Last month I started seeing a holistic doctor – not for any one serious issue; but because there were many little health issues that had built up over the past 10+ years and that were leading me down an unhealthy path I did not want to be on. It was time to seek some alternative health options. That meant working with a functional holistic doctor and a nutritionist to learn about eating clean and liver detox.
Without getting too far away from my typical blog post topics, I will just say that an autoimmune disease and now menopause was resulting in elevated weight and blood pressure. The blood pressure medication prescribed was having adverse effects throughout my body, including muscle weakness and anxiety. I also believe some medications I was given over the past 2 years caused liver damage. Each pill seemed to come with another side effect that caused another problem.
It’s time to STOP the cycle!
My ultimate goal is to get off blood pressure medicines. I’ve been on them for one year and have not been able to get off them on my own with diet and exercise alone. I needed help.
Before I continue, I have to say that my primary care doctor is fantastic. I am so grateful to have her on my team. But, generally traditional doctors treat symptoms by providing medical solutions to alleviate a disease. They prescribe pills but do not always help get to the root cause.
A holistic doctor treats the WHOLE body as one. They aim to find the cause behind the disease, instead of just fixing the symptoms.
Working with a Holistic Doctor
Through massive amount of research, I have learned that if your liver is not working optimally, it can cause many other problems in your body, including…. high blood pressure. The liver processes your blood before it pumps to and through your heart. If the liver is damaged, lowering blood pressure without meds is almost impossible.
Long story short, under the guidance of the holistic doctor and his nutritionist, I am working through a liver cleanse and an elimination diet to determine if I’m having any adverse reactions to certain foods.
You may have heard of the Whole30 food elimination plan. Where you only eat whole foods — vegetables, fruit, protein. Think of 1-ingredient foods. That’s basically how I was instructed to eat for the 6 weeks. As I write this post, I am on week 5.
As part of the liver cleanse, I am also getting weekly glutathione injections and taking daily capsules to help detox my liver. Glutathione has so many great benefits. You can read more about them HERE.
These were steps I knew I could not do on my own. (Trust me, I’ve been trying for the past year.). I needed their assistance.
The nutritionist at the holistic center was completely different from the nutritionist I met with at my local hospital last year (who only told me to “eat less”). The holistic nutritionist provided me with over 50 pages of a detailed food plan. What to eat. What not to eat. Menu suggestions, including detailed information on exactly what brands to buy and at which grocery stores to find them.
Now that you have the background, let’s get to the purpose of this post. This post is about…
Eating clean in order to regain my health
I’ve had to think differently and creatively when it comes to food as to not fall into complete boredom with it. So today I want to share with you the meals I’ve been eating for the past 5 weeks in the hope that I can help others that read this.
This post is also a great one to save or pin on Pinterest so you can refer back to it often because it can act as your recipe book if you decide to try this.
Foods to Avoid
- No wheat/gluten
- No yeast
- No dairy
- No eggs
- No sugar
- No soy
- No cafeine
- No chocolate
- No dried fruit
- No mushrooms
- No peanuts
- No refined oil
- No tomato
- No corn
- No processed foods
- No artificial colors
- No MSG
- Limited citrus (lemon ok, limited lime)
- Limited red meat (once per week)
The problem with every food plan I’ve tried in the past has always focussed on what I could NOT eat. This plan focusses on what I CAN eat.
So what can I eat?
- Vegetables, Fruit
- Brown Rice, Quinoa
- Protein (chicken, fish, red meat once per week)
- Almond butter (no added salt or sugar)
- Organic Ghee, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil
- Fresh or dried Herbs, Spices
- Pea Protein Powder
- Organic gluten-free rolled oats
- Mary’s Seed Crackers
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Ginger root
- Organic cinnamon
- Organic shredded coconut
- Rice Vermicelli pasta
- Artichoke hearts
- Spring roll wrappers
Note: Many photos of my food are below. I did not set up any fancy lighting, but did my best to show you each meal – even if I had to take the photos under the not-so-perfect warm nighttime lighting.
Breakfast consists of a vegetable and fruit smoothie with a pea protein powder. I say “smoothie” but what that is is the whole fruits and vegetables placed in a Ninja blender with 16 ounces of filtered water. Blending the whole fruits and veggies means you get all of the fiber as well as the juice.
The pea protein I’m currently using is part of the liver cleanse program and prescribed by the holistic doctor. There are many good organic protein and vegetable powders you can buy on Amazon, just be sure to avoid sugar and especially artificial sweeteners. Here are a few that I really liked and used to add to my morning smoothie: Organic Greens or Collagen & Greens . A friend of mine also likes Amazing Grass Greens Blend
Red Beet Juice
16 ounces of filtered water, beets (boiled for 10-15 min.), carrot, Granny Smith apple, lemon, ginger.
