Elimination Diets: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Can you believe that Marty and I have been on our new eating regime since November 4th? We’ve now achieved six weeks of cleanliness/godliness, at least when it comes to the food that we’re putting into our bodies. Six weeks already!  Time sure flies when you’re eating salad. Heh. 😉

Somewhere over the rainbow chard

Somewhere over the rainbow chard

Maybe I’m a bit of a masochist, or maybe I thrive on control over nitpicky details, but I’ve been loving this experience. Absolutely loving it. (It could also be that I’ve gone six weeks now without uncomfortable GI issues, whereas before I’d be lucky to go six hours. Amazing what a healthy gut can do for a girl’s spirit.)

Anyway. I’ve been getting secretive e-mails and furtive messages asking not only how things are going, but also why we started this newfangled way of eating in the first place and how we put the program into motion. I’m not sure why some people seem to be so hush-hush when it comes to talking about bodies and eating, but rest assured: I have no qualms dishing the dirt on my digestion. Be warned, colon– none of your secrets are safe with me anymore. (What did you expect, though? I used to get paid to talk about ovulation and menstruation all day long. (<–Best. Job. Ever, by the way.) Nothing is sacred!)

Brussels sprouts get such a bad rap

Brussels sprouts get such a bad rap

First up: What the eff is an elimination diet?

It sounds complicated, but really, it’s not so bad. Elimination diets involve taking known or suspected food allergens out of the diet for a period of 2 to 12 weeks. Once the initial ‘elimination’ phase is complete, the foods that were removed are re-introduced into the diet one at a time to see if they cause any adverse effects. If negative side effects are experienced after a particular food is re-introduced, odds are good that the offending food should not be a regular part of the diet. However, if no symptoms are experienced after re-introduction, that particular food can be incorporated into the diet more regularly as the program moves forward.

Broccoli-- one of my favourite vegetables, behind kale (obviously)

Broccoli– one of my favourite vegetables, behind kale (obviously) and asparagus

How was our elimination diet structured?

Neither Marty nor I have true food allergies (i.e. anaphylactic reactions), and most of our food sensitivities fall in the mild to moderate range. Hence, we were able to stick to a 2-week window for the elimination phase of the program. People whose sensitivities are more severe or widespread usually have to eliminate all suspected allergens for a longer period of time, especially because some of them (gluten, dairy) seem to linger inside the body for 8-12 weeks after they are last consumed.

Under the guidance of a naturopath, Marty and I resolved to eliminate the main culprits from our diet: alcohol, animal products (including all meats, dairy, eggs, and fish), gluten, corn, processed/refined sugar, peanuts, and soy. (Obviously, we already avoided some of those foods as a personal choice, but those are the Big Seven ingredients that get recommended for elimination.)

Getting a salad prepped

Getting a salad prepped

Because Marty and I are also experiencing the joy and ecstasy known as candida overgrowth, the list of eliminated foods in our program grew to encompass yeasts, vinegars, tropical and citrus fruits (except lemons), and fungi/mushrooms. (Medicinal and wild mushrooms such as shiitakes are fine to consume.) Finally, to add the figurative cherry on top, we decided to eliminate the foods that raised the biggest red flags during our food sensitivity tests. For Marty, this meant taking out onions, garlic, ginger, millet, chickpeas, celery, potatoes, and cayenne pepper. For me, it was oats, lemons, onions, garlic, artichoke, potato, and leeks. If it sounds like a lot of foods to eliminate all at once, it was.

So what the eff could we eat during the elimination phase?

We got that question a lot, whether it was from friends concerned that our bodies would suddenly shrivel up and float away like wisps of smoke, or from, say, Marty’s parents, who wondered what on earth kind of dry goods they could stockpile on our behalf for the impending End of the World. (<– Hypothetical example, obviously.) The truth is, there were still tons of foods to choose from. I never went hungry and actually rose up to the occasion and created some pretty decadent meals, if I do say so myself (recipes to follow in future posts). Some of our staple foods during the elimination phase included:

Marty: oats; small amounts of berries (1/2 cup-ish per day); gluten free grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth); avocado; basically every vegetable under the sun except onions, celery, potato, and corn; sprouts; nuts and seeds; nut butters; rice crackers; GF pastas (brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa); puffed rice or quinoa cereals; cacao powder; black beans; kidney beans; herbal tea; herbs & spices; manuka honey

Me:   almost the same as Marty, plus millet and minus manuka honey, oats, and berries. Being the martyr that I am, I have been doing zero fruit and zero sweeteners for these six weeks, because I am crazy sensitive to them and seem to develop yeast infections simply by looking at pineapples or grapes. (Not that you needed to know that, but like I said– I know no shame.)

