Today I’m here to chat about how my 30 day cleanse off gluten and dairy went! You may be asking yourself, “why on earth would you do such a thing?” Well.. you can check out the full post of why I went on a cleanse, here, if you want all the nitty gritty details. But for those of you wanting the Spark notes version: I quit hormonal birth control about 4 months ago, and wanted to check in to see how my body was adjusting. I went to my holistic doctor and learned my hormones were having a tough time readjusting after being on the pill for about 8 years… and dairy seemed to be a big culprit. I also learned gluten was giving me some brain fog. So, at the recommendation of my doctor, I cut out dairy and gluten for 30 days, plus added in a few specific supplements. Then, in a few months I’ll have my hormones retested to see if the cleanse helped! Without further ado… here’s how it went and what I learned.
What went well
Honestly, cutting out dairy and gluten was surprisingly not a big deal for me. Here were some of the reasons for that:
- My mindset – I didn’t go into the cleanse dreading it, and thinking “This is gonna SUCK!” Instead, I was committed to thinking “This is something I’m testing to improve my health!” That slight mindset shift made all the difference for me.
- I’m a rule follower – Once I’m told to do something, and can see the benefits of why it will be useful to me, you won’t see me stray from what I’ve decided to do. There was no shaking me through this process, or tempting me out of it.
- I live in a dietary restriction friendly city – Eating out was pretty simple, because Austinites are used to dietary restrictions. Everywhere I ate, restaurant employees were knowledgeable about what was in the food, and helped provide guidance for what to order. You can see some of the restaurants I ate at, below!
- I love to cook – I genuinely had a great time trying out new recipes, and cooking at home. You can see some of the recipes I tried, below!
- It was only 30 days – You can do pretty much anything for 30 days!
- Journaling – I kept a food and exercise journal for the 30 days to help keep an eye on trends. This was really helpful for me as it A.) held me accountable to what I was eating, and B.) gave me an opportunity to actually check in on how I was feeling each day.
- My cycle – My cycle had gotten a little off track the month before I began the cleanse, but then went right back to normal during the cleanse. I’m not sure if this was sheer coincidence, but I took it as a win!
- No more headaches/brain fog – The first few days I had a few rough headaches, but then everything cleared out!
What didn’t go so well
Like I said, it was a pretty easy 30 day process for me. With that said, there were a few barriers I overcame along the way, and things I learned:
- Alcohol was a big no no – I QUICKLY learned I also needed to cut out alcohol for the 30 days, even though my doctor hadn’t mentioned this. I drank twice while on the cleanse in the first week or so, and both times had an emotional roller coaster to deal with, which is not the norm for me. After the second time, it became clear to me cutting alcohol temporarily was the right choice.
- Breakfast and dessert were the hardest to accommodate – I learned that I tend to crave something sweet about once per week. But, finding a treat that was both dairy AND gluten free was quite the challenge. We ended up finding a local ice cream option, one cupcake option, and then one week I found a DF/GF brownie mix at Whole Foods that was decent. You can see the options I would recommend, below! Then most breakfast/brunch options have either gluten or dairy in them, so that was a challenge sometimes as well.
- Hormones are invisible – Since I didn’t get on a cleanse to lose weight or something of that nature, it was hard to tell if the cleanse was “working”. That made it challenging in some ways to stay motivated, as I can be impatient.
- Taking supplements without eating first – On a couple of days I made the mistake of taking my supplements before eating breakfast. I got super nauseous on those days, so that was a lesson learned at the beginning.
- My digestion was all over the place – Without getting into too many details (you’re welcome), my digestion was definitely not ideal for the month. I was taking Golden Thread, which aids to clear out any yuck in your digestive track, and I must have needed to detox more than I thought! I’ve never really experienced many digestive issues, so this was a new, and not so great experience.
