On first glance, it may seem like there will be nothing left to eat or drink! In fact, you will discover that there is a whole world of delicious and nutritious food to enjoy that will help you feel more energetic, healthy, and clean. And I guarantee you will not be hungry (unless you forget to eat!). This is a "diet" you could stay on indefinitely, because it doesn't deny your body any of its needs and is actually rich in nutritious vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and nuts, and chock-full of everything you need to fuel your body for a lifetime.
Over the course of the three weeks you'll be reading in some depth about why you're avoiding these Big Five categories, but for now just trust me when I say that these sub- stances are difficult for our bodies and can even be toxic, and that a break from them will do you a world of good. We won't be doing any calorie counting or maniacally restricting carbs; I'll just be here to remind you to eat lots of grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables—which are loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals—and give you plenty of suggestions for how to make them a part of your diet. Simple, no?
I want to prepare you for the physiological downside that some people experience for a few days. Many people experience no physical problems or actual signs of withdrawal, but some people do: if you are in the latter category, please remind yourself that this is a signal of addiction, and you don't want to be addicted. Please also keep reminding yourself that these bad physical feelings pass within a few days for almost everyone.
I know when I give up caffeine I get cranky and lethargic for the first few days. But that's part of the point. I become aware of just how dependent my body has become on an artificial boost and how it has forgotten how to feel good on its own. Some people get headaches when they kick caffeine, but these pass within a few days at the most.
Sugar can be another hard one for some people, especially people who are used to multiple sugary sodas or snacks every single day. But, as you probably know all too well, the sugar high is short-lived and often exacts a heavy price. We need more and more to feel the lift, and no matter how much we ingest, we never feel great (and all the while we're gaining weight from the calories and unused glycogen). In fact, we often feel downright spun out and desperate for the next fix— almost like a drug addict. In a few pages, we'll look at why it's so important to purge processed sugars from your diet, at least for a short time. I'll also give you suggestions for alternative sweets.