We’ve also been eating raw sauerkraut. Tons and tons of homemade, fermented kraut— every single day for lunch and usually for dinner, too. I can’t eat enough of it lately, so our pantries are fully stocked with jars of cabbage in various stages of fermentation. Pure class, I know.

More rainbow chard. Just because.

More rainbow chard. Just because.

 How does the re-introduction part work?

After the first two weeks of elimination were complete, we started up a nifty schedule for bringing the Usual Suspect foods back into our diets. Basically, when we’re ‘challenging’ an ingredient, we eat as much of it as we can for a day, then we go back to the elimination foods for two days following that test. If we experience any ill effects on the day an ingredient comes back into rotation, or during the two days that follow that, that ingredient fails. If no adverse reactions are noted (bloating, indigestion, headaches, itchiness, etc.), that ingredient can come back in full swing starting on Day 4 (i.e. the day of the next challenging ingredient.)

In sum: ingredients are tested on Day 1, 4, 7, 10, etc. until all of your suspected allergens have taken a turn. On Days 2-3, 5-6, 8-9, 11-12, etc. the regular allergen-free (elimination) foods are eaten.

And? How did we do?

In short, I am a failure. I only ‘passed’ three out of nine ingredients, which is remarkably unfamiliar territory for this Honors Student. Marty didn’t fare much better, failing five of his nine total ingredients. We are going to be re-testing some of the failed ingredients starting in early 2013, under the auspices that we “didn’t test them right” the first time around. (In reality, though, we’re in denial that foods like garlic and potatoes will be Forbidden to us forever more. Seriously– potatoes??) I managed to pass with lemons, corn, and artichokes, and Marty passed gluten, onions, ginger, and cayenne pepper.

Thank you, Jesus, for letting me pass lemons

Thank you, Jesus, for letting me pass lemons

What’s next?

Unfortunately, the holidays are smack dab in the middle of this process. Originally, we were going to finish up with the re-introduction phase and then launch right into a candida cleanse (with supplements), but traveling to Calgary via Greyhound bus for Christmas will put a hefty wrench into those plans. (As will the possible end of the world, mind you.) Instead, we’re just going to stick with the elimination diet phase for longer than is really necessary and start tweaking the ingredients/anti-fungal supplements again when we get back to Victoria. Candida diets take anywhere from 3 to 9 months to complete, depending on the severity of yeast overgrowth (and on how much you ‘cheat’ with foods that do nothing but feed the candida and cause it to multiply.) Sounds like great fun, I know.

We’ll see. I’m totally cool eating the way we’re eating now for as long as possible, but I’m also thinking ahead and trying to be realistic. We’ve got Christmas in Calgary, traveling in the new year, and then the Harbour season approaching right after that, so a superhuman candida cleanse might not be possible. That’s okay. If we can gently and gradually move our bodies closer to a state of alkalinity (and maybe coax some of those yeasties out of our guts in the process), I’d say we’re doing a fine job as is.

Need more details?

I know this post is super long already, but in case you were interested in some nitty gritty details, here they are:

– My rosacea is not as bad as it was before, but slight flushing of the cheeks is still there

– Weight is down 10 lbs since 6 weeks ago

– I’m not exercising nearly as much as I’d like to. Brisk walks every other day; gym once a week if I’m lucky

– I can’t smell yeast on my own skin anymore like I used to (gross!), so I take that as a great sign

– Once again, thank god I passed lemons. I make a garlic/onion-free guacamole nearly every 2nd day and smear it on just about everything. Lemons would have been the saddest food to give up forever.

