There are countless detox plans on the interweb. And they will all tell you to only eat fruits and vegetables for a few days.
Now, it’s usually not recommended to cut out any food group completely in the long run without medical supervision.
But when it comes to detoxifying your body, it is important to remove (temporarily) the food groups most likely to create toxins. Which is why a lot of detox plans are based solely on water, fruits, and vegetables.
Of those, there are those in which you can only eat fruits and vegetables, those in which you can only drink fruit and vegetable juice, and the most extreme type where you can only drink water (a water fast).
This time, we are going to focus on more gentle and proven approaches, and explain how to detox with fruits and vegetables.
1. A quick (but important) note on detox
Our bodies are well equipped to deal with a certain amount of toxic material on a daily basis, whether they come from our environment (pollution, household chemicals, cigarettes etc.) or whether we produce them while trying to deal with stuff we just can’t digest or in response to unhealthy situations (stress, for example). But when the load gets too much, even the fittest of us needs a little help.
Detoxifying is merely you trying to stimulate your emunctories (your body’s cleaning organs). These are your liver, kidneys, intestines, skin, lungs, just to name a few. In an ideal world, our diet should be clean of any chemicals, residues, and consisting solely of healthy organic food… Oh, and we should be living in the countryside, far away from polluted areas, walk or ride bikes instead of driving and meditate every day to keep stress levels at a minimum… Nice!
In the real world though, we’re more likely to subject our bodies to a daily dose of industrial food, spend most of our days sitting in traffic or in air-conditioned offices, and live busy lives with all-time-high stress levels. Sounds familiar?
So regular detoxing can go a long way towards helping your body shed some it’s toxic load before it starts impacting on your health.
While food is very important in providing the nutrients your body needs for energy and body processes, sometimes the body uses too much energy digesting and not enough time purging toxins. If you learn how to detox your body through fasting, you can kick-start your body organs to start the cleansing process so that your body can eliminate the toxic build-up.
2. Please read this…
Please always consult your primary care provider to find out if a detox diet is appropriate for you. People who should not follow a detox diet generally include pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with anemia, eating disorders, heart problems, lowered immunity, low blood pressure, ulcers, diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, ulcerative colitis, unless recommended and supervised by their primary care provider.
A detox diet can target the different organ systems involved in detoxification: your skin, liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin and lymph system. A natural healthcare practitioner can design a program that suits your needs, targeting specific organ systems. For example, if you have a skin condition, you may benefit from a program that addresses the liver, the intestines, and the skin.
3. Hydration is paramount
The more fluids you drink during your detox, the quicker unpleasant detox side-effects, such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, strong breath, body odor, and skin eruptions, just to name a few, will disappear. These are the sign that your body is trying hard to get rid of toxic materials. Although unpleasant, “detox flu” should actually be a positive and welcome sign.
It is also important during detox that you have regular bowel movements as this will lessen the likelihood of toxins being reabsorbed by the body.
How to calculate your water needs per body weight.
- Take your weight in pounds. Say 175 pounds.
- Multiply this by 2/3 (or 67%). We get 117. This is your basic number of ounces of water per day.
- Add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise you do per day.
There you go!
What to drink
Any fluid is good, although some are better than others. The best drink is water. This is what your body is made off and needs. Black tea and coffee are better than milky versions, but any fluid is better than no fluid.
A lot of drinks are laden with sugar, so try to avoid those mostly-hidden sources of sugar during your detox. But basically, you’re likely to need to drink far more than you’re used to, so pick drinks that will keep you hydrated with the least amount of effort. I personally battle to drink water neat, so I will brew spiced chai teas, and have them black, or I’ll add lemon and mint (loads of it) to a jug of water and have that when it’s too hot for tea.
A good way to make sure you will eliminate regularly during your detox (and the rest of the time, actually) is to take 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in lemon water in the morning. Then to drink lemon water throughout the day. Flax seeds provide the body with fiber and lemon water has a slightly laxative effect.
