Strange Ways We Stay Healthy

I should say to me, these ways don’t seem strange at all. In fact, they’ve proven incredibly effective.

For a bit of historical background, you’re reading a post written by a woman who, in high school, had a friend who called her “Ebola Woman”. Not because I had Ebola (praise Jesus) but because I was sick so often and for such lengthy periods of time, that this friend figured he might as well nickname me after the worst disease he could think of.

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Our 30-Day Faith Detox Journey: Days 13 – 18

We’re coming up on the half-way point with this week, and I’m in a bit of disbelief I’m still sticking with it. Even though it’s been a struggle, there are so many benefits – I’ve got to keep going!!

Our 30-Day Faith Detox Journey- Days 13 - 18

Day 13:

This morning’s smoothie was rough. It was nothing, though, compared to the juice. I drank the juice before going to meet a friend and saw my life flash before my eyes. Oh purple foods… please get better than this.

I made Little Man a PB&J for lunch and it took so much strength to not shove the entire sandwich in my mouth. I don’t understand how I can be on day 13, and still be completely overcome by a desire like that. I feel like I’m cycling back through the first five days of this detox. I’m super tired, and unmotivated. It could be PMS. It could always be PMS.

Date night tonight! Went to see a movie. And smell everyone else’s buttered popcorn. We snacked on some cashews and it was nothing almost the same. After the movie, we browsed around our natural foods grocery store and I was quite pleased to see all they carried.

Day 14:

Two weeks of eating vegetables! I can’t believe it. Brent has lost 12 pounds, I’m down 7, and that feels so crazy.

Lunch’s salad was good, again. Avocado is a big help in eating purple cabbage and purple onions. Not quite sure what to do for dinner – we’re having a hard time finding many purple foods, let alone being creative with how to prepare them.

We all took a really long nap today, and it was marvelous. Not an exciting Valentine’s day, but a long nap really can’t be beat.

Tonight for dinner, I made brown rice with purple onion. Little Miss liked the rice, so that was encouraging. Brent says he prefers the brown rice over quinoa. Maybe ten days in a row of quinoa was a bit much. We’re also now having kale chips. Brent is going to be a pro kale chip maker. I can only eat SUPER crispy kale chips. That basically turn to air when you put them in your mouth. A hint of chewy and my throat starts to close in rejection of it. For the record –  purple kale is gross.

Day 15:

We’re at the halfway point! Brent and I are both down another pound today. 13 for him, 8 for me. I had a dream last night Eli and Payton Manning were fighting over my affection. Hoping today’s foods clear that all up.

Little Miss thought she saw some coffee and asked me – quite sternly – if I made myself some. I assured her I had not. She is our little detox police.

Stir fry has quickly become my favorite meal. Today was no exception. Purple was redeemed in stir fry, but we mixed a lot of greens in as well.

Today was kind of a crap day as far as appliance failures and children meltdowns, but I pretty much owned every cleaning duty known, and persevered. Fried rice again for dinner, with chicken. I really wanted to have my go-to coping food after the fridge failed, but I knew we couldn’t order pizza, so I made the daggum rice. If I had ordered pizza, our little detox police would have sent me to mommy jail.

Day 16:

The smoothie was much better this morning, and I’m not sure what the improvement was over yesterday. Maybe the plum was a little more ripe. I’m feeling GREAT today, though. Yesterday, despite the crash-and-burn events, all the cleaning I did totally motivated me. I don’t have a working fridge, but our apartment looks great. The good news is we’re eating fresh foods anyway, and going through them quickly, so aside from milk and eggs, refrigeration isn’t a huge stressor.

Stir fry was good – again! I really like stir-fry, and will probably be making it on a continual basis, well after the detox is done. A great way to serve up veggies in a quick and simple fashion.

We have two weeks left of this detox, and I find that hard to believe. I so appreciate it, though. Systems like shakes and drops don’t teach you anything about how to eat or maintain a lifestyle. They offer a quick fix to a long-term problem. And you have to start over time and time again. This detox has taught me not only the importance of the foods we’re eating, but how eating the wrong foods does more than grow my waistline. It has physical, psychological, emotional, mental – all kinds of effects on every area of my life. I’m so thankful for this approach in the book – linking the body, mind, and spirit as areas in need of cleansing. It’s also taught me tasty ways to prepare and enjoy foods I swore I didn’t like.

