Week 3:: Eat Happy Cleanse

Eat Happy Cleanse week 3

Have you ever sat down to eat a bag of chips, a piece of cake or even an entire meal, gotten to the bottom of the bag, package, or plate and thought “I ate all that?!”

You may find yourself eating this way a lot of the time, in fact.In today’s stressful world of multi-tasking where your Blackberry and iPhone are never far away, your laptop is always within arm’s reach, and there is always something more important to do than nourishing your body, it’s too easy to lose awareness, to not be present during mealtimes.

If we are honest, it is too easy to lose that feeling of being present in day-to-day life activities not to mention eating.

This week’s challenge code word:: Awareness 

I’m sure many of you think I have totally lost touch with reality about now.  “How can I possibly give more attention to the way I eat when I don’t even have more time to devote to eating?”.

Believe me, I get it.  I understand that life is so busy there’s no time to breathe but hear me when I say, lack of awareness affects not only your food intake but your whole take on life.

If you have ever sunken into a hot bath or cool swimming pool and felt an instant state of relaxation or gotten a burst of energy listening to an inspirational song then you have experienced the power of awareness.

In week 1 we talked about the importance of taking time, slowing down to really savor the process of eating.  In week 2 we delved into the importance of making everything you eat the best quality you can possibly find.  Both of those activities do a lot to deliver the best most potent forms of nourishment to the body.

Awareness takes it to the next level.

The Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR) is not new to you if you follow our posts.  Basically, digestion begins in the brain (as the Japanese say “The eyes eat first!”) and is responsible for 30% to 40% of the actual process of digestion.  Smelling food can stimulate chemical and mechanical receptors in the nose and on the tongue while thinking about food initiates saliva and other digestive enzyme secretions such as pancreatic enzymes (trypsin, amylase, and lipase to name a few), gastric acid and increases blood flow to the stomach, gut and other digestive organs to begin contraction so vital for good digestion.  It also regulates electrolyte concentrations within the GI tract to prepare it for the impending meal.

What happens when you scarf down that bag of potato chips without thought??  The CPDR can’t activate those all important responses which means not only impaired digestion but also reduced nutrient absorption and lowered metabolism. By not being aware of those potato chips you are shoveling into your mouth your digestion is running on maximum 70% capacity.

Awareness i.e being present during meals switches you from a sympathetic (stressed) to parasympathetic (relaxed) state which means digestion is optimized.  Lack of awareness generally means we are attempting to multi-task which generally means our minds and bodies are in a stressed state.  As I have said many times, stress tells your body a tiger is chasing it and it needs to run or fight.  It is in survival mode.  Digestion is secondary to survival therefore not an essential process.

Have you ever eaten while not paying attention and noticed that even after finishing your meal you are still hungry but your stomach felt overly full??

Awareness is sensual experience.  When you are aware, your body can experience pleasure, taste, smell, sight, and, with some cuisines, even touch.  In short, it can register satisfaction.  If the body is allowed to experience satisfaction it will fuel digestion, assimilation, and metabolism.

In a sense when the body doesn’t “remember” eating it will keep telling you “Eat something stupid!!”  Usually that something will involve lower quality quick fixes which will trigger a cycle of poor digestion because low quality also signals the body to keep eating in order to fulfill its nutrition requirements.

You are what you think.

The CPDR can also trigger an insulin response even when nothing is eaten.  When carbohydrates are consumed the body releases insulin to help use that “sugar” for cellular metabolism.  When there is too much insulin, however, it can signal the body to store fat and slow down muscle growth.

One of the main reasons I am a big believer in taking pleasure from the food you eat and, barring any health reason why eliminating an entire food group would be wise, making no food completely off limits if you really love it, is because when food becomes “forbidden” it becomes a point of obsession.  When foods, especially foods like pastry, cakes or chocolate become obsessions they are constant fantasies which activate the CPDR consistently and will chronically activate the insulin response.  This raises insulin levels artificially signaling the body to store more fat because when no carbohydrates are present the insulin must serve some process and if that purpose isn’t the dispensation of sugar it must revert to its secondary function.

At the risk of beating a dead horse I am not suggesting eating a whole cake or box of doughnuts in one sitting.  I am suggesting you stop assigning foods to your “forbidden” list and enjoy them sane amounts, make them the highest quality possible, and eat them slowly; savoring them and being aware of them with all of your senses.

Essentially, this week’s challenge is to be aware of your food. Enjoy cooking your meal, being aware of every ingredient, aware of how your food is plated, and, when you sit down, savor every bite, being present in the moment, not having two conversations at once or attempting to break up your 5 and 6 year old’s argument about whose fork is touching whose spoon,  trying to type that email or read the report from work.  Bring your awareness to the sensuality of nourishing your body.

Notice how much different your digestion becomes when you combine the processes of slowing down, eating high quality foods, and being aware of eating.

Do you notice yourself “checking out” when you eat?  Do you notice a difference when you practice mindful eating?  What are your experiences with awareness?