Bonus bald eagle shot for sticking through this entire post!

Bonus bald eagle shot for sticking through this entire post!

Starting from Scratch

Dear me, readers! We have got a ton of catching up to do. The last time we met, I was heading over to an integrative clinic to be tested for food sensitivities. I was feeling bummed about my newly discovered rosacea but also felt cautiously optimistic that a food sensitivity test would help unravel most of the mysteries of the universe for me…or at least indicate which foods I should be avoiding to maintain optimal health.

That’s not my cake, by the way. That’s the cheesecake that Marty bought himself on my birthday. I wasn’t able to indulge in anything sweet by then, and Marty has since left the dairy train as well.

Of course, because I had hoped and prayed beforehand that oats would not show up as a red flag on the test, guess which food I tested the worst, by far for? Yes, readers– you guessed it: rolled stinking oats. Other foods that came up in the “Probably Avoid” category included: garlic, onions, lemons (NOOOOOO!!), yeast, artichokes, potatoes, leeks, and– strangely enough– lettuce. (Honestly. Who on earth reacts to something as innocuous as lettuce? Only the cool kids, dear readers: only the cool kids.)

Vowing to adhere to the test recommendations, I promptly cut out all of those foods from my diet. I’m not going to lie– it was difficult, especially because we were in the height of harbour season and even the organic, vegan takeout place that we normally frequent in the summer has onions and garlic in basically everything. I stuck to it, though, crafting salads out of kale or spinach and dousing them in a makeshift apple cider vinaigrette, drinking green smoothies for breakfast every morning (the one main component of the Beauty Detox Solution that I was still able to maintain), and requesting onion-free options whenever we had to stoop low and order a dinner from the Noodle Box.

My skin slowly improved but was still a long way from clearing up completely before Labour Day hit. I did pretty well over the Labour Day weekend, food-wise, but then the stress of the whole summer collapsed on me. Before I knew it, Marty and I were declaring it our first day off after 51 straight days at work (!!), and we were riding our bikes 25km to the famed Butchart Gardens.

So what, I haven’t ridden longer than 5km for half a year? Let’s do this 50km round-trip ride!

En route to the Gardens, we stopped at the Red Barn Market, where I ordered a sandwich. My first slices of bread in nearly 2 months.

No condiments, mostly veg, but omg! There are two pieces of bread on that there sandwich!!

Emboldened by my bread-eating bad-assery, I ordered a whole apple pie on the way back and downed about a third of it before hauling myself back on the bike saddle and riding the rest of the way home. I know. I never would have thought that marble rye bread was a gateway drug, but there you have it. I suddenly– and unceremoniously– fell off that Holistic Health bandwagon hard.

At least the Gardens were beautiful

September and October were blurs of eating anything and everything I could get my hands on. I rationalized. A lot. I was craving something warm and satiating for breakfast, so I cooked up big pots of rolled oats every morning. They can’t be *that* bad for me; after all, they’re gluten free! I started making thick soups and stews using onions, garlic, and potatoes. Maybe the test was wrong! I ate a lot of cookies. What! Nobody’s perfect! Then, those brutal candida devils multiplied en masse in my gut  and  started rearing their ugly heads. My body became a living warzone, with my mind trying in desperation to resist incredible cravings for sweets, starches, and breads but my body roaring FEED ME SUGAR!!” with startling ferocity.

Recently, I took a simple, at-home saliva test for candida overgrowth, and when I failed it with remarkable speed and efficiency,  I knew what I had to do.

Not at our recent art exhibition, but notice the cutesy (or sickening/nauseating) matching outfits. Pink and brown couple for the win!

Obviously, I waited until after our art exhibition had opened, and then Marty and I embarked on an elimination diet together. We eliminated soy, dairy (him), corn, gluten, processed sugars, fruit (me), eggs, yeast, and all of the foods that tested high on our sensitivity tests. For two weeks, we will eat a clean diet and then will start introducing items back into our diets  individually to see if we show any adverse effects. So far, we’ve done a week, and I’m definitely noticing a positive difference.

