Detox Practice

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Cleansing and detoxing diets seem to be all the rage right now, but it is important to question what your true goal is. If weight loss or health is your goal then learning how to eat health foods with a daily eating practice that you can maintain is a better way to go. Many of the popular cleanses and detox diets use the terms fasting and detoxing interchangeably and range from completely eliminating food to limiting yourself to only liquids. If you desire to do a detox, from a mindful perspective the most important thing is to clearly understand your reasons and what your ultimate goal is. If your goal is to cleanse your system of toxins then the information outlined in the following practice provides a healthy and mindful method.

There are many different types of detox programs and methods out there. Healthy detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.See all practices - blue

 

You can expect: increased energy, improved digestion and circulation of the blood, reduction of toxins in the body.

Level of Effort: Moderate to High

Time Involved: 30 minutes or more a day

 

Getting Started:

  1. Determine your intentions for a detox.
  2. Understand detox basics along with the benefits and risks.
  3. Do it yourself recommendations and examples.


What to Consider:

 


 

1. Determine your intentions for a Detox

Ask yourself why you want to do a detox program. Determine what are your goals are and how you will determine success. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I ready to do this?
  • Is my motivation coming from within?
  • Can I deal with occasional setbacks or lack of progress?
  • Am I prepared for the possible negative side effects of changing my diet?
  • Am I committed to exercising on a regular basis?
  • Finally, be sure you're committed to detoxing for yourself -- not because someone else is pressuring you to do so.

Assuming you are making the choice to detox as a part of a long-term goal to be fit and healthy, it is important to include that as a goal of the detox. That way as you are going through the plan you can remind yourself to pay attention to what the program is teaching you about healthy eating.

 

2. Understand Detox Basics, Benefits and Risks

Detoxification Basics

Detoxification basically means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren't properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

Purpose of detoxing practice - A Detox is intended to remove toxins and poisons from your body. While our bodies naturally produce the antioxidants and nutrients to protect our bodies and detox, the modern diet has added thousands of toxins to the picture and made it almost impossible to naturally cleanse our systems. Many foods today are heavily processed and loaded with chemicals. Instead of eating actual nutrients, we digest food-like molecules that trick the body into absorbing them. Once inside the body, they can't be used, causing irritation and inflammation. The idea of a good detox program is to eat pure and natural foods that will aid the function of the lymph, kidneys, and liver. All foods that hinder the regime will be avoided.

Detox Programs & Methods - Detox diets are controversial. Many feel that most of the so-called "medical science" presented in these diets is nothing more than fiction. It is true that most of these diets have quite severe restrictions, and should be embarked upon with great care. Popular detox regimens include total water fasts, juice diets, pharmaceutical drinks, colonics or the master concoction of salt water, lemon, and maple syrup. Some cleanses consist of restrictions on sugar, dairy, gluten, meat, alcohol, and coffee.

 

Popular Detox Diets

  • Juice fast (drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water) as an way to release toxins.
  • Cleansing supplement packages, which generally contain fiber, vitamins, herbs and minerals. There are several safe products on the market, with easy-to-follow instructions.
  • Total water fast - A routine of drinking only water one day each week
  • The Master Cleanse -- also known as the Lemonade Diet -- dates back to the 1970s. Uses pricey maple syrup that's used in the lemonade.

There are many detoxification programs and detox recipes, but specific detox diets vary - but typically a period of fasting is followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. In addition, some detox diets advocate using certain herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to help empty the intestines. Most detox diets last 7 to 10 days.

If you want more information about detox diets visit EveryDiet.org

 

Natural Detox Plans - Many detox regimes that are holistic in outlook, emphasize that it is important to address all areas of stress in your life, and examine your lifestyle as a whole. Generally most natural detox diets will contain the following foods:

  • Organic food and drink (no pesticides or fungicides).
  • Whole unprocessed foods (grains, nuts, seeds, etc).
  • High mix of vegetables and fruit.
  • 2 liters of water per day
  • Certain herbs such as Psyllium seed, Licorice root, Yucca root, Milk thistle seed, Gentian root, to aid the detoxifying process.

Additionally, you are to avoid the following:

  • Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and drugs
  • Processed and refined foods
  • Certain supplements (due to the amount of additives).
  • Stress

 

Detox Benefits

It is hard to deny the benefits from avoiding large quantities of alcohol, smoke, junk food, or anything to excess. Moderation is best for your daily life but detox programs focus on helping you get a jumpstart on the road to moderation.

A detox program can help the body's natural cleaning process by:

  • Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body
  • Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin
  • Improving circulation of the blood
  • Refueling the body with healthy nutrients
  • Improving digestion
  • Increasing energy

Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. However, this may be due to a belief that they're doing something good for their bodies.

