Saturday, 27 August 2011

28 days later: Zombie or Vegan, or both? Carol Vorderman's Detox for Life: The 28 Day Detox Diet and Beyond

I just lost three quarters of a stone in 4 weeks. I was 13 and a quarter stone and now I am 12 and a half. Though I have to say our weighing machine is rubbish and can vary a quarter of a stone depending on where you put it and how you stand on it! Leaning back while still being able to see the dial is worth a couple of pounds.

It was a Sunday and Nikki said she was starting Carol Vorderman's Detox for Life: The 28 Day Detox Diet and Beyond the next day – did I want to do it too? I said OK.

I am not sure if I have ever been on an official diet before, so this is probably a first. And, it was pretty easy.

What I gave up
I think this diet is pretty hard-core vegan, vegan++, or perhaps vegan+gm-free. Enough name calling. What I didn't eat was:

  • meat and fish
  • dairy – cow or any other
  • high gluten  foods, aka the white stuff – wheat, sugar, potatoes, white rice
  • booze
  • caffeine – tea, coffee

As my favourite meal would be (french) bread, wine and cheese and probably grapes, I would have thought this diet would be pretty difficult. Caffeine-wise I don't drink tea very often and I grind one cup of coffee a day. But we quite often end up in cafes, especially the Butterfly cafe at St Giles (cheap but great and roomy – a place children can run riot indoors when it rains ((and in scotland that's most of the time)) otherwise its the Pavilion in the Meadows – cheapish, very organic and outdoors so children can run riot – there's a theme there isn't there).

What I ate
Chickpeas. Actually it was much better then that, though maybe not really. Here goes:

Breakfast: porridge with raisons and flax seeds, soya milk instead of milk – not much change there. Almond milk though is even better, expensive but lovely (very mild almond flavour)
Lunch: on the whole, salads plus ryvita and Nairns (rough) oat biscuits (so many, especially the expensive thick handmade oat cakes/biscuits are disgusting – it seems because they have wheat in them, which I find inexplicable), various types of hummus (laterly home made) falafels (shop bought). Sometimes a vegetable and bean fry up.
Supper: sometimes a return to lunch and at others a proper cooked vegan meal. It turns out that a lot of mediteranean, indian, morroccan, mexican stuff fit the bill. 
Nibbles: bombay mix (its all chickpeas and nuts), maize/corn tortillas (you may think Dorittos wouldn't be able to achieve this but actually they have plain tortillas that are just corn, oil and salt. The only problem being that they are not as nice as other plain tortillas we discovered in an organic food shop.) nuts, dried fruits and fruit.

I ate a flapjack that I thought was ok but turned out to have a lot of sugar in it. I also went to my sisters 50th birthday party - I drank, I ate a lot of lovely food – crisps, potatoes, meat, fish, cake, and the following morning coffee bread and salami and cheese. I weighed myself the monday after that weekend an I had still lost weight the same as the first week ( a quarter of a stone).

There were times, making tuna mayonnaise for the children, throwing out an uneaten sausage, seeing if the pasta was cooked – that off-menu food almost made it to my lips, but mainly by accident, though the tuna was very tempting. On the whole it was pretty easy – going to cafes was a bit dull – so we went a lot less.

Side effects?
The first side effect was very bad aching calf muscles. I never really worked out why this was. I ate a couple of bananas in case it was potassium, but it had no effect. It got really painful at night, but not actual cramps. I suspect it was milk – lactic acid build up?? Not even Google could help me here. Luckily it went away after four days.

The worst side-effect, that seems to get played down on vegetarian and vegan forums is wind. Terrible constant solid walls of noxious farts. Loud and dangerous. Shopping was nightmare of carefully chosen emergency dumping grounds in empty aisles followed by gentle yet swift ( as the fumes seem to stick to you of you move away too fast – suctions and void theory?) escape before some luckless assistant walks into the cloud.

The only way of dealing with this was to always be near, or carrying at least one child, as naturally they are the default blamee. One day I will apologise to my children for this.

I think we spent much less money. Less on meat (the children ate normally throughout this), less dairy, far fewer visits to cafes (and therefore less spent on coffee and cakey-breads), and no alcohol.

Yearnings – Dreams
I did have a dream, my Breakfast with Mogwai dream, where I ate a croissant. But I didn't have any major yearnings. On the fourth saturday I really felt like having a drink. But the main one was looking forward to having a coffee again.

Maybe my sister's party made it all too easy – only two fortnight sections to get through.


  • Almond milk – i'll let you know how the coffee goes later, 
  • PureSoya spread – much nicer than any margerine – sort of cool cold and tasteless, and you can fry with it. 
  • Chickpea in general actually. I mean frying up some veg and pouring in a tin of checkpeas and adding a few herb and spices, it was lovely and less than 5 minutes to make 
  • bombay mix, 
  • hummus - i can make great Moroccan Hummus now!
  • falafels (cant make them yet - some packet mixes are better than others)
  • gram flower for onion bhajis and I suspect popadoms (yet to explore this theory but I think I can see how that works)
Exercise - did I take any?
Well, I do. This will come as a surprise to almost everyone I know. But maybe less so when I say that its not much. It is, to be exact: 100 sit ups, 25 press ups and a 1 mile run, 3 times a week. This seems to last about 9 or 10 months a year – christmas and summer holidays being a bit problematic. This has gone on for nearly 3 years (though it began as twice a week and 25 sit ups with a ¾ mile run). I don't think it had any effect on my weight loss as it hadn't for the previous 2 years (!?@*&^!5!$ to quote Captain Haddock).

Will i continue it?
After my sister's birthday I began to suspect that you can eat the 'good stuff' without putting on wieght, or even feeling bad, as long as you dont have it every day, or maybe not even every week.

So yes, I will. I'll probably eat meat and fish on occasion, but less than once a week. I certainly will drink. But I wont eat bread or butter or cheese or milk, or dairy at all really. And just see how it goes.

This all happened over a month ago now. More to follow. I have now lost a stone.

This was not a diet about eating less. I ate loads and felt very full.
What kind of veganism is this – faux-vegan? Vegan + (as there is no wheat or potatoes or white rice) or Vegan +- as there is meat?? Or maybe just eating like a european? What do you think?

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