I didn’t eat salt, oil, or processed sugar for 10 days, here’s what I learned.
Whole food plant based diets are full of nutritionally dense options and provide the necessary amounts of fiber, protein and natural vitamins that are necessary to live happy and healthy. I’ve been on a plant-based diet for 5 years now and it has taken me a while to figure out what I need in my diet in order to function at my highest ability.
I recently turned 24 and decided that this would be the year that I focused on my body the way that I focus on all other areas of life. I have a strong work ethic and find myself to be very self-motivated which also means that I have a tendency to lack balance in life. The last two year I have been so focused on my academic career that it has caused me to lose sight of the other areas of life... particularly my body and physical wellness habits.
I’ve been back in the gym consistently and really wanted to give my body a chance to experience a less processed diet so I took on the challenge of going SOS free. During my SOS free detox, I realized a lot about my relationship with food, my digestive system and just how addicting most of the food produced in this country is.
My body experienced a lot of changes during my SOS free detox which surprised me because before eliminating salt, oil and processed sugars from my diet I thought I didn’t even consume them in high amounts. Compared to someone who eats a standard American diet I eat a lot less oil/sugar in my homemade meals. Most vegetables and grains don’t require a lot of sugar or oil to cook. Even though I considered myself to be someone who didn't eat large amounts of oil and sugar prior to the detox my body still went through withdrawal symptoms. The first 3 to 4 days of the detox I was extremely moody, had slight headaches and found myself uncomfortably bloated. By day 10 of the detox, I realized that incorporating SOS free meals into my diet is important, but living an SOS free diet all the time felt very very restrictive.
Overall my experience on SOS free taught me a lot, here are 3 things I learned eliminating salt, oil, and processed sugar from my diet.
Read nutrition labels on EVERYTHING, literally everything.
While I was eating SOS free I had a tendency to pick up food and read labels. It was really shocking to see how items are packed with high sugar or sodium. I noticed that packages that read ‘healthy’ or ‘fat-free’ on the front had extremely high sugar or sodium levels… especially at Trader Joes.
SOS free caused me to eat all of my meals at home which isn’t typical for me because even on a plant-based diet I may eat out 1-3 times a week. It's basically impossible to expect an SOS free meal out at a restaurant.
Intense changes in your diet and physical activity can cause changes in your cycle.
While I was on SOS free I also continued my routine workout schedule 30-40 minutes a day at a minimum of 4x a week. Recently I’ve been working out every day, mainly for mental health reasons, and the combination of working out and SOS free actually caused irregular changes to my cycle. If you do decide to do SOS free longer than 14 days you may run into a similar issue.
Bloating can be a common issue for plant-based eaters, incorporating SOS free meals into your diet can reduce stomach bloating.
Unfortunately, a plant-based diet may cause bloating for people, I’m one of those people. I was initially intrigued by SOS free as a short-term remedy to my bloating issues. While on SOS free my bloating decreased drastically and I lost roughly 5 lbs.
Bloating was by far the biggest issue after incorporating salt back into my diet. I would have a meal out at a restaurant (Thai food) and the salt would cause me to feel so incredibly bloated for an hour or two after my meal.
I learned a lot about my body and how addicted we are as a culture to salt, oil, and sugar over the last few weeks. Even though I strictly ate SOS free for 10 days I still incorporate SOS free meals into my diet. After the detox, all my meals prepared at home have been oil free which is common among a lot of plant-based eaters.
Overall, SOS free was an eye-opening experience and I really encourage you to give it a try, even if for just 3 days, your body will feel so much better after the detox.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out and join the conversations across social media platforms.