Day 7. Yay! I did it. While I didn’t follow the meal plans to a T, I was certainly more mindful every meal of how to nourish myself without meat (except for that hotdog!), and with more fruits and veggies. There were moments when I desperately wanted an iced coffee, a piece of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with caramel, or a hamburger, but all in all, as long as I kept full on the healthier stuff, those cravings became less and less as the week went on. So what I did I learn? 5 “little” things:
1) I don’t want to give up meat forever. Being a vegetarian I can see has it’s benefits, for sure, and more power to you if you are one (or a vegan, even harder!). But for me, I think sticking to organic and grass-fed meats and chicken (when home) once or twice a week is going to be just fine. I don’t want to say that I’m never going to have a Five Guy’s burger again! There is a reason why that saying “moderation is key” is so popular.
2) I can survive without caffeine. While I am not addicted (I don’t get headaches without it), I have over the last few years developed a real love for coffee, and find that sometimes I really look forward to starting my day with a cup. I never have more than 1 cup, and I don’t drink it every day, so yes, I can survive without it. However, I don’t want to. I do just want to keep an eye on my relationship with coffee, as too much of it can lead to a roller coaster of producing adrenaline, feeling wiped out, and then feeling like you need more caffeine. I’m good at 1 cup and rarely does it cross my mind to have another during the day. So far I don’t get jittery when I drink it, and it doesn’t affect my sleep when I just drink it in the morning. Feeling like I don’t “have” to have it to get by is a good feeling, but it’s also something that I enjoy that I don’t want to cut out completely.
3) The less that I eat chocolate (or sweets in general), the less my cravings become. This I’ve realized over the past year or so, when I became acutely aware that sugar isn’t good for anybody, let alone somebody with cancer. Did I make a batch of dark chocolate, coconut, and oatmeal cookies for SHL last week (before the detox started!), and did I lick the bowl? Yes. Did I have one when it came out all hot and gooey from the oven? Yes. But then somehow, thankfully, I was able to stop after 1, and go on the detox (hooray! Will I always have that much will-power? Probably not!). Some days were harder than others for sure (and I really wanted ice cream when I saw others eating it at the ball game), but when I said no, I woke up the next morning feeling way better than if I had said yes.
4) I love chocolate/sweets. Yup, good for me, I was able to go a week without dessert (people without a sweet tooth probably think that’s nothing). But do I want to go the rest of my life without it? Hell to the no! I want to be able to have a piece of my Mom’s special chocolate cake or go to Cabot’s for the best ice cream sundaes, or have a piece of dark chocolate once in a while after dinner. Is that OK? Yes! I know that if I deprive myself of these sweet treats that one day you could walk into my house and find me on the kitchen floor, a whisk covered with cookie dough in one hand, and a snickers bar in the other! No, I would much rather feel like I have control over the cravings, rather than the cravings having control over me.
5) I can do something when I put my mind to it. Even though I made adjustments to the meal plan as needed, I still feel like I completed the goal of the week: No meat (except once again for that hotdog), no caffeine, little sugar, more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and exercising 4 x week. I said that I was going to do it, and I did it. For me, this is really an interesting little experiment, because I feel that I often have a hard time completing goals. I’m not quite sure why this one stuck (although having cancer and wanting to manage it is certainly a tremendous motivator), but it’s something that I should remember for the future. I can do it!
So is this next week going to be filled with so many vegetables I feel like a rabbit? Hard to say. (The thought has crossed my mind that tonight at midnight I could sneak downstairs for a little bite of chocolate, wink wink). I am human, and every day is a challenge. For some, and perhaps it comes with time, it seems easy to say no to the processed foods, meat, sugar, and caffeine, but for others (like myself), it is a journey. But it’s a journey that is worth taking, and is worth being honest about. Yes I did well on the detox, but I didn’t do perfectly, nor did I think that I would, or was my goal. And am I going to finally have an iced coffee tomorrow morning? You betcha.
Not perfect, but me