I’m trying to keep our meals really simple, but what’s struck me at this point is how much I usually rely on Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy) to season our foods. I’m literally lost without it. There have been no soups to speak of lately, mainly because I can’t figure out how to make them (as) delicious without a base of onions and garlic, and I also haven’t been eating any cold salads for this 2-week period. I usually make my salad dressings with lemon (out), Bragg’s (out), and apple cider vinegar (out for Marty), so I’ll have to wait until we challenge those foods to see whether salads will come back into regular rotation.

Mostly, I’m ready to feel like myself again, and if an elimination diet will help me get there, so be it. What about you, dear readers: Have you ever done an elimination diet? Any suggestions or tips? Is there a particular food that you’d be lost without?


The Answer is No

Back when I still worked at Ye Olde Office Job, my tiny Finance Team had an ongoing joke about the answer to any question always being no. All three of us were/are abnormally nice people who tended to be overly accommodating of the needs of others, but in secret, when we were sure nobody else was listening, we used to practice bellowing with authority: The answer is no!

Need a spreadsheet made? The answer is no!

Donation amounts need to be tallied and reported at the next staff meeting? The answer is no!

Can we please mail out the charitable tax receipts by the end of the day? The answer is no!

Is it possible to– NO! The answer is no!

(Yeah, I know it’s not very funny, but to our simple accounting department sensibilities, the idea of being Make Believe Jerks to our coworkers never got old.)

Well. It’s been a year and a half since I left my day job, but I’m finding that dirty, two-letter ‘n-o’ word creeping back into my daily existence again, especially when it comes to food. My awareness of this sneaky phenomenon peaked when I read Kathy’s recent post, 50 and Fat– or 50 and Fit? (Weighing in on Mid-Life) and again when I encountered a brief aside about “Kimberly [Snyder] disapproving of cashews” in this post from Housewifing Around. Kathy spoke of her mother basing many of their conversations on foods that she either could not or would not eat, and something about that wagging-finger, “disapproving of cashews” comment burrowed its way into the rotten core of my soul and annoyed me enough to start writing this post. 😉 Is food really the enemy? Do I need to start being a real jerk to sustenance?

I disapprove of molasses!

Most Foods: The Answer is No?

I’m sure we’ve all encountered “revolutionary” eating plans before that promise amazing results but demonize major nutrients. There are low-fat diets, low-carb crazes, no-carb devotees, detox programs that require abstinence from tropical fruits, fermented foods, flours, refined sugars, and even mushrooms– the list is truly endless. I’ll guiltily confess that my youngest sister and I once spent two weeks fearing the sweet wrath of carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes on the advice of one fad diet book, and I’ve also gone for several months before, honestly convinced that one of the worst foods I could ever eat was a banana. For real. Obviously, a diet based on cupcakes and diet sodas is going to take you nowhere fast, but I’m highly suspicious now of any so-called “healthy” program that demands its followers to deprive themselves of fruits or vegetables. Apricots are not the devil in disguise, am I right or am I right? (Unless you have a serious apricot allergy, in which case, they probably are the devil in a squishy orange disguise.)


I started on the Beauty Detox Solution last year-ish, very much in love with the whole concept. (This again? Yes!) For once, I didn’t have to find vegetarian substitutes for the “lean chicken breast” recipes in Food Book #1, and for once, I didn’t have to omit cheese or milk from any recipes, either. (All of Kimberly’s recipes are vegan.) I didn’t have to worry about finding an acceptable stand-in for “cashew cream” desserts or soups– because, as you just discovered, Kimberly “disapproves” of cashews due to the high possibility of them containing toxic moulds. (Have I ever told you how allergic I am to cashews?) And finally, finally, I didn’t have a dietician or nutritionist recommending pounds upon pounds of tofu or soy to satisfy the vegetarian contingent of readers. (Seriously. Soy will not save the world. A girl can only pound back so much edamame before her very bowels transform into long tofu dogs. Go on: Ask me how I know this.)

Yes, these soups are homemade and vegan, but are they raw? Tsk, tsk!

