Saturday, June 6, 2009

Detox Debrief

So a month ago I announced the great detox. The rational was to attempt to clean out my system of all those nasties that I am sure had built up over the year. I should state up front that consider myself actually very lucky to not suffer from any food allergies and actually have a pretty strong constitution, my metabolism is slowing but that is to be expected in part due to my age. Typically our house eats healthier than some and not as healthy as we should, time and effort always being the major constraints on clean living.

The objective of the exercise was to eliminate; caffeine, chocolate/candy, soda, wheat; specifically gluten, alcohol, red meat and dairy for four weeks.

There are some household concessions that made things a little easier; we usually have a lot of Soy milk in the house and we only have decaf coffee and some things were pretty tough; I love cheese and a sandwich is about the easiest thing in the world to have for lunch.

So to address each thing at a time:

Caffeine; wasn’t too hard, it became a case of remembering to ask for de-caf at Peets, Coffee Bean etc. My morning cup of “english” tea was replaced with its de-caf equivalent which to be honest tasted crap! But I did not need to have the fruit teas that smell so good and taste like bath water. I did make a slip with green tea but consoled myself that the caffeine content was so low as to not be having a major impact.

Chocolate; substituted with fruit, a sliced apple and a spoonful of peanut butter has become a staple replacement for this, my only concession was the chocolate content in Silk chocolate soy milk which I use as a recovery drink. Regular candy just fell by the wayside surprisingly easily as did soda!

Wheat (gluten); this was a little trickier, a sandwich was a staple for lunch, toast, bagels, most breakfast cereals, cookies and beer all fell by the wayside. With a little imagination sandwiches were replaced with lettuce wraps. Some digging around in Wholefoods uncovered some gluten free cereal which was great and some gluten free cookies which were…not so. FYI both Trader Joes and Pavillions/Vons now offer an ever widening spectrum of gluten free food. Rice was a good substitute although "rice pasta" is an acquired taste and you have to eat it pretty soon after you cook it otherwise it all sticks together.

Alcohol; actually not as hard as you’d think, I’m not a big drinker, my only concession was some alcohol free beer which broke the gluten rule but hey it was our wedding anniversary!

Red meat; yeah I am a carnivore and I like a good steak, but for four weeks, well five, I just choose chicken or fish, surprisingly easier than I thought it was going to be!

Dairy; as mentioned soy milk is prevalent in the house so not such a biggy. Cheese was tougher, but Tofuti cream cheese worked well and other than a splash of milk in a cup of English that was it.

So as you can see not quiet 100% but pretty close all things considered. And so onto the results. The numbers speak for themselves, I dropped 5.2lbs and dropped 1.5% in body fat. I really wasn’t counting calories as such and the workouts for the month were only maintenance miles; 120 for the month, had I been in full training mode chances are it would have been more

In terms of how I felt, well actually; really good, no spiking or crashing and no hunger pangs. The food really turned into fuel and was enjoyable at the same time. Additionally as part of the mental game is was an interesting side project to see if I could say no; as expected over time this became a lot easier until things never entered the equation. As with everything I life preparation was the key, bulk cooking when possible, finding convenience items is always good; TJs microwave brown rice is great, Mochi is really good, soy "dairy" products are an easy substitute for most things; yogurt, milk etc. Tofu; well I had one good experience (thanks Christine) and one bad. We are really lucky with our grill, which is a nothing special one from Home Depot but it cooks everything really well, a slow cooker was also very useful and the Vita-Mix really came into it's own for hummus and home made peanut butter; I will never be buying a jar of PB again.

While I have reintroduced some of the thing back into my diet; quality bread and a little cheese here and there, there are definitely some things that I will carry on with; no soda, no candy and minimal chocolate. Red meat, while not eliminated, is now reduced to 'good' red meat and rather than quantity I'm going for quality and resigning it to the status of "treat". Alcohol is consumed so rarely that it not so much of an issue but Becks now do a non alcohol beer and O'Doul's Amber is pretty good too. The gluten free cereal I use is really good as well and I see no reason to not stop using it. I am going to stay as caffeine free as possible so I can utilize it better on race day and race night and race the next day!

It's been a fun(ish) month and seems to have set me up nicely for this training cycle. I am still looking to drop to the mid 160lbs so I have about 5lbs to go...hopefully that won't take long with the volume of training coming my way, of which Week 1 is now complete with no incident.


  1. Hi Stuart,
    Congrats on the detox!
    If you've managed to keep to your plan for four weeks why not let it continue. If you go back to your old ways now your only going to feel the same as before. By the sounds of it you feel better than you did a month ago. Your detox is how I live daily and I've never been healthier and fitter in my 42 years.
    All the best,


  2. Very interesting. So, redmoving all of those items from my diet would beg the question of what exactly I'd have left to eat.

    Though I'm with you on Red Meat and alchohol. I love meat, but for the most part I just eat a lot of chicken/turkey and occasionally fish - so similiar to you.

  3. man, you're a lot more diligent than I could ever be. Great job on the past 4-5 weeks or so. Can't argue with the results!

  4. Very good. I'm curious what you have reintroduced and what you are choosing to live without.

  5. oh dude, death looks more inviting :-) hahahahaha!

  6. Great Job buddy...keep it up...the more weight you lose the better you will feel...Your 100-miler looks like it will test you...good luck


  7. Really interesting post. Been thinking of trying something similar. Thanks for this!


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