Day 17:

Brent told me this morning he was down 15 pounds. I can totally tell. His ties are longer and his pants are baggier. I’m holding steady at 8. I can only tell a notable difference in my calves. Which, obviously, is the first place you’d WANT to lose weight because when I’m struggling to button my pants over my muffin top, I always think, “These daggum calves of mine…!” Whatever. I’m down 8 pounds – I guess at this point it doesn’t matter where they’re gone from. Also, I smell cabbage everywhere I go, so I’m convinced it’s really me.

We had cider this morning instead of a smoothie. It was tart (Brent said “brisk”) but it was still good. Cinnamon made a big difference.

The soup looks and smells good today – hoping it’s as tasty. Purple potatoes – kind of weird cutting into those! I read and hear they taste just like regular potatoes, though. Here’s hoping the internet isn’t lying. Again.

Turns out, purple potatoes actually taste like potatoes. The soup was alright and the broth was purple.

Dinner was a hurried version of basmati rice with purple onion and celery. Had a painting party tonight, so had to eat and run. They of course were serving a decadent chocolate cake they couldn’t stop raving about, but I have skinny calves, so… they were obviously jealous.

On the drive home, every restaurant I passed, I thought of my favorite dish from there. I prayed to ask God to just free me from this total attachment I have to food, and to heal me so I’ll eat to fuel my body rather than my weak moments.

Day 18:

This is the last day of purple foods, and I won’t miss them. The cider was a bit more tart this morning, but still good. Something about a hot drink first thing in the morning. Someone should invent something people can drink hot when they wake up…

We have our supper club gathering tonight, and Brent and I will be bringing our own dinner. Everyone else will have BBQ beef sandwiches, and we’ll each be having half a chicken breast with roasted purple potatoes and broccoli. I hope they’re still our friends after tonight.

I’m past cravings, but the temptation to indulge is still very powerful. There’s a big difference in a craving and a temptation. The temptation is far stronger and incredibly relentless. A craving can more or less be subdued, but the temptation to fall only gains momentum if you let it. Prayer has been a big part of this detox, and for good reason. Even in something so seemingly innocent as food choices, I’m constantly tempted and enticed to make the wrong ones. My body is a temple, and 13 days ago, Jesus would have been turning tables over inside of me. It’s up to me to keep the traders (aka traitors) and falsehoods out of this temple.

Our 30-Day Faith Detox Journey: Days 7 – 12

And the saga continues! This week, we moved on to white/tan foods and detoxing the Endocrine system. I think it’s wise to detox the digestive/urinary/excretory tracts first, followed by the system that manages emotions. Considering how completely crazed and depressed I was last Friday, this week should be looking up. Here’s the daily snippet, typed in the moment.

Our 30-Day Faith Detox Journey- Days 7 - 12

Day 7:

I GOT TO PUT COFFEE BEANS IN MY SMOOTHIE THIS MORNING!  Also… I drank my smoothie with 2 raw eggs mixed in. (Mom, don’t have a stroke…) I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I didn’t even notice. I’ve never gotten salmonella from eggs – only from mushrooms I didn’t even eat. And mushrooms are a staple this week. Joy. But the coffee beans made my body, mind, and spirit rejoice. The smoothie was really good. And I was down another pound when I woke up – that brings me down 5 pounds in 7 days.

I’m hyper-aware of how we’re exposed to food at every turn. Billboards. Signs. Commercials. Flyers in the mail. Coupons. Even pre-youtube-video-ads. All food. No wonder I’m so conditioned for burgers and fries, or cheese on top of everything. It’s all I see!

Drank the juice at church. We also had communion at church so I had a teeny tiny cracker, and the sip of grape juice but WOW was that juice super sweet! I nearly puckered! I had communion in Jesus’ name, so I’m sure it’s covered under the detox…

Lunch is the big test. Mushrooms, my archenemy. And cauliflower, one of my (many) least favorite vegetables. And parsnips. All over spinach, with the olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. Sprinkled some garlic powder…and….drumroll…. wow. Pretty tasty, actually.

Dinner was a Superbowl super-sized serving of kale chips, and quinoa with broccoli and onions. I’m feeling like I can actually do this. So different from two days ago! I ate KALE CHIPS. Miracles do happen.

Day 8:

Again with the coffee beans and raw eggs in my smoothie. I don’t even know who I am, drinking raw eggs?! At least they’re in a smoothie and not Rocky-style. Yuck. I was up a pound this morning. Must’ve been the super-size serving of dinner.

We’re using twice as much toilet paper. Drinking half your weight in ounces of water every day has you speed-walking to the restroom pretty often.

