In the sixth phase, I was able to eat two normal meals a day. The doctor recommended eating a normal breakfast and lunch while continuing to eat the traditional Korean medicine for dinner. But I decided to let myself to change it up every now and then and switched the replacement meal to breakfast instead of dinner whenever I wanted to have dinner with friends.
A Typical Day in Phase 6
My body started waking up earlier than my alarm. It was mainly because my body had to digest. This may be too much information, but the toilet bowl was full every morning. I had to sit on the toilet for a good few minutes to make sure that everything I ate the day before was out of my body.
For breakfast, my heart wanted to eat huge meals, but my body and brain did not. My shrunk stomach felt like it was going to burst when I ate too much in the morning. So usually I ate fruits, vegetables, eggs, or yogurt, and sometimes a piece of bread.
Lunch was always a treat because I got to eat a normal and full meal. And although I loved to have that freedom back, I still ate less carbs and tried to eat more vegetables. When I knew that the lunch menu of that day would have less vegetables, I packed my own side dish from home and had it with the school lunch.
Weekends were the best because I was able to choose what I want to eat for lunch. I planned my weekend lunches a few days ahead, and my husband let me choose the menu because he knew how much I was stressed about the lack of food. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go to all the restaurants that I bookmarked during my food-deprived days.
Dinners did not feel too stressful anymore because I already enjoyed two meals during the day. And sometimes I switched the replacement meal to breakfast, so I was finally able to socialize with friends through eating dinner. In hindsight, I think phase 5 was more stressful because the only people I saw were my coworkers, students, and my husband. I missed my friends.
My Detox Journey Blog Posts
Since this is the end, I wanted to reflect on my detox journey. It was such a huge learning experience and an emotional roller coaster!
Phase 1 – 2: Adjusting to the Traditional Korean Medicine
At the beginning, I had a strong feeling of commitment to this detox, so I did not feel too stressed about seeing other people eating next to me. I took pride in the fact that I was giving up on food, which is a big part of the joys in my life. When I missed food, I had more self-control and only ate nuts and tomatoes like my doctor had instructed. Mukbang and cooking videos were for enjoyment rather than envy during this phase.
Phase 3 – 4: Having the Traditional Korean Medicine for Every Meal of the Day
In these phases, I noticed bigger changes in my body. I lost exactly 5 kilograms like my doctor had warned me. My skin had become smoother and I also noticed that when I cheated with foods including preservatives, my skin felt itchy. Cheating with healthy foods were fine, but sugar also made my body feel uncomfortable. Small doses did nothing, but when it was more, something didn’t feel right.
The interesting part of this phase is that I was still hopeful and enjoying this detox even though I rarely had normal meals. Phase 5 was worse even though I had one normal meal per day.
Phase 5 – 6: Slowly Going Back to Eating Normal Food
I experienced the most stress in phase 5. I had reached my limit of self-control with food. My desire to eat what I want to eat was making me go crazy. I spent hours and hours on the internet and TV researching foods that I want to eat.
In phase 6, I was able to calm down from those impulses. It was a huge difference to have two meals to look forward to instead of one. I also got to plan food outings with friends and start socializing again! I was killing two birds with one stone by being able to eat a food from my cravings list and catch up with my friends.
Habits that I want to keep after this detox
<1> Eat more vegetables and fruits.
When I first moved to Korea and lived on my own, I had less vegetables because I was always out eating with friends, and had less fruits because I felt that they were too expensive. It was unhealthy, but that was just not my priority socially and financially in my mid-20s.
Now that it has been more than five years in Korea, and I live with my husband, vegetables and fruits are a necessary investment. Through this detox journey we realized how much better our body feels when we eat more vegetables and fruits.
<2> Try to eat more organic food.
My parents-in-law strongly recommended buying food from 자연드림, which is a Korean co-op that sells organic and non-GMO foods. After making an account and paying for the registration fee, my husband and I were able to order organic food online. Some items were more expensive than other supermarkets, but others were similar or cheaper.
<3> Eat less of foods with preservatives and additives.
After noticing that my skin itched after eating some frozen dumplings, I’ve started to avoid foods with preservatives. As a foodie that wants to try all new foods, it’s almost impossible to avoid it completely, but I at least want to try to reduce my intake.
<4> Consume less sugary foods and drinks.
I cannot give up on sugar. There are so many desserts that I love and look forward to eating, and I would be stressed and depressed if I banned myself from eating sugar. I will just try to consume it in smaller doses, eat it less often, and share it with friends.
<5> Eat less carbohydrate-heavy meals.
I need to consume carbs to get through the day, but I can definitely reduce the amount. I want to focus on trying to make vegetables 50 % of the meal. This might get difficult when I want to go out to eat, so I will probably cook home more often.
<6> Enjoy three meals and a healthy snack every day.
Before the detox, I sometimes skipped breakfast, but now I want to always have some vegetables and fruits. Eating something once every 3 hours of the day seems to be what’s right for my body.
7:30 Breakfast- vegetables, fruits, eggs, yogurt, etc.
12:30 Lunch- vegetables, fruits, meat/fish, soup, and rice
3:30 Snack- fruits or nuts
6:30 Dinner- a meal that includes more vegetables and less carbs
What I realized through this detox
<1> I LOVE FOOD.
I love eating food, smelling food, seeing food, touching food, cooking food, and thinking about food. Food is such a big part of happiness.
<2> I cannot live without my favorite unhealthy foods.
So I’ll just try to eat it less frequently and in smaller quantities.
<3> I love vegan and vegetarian food but I still love meat.
Vegan/vegetarian restaurants will be great when I want to eat out but still want to try to eat more vegetables.
<4> Food is a big part of my social interactions.
Without food, it’s very difficult to meet up with friends or plan vacations.
<5> My mom had made me a healthy child through her cooking.
When I lived with my mom, I was healthy. I only went to the hospital once a year for the health check-up. This was probably because my mom cooked us balanced meals every day.
- Most of the meals we ate were Japanese-style home cooking, and it always had vegetables.
- We always had vegetables and eggs for breakfast and fruits as a snack or dessert.
- We usually ate cakes only when it was someone’s birthday.
- We probably had fast food once a month and rarely had soda at home.
- We did have some snacks at home, but if there was a can of cookies or a basket full of Halloween candies, my mom would limit us to one piece per day, so my siblings and I were able to control our sugar intake. I still feel guilty if I have more than one piece of candy per day.
Now it’s time for me grow out of the unhealthy young-adult phase and start bringing back the healthy habits that my mom has taught me along with the knowledge that I gained through this detox journey.