Health & Fitness

6 things I learned from giving up sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol

Getty Author: Elle Canada Credits: Getty

Health & Fitness

6 things I learned from giving up sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol

Last week, we revealed that a handful of us at ELLE Canada are taking part in a DIY detox – no sugar, alcohol, processed foods, dairy or wheat for a month. Some of you agree with it, and some of you don’t. Either way it’s been a real learning experience for us. Here are some of the takeaways from week 2.

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6 things I learned from my detox

1. A good social life doesn’t have to revolve around booze.

Given that most of my girls’ nights include wine and cheese, I've been hibernating hardcore. For someone who loves to be around her friends 24/7, it’s made me sad-face. Couldn’t I have both – a healthy life and a social life? Here’s what registered dietitian Andrea Miller had to say: “When you go out for drinks after work, what associations do you have with that? Is it, ‘I’m going out for drinks, so I have to drink alcohol? Maybe I could drink mineral water with lemon?’ It’s looking at the patterns and associations in our eating and behavior and evaluating if those are positive connections that promote health or unhealthy behaviours? And what you can do to tweak those so you can have the social connections, which are hugely important.” In other words, I may not even want a glass of wine, it may be simply habit for me to want to down half a bottle when I’m with the girls. It’s the same reason why I reach for the chocolate at the end of the day. Or why I always want a carafe of Bordeaux with a good meal. But the two aren’t exclusive. And I’m going to try and teach myself that. READ MORE: Is a detox really worth it? The ELLE Canada team tests it out

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

6 things I learned from my detox

2. Eating well gives you a (temporary, short-lived) superiority complex.

My beauty director had warned me this would happen. Indeed, when my friend Reggie in the art department mentioned he had eaten pizza for lunch, I didn’t feel the slightest craving. In fact, I thought, “Ugh. Gross.” Compare that to my feelings the week before when I probably would have wrestled him to the ground to get the slice. My superiority complex was short-lived. At a Toronto Raptors game that night, I nearly climbed over my seat when I saw someone eating poutine. Again, it’s a question of habit. I like to eat at night. And I always associate basketball games with popcorn and beer. But I’ve read that most cravings pass within 10-15 minutes, so all I had to do was wait until the second quarter and I was fine. READ MORE: 8 cookbooks to inspire healthy eating

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

6 things I learned from my detox

3. I feel better.

Case in point: my husband’s birthday dinner. Sticking to oysters and a steak with veg – while delicious – was difficult when there was bread and butter, fries, lobster bisque and  wine. But, I didn’t miss the heartburn or bloated feeling that comes after such a feast. I’m also sleeping better. Most weekends, instead of coming home from the bar at 2 a.m., I’m in bed by 11 p.m. (Again, I know this is not feasible for the long-term; I’m 31, not 81) but it’s a nice reprieve. READ MORE: How to get your best butt ever in 2016

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

6 things I learned from my detox

4. People are more understanding of a detox than a diet.

If I told people I was on a diet, I knew I’d get tons of flack because a I’m a relatively healthy, athletic woman. But most people were admirable when I told them I was on a detox. Even University of Alberta professor Timothy Caulfield, who tried a cleanse in the name of research for his book, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? and is against detoxing, admitted he received a lot of praise from family and friends for watching what he ate. “I did find that...you did get a little bit of that ‘way to go, good for you, keep it up.' Not a single person said, ‘why are you doing that?’ So that does kind of reinforce the whole process.” READ MORE: 8 Instagram accounts that inspire us to eat better

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

6 things I learned from my detox

5. Headaches can come with changes in your diet.

My head was pounding the first few days of my detox, so I asked Miller if she could explain why. The obvious culprits: dehydration or hunger (low-blood sugar). But she also explained the change in my routine – from a toast and cheese with a double double coffee at breakfast to black coffee and avocado and egg on gluten-free toast – could be to blame. “It may have just been the overall change in relation to how much of carbs you were eating in a day. If you changed from eating a bunch of carbs in the morning and then didn’t, your body’s going to go – what the heck!” Miller stressed the importance of eating good carbs (whole-grain bread, fruits and veggies in the a.m.) “After fasting overnight, which we all do if we sleep, when we get up in the morning our carbohydrate stores – which is called glycogen – has depleted and we need to replace that with something in the morning. The only form of fuel our brain can use is carbohydrate, otherwise the body has to break down muscle.” READ MORE: Fat water is now a thing

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada

6 things I learned from my detox

6. It (can) cost more money to eat well.

As I mentioned, my social life has quieted down this month. I’m staying home more or trying to find different ways to hang with my friends. But the money I thought I’d save from nights out is going to my grocery bill. I spent $18 on almond butter at the Bulk Barn and the gluten-free crackers I eat with my hummus are $6.99. And that’s just a small sampling. READ MORE: 12 immune-boosting superfoods you need to add to your diet this winter

By: Carli Whitwell Source: Getty Credits: ELLE Canada


READ MORE:
How to get your best butt ever in 2016

8 cookbooks to inspire healthy eating
Fat water is now a thing
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Health & Fitness

6 things I learned from giving up sugar, wheat, dairy and alcohol