I’m one of those people who should have given up on the 80/10/10 raw foods diet. At times the detox process has felt impossible, like something I wouldn’t get through – ever. But at age 50, after a roller coaster year of transitioning, I am starting to feel really good – better than I have ever felt in my life – on a diet of fresh, raw, ripe fruits and vegetables with a little bit of healthy fats.
Early on, that wasn’t the case. I would feel great after a few weeks on the diet and symptoms of chronic illness would disappear. But then my weight would plummet and I would get into some deep detox phases with migraines, dizziness and fatigue. I’d want to give up for good. And yet I knew deeply that the high carb low fat raw diet was the best way for me to banish a decade of Lyme disease from my body and achieve a high level of health. I could see the vibrancy in the eyes of those who’d achieved this epic feat and I wanted what they had.
By early last year I’d been trying to transition onto the 80/10/10 for months – years if you include the half hearted attempts following water fasts and juice fasts starting around 2010, the year I was introduced to Doug Graham’s book and the wonderful Arnold’s Way videos on YouTube. Even back then, very sick with Lyme and mercury toxicity, I felt pulled toward the raw food lifestyle, which was said to be the natural diet of man, the diet we’d eaten as we’d evolved – our “species specific” diet. But with all of my health issues (I now refer to Lyme as simply “Toxic Body Syndrome”) I couldn’t seem to eat the fruit diet without getting even sicker due to the hellscape of detox that seemed to want to take me down. By the summer of 2014, after years on an imperfect plant-based diet with lots of green smoothies, I was determined to try the 80/10/10 again.
I started with various juice and smoothie programs, “banana islands,” long periods of all fruit and no fat. That’s what the old-timers told me to do in order to hasten the transition and begin feeling better. And it worked! On fruit, my body cured itself of the worst of the Lyme symptoms in about three weeks.
But after about a month to six weeks of these “islands” my weight would get to the boundaries of the “unsafe” zone, which was about 113 pounds (I’m 5’10). As I released toxin-filled stores of fat and pathogenetic illness something would happen. Maybe it was heavy metals leaving. Maybe it was parasites dying. But I’d get those migraines and other symptoms that made it hard to even think straight. Perhaps because of all the toxins passing through my digestive tract I could not absorb the nutrition my body was taking in – even eating an abundance of sweet fruit – and the scale kept going down.
After more than a year of transitioning I can tell you now, in hindsight, that 99.9 percent of that was detox. I know that sounds trite and we are all sick of hearing the word “detox.” But for me that’s what it was.
Rainbows and Unicorns?
Today, miraculously, after months and months of the dreaded detox, I am fairly comfortable on my current juice feast (with tiny amounts of fruit here and there and aiming for juice-only in the coming weeks). And I am super comfy on the 80/10/10 diet. This is a miracle!
I need to remember to stay grateful for this rather than focusing on the detox episodes that still come and go with the juices.
I know a lot of people jump onto the 80/10/10 lifestyle and ride off into the fruity sunset. Other people suffer from some detox for just a few weeks or months. For some of us, however, the almost intolerable symptoms seem to go on endlessly. Lots of people like me give up for good and never realize their ultimate health goals and meet their true, essential blissed-out human selves. I wanted the whole (raw) enchilada. But early on I wasn’t figuring out how to get there.
So as one of those people in the “hopeless” category who has made a lot of progress I thought I would share some of the things that helped me get comfortable and happy on the low fat high carb raw diet:
I never gave up. I was serious about the 80/10/10 and made it my goal and worked toward it even when the odds seemed stacked against me and I had to take breaks in order to keep working and caring for my children. If you feel called to eat this way because of a serious health condition then make it your goal, work toward it and don’t expect perfection. Your body may have other ideas and decide to transition at its own pace. But just keep at it. Your body/soul will lead you in the right direction. I stopped seeing my breaks as “failures” but as something I had to do in order to keep detoxing while working three jobs and taking care of kids as a full time single mom. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to go all the way with it and I kept watching videos and reading blogs by people who were successful.
I learned to stop the suffering but not the detox. I failed a lot at first but by the second half of my first year I learned how to take breaks without completely turning off the detox. I believe you can do this in two ways: Keep eating all raw but add in some extra fats like avocado; or eat a lot of raw foods during the day but add in some cooked plants at night – leaving fats like nuts, seeds and coconuts mostly or completely out of that high raw diet. I experimented with these two ways of slowing but not stopping the detox. Lower fat was definitely the best for me in terms of fighting Lyme but every body is different so experimenting is wise. Adding in some cooked for a few months allowed me to eat a no-fat diet that not only fought Lyme but eventually made the transition into a low fat raw diet relatively easy. A simple diet is always best. Foods like steamed squash, zucchini, greens were much better than starches. Again, just my opinion and what worked for me in my transition.
I kept my colon clean! There is no way I would have made it through more than a year of intense detox without colonics and enemas. If you are able to afford colonics do them once a week. A colonic will yank years of stored bodily waste out through your liver and colon in just one session, thus allowing the rest of your body’s cells to drop their toxic load as well. It’s like a nice trip to detoxville without all the trouble. If you can’t afford weekly colonics then do them do them once a month with enemas in between – or not at all with lots of enemas. A lot of 80/10/10ers slam enemas. That’s because they do not fall into the category of people who have extreme negative symptoms when detoxifying on a plant-based or raw diet. (MTHFR gene anyone?) Ignore these folks. Their body is way different than yours.
I prayed my (very clean) ass off. I believe having a spiritual life helps us cope with detox. I had to ask my Higher Power (yours can be God, Jesus, the Universe, the doorknob, whatever) to help me get through this detox deal as peacefully as possible and make the way known and clear. I can tell you that all of the episodes of hopelessness I had over the last year showed me this in hindsight: Every time something did not work and I wanted to give up it was because God wanted me to have the very best. He/she did not want to bring me this far for me to live with a grain brain for the rest of my life. (Yes, I love the plant-based diet but right now grains suck for me). For me the 80/10/10 diet is the very best.
Self love and affirmations. I created five key affirmations for myself and I would say them as frequently as I could remember and even hang them around the house on Post-it notes. Affirmations trained my brain and body to get well. There’s now a TON of scientific data showing that affirmations work. Stay away from people who say otherwise (lots of toxic, hopeless people will say they don’t work but they are a foundation point of every great religion and spiritual practice in the world). They do work! I affirm: “I’m getting better and better every day in every way” and “I eat only foods that bring me into a state of peace and harmony and health.” Whatever you want to create inside and for yourself make that your affirmation and say it often. Your body will take it from there.
Remember, detoxification is on your body’s timeline, not your brain’s timeline. If it had been up to me I would have transitioned into the 80/10/10 in three weeks and it would have been all unicorns and butterflies from there on out.
Maybe those of us who suffer through some prolonged detox are fortunate in that we learn compassion for ourselves and others and can lend a helping hand to new people in need without judgment.
Don’t ever give up on your health!
If I can answer any questions please reach out to me through my websites or private message me on Facebook.