It’s kind of a funny story…

Leave it to Facebook memories to remind me that exactly one year ago today I embarked on what I thought would be my “35 day detox” diet.

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In classic detox diet style, I happily ate one more cherry-filled vegan pastry the night before, assuming I would make it through my 5 weeks of no sugar but pleased to have an excuse to enjoy dessert one more time.

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Armed with new recipes, the world’s most detailed meal tracking documents, and specific macro-nutrient targets to hit, I was ready to give up sugar, gluten, legumes, alcohol, starchy vegetables, most fruit, dairy, conventional meat, commercial oils, and practically any form of processed food. It would only be for 35 days, right?

I very distinctly remember crying my eyes out at the fact that I could not leave my first nutrition follow up appointment and head straight to vegan sweet tooth. Instead, I was given the opportunity to reintroduce quinoa after that first appointment. Quinoa. Just quinoa.

Yet here we are 366 days (leap year!) later. Still very much on a functional medicine journey. My diet is still free of gluten, dairy, alcohol, most fruit, conventional meat, and commercial oils. I limit my fruit consumption to two pieces of select fruits each day, and legumes and starchy vegetables are limited in type and frequency. I’m limited to 12 grams of added sugar per day (and not every day) and only through natural forms (dates, maple syrup, agave, etc).

I haven’t followed the diet perfectly. I went to Las Vegas, on a bike trip from Cleveland to Detroit, and on a cruise and I’m confident that I didn’t eat organic, grass-fed meat and zero added sugar on any of those adventures, but I certainly didn’t seek it out. Not going to lie, I ate one vegan milkshake (after biking 275 miles and before I knew my candida levels were still super elevated), one Paula’s donut (after finishing my first half marathon), and one organic dark chocolate bar.

My face is still not perfect, not even close. It seems to change for the better or worse every single day. I’m in the midst of preparation for heavy metals testing, and am still struggling with the health concerns we’ve discovered over the past year.

But a year later, I’m still hopeful. I believe in finding and healing the root cause of my cystic acne, and so much more. I am astounded by the impact of nutrition on my overall health, and 366 days later, I have (mostly) no problem walking right past the vegan pastries at Whole Foods.

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