I’ve come to a realization of how much I depended on food. It was more than a coping mechanism. It was my savior. When I had a bad day or a good day, I would turn to food to get through or celebrate. When I had a decision to make, I’d have to eat first because heaven forbid I try to think on an empty stomach. I turned to food rather than prayer. I turned to food rather than praise. I turned to food rather than God. That’s exactly how addiction works. And I see how very much I was (am) addicted to foods. Sugars. Carbs. The day before the detox started, I had a triple cheeseburger and onion rings for lunch. One last “hoorah” before this health thing. But really, I was trying to stockpile my drug – food – in my body. And what did that get me? A horrible five days, and size clothing I swore I’d never get big enough to wear.

They say you’re never a “recovered” addict, only ever “recovering”. Because if you slip, you’re right back in the pits you first found yourself. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I don’t want to go right back where I was. I don’t want to invest 30 days simply to prove something – I want to invest them for changing my health for good.

I was a new woman today. I had one sick kid and one teething kid, so it was hard for me to sit at the computer and do any work. But I did nearly all the laundry – including putting it away (#detoxmiracle!), washed the dishes, cleaned up Little Man’s room, and buzzed around here like a true-blue housewife. It felt good. I felt good. I can tell my energy level is getting up to what I always wanted it to be, but didn’t want to have to exercise to get to.

Day 9:

I was down the pound I was up yesterday. Still down a total of 5 pounds. Yay! We got to put a few chunks of dark chocolate (77% cocoa) in our smoothie this morning. I wanted to lick the inside of the blender. It’s not the least bit sweet, but it still tastes like chocolate. I really look forward to the smoothies. The lunches and dinners are more or less the same, switched up by mild variables now and then, but the smoothies change every two days, and I like that. I’ll be sad to see this one go on day 11, though.

I have a painting party tonight with 15 painters, and I feel like I could lead 150 painters. I’m full of energy, and feeling pretty confident, despite the fact I painted the demo like I was a blind monkey. (#noartsmartsnecessary) This is a huge turn-around from where I was a week ago today.

Lunch is stir-fry today, and oh my goodness. My palate is pleasantly surprised. This is really good. Onion, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, parsnip. I can’t believe I’m eating – and enjoying this. It’s another #detoxmiracle.

On the way to my painting party I thought, “Oh yay, I can stop by Spicy Pie on the way home for a slice!” Then I remembered I couldn’t. But instead of being upset like last Friday, I just shrugged it off. What in the world. I’m a changed person. Goes to show, though, how deep-seated my habits are.

Day 10:

Today marks 1/3 of the way done! I’ve never done anything more than 3 days, so this is pretty incredible for me. Another delicious smoothie, more delicious juice, and I’m enjoying today. Tomorrow’s smoothie won’t be so sweet, and the juice will be green, so it will be a bit different for sure.

This stir-fry is for sure my favorite – definitely love it over the yucky yellows. I told my husband I’ll be making this once we’re done with the detox, and could hardly believe the words came out of ME.

I’ve noticed my face is FINALLY starting to clear up. I’ve been battling some yuck mid-life-crisis acne for months now, and it wasn’t getting better. Today I noticed it is certainly healing, and I’m so happy! I just want my face back.

Quinoa for dinner ten days in a row is a little….blah. Tomorrow we’ll switch it up for sure. I had a fantastic day, though, especially spending time with Little Man. I only lost my cool once, when he went “boneless” twice outside because he didn’t want to walk where we were walking. Crazy to think my food and diet before was filtering my parenting through such a quick-tempered lens.

Day 11:

The smoothie this morning isn’t as terrible as I was expecting. We’ll see what the (green) juice has in store for me later this morning, however. It’s hard to believe I’m on day 11 of this journey.

The soup was pretty bland for lunch. Not something I’m super excited about repeating tomorrow.

I was filling the van up with gas today, and not only were there food stickers plastered all over the pump, advertising deals inside, but the digital screen was flashing text about a deal on hamburgers. Seriously – we are tempted with food at every turn. And today has been kind of a rough day for me. I’ve felt tired and unmotivated most of the day, which hasn’t happened since after I started the detox.

Since we weren’t excited about our foods at all today, we went and gave ourselves something really special for dinner. I made mashed cauliflower, steamed some asparagus, and we split a chicken breast. WE HAD CHICKEN! And it was the best chicken we’ve ever had. It IS allowed on the detox, but we’ve been trying to go pure-vegetable route. We went 10 days without meat. That’s a pretty big deal. But thank you God in heaven for creating the chicken. If I’ve never thanked you for chicken before, I’m so sorry. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I kind of want chicken for dessert. But we’re only allowed 3 ounces, so our split serving will have to suffice.

