Living more healthy: doing a mini detox

During my mountain run with Marcel and Dolphin in Hong Kong last weekend, we among others talked about food and life styles. Marcel leads a very healthy life style and that made me think about what I am eating and drinking every day. I probably eat more healthy than the average person from Europe or the US, because of the Chinese food that our ayi prepares for us every day (lots of vegetables, rice, noodles and fish). But during lunch time I often run to Starbucks to grab a muffin or sandwich or (worse) I order McDonalds. Next to that I like to drink lots of coffee during the day and I also regularly drink wine or beer.

I decided to do a mini detox: I would stop drinking alcohol and coffee and switch to a semi-vegetarian diet for at least a week. Not a full detox, because that would hurt my ability to keep on running and likely would affect my daily work as well. Next to that I would try to sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. I started the mini detox last Monday, today exactly one week ago.

On Monday I decided not to turn on my Jura coffee machine and instead of drinking coffee to drink carrot juice mixed with sparkling mineral water. That tastes pretty good, and because I had a good sleep I did not feel I needed the coffee. I still drank about a liter of black tea on Monday to make sure I would not get caffeine withdrawal symptoms. From Tuesday on I only drank fresh fruit or vegetable juice, sparkling mineral water and green tea, instead of coffee and black tea. I had a bit of a headache for a while, but by Friday the symptoms had disappeared. I actually don’t really miss the coffee and like the fresh juices more and more.

Next to that I also stopped eating meat for the whole week, only eating a bit of salmon on Wednesday and some sashimi and sushi (mainly raw tuna and salmon) at a Japanese restaurant on Sunday night. Instead of meat I ate a lot more vegetables, both during lunch and dinner. I did not change my breakfast (fresh yogurt with muesli), but I substituted the big mug of black tea for a large glass of fresh juice. During the day I ate lots of fruit, so I would not crave for other snacks. At night I did not drink a single drop of alcohol. Not too difficult, because I was home most nights and I normally do not drink anything if there are no visitors. Even at our company outing I did not order a beer, although I would have loved to have one after the long hike on Friday!

Getting more sleep is the most difficult change to make. Especially with Scott it’s a bit complicated, as he gets his last feeding at 11 PM, so we don’t go to bed before 12 (and often much later). Scott wakes up at 5 AM, but normally the nanny takes care of him. However, I want to be on my running machine by 7 AM, so normally I am already happy if I get at least 6 hours of sleep. The outing did not help either to get more sleep!

Do I feel any different? I felt more healthy and energetic this week, but to be honest I am not sure if it’s because of my diet change. It’s good to think about what you’re eating: because of that you eat less and enjoy the food more. And you feel good when you manage to keep your diet without too many problems. I even lost about 1-2 kilo’s over the past week, likely because of less alcohol and no junk food or snack, but also because I did a lot of sports during the past days.

For me it was a good thing to live a bit more healthy and I have decided to keep certain elements of the diet over the next couple of weeks. I will slowly start drinking coffee and tea again (but max. 2 coffee per day), and might drink a glass or 2 of alcohol during business dinners or other special occasions. But I will keep cutting back on meat (just once or twice a week) and eat a lot more veggies. McDonalds and KFC won’t see me until at least after the Trailwalker early November. And for sleep? I am afraid that’s the only thing I won’t be able to change. I have several business trips coming up over the next weeks and I know from experience that they are exhausting. Also at home it will be difficult to get more than 7 hours of sleep, unless I cut back on my early morning work-outs (which I won’t do).

Conclusion for me: a mini detox is a good idea as long as you don’t overdo it (no radical changes over longer periods of time) and as long as you realize that perceived results may partly be psychological.

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  1. Hmmz, I live a healthy life, I eat a lot of healthy food & sport a lot… but your post made me realize that I have been eating at the golden arches and Pizza hut quite a lot this week (Thanksgiving, everything closed etc…) I will try a mini detox this week, starting this lunch! Nice post, and good luck in your quest for vitality

  2. My first year in China was marked by a huge reduction in my energy levels and the arrival of a little belly. I couldn’t for the life of me stay alert and wakeful and it had a terrible effect on my quality of life. Then, joining a gym and going at least 4 times a week, reducing my meat intake by 90% and juice fasting for 1 day a week gave me a huge boost. A little detox gives your body a little room to breathe, but for healthy choices to really have an impact you need to change your lifestyle. Harder, but much more rewarding.

  3. Here’s a suggestion to DRASTICALLY improve your health…move out of China. The food system (witness 22 milk producers poisoning their products) in China is a perfect mirror to their entire culture; eyes wide shut consumerism, dog eat dog competitiveness and a disregard for human welfare. Enjoy melamine on your cornflakes, folks!!!