The Beauty Detox Solution seemed to offer a seamless, well-researched solution to all of the questions I’ve ever had about what I eat. I didn’t need to consume 10 pounds of lentils every day after all! Low fat yogurt was not a requirement– huzzah! The BDS spokesperson was an impossibly beautiful woman with a blindingly large, genuine smile, and I gravitated easily to the idea of prioritizing whole foods and becoming the best person I could possibly be! In retrospect, this was the honeymoon phase. I was practically giddy with love!

Kimberly makes a lot of recommendations in her book. True, most of them are small and simple steps that can be incorporated over time to achieve optimal health, but if you were to make a list of everything she suggests to do in her book (which I did– don’t judge), it ends up being a pretty lengthy list. (Then you go and read her blog and find out you also need to install shower head filters, buy organic eco-mattresses for the best, most planet-friendly sleep, and possibly even stop touching money. After all, it’s disgustingly dirty and contaminated. The answer is no, my friend!)

Originally, the super geek in me (the one who loves to make spreadsheets and cross items off To Do Lists) was pumped to tackle each of these recommendations, one by one, until I emerged from the process as a Radiant Goddess of Gastro-Intestinal Perfection!

(Aside: I should try to rustle up one of my earlier fertility charts so you can see just how OCD I am about graphs. I recorded everything I possibly could about my body every day– temperature, heart rate, secretions, cervical position, dreams, bowel movements, glasses of water consumed, mood, moon phase, etc.– and then color-coded it all. A RAINBOW OF FERTILITY! The Gigantic List of Things to Do with the Beauty Detox Solution was right up my alley.)

Gradually, though, my love for the Beauty Detox Solution began to fade. I lost the spark. I no longer felt the good vibes. I just wanted to be done with food combinations and excited about eating spontaneously again. I was tired of being the person who needed to schedule 1-hour blocks of time before and after eating an apple, and don’t even get me started on eating out at restaurants. Me: Can you believe they put both pecans AND avocado on this salad? Clearly, they haven’t read The Beauty Detox Solution and don’t realize you shouldn’t put two fats together in one meal. And wait– is that extra virgin olive oil in the dressing? A third added, albeit healthy, fat? Don’t tell me that’s balsamic vinegar, too– crikey!

“NO!” was beginning to permeate every aspect of my life. Can I please have a cup of warm water with lemon juice right before breakfast (and not 30-45 minutes before)? Is it possible to put flax seeds on my oatmeal instead of on my salads? What if I feel like peanut butter on a cardboard-esque Wasa cracker? Are the omelet sandwiches I made on marble rye bread acceptable? THE ANSWER IS NO!!!!! Like a rice racist, I seriously considered tossing the (white) sushi rice in our cupboard before the thrift-conscious side of me won that particular battle. Penny pincher vs. white rice finger pointer-atter. Any food with a dates-base was suspect, and I often found myself spouting the words “But Kimberly says…” like a knee-jerk reaction to anything that contradicted her Beauty Detox bible.

Enough of that. I don’t care what the gorgeous lady says: this girl’s gotta give.

I’ve decided that, for me, simple is truly better. I need to relax! Dried figs aren’t going to kill me! After reading The China Study book, I’ve found my newest touchstone when it comes to food:

  “Eating should be an enjoyable and worry-free experience, and shouldn’t rely on deprivation… The recommendations coming from the published literature are so simple that I can state them in one sentence: eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salt and added fats.” (p. 242, emphasis added)

So much easier, yes? Even looking at these words makes me breath a huge sigh of relief! It’s kind of painful for me to admit this (because I’m abnormally nice and don’t enjoy disappointing people), but maybe the principles of the Beauty Detox Solution aren’t as clear-cut fabulous as I first thought they were, at least for me. (Disclaimer: many/most of the principles still are great, but I’m no longer trying to combine them all into one and achieve super-humanness.) Maybe I can go on without eating meat or dairy but not feel so bad if I’m not regularly consuming raw sauerkraut, too. Maybe it’s okay for me to enjoy some non-sprouted breads every now and then or to put two types of seeds on my salads. (Such a rebel!) I should be able to enjoy hummus without hearing the words “beans are Mother Nature’s “oops!”” (because they naturally combine proteins with starches) echoing in my brain. Heck, I might even dip crackers into hummus and not fret that I’m messing up the sacrosanct food combinations even more. Whoa. Can you feel my diet rebellion picking up speed?