Day 12:

Down one more pound today! I was holding steady at 5 for a while, so one more is encouraging. Brent is down 10 pounds. I can’t get over that. Today is the last day of white/tan foods, and I’m gonna miss it. The stir fry was amazing, the smoothies the first four days were so good – it’s been a good cycle.

Today was Mother’s Tea at school with Little Miss. So many yummy treats, and I watched her eat all of them. The hardest for me to be around were the Hershey Kisses. Those are were my favorite. It was an adorable program, though, and I wouldn’t have missed it! But we’re gonna have a lot of candy to give away. This detox isn’t just for me and Brent to tool around with health for 30 days – this is to get our whole family on the right track with food. I don’t want my kids to be 35 and never have been equipped to resist anything in a cellophane wrapper.

I wasn’t crazy about the soup yesterday, but was looking forward to it today since it’s -25 outside with windchill. Then I spilled half my bowl of scalding hot soup on my right hand. My fingers are hurting so badly. I’m typing with an ice pack draped over my hand. #dangerousdetox

Had 3 oz of chicken with dinner again tonight, with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and brown rice with broccoli. It tasted like something I’d have at Ruby Tuesday. Maybe I’ll give them the recipe and they can give me the royalties.

Lessons from this week:

  1. Food is everywhere, and its grip on us is almost scary.
  2. Despite the season and chocolate being everywhere, I really miss cheese the most.
  3. Mushrooms are no longer an archenemy.

Our 30-Day Faith Detox Journey: Days 1 – 6

I was listening to the radio one afternoon, as I always do on the way to pick Little Miss up from the bus stop. The topic was intriguing: a detox of body, mind, and spirit. Something in me began to sing its own angel chorus, and I decided I had to order the book, and I was – dare I say – excited, to begin this detox. You can find the book here.

My husband graciously agreed to join me on this journey, and I’m so incredibly thankful. There’s no way I could stay strong doing this on my own. (Thank you, Babe, you’re amazing. For reals.) I decided to jot down my days as I was experiencing them. So… here’s the first 6 days (also known as “color 1: yellow foods”). I’ll see if I can keep a log of this through the whole 30 days. If anyone even cares at all.

Day 1:

Salt water flush was disgusting. Like drinking sweat. Gagged mightily. Couldn’t get the whole 32 ounces down. I prefer putting salt in my body using the vehicle of chips or fries or something. Smoothie for breakfast was really tasty. I could do that often. Was almost a treat! I hope the rest of the detox is like this.

By 10 a.m., incredibly sleepy. Can’t nap, cause I have to be a mom. Crabby. I texted Brent I was sleepy and he texted back, “I feel great!” Ugh. Juice for mid morning snack tasted okay. I’m so hungry. Craving triple cheeseburgers, donuts, and cheese.

Just before lunch, my heart started beating HARD and erratically, then I saw spots and nearly blacked out and felt like that’s what happens right before a person dies. I didn’t die. Lunch was surprisingly tasty. Diced yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, yellow squash, on spinach, sprinkled with cumin, salt, paprika. Started HEAVILY gagging about 3/4 through my meal and couldn’t finish. Gagged so hard, I think I tore something in my stomach. Throat hurt as a result of the gagging.

Snacked on some fruit in the afternoon, but all I wanted was a chocolate granola bar and some meat. Starting to get a gigantic headache.

Dinner time. I am so done with the day. Snappy, but trying to explain (in love) to Little Miss what we are doing and why I was crabby. Cooked fried-rice style quinoa with onions and zucchini. Added a little liquid aminos. OH MY WORD, it brought me back to life. So sleepy. It’s 8:30. I’m going to bed.

Day 2:

Woke up just before 6:30. Felt well rested. Skipped the salt water flush. Couldn’t handle the thought of it. Weighed myself, down 1.5 pounds. Had my smoothie. Good, but not as good as yesterday.

Showered and got dressed for the day. Went to the chiropractor and was happy dancing. Felt GREAT!! Full of energy. I even wanted to buy a house and wait for spring, so I could plant my own vegetables and eat them all day every day. Maybe this isn’t energy – maybe this is some form of mania. Started to get a little tired around 11:30, but nothing a little praise music couldn’t overcome.

Feel great, but can’t focus. Like, at all. Complete brain fog. The water was easy to drink yesterday, today it feels a little much. So bloated, and haven’t even drank only half of what I need to. Brent is having a tougher day today. He wants meat and lots of it. I’d be okay if I could just have a nibble of the SKOR bar I found in the freezer.