- I’m still experiencing hormonal breakouts – Although I’ve seen amazing changes with my skin overall since switching to the Herbivore skin line, I’m still experiencing hormonal breakouts on my chin as I detox excess hormones. This is to be expected, but doesn’t make me feel much better. (Keep an eye out for a post on my skin care process soon!)
- Not slowly reincorporating after the cleanse – The day after I ended the cleanse, we had a float trip planned with a group of friends. I ended up eating a breakfast taco with gluten AND dairy in it, drinking a few cans of wine while floating down the river, and then also eating a burger after to soak up the alcohol. (I know, face palm) In a nutshell – I totally messed up by not slowly reincorporating gluten, dairy, and alcohol back in… and I paid the price. (Whoops!)
What I ate
Cooking for myself
Most mornings I wasn’t hungry, but when I was, I swapped back and forth between these options, plus a bottle of juice from Juice Society:
Avocado toast – Food for Life Brown Rice bread (YUM), homemade pesto, a quarter of a mashed avocado, red pepper flakes, and pine nuts
Banana with Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter
I did not cut out coffee during my cleanse. Here’s my go to concoction in the AM, using my Nespresso machine. The only thing I changed was my milk option (which I don’t plan to change back!):
Lunch and Dinner
Most weeknights I made dinner at home, then brought my leftovers for lunch the next day at work:
Pulled Pork Carnitas Tacos with Black Beans and Rice
Salmon with Broccolini and Jasmine Rice
Thai Coconut Curry Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Rice
Peanut Coconut Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and Jasmine Rice
Buffalo Chicken Rice Bowl with Sautéed Matchstick Carrots and Vegan Ranch
Salmon with Gluten Free Pasta and Dairy Free Alfredo Sauce, and Asparagus
Coconut Rice with Brussels Sprouts and Chicken
I’m not a huge snacker, but here were a few things I ate if I needed a little somethin’:
White Cheddar Hippeas
Sliced apple and nut butter
On the weekends, we tend to eat out with friends, and like to try new spots out around town. Here were the ones that worked for me:
Loro – This is a new spot in Austin, and it did not disappoint in any way. They had a dietary restrictions menu you could cross reference to ensure you were good to go.
Yuyo – There were like 3 things on the entire menu I couldn’t eat. Big win here.
Salty Sow – This is my absolute favorite restaurant in Austin, and I love it even more now that I’ve experienced it on a cleanse. Our waiter was awesome at helping me pick options.
Picnik – Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I go here for breakfast and their matcha latte more times than I’d care to admit. I finally just got them to fess up to me about where they source their gluten free bread, so I could make it for myself at home (see above avocado toast recipe).
Paperboy – We came here for brunch one morning and it was sooo good.
Flower Child – I eat here wayyyy too often, and was happy to see it was a good fit for the cleanse as well. I did miss the mac n cheese though, which is GF, but not DF.
Bento Picnic – This is a personal favorite of mine, as it’s female owned, the concept is so good, and the food is delish. Plus, now they have a cute lil location on the East side.
Honest Mary’s – I’d been wanting to try Honest Mary’s anyway, so the cleanse was a good excuse to drive up North a bit. I loved that you could build your own bowl to meet your cravings/needs!
True Food Kitchen – I went with my parents and they ended up opting out of their gluten options, for my gluten free pita bread. It was that good.
Casa Colombia – This is a really great, authentic spot on the East side that my boyfriend and I are obsessed with.
Cafe No Se – Cafe No Se is walking distance from our house, so we are already frequent flyers here. The quinoa bowl was a lifesaver.
NadaMoo – Oh hot damn, this was my jam. We stopped by our local shop twice to accommodate my previously mentioned once a week sweet tooth. Every single flavor is GF and DF, yasssssss. You can also find tubs of NadaMoo at Whole Foods!
Capital City Bakery – Although they only had a small selection of GF/DF desserts, the chocolate cupcake I got did not disappoint.
More to come about the effectiveness of the cleanse soon! Have you ever been on a cleanse before? How did it go?