I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately. No surprise there, right? However, I’m not thinking about which dessert to make next, but rather how I can eat in a healthier, more responsible, and sustainable way.
A few months ago I saw the movie Food, Inc. Nothing in my life, in all my time cooking professionally and working in restaurants, has had such a profound impact on the way I think about food. This movie rocked my world. I’m not going to get preachy about it, but if you have any interest in learning about where the food you eat comes from and the impact it has on your well-being, please see this movie.
About a month later I saw an interview with a woman named Kathy Freston, the author of the book Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness. She was talking about how what we eat can affect our heath and well-being and about a 21 day “cleanse” diet to reset the system. I’ve always wanted to try to do some sort of cleanse diet but I’ve been put off by the ones where you only eat one type of food (the soup diet! the cookie diet!), prohibit carbs, or where you only drink a lemonade with cayenne pepper for 10 days. Consequently, I’ve never done it because I know I’d only last about six hours. But this one made sense to me and I filed it away in my head for a later time.
That time is now. The basic premise is for 21 days you follow a diet which does not include refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, wheat gluten or animal products. Avoiding these things gives your body a chance to heal and reset itself from the damage you do by eating them.
Yes, this means no cheese, eggs, meat or milk, no bread or pasta (unless it’s gluten-free), no wine, no coffee, and no sugar which is pretty much an ingredient in everything. I ended up buying Freston’s book Quantum Wellness Cleanse: The 21-Day Essential Guide to Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit which is the companion to her first book and details the cleanse day by day so I could have some guidance on the particulars.
People keep asking me why I’m doing this. First, because I want to see if I feel better. Second, (and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this) I would like to lose a little weight. But a big part of it is for the challenge; I really wanted to see if I could stick with this for 21 days (without cheating) and for the challenge as a cook. It’s a lot harder to cook great food when you don’t have meat, cheese, eggs and things with wheat gluten to fall back on. I wanted to see if I could make food that people would want to eat, even if it was vegan.
Will I eat this way for the rest of my life? No. I love food too much to limit my choices in this way. On the other hand, I now know it’s possible not to need to have some sort of animal protein with every meal and that even one cup of coffee a day can lead to a caffeine addiction.
So, if you’re interested in this and wonder what the heck I’m going to eat, you’ll be able to follow along here. It is possible and honestly, not that difficult.