4. Prefer a gradual detox approach
There are tons of detox diets out there. Most of them involve 1 or 2 days on a completely liquid diet and another 5 days to a week adding easily digestible food like brown rice, fruit, and steamed vegetables (all organic). After a week of eating only these foods, you gradually reintroduce other foods – avoiding too much red meat, wheat, dairy, sugar, and all pre-packaged or junk foods.
If you are trying a detox for the first time, it is best to take a gentle, gradual approach. To limit any unpleasant detox symptoms, try adopting a stepped method:
- Get yourself prepared. Plan to detox around a weekend or a quiet time, where you can rest as much as possible.
- A week before the detox, start cutting down on junk food, sugar, alcohol, coffee and increasing the amount of vegetables you eat. This will prepare your body. If at this stage, you already experience the typical detox “flu”, maybe this is enough of a detox for you at this stage. Stick with it. Any form of detox is good detox!
- Pick a detox plan that will suit you. Don’t force yourself to gulp down a vast amount of cabbage if you hate the stuff. Or only have slow-pressed juices if you’re feeling ravenous after your cleaner week. Some plan involves eating enough vegetables (even starchy ones) to fill you up and not go hungry.
- If it’s a very limiting diet, don’t go beyond a couple of days without medical supervision.
- So you’ve gone through your pre-detox, 2-3 days of intense detox and a post-detox stabilization. Go back to your pre-detox cleaner diet for another week to slowly reintroduce foods that are harder to digest. If you’ve lost a few pounds since starting, this will help consolidate the weight loss.
This might also highlight which foods your body particularly battles with. Listen to it and try and remove those offenders from your diet.
5. How to go about a juicing detox
The most extreme way to detox involves doing a water fast, where you only drink water for a few days. But there are other methods based around one (or a group) of nutrient-rich fruits or vegetables that have cleansing and antioxidant properties. Mono-food detox diets work much the same way as juice fasting in that you can only choose that one vegetable or fruit, combinations are not allowed.
With a juice fast, you must make your own fresh juices each day rather than buying something store bought. Unless you know it is all natural and fresh, like through an organic whole foods store. Detoxing your body through juice fasting is likely to make the fruits or vegetables more attractive and palatable than in their pure form. Read this post to know more about juicing and blending.
The rule for juice fasting though is to choose only one fruit or vegetable with cleansing properties like carrots, watermelons or anything with antioxidants. This provides the body with the fuel it needs without taxing the digestive system.
6. Organic or not?
Since the whole idea is to offload the toxic build-up in your body, it is important somewhat important to choose organic fruits or vegetables. Depending on your budget, the season and the availability in your area, this might impact the type of fruits or vegetables that you choose for your detox.
Alternatively, read up about the Clean 15 and focus on produce naturally containing the least amount of chemicals. To reduce the load without compromising on your budget.
7. How often should you detox?
Following a detox with fruits and vegetables can be quite easy, but it does take some effort to stay true to course as you may become hungry and experience cravings. Having a plan to follow takes the hassle out of preparing meals, and juices are usually easy to make.
However, if you can stick with a plan involving just two or three days of hard-core detox, plus the pre-detox and the post-detox cleaner, figuring out how to detox your body will become a whole lot easier. Just doing it once or twice a year should be sufficient and will provide you with great benefit,s such as increased energy and fewer incidences of ordinary illnesses like cold and flu.
Alternatively, you can choose to detox when you feel you need to. After Christmas and its food overload. Or during holidays, to ensure you come back refreshed and revigorated inside out.
8. What if a juicing detox isn’t for me?
If the idea of only drinking juices for a whole day is too much for you, try to stick to a cleaner diet for a whole month. Something like the Whole30 might work well for you. Or a real food diet such as the Mediterranean diet or the Okinawan diet.
These posts might also send you on your way. By simply removing some of the worse offenders from your diet, namely industrial, processed food, you will naturally lower the toxic load in your diet. And give your body a break. Easily and naturally.
- What is Clean Eating?
- How to get started with Clean Eating?
- The ultimate Clean Eating shopping list
- The multiple benefits of Clean Eating
And you? What are your tips to detox? Please share in the comments below to help and inspire others!