Family life

My "5 for 15" challenge

Tracy tries a cleanse, and debates a detox. Has she said goodbye to diet pop forever?

By Tracy Chappell
My "5 for 15" challenge

Are my diet pop days behind me forever?

I’m on the final day of my “5 for 15” food challenge. It’s not a detox, but a “cleanse,” I believe. How does it work? For 15 days, thou shalt not consume any of the following:

1. White flour, wheat, or anything with gluten
2. Sugar (refined – fruit is allowed)
3. Aspartame, sucralose, splenda or any other artificial sweetener
4. Anything processed or with preservatives
5. Alcohol

In the words of Stephanie Joanne of, who initiated the challenge, “if it didn’t come from the ground or it didn’t have a mother, you are not eating it.”
So I’m on the very last day. I meant to blog about this on Day 1 so you could all join me in my crusade, but I think I was in the throes of a debilitating headache from Diet Coke withdrawal. I had been doing (pretty) well with only having one Diet Coke per day, as promised, but I learned that having one Diet Coke and having zero Diet Cokes are very, very different things. (I was allowed caffeine, but because I don’t drink coffee or tea, DC is it for me.)
DC was, by far, the toughest part of this challenge for me and I had a serious headache for three days straight. But can you believe I’ve not even had a sip of that sweet nectar in 14 days? Dare I go Diet Coke-free forever? I can’t lie, I’m looking forward to one right now. But maybe I should see how long I can go…
The no-wheat/flour/gluten wasn’t so bad; I got some gluten-free bread and pasta. Nothing processed was fine most of the time, except for those days I didn’t plan ahead properly and I realized how easy it is to turn to that. No alcohol was do-able. No sugar? That was pretty tough. Not only because of my sweet tooth, but sugar is in so much stuff.
I confess to a couple of cheats. I did surprisingly well at Great Wolf Lodge, but at one point at the water park I was so hungry I ate a bunch of crackers. And then on Saturday night I went to the Mark’s Work Warehouse holiday sale before coming home for dinner and the line snaked around the entire store (five times, it seemed). The manager came around with a bucket of chocolates to help keep our energy up and I succumbed. OK, two! It was the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Overall, it hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought. And if I liked to cook, it would have been even easier. After the first few days, I felt quite full a lot of the time, less likely to want to snack all day, and overall, I feel pretty great. I even lost a few pounds. Though I do have a bizarre craving for chocolate chip cookies.
It’s making me wonder if I should try a detox. I know they’re much more hardcore than what I’ve done, but I’ve always been intrigued. Have you ever done at detox? I’d love to hear what you did and how you felt.

Photo by williamhartz via Flickr

This article was originally published on Nov 29, 2011

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