Last week, I wrote about my wonderful week of playing hooky, inspired by my family: daughters, brothers, cousins, who were in all parts of the world choosing fun. While my daughters were happily gorging on homemade pasta, bread, and gelato in Italy, I took on a different dietary plan.
While I have been feeling good, my only complaint has been chronic joint pain and carrying around some extra pounds since Christmas. It all started when my middle daughter came for the holidays and I was making her grilled cheese and pesto sandwiches every day (her favorite). Of course, I ate them too. After New Year’s, her older sister came for a few weeks, and I continued the celebration by eating bread, pasta, cheese, and lots of desserts. By the time they were both gone, I was heavier and reacquainted with my old addiction of white flour, carbs, and cheese. Suddenly every week, I was saying things like “Let’s have pizza.” Or “It’s Saturday night, let’s have nachos.” Or "I forgot to go the grocery store, so I will just make a quesadilla.” I couldn’t stop. My clothes were getting snug, and worse my joints just plain hurt.
So, I decided to do a month of clean eating. Basically, no refined sugar, processed food, alcohol or grains. I was inspired by a documentary I saw on Netflix called The Magic Pill. The subject of the documentary was how food affects your body. Pretty basic stuff… and not my first rodeo. I have studied nutrition my whole life and have been a walking experiment of eating for optimal health, but I got sloppy over these last few months. I even tried to do a version of this last December, but right before the holidays was bad timing. But when May came around, I'd finally had enough of the pudge and the aches and pains. So, I got back on the wagon and stopped attending my own on-going pizza party.
Day One. I stopped drinking alcohol. That was the easiest one. While I love a cold beer after tennis or a glass of red wine with pasta, I don’t really drink that much. So giving up alcohol for a month is kind of low-hanging fruit.
Day Two. I said goodbye to all bread products including baked goods (cookies, cake, pies, etc.)
Day Three. I cut out dark chocolate. This is a tough one. I love dark chocolate, and while it is good for you, this cleanse is about cutting the sugars and the carbs. In theory, this will cut down on the inflammation… which in theory causes pain.
Day Four. I cut out pasta and rice. This is the toughest of all. I love my starches… and they’re so easy and fast when you’re in a hurry. This requires extra preparation. You’ve got to be prepared to have protein at every meal, veggies, and healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc.)
Day Five. I started feeling pretty good, and surprisingly my cravings were almost non-existent. Since then I have exercised a ton with no loss of energy… even after playing dozens of competitive tennis matches.
Now I am on Day 15. I am still feeling pretty good. I don’t want to jinx it, but I am feeling really energetic and lighter. As for my aches and pains, it is still too early to tell. I will report back after I get to the full 28 days.
Meanwhile, today is Memorial Day. So, here’s to three-day weekends, school being out for summer, summer reading, summer vacations, good weather, and summer barbecues -- my hamburger will be sans the bun.
But the real reason for this holiday weekend is in loving memory of our soldiers who fought to keep us safe. You are remembered and you are honored.