Maybe I’m weak, maybe I’m stubborn, maybe I’ve failed at Shimmering Goddess Lessons, or maybe I’m just cranky, but I’m sick and tired of organizing such a huge part of my life– eating– around the word ‘no’. I’d much rather say YES! to whole foods, YES! to fresh fruits and vegetables, and YES! to foods in their unrefined, minimally processed states. That’s it! No need to break things down into a million sub-rules or minor clauses. Just eat clean food. Period.

[end rant]

What do you say?

    Are there certain “diet rules” that really chap your ass?

Are you consumed by “following the rules” or “sticking to” a particular eating program?

Are you a serial wagon-falling-offer like I am, at least when it comes to food plans?

Are you one of those mystical beings who seriously only eats food for fuel and never gets caught up in emotional eating? (And if so, can you be my guru?)

PS: Lest you think that I’m just going on a rant to somehow justify a lack of weight loss or a general state of unhealthiness, the last time I checked, I was halfway back down to my pre-harbour weight. Yes: I’m ten pounds lighter than I was in December, and I’ve done this by embracing the KISS motto: Keep it simple, silly. 🙂

Does the Beauty Detox Solution Work?

I’ve been getting a lot of search terms and hits to do with Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution lately. People want to see before and after shots of others who have undertaken Kimberly’s diet recommendations, and even more people just want to know, plain and simple, if the program works. Should they buy the book? Should they make the Probiotic and Enzyme Salad (aka Countertop Sauerkraut) recipe? Are Glowing Green Smoothies delicious or gross-tasting? Do they really need a Vita-Mix blender?

I started the Beauty Detox Solution program last April (2011), and I even set up a separate page on my blog so I could document my progress and keep all of my posts on that topic in one, easy-to-access hub. I gradually started incorporating Kimberly’s principles into my lifestyle and noticed both subtle and significant changes in my health almost immediately. Weight was lost. Skin was cleared up. Energy levels were boosted. Sleep was sound and restful. Digestion and elimination became efficient to super-heroine levels.

And then I got sidetracked– seriously— when my work took over my existence last summer. (Excuses, excuses– I know.) I abandoned most of the specific principles of the Beauty Detox Solution and many of the foundational tenets of Basic, Commonsense Nutrition as well. Take-out food was consumed every day. Not surprisingly, weight was gained– a lot of it, too: 20-odd pounds! Sleep was sacrificed. Energy levels were in the dumps. Skin still looked okay (because I maintained my no-dairy stance), but everything else related to my body was terrible.

Well. Heroic journeys are all about redemption after descending into darkness, right?

I have ever so slowly started back on my Personal Beauty Detox journey; however, I’m not the most dedicated pupil and still retain a lot of flexibility (cheating?) regarding what I eat. (Diet Vigilantes would call it cheating– I’m calling it “moderation”.)

When we first moved to the cabin in December, I felt very chilly every day, so the thought of consuming Green Smoothies and raw salads was incredibly unappealing. (In the spirit of listening to my body, homemade soups and steamed vegetables over grains became my go-to meals of choice.) Besides, I was still weaning myself off of copious amounts of sugar, salt, and fats from those wretched summer months, so unfortunately, whole foods seemed kind of bland for a while. I needed a serious Palate Cleansing/Overhaul. But lo! Things are getting better and I am feeling much peppier these days, health-wise and energy-wise.

What Principles of the Beauty Detox Solution Am I Following?

1. Zero dairy in my diet.

I started this process a year before the BDS book was released and have reaped incredible rewards (significant weight loss, complete elimination of my acne, better digestion, and way less congestion) because of it. I’m not going to lie– taking dairy out of the diet completely is hard, especially if you buy any pre-packaged foods or restaurant meals whatsoever. (Of if you love cheese, which I did x 1000.) Dairy is in everything! However, it’s not impossible to do and I am a firm believer that the benefits are well worth the challenge. Seriously.

