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Diet Reset

Twice a year I like to take two weeks to reset my diet. I eliminate all processed foods, and all animal products. This leaves me with fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. To be clear, this is not a weight loss diet, and I do not recommend this as a way of eating all of the time. Something changes in my relationship with food when I do my cleanse.

First, there is no mindless grabbing for the closest food available. I have to be considerate of what I am putting in my mouth. Starting with grocery shopping, I have to look at and pay attention to ingredients and additives. I also really have to plan ahead with meals. What foods can I have prepared to grab when I am hungry? What meals will sustain me throughout the day? What tastes good? In addition, the food isn't as rich and exciting, and harder to prepare, so I tend to only eat when I am actually hungry. I really cut down on the mindless eating of food. Plus, when I snack on these foods, they are usually lower in calories and higher in nutrients meaning they are doing more than making my mouth happy. They are giving me nutrients and energy I need to get through the day without adding unnecessary extra calories. There is a lot more intention around eating this way.

Second, when I am cut off from the flavors, foods, and recipes that I go to on habit, I tend to get more creative with my cooking. I try spices, or do research on different cultural cuisine that fits into the cleanse. I have discovered flavors that I never would have tried and meals that I never would have made that have now become favorite staples in my house. I also am a much more confident cook. As I had to experiment in the unknown and push my cooking boundaries, I have really gained a better understanding of how to cook different vegetables, or how to combine foods to bring out flavors. It can actually be a lot of fun.

Finally, I like to take note of how I feel in my body during these two weeks. Usually the first 3 days doesn't feel great. I crave cheese and sugar. After my body settles into the new routine, I do feel healthier. I sleep better, and feel more alert when I wake up in the morning. If I am not careful about getting plant proteins, I run out of energy faster when I work out, but otherwise I have more energy throughout the day. My brain definitely feels clearer, and I usually feel less bloated.

The hardest moments in the cleanse are always around socializing. Not drinking at a sporting event, or bringing my own food to a friend's house party. It’s hard when socializing revolves so much around shared food experiences. It really showed me how much of my time with friends involves specific foods and drinks. It is very helpful to have friends who can be supportive and invite you along anyway (without giving you too much grief). It is another great learning experience to see who can be ok and supportive and who is personally offended that you are not drinking or partaking with them.

Overall, for me, the cleanse is a really good reset. It helps me learn more about myself and my relationship to the world through food.


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