The Detox Diet



My gluten-free “power porrij” is bland. I’m not supposed to add salt, but I did. I’m also only allowed 1-2 servings of fruit per day, so I’ve dipped into my limited allowance and sacrificed 1/2 cup of blueberries to spice up my porridge. It didn’t’ really help. The blueberries did nothing for the glue-like texture, but they did help distract my antipathy with intermittent bursts of tart-ful sweetness between spoonfuls. At the end of the exercise, I am still hungry.

The “power porrij” is full of supergrains: Organic millet, almonds, quinoa, amaranth, golden flaxseed, brown rice, macadamias and cinnamon.

It sounds pretty good right? So why is it so gooey and bland?

I obligingly take the natural herbs and probiotics prescribed by the naturopath and I hope, with a moderate amount of scepticism, that perhaps today I will not feel like I’m starving to death.


I got called into work at 0530am. An extremely sick boy needed immediate retrieval to our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I inhaled the gluten-free granola my cousin made me and quickly made a protein shake to take on the helicopter for my midmorning snack. I stared longingly at the raw food bars that I normally stash in the top pocket of my flight suit. “How can these possibly be bad for you?!!” I fretted. Dates and dried fruit were now forbidden foods.

At 12:30pm we were back in the ambulance on our way to the airport. I dug through one of the bags and found my green smoothie. It had been 7 hours since I ate breakfast. Like I had mentioned to the Naturopath, it is impossible to ensure regular eating times with my job. My body was craving carbs and my pounding headache coupled with mental fogginess screamed the need for caffeine.

I pushed through it.

3 hours laters I had lunch. There, I FINALLY met my eating interval of 2-3 hours. Tick.

But before I knew it, we were out on the road again. This time to pick up a newborn that was having breathing difficulties. No dinner for me. 

At 11pm I crawled into bed. If I had had the energy, I would have cried myself to sleep.


I felt like I’d been hit by a train. Yesterday’s 16 hour shift depleted me of what little energy I had left and now I had to drag myself back to work. A double shot was extremely tempting and I glanced longingly at my row of colourful shiny nespresso pods. With untoward commitment I blended up a green protein smoothie again and walked out the door.

I was greeted with looks of concern as I entered our unit. I was not the bubbly, energetic, carefree american that my colleagues were used to.

“Are you ok?” They asked in concern.

Before I could even respond the emergency pager went off. Time to kick into gear. It wasn’t even 0800am yet.

Day 6

I found myself in the fetal position on the kitchen floor. Tears stained the carpet as I cried myself into oblivion. I’m such a foodie, and now that this had been stripped away from me I felt like I’d lost my passion for life. The coffee and sugar withdrawals were wearing me down. Pounding headaches and constant hunger left me weak and desperate. I shouldn’t have gone cold-turkey, but I did. The Naturopath assured me that the first 3 days were the worst, but so far I’ve had no reprieve.

“Why am I doing this?” I cried out in despair

My husband looked totally helpless. “You don’t have to do this.” he said gently, trying to be supportive.

“Of course I have to!” I yelled. “Do you think I’m NOT strong enough?” I retorted angrily.

“Of course you are.” he tried to support me again, “You have incredible strength, and grit. I know you can do this.”

“But I DON’T want to!!!!!!” I wailed….

My husband accepted his hopeless cause, knowing he could not win when I was this delirious. He picked me up off the floor and hugged me tightly until my crying and convulsing stopped.

Day 7

I have survived week 1 of my detox. The official detox program is 6 weeks, but unfortunately I do not have the luxury of a deadline. I am on a fertility diet. My particular diagnosis has a poor prognosis of not only conceiving, but also maintaining a pregnancy, so I felt as though I needed to do everything in my power to increase my chances of success. I admit, the possible longevity of the situation is so overwhelming that I have actively chosen not to dwell on the matter and to focus entirely on surviving one day at a time.

I have a very long road ahead.


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