Green Vegetable Juice
Option 1: 16 ounces of filtered water, celery, pear, pineapple, parsley, mint, ginger
Option 2: 16 ounces of filtered water, celery, carrot, ginger, tumeric, cucumber, spinach
Ideally lunch is supposed to be a salad with olive oil and lemon as dressing with another pea protein powder smoothie. Instead I will usually have either fruit and nuts, another pea protein smoothie with vegetables, or one of these options:
Apple & Almond Butter
Option 2: Apple and Barney Almond Butter
Fruit, Oatmeal & Yogurt
Banana or apple, coconut yogurt (dairy-free), and Bob’s Red Mill Organic Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, and cinnamon. If dairy turns out to not be a trigger food for me, I look forward to replacing the coconut yogurt with plain 2% Greek Fage yogurt.
Dinner is a large bowl made up of mostly vegetables with protein (chicken) and a whole grain (brown rice or quinoa).
My best tips for keeping these salad bowls interesting day after day are:
- Add a minimum of 4 different vegetables
- Add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown rice or quinoa for added texture
- Chop everything in the bowl into small pieces so you’re getting a little bit of everything on the fork at the same time
- Play with different herbs… salt, black pepper, parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, etc. If you prefer a little spicier taste, use white pepper or red pepper for an added kick.
- And my #1 TIP… warm your entire bowl of ingredients (chicken, grain, fruits & veggies) in the oven for a few minutes until they are just slightly warmed – not cold and not hot, but somewhere just warmer than room temperature. I always eat my salad bowls warm!
Chicken & Brown Rice with Vegetables
Roasted chicken, brown rice or quinoa, yellow pepper, green beans, spinach, red cabbage, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, oregano, Everything Seasoning
Chicken with Vegetables & Mango
Option 1: Roasted chicken, brown rice, mango, red pepper, red cabbage, carrot, spinach, sunflower seeds. Although not “clean eating” approved for these few weeks, Iron Chef makes a Bourbon Pineapple Glaze that is delicious on this and it’s free of soy. I bought it in BJ’s Wholesale Club. I do not see it sold on Amazon, but THIS Silverton Pineapple Bourbon Marinade looks comparable.
Option 2: Roasted chicken, brown rice, pineapple, yellow pepper, green beans, spinach.
Rice Vermicelli & Homemade Pesto
Rice vermicelli pasta, homemade pesto (basil, 1 clove garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper), artichokes
Meatballs with Rice Noodles & Roasted Red Peppers
Homemade meatballs, rice noodles, roasted red peppers, olive oil, fresh basil, fresh minced garlic. To make the meatballs, combine ground beef (85%), parsley, black pepper, garlic salt. Also add 1 egg of beef and 1/4 cup grated parmesan romano cheese per pound of ground beef if allowed. Broil on low until cooked through (about 20-30 min.).
Hamburger & Sauted Vegetables
Ground beef (85%) cooked as a hamburger on the grill. Saute in a frying pan: olive oil, white onion, red pepper, broccoli, black pepper, garlic salt, and thyme. Add chopped parsley at the end.
Chicken & Vegetable Soup With Meatballs
2-3 Chicken breasts, carrots, 1/2 medium onion, Celery (including the green leaves), fresh spinach, fresh parsley, low or no sodium chicken broth, water, thyme, salt, black pepper, meatballs. To make meatballs: mix 85% ground beef, onion salt, fresh parsley, black pepper and boil in a separate pot until cooked through then add to soup.
Chicken & Roasted Root Vegetables
Chicken, brown rice, roasted vegetables (beet, sweet potato, carrot), salt, white pepper, red pepper, parsley, Everything Seasoning
Chicken & Vegetable Spring Rolls
Rice spring roll wrappers, diced chicken, red cabbage, cucumber, yellow pepper. Soak a wrapper in warm water for about 15 seconds, then fill with the chicken and vegetables. If I could have a little sugar, these are delicious with sweet & sour dipping sauce on the side.
Leek & Potato Soup
2 Leak stems (white & light green parts only), 1/2 white onion, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 medium potato, organic chicken broth, black pepper, salt. Dice and saute the leeks and onion in olive oil until soft. Add chicken broth, potato (diced small), salt, pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer until potato is soft. Either blend with an emersion blender until smooth or let the liquid cool and blend in a blender. Caution: adding hot liquid to a covered blender can build up pressure. If liquid is hot blend with the plunger out to allow air in/out as you blend.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sliced sweet potato, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic salt. Mix in a plastic bag. Roast on a baking sheet 375 degrees F for 40 minutes.
I rarely have sugar cravings anymore, but I do still like to have a little treat after dinner. Here are my go-to desserts:
Avocado Ice Cream
In a blender mix 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, frozen mango, ice cubes
Watermelon & Coconut
Watermelon, unsweetened shredded coconut
UPDATE: So far after 5 weeks of eating clean:
- Lost 13 lbs
- Sleeping better
- Rarely have food cravings
- The frequent hot flashes and night sweats are far less frequent and almost completely gone
- I no long sweat or breathe heavy when I go for long walks
I hope you’ll save this post or pin it on Pinterest and refer back to it weekly as you also learn about eating clean.