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  1. Mina says

    Great post.Something that I have experienced is that right when I catch myself during eating my meals,I breath deeply right away and I feel so relaxed and get full with less amount of food.You r right when i am away and just chewing down the foods I end up being acidic and hungry not to mention the pain in my stomach.

  2. Mina says

    How many years should you study to have such approach like you do ?I know u mention biochemistry alot in your posts ,,and also many other degrees like nutrition and holistic medicine and integrative medicine..so ,4 years to study BA in Biochemistry,4years nutrition,etc?Does it work like that ?I wanna apply fr Dubai so i ve gotta make sure how the system works..can u please give me more information?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Different countries have different rules for becoming whatever it is that you want to be. I have several different types of course work and, indeed, several different schools as well. Right now I am going for my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Nutrition in Nutrition Sciences so that’s a LOT of school. 4 years of nutrition gets to to be a dietician but I wasn’t ever satisfied with that. You have to find your own niche and what works for you based on the school you want to attend.

  3. Mina says

    But I am so confused,,there are also so many online courses that last for something like 1 year or so in holistic medicine and integrative medicine,i am really confused which courses to take,,I know there are some aspects to it like (eyurvedic,herbal medicine,biochemistry ,etc)Though i dont which course should should i be applying for first .

    • thedetoxdiva says

      This is a health coaching course. It’s a good course overall if you are looking for an overview, a good business base, and open to learning a range of nutrition theories. It’s one of the courses I took to take my COACHING business to a whole new level but it WILL NOT make you a nutritionist. Check out which school you want to go to and ask for their student advisors to suggest. I have taken countless courses and a base in nutrition is always the best place to start.

  4. Mina says

    Thank you ,So You suggest I start off from nutrition course,I will look up the programs the university can offer n will ask for more info ,but the thing is I dont like to have a 4 years of study in nutrition ,I d like to take many courses getting information on diffrent aspects(like holistic medecine,etc),will let you know the results.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Mina, I have a nutrition degree and several other certifications that designate me as a Clinical and Holistic Nutritionist. You will make your own way. You will never do exactly as I do as no two nutritionists are the same. But you find what makes you passionate and you pursue advanced studies in that. There are no shortcuts.

  5. Mina says

    Thats right! But even i don’t understand your ideas are so diffrent even from ppl with the same degrees ,so there must be lots of aspects in addition to that .I wanna have all the information you have to balance body (infact body and soul with lifestyle,)and how to heal body of such issues you are addressing or just any issue ,health benefits of foods and different items and also in Beauty ,i can see you understand whats the matter even with how skin looks like and also what to use to cure…Is that all only to study nutrition?

    whats the difference between holistic nutrition and Integrative medicine and holistic medicine or Alternative medicine(herbal medicine,too) We dont have such items in out country so they r pretty confusing ..

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Ah Mina, what I teach, you really have to experience. All of my experience, all of the courses I have taken, everything I have done with the intention of experimenting to see what works best, travel, speaking, you name it has led to what I now roll into my practice. I am telling you to study nutrition as a jumping off point. You MUST have a jumping off point. Holistic medicine and nutrition tends to focus solely on food whereas integrative medicine and nutrition allows for science to be interjected when needed. I use both integrative and holistic. Different schools even differ on their definitions for these subjects.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Oatmeal, when soaked, and eaten with protein and healthy fat, can be a great addition to a healthy eating plan IF tolerated. White rice is fine when eaten in moderation and is preferable to brown as it is low in fiber and very digestible.

  6. Emily says

    eaten with protein and healthy fat ?Forexample ?like how? OMG ,all ppl out there are running to get fiber and your prefrence is LOW FIBER?interesting!can you explain why?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Yes, actually. fiber (from grains) act as sticks and twigs banging and creating microtears in the GI tract which, over time, can lead to intestinal permeability issues. I recommend fiber from fruits and vegetables, however, which is quite enough and the right type of fiber for the body to do what it needs to do. And yes, eaten with protein and healthy fat like coconut oil to balance the micronutrients. Oats also have antinutrients that need to be soaked to minimize as well as the fact that it breaks down directly to glucose which spikes insulin unless opposed with healthy saturated fats and protein (and preferably a little fruit).

      • Emily says

        Wow,i didnt know that !Here there is an ongoing trend to say eat more fiber (grain one like brown bread and rice with bran)to help intestines and lose weigh and also preventing constipation.I dont know anything about antinutrients at all,what do they do in body?

        How about beans or sprouted beans to consume ?where is their place ?

        • thedetoxdiva says

          Funny you mention constipation as I am writing an article on just that subject. Beans should be soaked well (and sprouted is best) and even then should be limited to a few times a week because of their anti-nutrient content. I eat them but in small amounts and once a week or maybe even every few weeks and my beans are soaked overnight.

