A Celiac & a Gluten-Free Detox, Fun-Style


Why do people pair up detox, diet and gluten-free eating? It's as if to have health, you have to lose joy. But that seems like the opposite of health to me: Health is a matter of mind and matter, and to be healthy, you need a healthy sense of your own tastes, a healthy dose of enjoyment, and a good attitude.

You can't have food you like, enjoyment, or a good attitude if you're slaving under a restrictive food-regime -- whatever it claims about what it'll do for you "in the future". Feeling deprived, and eating mainly because someone else has told you it's the "healthy" option is a recipe for dismally bad health.


As a celiac, I have a prescription for a gluten-free plate. You might too. Maybe you've got diabetes, and that takes sugar right off your list of "to-eats". And this last week, because of my nutritionist consulting and celiac diagnosis, someone asked me for a prescription for a detox plan.

HOW DO YOU EAT TO DETOX? Not a bad question, but a better question is... what are you detoxing? What's toxic?

Because you are not toxic. Your shape, your tastes, your desire for food that you enjoy, and that connects you with others. 

I once tried a detox-regime from the rather inaccurate appraisal that it would make me happy. Happy meant: Healing my gut, making it work perfectly -- FOREVER -- and a guarantee I'd never feel uncomfortable or scared about the balance of my inner workings again.

I think many people, even without celiac, come at it the same way.

We then look at pop culture, pop dietitians (and probably a lot of popped common sense), and see this:

GREEN DRINKS JUICE IT ALL DON'T EAT GRAINS
oh, wait, actually...
EAT ONLY WHOLE GRAINS TAKE OUT MEAT
er, no, in point of fact you'd better
ONLY EAT MEAT
IF IT'S PASTURED RAISED
um, no again--
WAIT NO MEAT
EAT GREENS
more greens?
PUT GREENS IN YOUR SMOOTHIES
you mean another cup? after the one I already--
THIS NEW SUPERFOOD AND THIS SPICE WILL MAKE YOU
LOSE WEIGHT IN 1/2 A SECOND
now I'm losing weight too? WAIT
DETOX NOW GET HAPPINESS
oh. I want to be happy sure--
EAT GLUTEN-FREE
even if I'm not celiac--
YES
NO.
EAT AND RUN ALL DAY AND DRINK GREEN TEA
tea too?
NO TEA NO CAFFEINE EVER
ONLY EAT WHAT IS LOCAL GROWN
ok, now I think I got...
ONLY SMOOTHIES WITH PROTEIN POWDER
DON'T EAT FAT
EAT ALL THE FAT
can i do both? what about butter--
DON'T TOUCH BUTTER
EAT AVOCADO
...now I'm just miserable. what can I eat?


Yes. Seriously. What?

A detox, or a day's meals, should never be about "getting it right".

...if happiness could be found on a plate or in a glass, maybe the TEN (OR MORE) COMMANDMENTS OF DIETARY DETOX  (above) would give it to you. But I'm doubting it. Seriously.

Happiness cannot be found on a plate, and neither can perfection.

The good news -- balancing your food intake, and maybe your intestinal and physical health, doesn't have to be a damning of your taste-buds to hell.  But seriously. Throw out the idea of detox, and focus instead on three others things:

1) Something(s) new
2) Balance
 3) Rest


New!: Switching up a food routine to try new things can give us the chance to find new tastes. Something new! means: forget the idea of getting rid of (toxicity?), and consider making room to explore. 

Balance: A digestive system can be overwhelmed, just like a sensory system. Too much outside feedback, and our brains frazzle, our eyes tire out from constant screen-time, and our ears ring. Simplifying the foods we eat, using the basic whole-foods  in our daily eating, cooking them ourselves, axes chemical additives, and let's our systems naturally re-balance.

And Rest: Simplification lets your constantly moving, working insides rest. Prior to mad-cap searches for detox derring-do with juicers and superfoods, wise men and women in India chose and prescribed certain foods for those individuals under great stress; the Chinese suggested similar solutions for illness.

... and they didn't separate plate from palate, they didn't separate food from family (or community), and they didn't focus on perfection so much as the process.

That is all tremendously serious. When I tried grain-free-paleo-eat-ALL-the-GREENS, I was also tremendously serious. 

SERIOUSNESS PUTS KNOTS IN YOUR GUT. THIS IS TOXIC.

So if you're considering a detox diet, first ditch the idea of diet. Restriction and deprivation have nothing to do with balance, health, or the loss of toxicity.

I decided when I was asked about a detox diet (NOT to say er, NO -- run away from that like a hare from a feral fox!) ...actually, not to advise ditching it entirely, but to recall how I'd played with food, and integrated whole foods, naturally gluten-free healing preparation, and exploration into my day. 

It is supposed to be an adventure.

When I tried it, it was. Sometimes, it tasted great too. Sometimes, the gluten-free food was oy, this tastes like dirt, a bit, oh well, I've not eaten dirt since I was five. Let's put honey on it and see how it goes.

(...it still tasted like dirt. Black Bean Beet Cake. The second version was better.)

Whether you think you want to detox or are just trying something new, do it fun-style. And if you're serious (in a healthily un-serious manner) about letting your digestion rest and reset (quite valuable), consider these as suggestions (they'll help your insides take a break):

Remove Sugar & Processed Sweeteners
Ditch Processed or Conventional-Raised Meats
Try to Eat Pesticide-Free Produce
Add Lots of New Vegetables & Spices
Make Black Bean Brownie Cake with Beets
...and don't worry


Sample Fun-Style Menu
(not a detox)

Walnut Meat Taco
recreated by Sela Anreya
BREAKFAST: black bean brownie cake
coconut oil frosting (with Nu Naturals Sugar-Free Chocolate Syrup)
Eggs Fried in Coconut Oil, Sweet Potato Hash 
(with onions, garlic, any greens you feel like trying)

LUNCH: lentil loaf over yellow curry
brown rice

DINNER: sprouted black beans
walnut taco filling with onions, garlic, cumin, turmeric
stir-fried spanish vegetables 
(with onion, cabbage, carrot, greens, garlic)
avocado
romaine & red leaf salad


On a personal note, dealing with celiac left me with a nagging doubt that something about me was toxic. Celiac, however, is a disease, and it's no one's fault -- and no diet cures it. Not even the gluten-free. Gluten-free just gives us a break in the disease's activity, and stops damage to our insides. On the positive side, eating well, with balance and joy, and being willing to try new things is healing. And it's just as healing to anyone, with or without celiac.

You're not toxic. Whatever your health state is, you don't need to be fixed. And fad diets are only fun, and only worth the time, in the rubbish bin.

Tumbling free,


CJ

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