I’d been feeling a bit not happy with how I felt and looked lately and decided it was time for a change. I’m usually not one to go like gangbusters for the latest fad diet (no judgment; I just don’t usually hop on bandwagons). Frankly, I never go on any diets, really. BUT, I’ve been nursing less and that sweet tooth caught up to me and my tummy has, um, served me well in carrying three babies. You mamas know what I mean. =)
So I checked in with a friend who’d mentioned a liver cleansing diet that she had done and how it made her feel great and helped her shed some unwanted pounds, etc. That’s how I ended up going for it with this kind of whacky looking number: The Liver Cleansing Diet.
At its most basic level, the diet is an eight-week eating plan that cuts out sugar, overly processed grains, most meat, and dairy. Every morning, you are supposed to drink two glasses of lemon water and then juiced vegetables.
I approached the diet with mild dread, steeling myself for two months of deprivation. What happened instead, and happened very fast, took me totally by surprise.
Less Really is More
When I watched Forks Over Knives a couple years ago, I remember there being a point about the connection between a literally full tummy and feeling full. For instance, good old Micky D’s might make you feel full without your tummy actually being full because of a very high number of calories in a small volume of food. On the other hand, to feel full eating a salad, you’d eat a larger volume and your full feeling would correspond with an actually full stomach — which, the takeaway was, is ideal.
Our diet was pretty “healthy” by most normal standards before. But I have found that I don’t need to eat portions nearly as big as with our previous types of meals in order to feel satisfied.
For instance, I sometimes make special breakfasts for the family on Saturdays. And I could eat quite a large number of fluffy buttermilk pancakes before I needed to stop. When I made vegan pancakes last weekend, though, I only ate three before I was genuinely full — and that was without any other dishes like eggs or meat. My (totally unprofessional) thought on this is that my body registers the nutritiously dense ingredients (i.e., not empty calories) as “enough” because they are.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
Okay, dire title, but another thing I realized is that a diet change might be more successful if it’s like ripping off a band-aid. Here’s what I mean: If I had mandated that we “eat less sugar,” it would have been entirely too undefined and I don’t think we would have done a good job committing — and wouldn’t have noticed much of a change. But taking away whole categories of food has, counterintuitively, helped us truly avoid the foods that aren’t great for us. (And, yes, there has definitely been a change. We’ve been on the diet for about a week and a half and have each lost +/-5 pounds and generally feel less sluggish. I know that itself sounds vague, but it’s really true. I didn’t know how sluggish I was until I wasn’t.)
Vegan Cooking is a Blast
The book comes with lots of recipes, and every one I’ve tried has been very good. But I couldn’t help branching out and I found Oh She Glows, and I LOVE it!!! Angela seems like a lovely person, her pictures are absolutely gorgeous, and every single thing I’ve made from her site has been SO. GOOD.
What’s so fun about vegan cooking, I’ve discovered, is that you can make things from some “questionable” ingredients — and they end up tasting and looking and feeling so much like the real thing!!! It’s a thrill every time. Which brings me to my next discovery (and a quandary, which is that I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do when this is over).
Finding out that vegan brownies and whipped frozen bananas are such a thoroughly delightful treat makes me wonder when and why I’d make real brownies. I mean, I’m sure I will, but knowing there is an alternative that’s full of avocados and not full of processed sugar has really opened my eyes. Similarly, after weeks of eating pasta that’s not made of white flour, why wouldn’t I continue always rather than sporadically choosing these healthier alternatives? (Oh yeah, price. Well, I’m waiting ’til the end of the month to really see, but I think the not-buying-meat-and-dairy plus not eating out will offset purchases like spelt flour, buckwheat groats, and enough fruits and veggies to keep my children fed — and if you’ve ever seen especially my boys eat, you know of what I speak.)
It’s a Lifestyle
Especially when I moved to the South, I realized that others tend to view me as an all-natural hippie type. Which I probably kind of am, on a lot of things. But I hate to be pigeon-holed as “granola” or “crunchy” and construed as a sum-total conglomerate of beliefs and practices. Like, I’ve worn my babies, but I don’t think Babywise
tantamount to abuse (talk about the black list). I prefer to just consider myself a thinking adult and an informed consumer. I eschew the, as one AWESOME commenter on Apartment Therapy put it, “Soccer Mommy Blogger With My Low VOC YogaMat trendy” (HAHAHAHAH!!! I got a good long laugh out of that one) persona.
Anyway, tangent aside, I found that with a pile of orange peels (from a surprising and fantastic salad I’m going to share with you next week) on the counter, I couldn’t help thinking, Oh what was that cleaning solution you can make with orange peels? and going ahead and trying it out! It’s fermenting or something in my pantry; I’ll let y’all know how that experiment goes. I’m also really regretting that we aren’t (currently) composting because almost the only garbage I have now is food-scrap related. And we might as well be growing a good amount of that food. Next year.
I also found myself more conscientious about cream I put on my face and the like. If I’m going to all these lengths to avoid putting toxins in my body, I should really get more serious (again) about not putting them all over our skin. The diet has made me re-examine some areas of natural vs. not natural that I’ve gotten a bit lax about through the years. It’s a kind of thinking, and it all goes together.
All this said, I don’t want to be consumed, I don’t want to be distracted. I do ask the Lord to keep me balanced and to lead us forward in this thing that matters to me and therefore to Him. This touches me to no end.
Speaking of sweet things, let’s say see you next time with another dessert:
Have you ever done a special diet? Did you enjoy it?