  7. sarah says

    i have a question.I get red cyst-like painful bumps on my shoulder and back of my shoulder and they scar so badly ,also i have lots of red zits and also the scars on my buttocks ,the zits there are kind of weird ,they r like meaty ones and painful too…How can i banish and prevent this issue?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      You must figure out the cause of the cystic acne. Most likely a combination of metabolic and hormonal issue. I can help but without much more information I cannot pinpoint the cause. I am available for private consultations through my website. I have seen this before but there are a few different root causes.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      All of these issues will contribute to the issues you describe. My suggestion is to start to heal THESE issues immediately. There is lots of information on proper nutrition on this website but, if possible, I’d either suggest you join our Real Food Reset beginning on the 4th of February or schedule a consultation so we can look at your individual needs and how best to proceed.

  8. Emily says

    What is special about “Flax seeds” ?I even see some doctors suggest its capsules.why should it be considered at all?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Aside from the fact that they are estrogenic and PUFA rich??? (sorry for the dripping sarcasm there). I don’t recommend them at all. I don’t recommend them in whole form, ground form and most assuredly not in capsule form.

      • Mina says

        WOW!really?I didnt know that !Ive seen alot (on DR OZ SHOW TOO..LOL)that how much its being suggested and also lots of heart patients here are taking that as capsules (having Omega3,6,9,)together! so you dont suggest that?

        • thedetoxdiva says

          Lots of heart patients are taking fish oil too but that is too volatile. No, I absolutely don’t suggest supplementing fats. I recommend eating REAL FOOD.

  9. Emily says

    Hello Detox diva,Reagrding selecting “Cheese”,which ones are the best to choose (is cheeses fr pizza healthy? or Mutsurrela one or chedar ,etc. thanks

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Raw cheddars, raw mozzarellas, parmesan (if it is Italian from Parma it is generally a raw cheese), marscapone, ricotta,gruyere, chevre, and, if you like, camembert, brie, and runny cheese. Stick to artisan cheeses, not the ones that are mummified from the supermarket.

      • nell says

        Here we are told that cheeses used for pizza are so dangerous ,since its too fat and will lead to blocking heart arteries and get Colestrol and can lead to cancer ,too..is that really right?

        • thedetoxdiva says

          No, that’s not right. Cheeses when combined with the wrong oils and grains are dangerous, yes. Cholesterol is NOT from dietary fat. Pizza should be eaten in moderation and when eaten, should be the highest quality ingredients, REAL cheese, lots of veggies and high quality meats.

          • nell says

            Cholestrole isnt from dietary fat!!!??? This is mindblowing!its is said even to eat bone broth in moderation like once in a while because it can cause cholestrol and high blood pressure!

            So What is the cause of Cholostrol ??

          • thedetoxdiva says

            Cholesterol, by the way, is your friend. It helps make those lovely sex hormones like progesterone. It is not the demon of society. And bone broth is definitely your friend. Lots of people say lots of things about a lot more things… People think sunflower oil is healthy. It doesn’t make it true.

  10. Emily says

    Oh so they should be RAW.good advice.How about using coconut flour which is so trending and being used in every single recipes,arent they processed too?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      I like raw cheeses that are artisanal because they tend to use high quality grass-fed milk. As far as coconut flour, if you have ANY impaired digestion, it is pure fiber. Small amounts are not bad but if you are trying to heal your gut…. I’d give it a miss and just not try to do cake or cookies for awhile.

  11. Emily says

    I see.So If wanna opt for any bread as a base for putting layers on or wrap things in it ..which bread do u suggest is the best one to choose…I am so intolerant to wheat breads ,I healed my gut to some extents but for some months i again started taking in the bread with breakfast and dinner..and again im getting those symptoms like hypoglycemia and getting so cold and shaking .and TOO bloating!I could figure out HOW EFFECTIVE they are .

    • thedetoxdiva says

      If this is the case, you don’t want to opt for bread. Try sourdough to see if that does not help the symptoms, but if you still have symptoms then you have a wheat or, maybe, a gluten intolerance.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      I actually see SOME benefit to the ALCAT testing if you are severely reactive to foods and are trying to figure out which ones. It’s not much help in testing for ACUTE allergies and it has some limitations in the fact that it can not always tell the difference between the actual food and the pesticide or residue on the food. It’s also extremely expensive. It’s merited, for sure but I don’t recommend it to all of my clients simply because, if we know how a client feels and what they are eating we can typically isolate allergens and then, with a little trial and error, figure out if there aren’t any other compounds out there that they may react to.

  12. nell says

    I wanted to know your opinion on using “Vitex agnus-castus” for PCOS ..here the pills and edible drops are being perscribed and also it has a nice place n is famous as “womn’herb” .I wanted to ask if its okay to use in order to bring hormones in balance in addition to diet.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Honestly, it’s a supplement. It can BE effective IF the hormones are not that far off kilter but if you have PCOS you might want to look at the roots of the PCOS and work with nutrition and other well placed supplements and not rely on chasteberry which is never really been proven to be a miracle as it claims. :)

  13. nell says

    I was expecting to get my period yesterday but though i have all symptoms of being near to it i havnt gotten it yet and im like scared to death ….Im afraid this Pcos is getting so crazy ….though i am doing the morning lemon tea and carrot and have decreased grains if any (i dont eat wheat at all …and alittle rice)will it treat pcos..can i do anything to get my period im so stressed i dont get it .

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