Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Hippo reporter takes a shot at a dietary detox and healthier liver
You know that
saying, “My body is a temple?”
Well, my body is
more like a seedy nightclub that you’re kind of scared to go into alone.
I think there’s an after-hours rave going on in there and everyone’s
starting to crash after a long night of partying.
I know I’m supposed
to drink lots of water, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and whole grains
and lean meat. But there are times — usually when I’ve taken on way too
many projects, my kids are doing way too many activities and my husband
is working way too many hours — that I forget what I know about taking
care of myself. I start doing things the so-called “easy way.” Bad
things, like stopping at the fast-food drive-thru, drinking too much
coffee, and forgetting to drink water.
Lately, I think my
body has been trying to tell me something. I wake up every morning
feeling as though I’ve been run over by a Mack truck. I have dark
circles under my eyes, and my skin seems to have lost its glow. I can’t
even get out the door in the morning without a hideously strong cup of
coffee. I sort of stagger through the day in a haze. By around three
o’clock, I must go for another shot of caffeine or I will fall asleep at
In the evening,
after the kids are fed and bathed and put to bed and all of the
housework is done, I can usually be found in a near-comatose state, but
only after I’ve had a few glasses of wine to “come down” from the hectic
pace of the day.
I’m no nutritional
expert, but I know enough to realize that two cups of coffee in the
morning, a Diet Coke at lunch and two (or three) glasses of red wine in
the evening is not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I know that
processed foods, too much sugar, alcohol and not enough water are
wreaking havoc on my body and mind.
When I mentioned my
scary fatigue cycle to a friend, she told me about Lisa Allen, who owns
The Daily Count, a natural foods shop in downtown Nashua. Allen was
riding on the same train wreck of stress, poor diet and caffeine
addiction, to the point that she was severely fatigued and her hair was
falling out. Her physician told her that she needed a therapist and
antidepressants, but she knew that wasn’t going to do the trick. With
the help of a naturopath, Allen went on a liver detoxifying diet, with
“The typical detox
diet lasts about 30 days,” Allen said. “The purpose of the diet is to
allow your liver time to cleanse itself of toxins. The liver is the
coffee filter of your body, and you need to clean it out every once in a
while for it to work better.”
To allow my liver
time to heal, Allen told me, I must remove from my diet all of the
things that it has a hard time processing, even when it’s in prime form.
That includes caffeine, processed sugar including high fructose corn
syrup, preservatives such as MSG, gluten (which is found in bread, cake
and cereal) and dairy products.
Whoa. No bread? No
Am I really ready to
say goodbye to my lifelong friends, high fructose corn syrup and
caffeine? What are my choices here — a lifetime supply of rabbit food?
And I’m not eating seaweed. That’s just not an option.
had the same reaction.
“When I went on this
diet, I made it clear to my doctor that I would need more choices than
just, say, steamed rice and vegetables if I was going to have any
success,” Allen said. “We started coming up with ways that I could
modify some of my favorite dishes so that I could stick to the diet and
not be bored or limited.”
The result of
Allen’s modifications is the cookbook Eating Clean: 100 Appetizing
Solutions, featuring wheat-free and dairy-free alternatives.
With recipes like
“Mediterranean Chicken with Chickpeas,” “Spicy Thai Chicken Soup” and
“Apple Muffins” to work with, I just might be able to stick with this.
“It’s really a
matter of deciding how much of a commitment you can make to your own
health,” Allen said. “But if you have good-tasting alternatives, that
makes the commitment that much easier.”
So, for the next 30
days, it’s goodbye, Starbucks. Hello, happy liver.