Monday, 11 February 2013

Operation Detox

A healthy snack I had today - plantains fried in coconut oil with spices and salt

This week Operation Detox begins in earnest! I'm marking this Wednesday the official start, as then we will have both replaced the lead (!) pipe that brings water from the mains into our house, and also installed an under-sink reverse osmosis filter in our kitchen.

I've made some changes in our diet too. Long-term readers of this blog will know about my love-affair with butter, and how I believe there is no substitute. Well, I still believe that, but I've stopped using butter to fry our pancakes and onions etc. when cooking. I'm using coconut oil instead, and can't taste a difference. I'd estimate we could easily use 1.5lbs of butter a week, including baking, which for 2 adults and 2 small children is a LOT. This has reduced significantly, especially as the baking I did last week was a fat-free black bean cake. Butter is high in saturated fats, as we all know, which can contribute to heart disease, so to be substituting some of our intake with coconut oil is a great start. Coconut oil supports the immune system, helps speed metabolism, and soothes the digestive tract among other things. A wonder-food, and I'm glad I got to it's party, if a little late!

Since we were so ill over the winter, I was researching (with Dr. Google) immune-boosting foods, and came across the information about cinnamon, the wonder-spice! Not only does it stabilise blood-sugar levels (so I crave less sugar!) it also boosts immunity and halts inflammation for neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, MS, Parkinson's, meningitis etc. It may reduce cancer cells and help with arthritic pain. I've been suffering with the early symptoms of psoriatic arthritis for the last few years. If I neglect my diet I start to get patches of psoriasis and pain in my fingers and hips. I read up on this years ago and started introducing flaxseed oil / linseeds to my diet to prevent it (can't take cod liver oil as I'm veggie). It's a condition that I can manage, and apart from the discomfort of my joints from time to time I don't think about it. So I'm now adding cinnamon to our food every day, either in pancake batter or soups and stews/curries.

Turmeric (haldi) is another wonder spice I've mentioned before. It now appears in our muffins, pancakes, curries and stews, and it adds a lovely yellow colour to everything. It's benefits are similar to cinnamon, it's an anti-inflammatory and also supports the liver and aids the elimination of toxins from the body. I buy it ground but I've seen the roots for sale, and you can juice them with other fruits and vegetables.

Water is the most important and basic change for us. When I think that the last 8 years we've been living here and drinking from lead pipes I'm sickened. I can see the fluorosis on my 18month old's teeth already, even though he drinks very little water (mostly breastmilk). My own teeth have always had mottling, which I used to think was due to caffeine staining, but I know now it's permanent fluoride damage. I also hadn't thought of the amount of extra fluoride I'm getting through toothpaste, and the water I cook with would of course add fluoride to our food too. So roll on Wednesday morning when we wake up to a new future of clean clear water!

I'm at the one-coffee-a-day stage now, and I need it to wake up in the morning. I'm going to try to limit my caffeine intake and only have one cup of tea a day too. I have decaf teabags, which I use to make chai, and I know that's got lots of health benefits too. I'm not a fan of green tea or most herbal teas, so instead I make infusions of ginger root with honey or fruit juices the odd time.

I've had some breakouts in my skin recently, I had bad acne until my early 20s, and it recurs when I over-indulge in alcohol/sugar. I'm hoping to see an improvement in my skin and overall energy levels.

I'm making sure we eat fresh fruit/veg every day. It's such a basic thing, but there were days when we only ate storecupboard ingredients / Mc Donald's, so I'm making a conscious effort to buy and cook fresh food every single day.

Sugar is a real downfall here, we eat refined sugar every day. Though I don't buy sugary cereals/yoghurts we would still have some jellies/chocolate/biscuits every day. I'm trying to make my own now, and save the bought ones for real treats. Right now I'm halfway through making sweets out of almonds, sesame seeds, linseeds, raisins, cocoa powder and cinnamon, blitzed into small pieces and bound with coconut oil, rolled into balls and refrigerated.

Exercise basically hasn't happened this winter. Save for a few days out we've been housebound by one virus after another. I've started sending Charlie out to bounce on the trampoline, which he loves, but I need to start getting into a regular habit of walking to the shops again.

I'll be updating this Operation Detox weekly for four weeks, to show you how I'm getting on, and hopefully document the improvements!

Yes, it probably should have started in January, but better late than never!
Nee x

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