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From my Detoxing Lunch Workshop

 

It appears that for some people, a lifestyle change of food comes easily. Vegans happily drop dairy; people with celiac forego gluten; diabetics resist sugar.  However, for most of us this journey is not ‘a piece of cake’! Take me, for example – I have Turkish origins and therefore absolutely adore yoghurt, feta, and ‘simit’ (a wheat bagel) with cheese. However, I have managed to regularly do a simple detox program for the last four years!

I did simple detox programmes for a 10 days or 3-5 days before in the last 4 years.

Sometimes this was for a 10-day period, others for three to five days. I have also occasionally done juice-fasting for couple of days. You can find here more details about my past trials.

This time I decided to detox for 21 days, as I had been feeling a lot of discomfort in my digestive system; as well as inflammation in different areas of my body.  I decided to take a break from gluten, dairy, sugar (including dried fruits, sugar replacements and most fruits), alcohol and caffeine.

At the same time, I also visited a Nutritional Therapist (NT) as my symptoms were worrying me. I answered a 19-page questionnaire and took blood tests to look for food intolerances. I also went for a fine-detail check with urine and further blood tests. These results took a while to come back so, in the meantime, I continued the detox program since my NT had approved it.

The most difficult part for me is the cheese and yogurt!

A typical bagel from Turkey called SImit and cheese-tomato, my all time favourite!

A typical bagel from Turkey called Simit and cheese-tomato, my all time favourite! This is a picture of the one I baked when I was living in Azerbaijan and missed home!

 

I don’t struggle to quit sugar or caffeine as I’m not a regular consumer of these things. Even bread is not a huge temptation as there are some great replacements for it. However, cheese and yogurt are my staples; my favourites since childhood! Unfortunately, any attempts to find their replacement have not worked!

Over the years I had been cutting down on these dairy products as they had been the cause of bloating – but – they were  still part of my weekly meal plan!

The first few days of detox are usually tough;

Headaches and strange feelings of withdrawal are common. The body reacts to not having its usual meals and, for me, this sometimes made me irritable. Occasionally, I felt nauseated or very tired as the toxins began to leave my body; plus, I suffered the effects of sugar and caffeine withdrawals.

After two or three days, I was slowly becoming used to it; by the end of the first week, I felt accustomed to this way of eating. I found that if I went to sleep early and exercised regularly, I would feel so much better during the detox program. Exercise helps to sweat the toxins out; extra sleep helps the rejuvenation process.

The second and then the third week felt much faster then the first one!

Tea times are not like what the Queen has!!

My afternoon tea is very different to the Queen’s!!

 

I really became accustomed to living like this – eating lots of vegetables, soups, green juices and protein (mainly fish or chicken; occasionally red or dried meat.) Also drinking lots of water; preparing my own anti-inflammatory teas (with ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, clove, lemon or cinnamon); and discovering new tastes (e.g. sugar-free, 100% peanut butter) all became quite routine during this time!

During the fourth week, I received the first blood test results. Apparently I have multiple food intolerances – to gluten, dairy, corn and even some greens, including lettuce! That last one was a huge shock!! I had learnt to live without cheese and yogurt but the thought of living without certain greens?! This was, and still is, a big problem for me!

I am a person who craves salads!

My staple!

My staple!

 

I have been craving them since my childhood! My mum had to take the salad away from me as I always ate so much and left the main meal!! So when I read this report telling me I am intolerant to greens, I wanted to find the person who invented that test and …  (well, you can imagine!)

My NT suggested that I continue my normal detox for one or two weeks more whilst waiting for the detailed test results. So I did, and eventually completed a 35 day detox … however I admit to taking a sneaky break during the half term vacation!!

A Detox in holiday on the French Mountains

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Imagine a place where everyone eats delicious mountain cheese day and night; where the bakery next door bakes the most delicious baguettes and croissants; where every restaurant serves mouth-watering chocolate desserts and crepes … and you are NOT allowed to eat any of them! I know that there are so many incredibly more-difficult situations in life than this!  But when you are fortunate enough to have these in front of you – yet unfortunately, cannot touch them – then life seems a bit strange.

I realised once more again how much importance we put to eating!

Eating has become, or maybe always has been, the central point for socialisation. Getting pleasure from food is almost the most important part of many people’s lives! So, when they are restricted, not only are our reactions biological, they also become psychological. We feel depressed or stressed about not being able to eat our favourite things!

However, we forget that there are other pleasures in life; and there are millions of people who never have the chance to have any at all.

I kept repeating this thought in my mind during my holiday and I partly survived it. Only partly – my eating & drinking was about 80% clean!!  When I returned from my holiday, I also returned to my strict program and, straight away, felt so much better.

What happened in these 35 days ?

