) Make a list of why you are doing it. To feel better, fit back into your old clothes, have more energy, heal gut issues, help inflammation, get over sugar or carb addiction, lower blood sugar or cholesterol, wean yourself off meds. I don’t care what your reasons – even the vain ones like fitting into a sexy-ass dress for Christmas – put them on a list and tape it to your fridge and every time you reach in there, remind yourself why you are doing this. It may be corny but it helps. I’ll even share mine.

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Which tips do you find the most helpful?

What do you think your biggest challenge is when trying something like this?

Do you have any additional advice?

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  1. Leah

    I’d love to jump in and do this. I know my husband would be on board, but what do you do about your kids? Do they eat the same thing as you? I will not last long if I have to cook 6 meals a day–one for us, one for the kids (mine are 3, 5, & 7).

    • AndreAnna

      My daughter basically eats anything. My son still only eats yogurt and ham basically. I make one meal for us and then serve us all, though the kdis usually get a little additional things we don’t – cheese, yogurt, starch.

  2. Sarah

    Thank you for this! I’ve talked my husband into doing this with me and we were just talking about how we weren’t exactly sure where to start. This helps! I think planning ahead for meals will be vital.

    • AndreAnna

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you got him involved with you – it’s so much easier (if it’s easy at all) when you have someone to support you and share meals with, etc.

  3. Geoff

    Very helpful, i’m going to tackle the mayo later today, I love hard boiled egg with tuna and mayo… hope it turns out. Thanks for putting this together

  4. Saranlap

    For those who may not already know this, Chowstalker is a great recipe resource for anyone trying to eat a real food diet. They even have a section devoted to Whole30 compliant recipes (although you have to be diligent when reading the ingredients list, as the submittals are self-policed and some get posted that are not of the Whole30 spirit…)

  5. Wish you lots of strength and willpower. I know you can get things back on track. You’ve given us so much, you’ve created wonderful things, you’ve inspired other people. How many people can say that? Maybe you ought to tell yourself that once in a while. You have been a great influence in other peoples lives! You’ve changed mine for one. Your previous post was so recognizable. I have struggled with an eating disorder for years. Paleo restored my relation with food and made it possible to enjoy food again. It took me a long time though, with lots of falling and crawling back up. I’ve been convinced that i would never heal, never feel good, look good or feel happy again. Now i’m enjoying my life the fullest. Thanks to real food. And thanks to you. An i’m sure there are many more who share a similar story. If only we could give you a little bit of the power and inspiration that you’ve given us, you’d be back on track in no time! You will kick some industrial junk food ass on Monday, coz’ REAL FOOD MAKES LIFE REAL GOOD!

  6. This is a great post — best wishes for an awesome “between holidays” clean up. I’m starting another “eat clean to feel your best” stretch, too… Nov. 25 through Dec. 24. YAY!

    Thanks so much for the kind words about Well Fed; really appreciate it!

  7. This is such a good reference post – I’m going to send it to all my friends who are starting out on a clean diet. Love your list of motivations!

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