After dinner – having huge cravings/desires for dessert. I am so bloated – I feel pregnant. So pregnant. Even walking like I’m pregnant. Brent has a headache still. My head hurts but not anywhere near what it did yesterday. Tonight is much rougher than this morning. Brent took an Epsom salt bath with lavender and peppermint oil. I feel like he’s doing this more sophisticated than I am. I bet he doesn’t feel seven months pregnant.

Day 3:

What. Have. I. Done. This morning’s smoothie almost killed me. Cayenne pepper?! What was I thinking?! My mouth still burns. It took me almost two hours to drink one mason jar of a smoothie. It wasn’t tasty, and it felt like I was drinking fire.

Brent was down 4 pounds this morning. Overachiever. Little Miss told him she could tell he looked skinnier. “In your arms.” What?? She told me, “Mama you look like you’re getting fatter.” At least I have that going for me. Just a fountain of encouragement around here.

Still bloated, and still only down the 1.5 pounds. Am I really going to do 27 more days of this?! The juice is good, but it smells like nature and after the smoothie, I can’t handle it. I have to hold my breath to drink good tasting juice. Pineapple and apple today. My son is eating a tortilla. It looks like the best tortilla in the world. I’m not being a great parent, getting healthy and feeding him a tortilla. Had some amazing play time with Little Man before his nap, though. We ran and tackled and tickled. His giggles made the cayenne pepper incident worthwhile.

Lunch was alright. Too much olive oil, but alright. I am really wondering if I can make it 30 days without meat. What sounds really good is a french dip, with shredded beef, chicken, turkey, maybe some lamb. Who knows. I just really want to dip some meat in some Aus jus.

Hit a wall at 3:00. So tired. Started to come out of it when I was cooking dinner. Quinoa. Again. 27 more days of quinoa. Is this humane?

Day 4:

Down another pound this morning, but I had a hard time falling asleep last night. This morning’s smoothie is less spicy than yesterday’s because I did it that way on purpose. Still can hardly choke it down. Lemon and spinach first thing in the morning isn’t exactly a motivator to get out of bed.

Lunch was better today, too. Less oil. I’m irritable and snippy today, but think I have a bit more energy than normal (saying a lot for 4 days coffee-free) and feel pretty good. So long as no one talks to me, anyway. Have a busy day and evening ahead – hope I can keep it together. My client told me today he liked me better when I was toxic. So maybe I’m a tish more irritable than I’m willing to admit.

At dinner (more quinoa, but with black beans tonight. Fiesta!!) Brent asked me if I’d smelled our bedroom. I giggled and nodded. Little Miss asked, “What does it smell like?” and Brent answered, “It smells like people who have been eating vegetables for four days.” It’s true. Our room smells like a foreign food buffet.

Day 5:

This morning’s smoothie reminded me of fruity pebbles. Oh, how I miss thee. It looked like fruity pebbles, but tasted like spicy fruit salad. Much better than days 3 & 4. The juice today, though…Lord help me. I’m not sure I can do it. Spinach, zucchini, apple. Thankfully it didn’t make much. Still feeling irritable. Mostly, I want to be left alone.

Lunch (soup) was okay. It would’ve been better with ground beef crumbles and melted cheese. Or at least some crackers. This is tough. I’m about ready to throw in the towel.

All day long my head has told me, “You’ve done good. You can quit now and still be proud. You don’t need to do this.” It’s been incessant. I snapped a lot today. I broke down, twice. Shoulder-shaking sobs. This is so hard for me! It would be so easy (and tasty) to quit. But a small part of me doesn’t want to. The stubbornness of that small part is winning above the whining, crying, irritable larger part of me. But wow – I’ve got it bad for sugar. And processed flour. And this is a true-blue drug detox. God bless my husband. That’s all I can say.

Day 6:

Brent brought me breakfast in bed this morning. Day 6’s smoothie. The kids jumped up into bed, and it was sweet. I don’t feel as emotional as yesterday. Yet. I am down a total of 4 pounds since this started, so that’s encouraging.

Soup for lunch was even better today. I think sitting in the fridge and reheating on the stove did wonders for it. Having Brent home all day has helped me tremendously. I’m glad it’s Saturday.

Today has been leaps and bounds better than yesterday. Mentally, I’m in a much better state. Emotionally, I’m actually in a state, rather than just being a complete mess. I would declare this my first “good day” out of this detox experience, and would say I’ve turned a corner. Tomorrow we start a different color, and while I’m glad to see the yellows go, it wouldn’t be so bad for me if I had to keep eating them.

6 days, down 4 pounds, 2 sob-fests, and 100-bajillion food cravings behind me. #victory

Follow my food pics and detox progress on Instagram: nodakval