Some detox dieters report a boost in energy and even a sense of euphoria, following a period of malaise. This is most commonly reported by people who are fasting and is actually a reaction to starvation. It likely evolved as a way to help a person evade threats and locate food.

 

Detox Risks

Detox diets are not supported by science, with no demonstrated medical benefits, and can be based on questionable or disproved scientific claims. The toxins are usually undefined, with no evidence (or inappropriately used testing) for toxic accumulation in the patient. Fasting can put the body in an unnatural state, risking damage from dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, disrupting bowel function and infections.

Possible side effects of a detox include:

  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Juice cleanses, colon cleanses and detox diets abound but beware of what you are actually losing. While these plans appear to help you shed pounds, what you really rid your body of is water and nutrients. Six signs your plan is dangerous:

  1. If the plan promises superfast results, you risk shedding only water and muscle.
  2. If it goes overboard with vitamins - too many vitamins can damage the liver
  3. The plan calls for fewer than 1,200 calories per day you risk nutrient deficiency
  4. If the plan claims to speed up your metabolism then it probably calls for some stimulant such as caffeine.
  5. If it promises to clear out toxins it may recommend laxatives, which could cause dehydration or impede the work of your natural filters such as your kidneys.
  6. If it serves the same thing every day which can cause nutritional gaps

 

3. Do it yourself example with recommendations

Eating natural, whole foods and leading a balanced lifestyle may be the best bet instead of expensive and potentially toxic pharmaceuticals. So you can design your own detox.

A healthy detox should mainly consist of increasing the amount of raw and living foods and organic greens in your diet while decreasing the amount of toxins coming in. Begin by reducing and then eliminating alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, refined starches and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process.

 

Detox Recommendations

Reduce/Eliminate Refined and Artificial Sugar, Condiments, and Corn Syrup - All sugar pumps calories into your diet and spikes your blood sugar which may mess with the hunger and fullness signals, along with making you feel foggy and fatigued. Consuming too much of it also promotes inflammation, which can increase your risk for heart disease and certain cancers and. Stay away from foods that list sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or dextrose on the ingredients label. High-fructose corn syrup sweetens many processed foods, including cold cuts and ketchup, and food makers often add it to reduced-fat foods to make them tastier.

Avoid: sodas, alcohol, desserts, and sugar-free gum and diet drinks

Reduce/Eliminate Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Saturated Fats - Saturated and trans fats can clog your arteries and promote inflammation. Nix trans fats by sidestepping fried foods and anything made with hydrogenated vegetable oils (check labels). However, don't eliminate all fats: oleic acid, the type of unsaturated fat in olive oil, avocados and nuts, has many benefits. Oleic acid helps curb hunger and improves fat digestion.

Reduce/Eliminate meat, eat more non-animal proteins - Meat is difficult to digest and can contain harmful hormones. Instead, pump up your intake of protein from non-animal sources such as whole-grain cereal, tofu and beans. These foods are also rich in fiber and magnesium. Also, lean proteins such as wild salmon preserve your lean body mass, and having some at every meal stabilizes blood sugar levels and helps you feel fuller longer.

Avoid: beef, pork, lamb and poultry

Choose: Ocean game fish such as halibut and salmon, which contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids

Reduce/Eliminate Alcohol and Caffeine- Alcohol is taxing on your liver. Drinking too much not only increases your risk of high blood pressure and obesity. Caffeine should also be avoided because it can actually contribute to fatigue by revving you up before a crash.

Increase Fiber - Soluble fiber in oats and beans is filling and helps pull cholesterol out of the bloodstream, moving it through the digestive tract. Make a list of high-fiber foods you love which may include cereal, berries, fruit, potatoes and edamame. Studies suggest that people absorb up to 6% fewer calories when they follow a high-fiber diet or at least 34 grams of fiber a day. Have two foods with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving every day.

Avoid: corn, white flour and derived products such as breads, cereals, and crackers

Choose: Unrefined, fiber-rich, nonallergenic grains (amaranth, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, brown and wild rice) in whole form rather than in breads and pastas

Eat large amounts of green, leafy vegetables and fresh fruit - vegetables and fruits balance your pH and gives you a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen. The best choices are cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and cauliflower which contain antioxidants that help the liver breakdown toxins.

Avoid: eggplants, peppers, white/yellow potatoes, tomatoes

Choose: Antioxidant-rich leafy greens (bok choy, collard greens, dandelion, kale, mustard greens, romaine, and spinach) and other colorful vegetables (carrot, pumpkin, yam, and yellow squash)

Get More Exercise - Detox programs are not intended for weight loss but since that is a natural outcome of reducing your dietary intake many providers have created "detox diets" In the end, the most effective and scientifically proven way to detoxify, is exercise. There are yoga and cardio exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits. Increasing your movement is the ultimate way to detox so try to get at least 30-60 minutes everyday. Yoga and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.

Tip - You should also consider minimizing the use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.