After the rough first few days, I started feeling better, lighter and less bloated. After a few weeks, the energy kicked in and I felt stronger. I lost 2kgs, although it felt like more as it was mainly fat that I lost.  

My willpower became so much stronger once I realised I could survive without my comfort food. I also became more creative with cooking and choosing food and drinks in restaurants. I discovered lots of new recipes and snacking options, and I became more aware of my body’s reactions to different food types. Best of all, I learned not to think about food all the time and enjoy other things in life!

What Next?

Eating out in a pizzeria during the detox and finding a delicious option!

Eating out in a pizzeria during the detox and finding a delicious option!

 

My detailed test results finally came through. I learned that my intestines are inflamed and therefore my vitamin & minerals levels are too low! My NT advised me to clean the gut first and support with some vitamins and pre-biotics (fermented vegetables).

For the intestinal cleansing I am starting a homeopathic medicine and I will also not eat raw food (including salads and fruits!!) for a while to give my system a rest.  Once my intestines are ready to metabolise again, she will advise on some more supplements for vital minerals and vitamins. During this cleansing period, gluten, corn, raw greens and dairy are not allowed so that my intestines do not get inflamed trying to digest them. This whole process can take from six months to a year.

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My homemade gluten free granola that i eat with my homemade almond milk! Now  I am addicted to this!

Why me ??

So to those people who think food intolerance is just a new fad, I would advise a re-think! Consider how many digestive systems are suffering inside the people around us. The root causes of these go back to our childhood and continue with the toxic world in which we live.

People are usually shocked when they hear that my intestines are inflamed, because they think, kindly, that I have the best nutrition! Thank you for thinking that; and, yes, I do make a lot of effort! However, if “healthy” foods are not helping “your” intestines, then there is no way of escaping from inflammation.

So all those years I spent eating my delicious homemade yogurt and kefir; the goat-milk feta cheese that I carried all the way from Istanbul; whole grain breads with gluten; soy sauce-baked fish and chicken … did absolutely nothing to help my intestines.

I investigated deeper into the cause of my sensitive intestines, and there are a few of them. One being the mercury fillings in my teeth which were there for many years before dentists realised they must be removed. Another is that I had a very stressful time last year when my father was diagnosed with cancer, and eventually passed away last summer. Stress alone is enough to ruin the guts, yet I believe mine were weak even before. I also remember having heavy cramps as a child for seemingly no reason!

So please please, without freaking out completely, listen to the body and its signals.

So to those people who think food intolerance is just a new fad, I would advise a re-think! Consider how many digestive systems are suffering inside the people around us. The root causes of these go back to our childhood and continue with the toxic world in which we live.

People are usually shocked when they hear that my intestines are inflamed, because they think, kindly, that I have the best nutrition! Thank you for thinking that; and, yes, I do make a lot of effort! However, if “healthy” foods are not helping “your” intestines, then there is no way of escaping from inflammation.

So all those years I spent eating my delicious homemade yogurt and kefir; the goat-milk feta cheese that I carried all the way from Istanbul; whole grain breads with gluten; soy sauce-baked fish and chicken … did absolutely nothing to help my intestines.

I investigated deeper into the cause of my sensitive intestines, and there are a few of them. One being the mercury fillings in my teeth which were there for many years before dentists realised they must be removed. Another is that I had a very stressful time last year when my father was diagnosed with cancer, and eventually passed away last summer. Stress alone is enough to ruin the guts, yet I believe mine were weak even before. I also remember having heavy cramps as a child for seemingly no reason!

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Is detoxing a myth?

During this period I learned a lot about detoxing; what it really means and what is required. It certainly is neither a myth nor a short, easy diet plan! You can help yourself by clearing out your system with a short period detox. However, if you have a health problem that remains for a long time (e.g. bloating, eczema, low levels of essential minerals, thyroid, etc) then you must consider a more serious approach and see a specialist in this area.

A change in lifestyle

And one last thing: This is not only about what we eat, but also about all the different chemicals we inject to our body. I am also changing my approach to choosing cosmetics, textiles, shampoos and all other personal care products; anything that touches my skin or stays around me. It is a long and slow process but I am glad that I have started!

And, surprisingly, I actually realised that by eliminating some cosmetics and routines that have toxins, I actually made my life easier and simpler! This is a subject of another blog post which I shall write when I have more experience of it!  🙂

Please message me if you have any questions, comments and suggestions. I will be very happy to hear your story, too!

And enjoy these beautiful spring days!

Hugs and Love!

Ceylan
P.S. There are two nice articles to read on detoxing if you are interested.

  1. From Amelia Freer, Qualified Nutritional Therapist FdSc, Dip ION, mBANT, Detox: Fact or Fiction?
  2. From Alex , Nutritional Therapy Consultant, Detoxification Demystified