2. Slim-to-none amounts of caffeine and zero meat in my diet.

I have some green tea that I got as a gift, so I drink a cup of it every now and then. Also, I’m still eating local, free-range, organic eggs on occasion. I could take them out of my diet if I really wanted to, but I happen to like eating eggs every once in a while. So there! 🙂

3. Soaking grains, nuts, and seeds before consuming them.

I confess that I never used to soak anything before eating or cooking it. Now, I’ve gotten into the habit of soaking things overnight (or for 24 hours) before I need them in recipes. Do I notice a difference? In texture, yes, but in terms of digestion, not really. Maybe it’s just me?

4. Taking out as much soy as possible.

I’m not a soy person in general. However, this summer involved a whirlwind rebound relationship with soy milk, facilitated by our matchmaker, Starbucks. The truth is that soy milk makes me feel *almost* as gross as cow milk does– I get super phlegmy, bloated, and congested when I drink it. (Alas, Starbucks was only a skip away from our harbour booth, and I had a summer filled with the sickening convenience of Soy Coffee Fraps. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this never happens again!) Soy is mostly out again, save for some dashes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and miso.

5. Glowing Green Smoothies/Probiotic and Enzyme Salad consumption.

After recovering from the initial shock of the fresh mountain air up here, I’ve started drinking between 3 and 5 Green Smoothies a week, and I also have a 1/2 cup of Probiotic and Enzyme Salad (aka raw sauerkraut) every few days. Both of these recipes make me feel incredibly clean and healthy; however, I still haven’t worked up to consuming either of them on a daily basis. Confession: as much as I love the green smoothies in particular, I find it challenging to drink them and still have enough time left over to eat all of the other meals I want to on a given day! (I’ve been sleeping in like a sloth every day, so by the time I eat breakfast, most people are just about ready for lunch. That doesn’t leave a girl a lot of time to down her soups, salads, and other delectable food items before dark! So much delicious, homemade food– so little time!)

6. Focusing on the process vs. on the end result.

The Beauty Detox Solution isn’t a race or a competition. I don’t feel pressure to incorporate all of Kimberly’s principles right away or even ever. I’m just doing what works for me and feeling thankful for the health I have because of it. I know that I could be “more successful” (read: thinner, toned, famous, and probably rich, too) if I were to stick very closely to the program. Certainly, I could lose more weight, feel super-human amounts of energy, and feel rested on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night. I just don’t feel the need to get there just yet– for once, I’m actually fine with who I am, as I am right now. Go, me!

I'm OK, You're OK!

So Does It Work?

In a word: yes. I believe that any move toward a plant-based, whole foods diet will yield significant health benefits, and The Beauty Detox Solution is one way to get there. If people are just looking for an easy, quick-fix solution to weight issues alone, and are wondering if a diet of 100% Green Smoothies can do the trick, the BDS can still work, but undertaking it specifically to LOSE A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF WEIGHT, RIGHT NOW! is really missing the point. This is a gradual (and hopefully permanent) shift in lifestyle. Yes, it works, but you do have to be invested in the principles that underpin it first. After reading this book, and now The China Study, I am really beginning to sense the urgency of maintaining a plant-based, whole foods diet for overall health and quality of life. It just makes sense on so many levels (but maybe I’m more receptive to this message, having been a vegetarian for most of my life and having already taken dairy out before the Beauty Detox Solution book came out).

Do You Have Any Before/After Photos?

Hmmm… I looked through our archives and noted with suspicion that I had “lost” or “accidentally deleted” most of the less-than-flattering pics of myself. (Either that, or I’m not exactly jumping in front of the camera when my clothes aren’t fitting properly. Look at my thighs! They’re gigantic!!)

That said, you can get a really good “before” shot of my acne-ridden complexion in this post. (My “after” skin shot is just up above in the current post– that shot was taken a few days ago.) I still consider myself to be in the early phases of the program, especially because I started and then stopped so spectacularly for half a year. Maybe I should take a current, full-length pic and use it as my “before” shot. Fabulous, fashionable “after” shots will come in a few months, then. 😉

I hope this information helps! As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments section or e-mail me privately. I’m happy to share my personal experiences and pitfalls in the spirit of making the journey that much easier for somebody else. 🙂