 

Sample DIY Detox

Week 1: Cut Back

  • Choose a day to start
  • Slowly remove coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Cut back to no more than two alcoholic drinks per week and choose organic red wine.
  • Make sure you're drinking enough purified water. Begin to flush toxins from your system by drinking at least eight cups a day.
  • Reduce your meat consumption to no more than 3 to 4 ounces twice a week.
  • Phase out dairy and gluten. Include no more than two or three servings of each over the course of the week.
  • Reduce processed sugar and refined carbs
  • Double your intake of greens and dip your toe into the world of juicing.

 

Week 2: Eliminate - now completely remove the items you cut back on in week one. You can do this for more than week if desired.

  • Start drinking eight glasses of filtered water and walking for at least 20 minutes daily.
  • Eliminate caffeine, alcoholic drinks, soda and all other carbonated beverages
  • Eliminate meat and poultry, get protein from wild salmon, halibut, nuts (raw and unsalted), beans, and peas, as well as sprouts like lentil and mung.
  • Add seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin) to your diet. As with nuts, opt for raw and unsalted.
  • Eliminate refined sugars and artificial sweeteners and replace with sparing doses of honey, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup.
  • Eliminate all processed foods made with white flour.
  • Eliminate any potentially allergenic grain, including all wheat-derived products, such as bread and crackers. Try amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, oats, and wild rice instead.
  • Increase your greens, chooseing those vegetables that lend extra nutrient support as you detox. Eat plenty of colorful veggies, including dark leafy greens. Reduce nightshade vegetables: eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.
  • Cut out corn and its derivatives (such as tortilla chips and corn breads). Instead of corn oil, cook with olive oil and use sesame and flax oils for flavor.
  • Enjoy fruit, but limit dried fruit.
  • Eliminate all dairy.
  • Eliminate eggs.
  • Eliminate soy. Replace soy milk with almond or rice milk.
  • Eat fresh foods; eliminate canned and packaged foods.
  • Avoid condiments. Season your meals with flavorful herbs and spices instead.
  • Practice healthy snacking, which will benefit you nutritionally and emotionally, as you make your way through the plan. Try apple slices with a dollop of almond nut butter; cabbage leaves filled with raw vegetables; or carrot sticks and frozen grapes.
  • Start a food journal. Track mealtimes, the foods you consume, and how you feel.

 

Week 3: Bring Back Slowly - It is not necessary that you bring back any of the eliminated elements but that might not be realistic. So you make the choice if you want to bring back any of the elements, but do it slowly.

  • If you do go back to drinking coffee and eating some processed foods, slowly reintroduce these foods and keep them to a minimum.
  • Stick to your daily intake of greens and juicing for as long as possible.
  • Keep drinking your water

If you're ready to resume your normal diet, start with the foods you suspect may negatively affect your system (such as dairy or refined carbs). Eat one group at a time for a few days to see how it affects you. Then permanently remove any problem foods from your diet.

 

In General - Here are some things you should do regularly that can help you naturally clear out the bad and bring in the good - like a mini-daily cleanse:

  • Drink at least two quarts of water daily.
  • Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
  • Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.

Detox

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Journal During your Detox

When you start your program, make a commitment to self-observation. Detox experiences differ, even for those who do it habitually. Also keep in mind that while some mild physical and emotional discomfort is normal. Learn more about keeping a journal…

Slow down and give food your full attention.

Eliminate TV and other distractions that encourage mindless eating. And think about the origins of what's on your plate. By fully appreciating the food that sustains you, you'll stay nutritionally grounded long after the plan is done. Learn more about eating mindfully…

 

Be sure to get your nutrients.

It is best to get nutrients- vitamins, minerals, enzymes, oxygen-from a whole, organic, plant-based diet. But if you can't quite get it in everything while you are detoxing there are healthful ways to augment and enhance your existing diet with supplements that boost your diet and your health. Probiotics, vitamin D, omega-3s, digestive enzymes and a good multivitamin are tops on the list. Visit the Vitamins or Minerals Practices to get ideas…

 

Be cautious.

  • Be cautious of "Fad diets". Fad diets are diets that usually promise that you'll lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time. They may tout pills, supplements, skin creams, patches, fat blockers, special combinations of foods, or other diet aids. Fad diets, such as cabbage soup diets, grapefruit diets and lemonade diets, are popular because they may work for the short term - but you usually regain the weight once you stop the fad diet.
  • Be cautious of very low calorie diets (or liquid based diets). These diets drastically cut your daily calorie intake, usually allowing you between 400 and 800 calories a day. These are sometimes called modified fasts because your food intake is so low and because they're generally liquid diets. Fasting can have extremely detrimental effects on your health.
  • If you're considering a detox diet, get the OK from your doctor first - and remember, the best diet is a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.

 

Additional Resources and Articles:

 

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