Amy Eddings' Food for Thought: The Power of Food to Heal and Hurt

All this talk about the medicinal properties of anise hyssop and calendula has me thinking about the power of food to heal, and to harm.

I've been inching my way toward a detox program called Clean. Have you heard of it? Developed by Manhattan cardiologist Dr. Alejandro Junger, it's a 21-day program that consists of juice or soup in the morning, a small, solid meal in the afternoon and juice or soup in the evening. There's a 12-hour window between dinner and breakfast, to give your body time to complete digestion and the elimination of the unwanted byproducts of our metabolism and the toxic materials we breathe, eat and absorb through our skin. 

An elimination diet is recommended for a week or two or three before diving in. Through this diet, you get rid of food that are likely culprits of allergies and sensitivities: peanuts, wheat and gluten, milk, butter. Sugar of all kinds, including honey and maple syrup. Chocolate (sigh). Eggplant, tomatoes, soy products, pork, beef, veal -- the list goes on. Of course, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeinated beverages and coffee -- even decaf coffee -- are out, too.

So, what is allowed? Whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies and non-citrus fruits. Nut milks, like almond milk. Whole grains such as brown rice and millet. Salmon and trout and wild game. Lean lamb and duck. Olive oil, split peas, lentils and legumes and nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sesame seeds. Stevia and brown rice syrup for your sweet tooth. 

Right now, I've ditched sugar, wheat, beef, milk, butter and cheese. I long ago abandoned caffeine and I don't smoke or drink alcohol, so I'm ahead of the game there. 

I'm doing this because I don't like the way I eat.  I don't like my constant snacking and my cravings for chocolate and sugar. I don't like my use of food as an escape. I know compulsive overeating is also a mental and spiritual disorder, but I've done a lot of that inner work and I want to know if there are foods that are physically keeping me stuck in this rut.  

Two weeks into this very preliminary elimination diet, I am not thinking about eating all the time. I'm thinking about food a lot, as I establish new habits, but I am not thinking about eating my next meal or snack. I also feel curiously detached from some of my favorite foods, like cake and pain au chocolat and chocolate chip cookies. I wonder if I will ever be able to eat them again, without getting onto the roller coaster of craving.  

I'll let you know.

Are you doing something like this? What do you avoid eating, and why? How have you made major changes in your diet? I'd love to hear your stories and experiences.