As mentioned in my last post, this article was published many moons ago but we just uncovered it while doing a media sort. Even though it's 5 years old, it's still as relavent today as it was then, and will be forever... ; )
Makes good reading.
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The Raw Truth
Elizabeth Holmes detoxes and finds you’ve nothing to lose but your stuff
I have just been on a raw food detox diet. I have no idea why I started it when I did and little understanding of what I hoped to achieve. I was also unbelievably naïve about the extent to which my life would be impacted by such relatively simple dietary changes.
The inspiration came from Susie Miller’s and Karen Knowler’s Feel-Good Food: A Guide to Intuitive Eating (Women’s Press, 2000). In it, the authors argue that many of our ills, attitudes and dependencies on food result from our inability to intuit what we really need to eat. So much of what many of us consume is based on habits, cravings or, in some cases, perceived sights that we are far removed from making skilful choices when it comes to food. Perhaps we’re just so clogged up with debris it eludes us.
As a non-drinking, non-smoking, caffeine-free vegetarian, I had misplaced confidence about the extent to which I needed to detox. The book suggests that ‘feel good food’ is raw food and also the key to intuitive eating. It explains how to introduce increasing levels of raw food into your diet so that your detoxification is gentle and suggests tackling your diet in this way at a relatively quiet time work-wise. Great idea, but not my style; if I can drag myself through the path of greatest resistance at a time when demands on me are high, I will.
On Day One I ate nothing but fruit and felt good for it – good enough to continue on fruit for another two days, by which time I was waking at 5am and storming through a day’s work by lunchtime. On Day Four, when I introduced nuts and seeds to my fruit diet, I crashed. The aches were I imagine, although I’ve never succumbed, like flu, and my eyes and nose had started to stream. This is not unusual, the book reassures, as cleansing reactions are simply the result of the body ridding itself of the crap that has been undermining it. Detoxing was never meant to be an ecstatic experience! And such reactions would only last a few days anyway; I ought to be able to cope with that.
The advice in the book is corroborated by Lewes-based nutritionist and founder of the Food and Mood Project, Amanda Geary. She says: “When you change what you eat and completely cut out foods that you were having regularly, your body will initially go through a withdrawal phase; you will fell worse before you feel better, but this could only last a few days.”
Well, try a week, by which time I was still eating strictly only raw fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fresh juices, water and the occasional matzo. When I emerged from the physical ‘stuff’ to the intent that I could refocus fully on life, rather than just the essential the mental symptoms emerged, safe I the knowledge that my commitment to raw, healthy food would prevent a search for distraction and enforce a head-on showdown.
I now know that Greta Garbo must actually have been doing a detox when she uttered her timeless words. Although I could sense positive changes in my physical body such as increased energy, thicker hair if that’s possible, stronger nails, no hypoglycaemic attacks and so on, mentally, the ‘melancholy fit’ had fallen and I was undertaking ruthless scrutiny of every aspect of my life. Worse, I found that apparently little pleased me.
Surprisingly, this too is food related. As Amanda Geary explained: “Fasting and detoxification can also bring out emotional and mental symptoms that you have not had for a while. This is probably due to stored food substances and toxins which are re-released into circulation as your body starts to break down its stores of fat.”
I find this frightening. I knew that much of what I was feeling was related to a decision I had made five years ago but the thought that I has harboured those emotions in my physical body and not just in some dusty corner of my mind that I could forget about was unnerving. Besides, I’d always thought that self-obsessed narcissistic whingeing wasn’t me. Not so.
In weeks three and four I introduced limited cooked food but more out of social commitments than need, although I was craving pasta and pesto. While I was physically stronger, fitter and clearly healthier and even my eyesight has improved significantly to the surprise of my optician, it was crunch time for the emotion symptoms.
I now wonder what came first – the desire to follow the diet or the subconscious need to give myself the chance to be free of those times. Whatever it was, the diet gave me far more than I bargained for but I would do it again if I needed to, although perhaps next time with the support of a nutritionist.
It is true that you get over whatever your body throws out in days or even weeks, but key issues rise to the surface and you know with a certainty that only a detox can offer exactly what no longer serves you. And there’s not always a quick fix for the resulting implications.
By cutting down your food intake to a mostly clean minimum you do begin to feel what your body needs to eat, even by the smell of food and rinks. Whether this is intuitive eating I’m not sure, but I have realised that if I’m going to listen to my body that closely I’ll have to move into Infinity Foods that is until I can develop a more reliable body-to-brain advance warning system.
Oh, and you lose weight too. There’s no way I’m saying just how much (Bridget, where’s your pride girl?), but put it this way – I can now get my favourite jeans off without undoing the button. Guess they’re not my favourites anymore.