It was the 17th of May and I had just finished a big weekend of feasting because of VE day and birthday celebrations. Cake, scones, pasta, bread, biscuits, and no surprise I was feeling bloated, tired, and my sugar cravings were taking over. Wallowing in self pity I reflected on why I have found myself once again stuck in the habit of eating foods that my body so clearly disliked.
So I set myself a challenge to do a gut cleanse for 10 days.
My goals were:
- I wanted to hit the reset button and take control of my eating habits, to create a healthy relationship with food.
- I also wanted to work on my skin and my digestive system as I've had more frequent breakouts and irregular digestive patterns over the past few months.
- Finally I wanted to document and show people that doing a gut cleanse is completely doable! It's such a great way to reset the body and to reflect on what foods don't agree well with you.
Check out my vlog here!
Why dairy, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates and grains?
Refined sugar and refined carbohydrates wreak havoc on many people's systems. They are inflammatory, cause blood sugar fluctuations which is a huge factor in binge eating and over eating, increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Personally, I was struggling with breakouts and I knew my trigger foods were sugar and dairy, so really for me it was a no brainer to cut them out completely.
In clinic these are also the culprit foods I encourage patients to avoid or cut out completely if they are suffering with any inflammatory conditions such as chronic fatigue, acne, eczema, IBS, reoccuring thrush, PCOS.
Most importantly it is important to recognise that cutting out certain foods is not always permanent. It might just be for a few months whilst your body is able to readjust to a less inflamed and reactive state.
Tips for a successful change in diet?
1. Plan your meals!
This is SO important! You have to set yourself up for success. Plan every meal, even snacks. Set a day to prep food for the week if possible. Pick foods that you like as well! There's no point eating foods you don't like because you are going to be in for a looooong 10 days.
Here's what I ate! As you can tell. I'm a fan of coconut yoghurt.
2. Keep yourself accountable
Get as many people on board, especially the people you share the house with. Although my partner was not keen to join me on my journey ("No thanks" he said), he kept me accountable and made sure I didn't succumb to my cravings when they hit towards the end. Additionally, everyone I lived with was aware that I was not having any dairy, sugar or grains so they kindly structured their meals around me.
3. Take herbs and keep yourself hydrated
I would highly recommend taking supplements or herbs during a diet change. When I did this 10 day gut cleanse I was taking a particular product called Gutright by ATP Science. Taking the right herbs or supplements will help resurface the gut flora, create a healthier bacteria profile, rebalance the ratio of good and bad bacteria, decrease the side effects of detoxing, and ultimately give you better results. Additionally, I made sure I was drinking at least 2 L of water because 1. it is what your body needs 2. most of the time when you're peckish you might just be thirsty 3. it helps with the detox process.
SLEEP: So I've always gone through phases of crappy sleep. But oh my goodness. I did not expect this to be such a drastic change! It usually takes me anywhere from 1-2 hrs to fall asleep. But basically from day 2, I would put my sleep visualisation on and within 15 minutes I would be out. Looking at my fitbit, I was also getting deeper and better quality sleep.
CRAVINGS: Before my gut cleanse diet, I was constantly craving something sweet after meals. I found that for the majority of the time, these cravings were minimal. What I did crave was crunchy food texture. Apples, celery and carrots were not bad but it's just not the same as a chip. I also found that I was fuller for longer and I didn't get those hunger pangs that I normally felt around 3 pm.
ENERGY: I generally have pretty good energy but there were days where I felt I could have kept on exercising because I wasn't tired. I also found that my focus and concentration levels were better.
GUT: This was a big one for me. As my poos are generally, irregular and hard to pass. I had poos everyday but one during the gut cleanse diet. Most days, I had formed stools that were easy to pass, there were some days where I pooed 6-7 times! This was not surprising as I knew I was resurfacing and eliminating things from my gut flora.
SKIN: So I knew there wouldn't be HUGE changes in my skin because it was only 10 days and realistically changes in skin take at least 3 weeks. BUT what I can say was there was a notable difference with my skin texture. It was smoother and I hadn't had anymore breakouts.
So my goal for the next few months is
Have minimal processed carbs. Aim to have only whole grain rice and bread.
Avoid added sugar as much as possible. But allow myself one day a week where I can have chocolate, biscuits, cake, etc.
I will check back with you in a few months to let you know how I go! But I hope you feel inspired to do the same.
When I'm not stuffing my face with scones and crisps I'm actually a sticking needles in people! I know how hard it can be to change a diet and stick to it. Thankfully I have acupuncture and herbal formulas to help keep my on track. Need help with changing your diet and lifestyle? Maybe I can help!