My Detox, My Self: Dr. Sara Answers Your Most Common Detox Questions (Part 1): What to Eat, What to Dump

Forward bendWe officially kicked off the Hormone Reset Detox this week, which I consider to be ground zero of hormone balancing and creating radical health.

I’ve gotten about 100 questions in our first day about what you can eat, what you can’t eat, how you feel groggy from getting off of caffeine. I know how that feels. Detoxing is not for sissies.

Newsflash: You’re doing great!

I’m delighted that you’re so engaged! I thought I’d answer many of those first day questions in a playful blog, so fasten your seatbelts.

We tried to organize your questions by category: food, supplements, and baseline testing (blood sugar, body fat, pH). For food, I’ve tried to simplify into a DO THIS/NOT THIS format, but please keep in mind the sacred words of Dr. Amen in the next paragraph!

Today, Dr. Daniel Amen said something powerful today to a woman who was feeling overwhelmed by food choices and too many restrictions, who felt that she didn’t have the energy to grocery shop and deal with the do’s and the don’ts:

     “Once you get rid of the little lie in your head that there’s no healthy food, and then you go on a treasure hunt to find what are the healthy things that taste amazing, that serve my health — once you really get your brain wrapped around that concept that it’s never about deprivation, it’s about abundance, it’s about abundance about great tasting food and health and that eating badly is actually depriving me —  it just makes a huge difference.” – Daniel Amen, MD

Eat This!

  • One pound of vegetables per day. All vegetables are allowed. Those who want to lose weight should limit the higher glycemic vegetables like potatoes and butternut squash.

  • Protein. Aim for about 20-30 grams of protein at each meal. If you don’t eat meat, 1 cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, and 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams. Combine with one cup of kale (measured raw and chopped, then you cook it lightly), which is another 2 grams of protein, and you have a meal with 25 grams of protein. For omnivores, 3.5 ounces of free range, organic chicken breast has 30 grams of protein. (You can easily look up the protein count of your food on google.) Eggs are allowed unless you know that your gut doesn’t like them (i.e., they make you feel weird or bloated, or you know that you have an allergy to them). Ideally, choose lean, clean, high quality protein. Organic/grass fed meat & poultry are allowed. Cold water fish (preferably wild over farm-raised) is fine. Think of the sources of protein you would serve the Buddha, if he came to dinner, or His Holiness, The Dalai Lama. I doubt you would serve ham. Serve to yourself what you would feed an enlightened person.

  • Healthy fat. I suggested in Call #1 that you use coconut oil for cooking over medium to high heat, and olive oil for low heat. If you are thin and are worried about weight loss, add more fat. Overall, aim for 25-30% of calories from fat.

  • Limit carbohydrates. If you need to lose weight, aim for 5 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per meal. Vegetarians and vegans will likely need to eat more. Do your best with this guideline as everyone is a bit different when it comes to carbohydrate threshold. I am genetically programmed to be on a low-carb food plan, and need to limit my carbs to create ease around my weight and energy. See what is true for you.

  • For the Skinny Minnies. Several of you asked what you should do if you don’t want to lose weight, in fact, you’re on the thin side. Eat more calories. Have more snacks. Eat an apple with 1 tbsp of almond butter as a snack. Have an extra shake when energy is lagging, to keep your blood sugar stable.

“Sweet Kiwi, your juices dripping down my chin…” 

Maroon 5

Not This!

As you know from Call #1, you will be taking the first week of the cleanse to dump the fake sources of energy: gluten, sugar (and sugar substitutes), alcohol, dairy, and caffeine. You pick the order, and you pick the pace. In general, as you detoxify, it’s better to eat whole foods, simply prepared. Are packaged foods absolutely out of the question? No, but real food is better.

1. Go gluten free.

Eliminate gluten by removing foods which contain wheat, oats, rye, spelt, kamut, bulgur, couscous, and barley. This includes pastas, bread, crackers, cereals, and other products made from these grains. Gluten-free whole grains include brown rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat and are allowable during the detox program. I eat glutenfree oatmeal. For breakfast, I often eat gluten free oatmeal with blueberries, or I eat quinoa flakes with blueberries.

2. Go sugar free.

I’d like for you to be off of all refined sugar and sugar substitutes. No donuts, no ice cream. If you must have something sweet, use stevia or xylitol. I have agreed to 80-85% dark chocolate because I know some of you might lead a coup otherwise (and I love it!), but the big vision I hold for you is to get you off of sugar and the fake substitutes like aspartame and splenda. Keep amounts to a minimum. Remember, this program has some flexibility. Use your common sense. I got 10 questions about how much sugar people can have, and as I’ve written above, keep it to a minimum, ideally of 5 to 10 grams per meal or snack if you’re trying to lose weight.

When you struggle with sugar cravings, ask yourself:

  • What’s the emotion under the craving for sugar? Loneliness? Anger? Or just plain thirst?
  • Is there a pathogen in my gut, like yeast overgrowth?
  • Is there an unmet emotional need that I get from sugar that I need to address? That cupcake just can’t love you like nutritional excellence can!

Sweet nothing, sweet nothing

You’re giving me such sweet nothing

– Calvin Harris, Sweet Nothing

3. Go alcohol free.

Many of us lean on alcohol to calm us down, to transition after a hard day. I want to replace the alcohol with something better, and in the process, I want for you to get honest about whether you might have a sticky relationship with it. Daniel Amen says that alcohol daily shrinks your brain, and when it comes to aging, size matters (can you tell I loved talking to him today?). Alcohol, even 3 to 6 servings per week and not daily, increases breast cancer risk. So wean off the sauce. Substitutes:

  • Drink an 8 oz glass of filtered water with 1-2 tablespoons of flavored balsamic vinegar. I love cranberry pear balsamic, coconut, and grapefruit.

4. Dump the dairy.

I’ve written extensively about why you want off dairy (and how to do it) in previous blogs. Ever heard of morphine-like substances? Click here for more information!

5. De-caffeinate.

I want for you to be off fake sources of energy for a minimum of one week (D8-15). That is the only way you will truly see what caffeine does to your sleep. I’ve asked for you to gradually get off of caffeine in our first precleanse week together so that you minimize the caffeine withdrawal headaches. Switch from green tea to white tea, and then go to herbal tea. Each morning have a cup of hot water with lemon to taste (approximately ½ lemon).

Other substitutions:

  • Brew Kuchika (twig) tea, and serve hot or cold with a twist of organic lemon.

  • Make “Dandy Blend” which is a coffee alternative. I make a cup with hot water, and whip in the blender with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Made from dandelion leaves, it’s refreshing hot or cold (although if you make it cold, leave out the coconut oil because it solidifies at cooler temperatures.

Is green tea allowed? No, it contains caffeine. Switch from green tea to white tea, and then go to herbal tea. You’ve got 7 days to do this. Each morning have a cup of hot water with lemon to taste (approximately ½ lemon).

I got about another 50 questions on supplements, so we will give those to you next. Want to join the next Hormone Reset Detox? Click here to get on the list for notification.