How to Get the Most out of Your Detox Diet
Today, there are many detox programs on the market—some that require you to fast for a set period of time, others that encourage the use of herbal and homeopathic supplements, still others that involve colonics, and finally, there are those that recommend dietary changes.
Each will involve various combinations of food and fasting, supplements and beverages, and so on.
Regardless of which detox you choose, you’ll want to support your body before your detox, throughout your detox, and after your detox with some healthy habits and self-support techniques. These methods will help you get the most out of your detox and maintain the detoxification benefits long after you’ve gone back to life as “normal.”
Supporting Your Detox Mentally and Physically
You are a complex system with an interconnected body, mind, and spirit. Every part of you will be involved in the detox process, so doing things to help support yourself throughout the detox will increase the effectiveness of the detox and help you get through it safely and healthfully.
Here are some general recommendations for supporting your body’s detox:
Meditation: Supporting your body as it rids itself of toxins by promoting a sense of calm and equanimity is important. Your body will go through a lot of changes, and a calm, balanced mind will aid in the process.
More importantly, it will help you to cope emotionally with the changes that are taking place internally.
Going through a detox can be disruptive, so regular meditation can really help to promote peace with the process.
Light, easy exercise: Depending on the type of detox you’re doing, you may feel even more fatigue and listlessness than you did before, at least until you get through the worst of the detox. On the other hand, there are some detoxes that will provide you with more energy than you’ve had in years.
In either case, light, easy exercise is important. Exercise can accelerate the detox benefits process by increasing circulation, respiration, and sweating—all of which will speed up the rate at which toxins are removed from your body. If you overdo exercise, you risk crashing, but light exercise will help to promote a healthy detox.
Detoxing Your Diet and Your Body with Healthy Eating
Developing a healthy diet is important for regular maintenance of your body both during and after your detox diet. There are many simple things you should avoid to detoxify your diet and your body every day. For instance:
Avoid chemical additives. Things like artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and more are added to many packaged foods so that they last longer, look more appetizing, and taste better. But these additives have been linked to cancers, allergies, and other health problems and should be avoided.
The key: read labels. If you don’t know what a particular ingredient is, put the item back on the shelf.
Stay away from processed foods: When you eat processed foods, you’re often choosing a diet that’s high in simple sugars, low in fiber, high in salt and trans fats, and low in nutrition. These foods do little to nourish your body and can add chemicals and ingredients that are highly detrimental to your health. Make your own food from scratch instead, using healthful ingredients like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Juice some celery.
Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar (high fructose corn syrup!), and white flour: All of these ingredients come with their own health hazards, but in general, they inhibit the immune system, clog the digestive system, prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and can contribute to problems with obesity.
Keep food in non-plastic containers: Plastic containers, unfortunately, can react with your foods, especially if the food is hot or acidic. Scientists are still working out exactly how plastic can affect your foods, so the safe bet, for now, is to store food in glass or metal to keep chemicals from leaching into your foods. In particular, never warm food in plastic containers!
Avoid trans-fatty acids: Trans fatty acids are formed when unsaturated vegetable fats are subjected to hydrogenation. Trans fatty acids increase total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels in the body, and reduce the “good” HDL cholesterol levels as well, making them harmful to the health of your heart.
Don’t over-cook meats: When meats are cooked at high temperatures for long periods of time, they can form chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which are substances that have been linked to various forms of cancer.
Store oils in a cool place: The fridge may be the best place for your oils. That’s because oils can turn rancid and may oxidize when exposed to air, which can lead to the formation of free radicals which damage cells and promote disease.
But in addition to things that you should avoid, there are also many things you should be sure to get lots of when looking for a detox diet.
Drink lots of pure water: Water is extremely important for regular detoxification. It gives your body a vehicle through which to eliminate toxins in your body—and it’s very hard to drink too much of it! Adding organic lemons to your water, especially in the morning with hot water, will help to detoxify the liver as well.
Get lots of fiber: Plant-based foods are very high in fiber and also loaded with vitamins and minerals. You can get additional fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lentils which all come packed with protein and other body-beneficial substances.
Eat organic: Conventionally-grown agriculture systems use heavy amounts of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals to speed production, boost plant and fruit size, and prevent blemishes. But these chemicals have been linked to many health hazards and are poisoning our water, to boot. Rid your diet of these toxins by buying only organically-grown produce. Check out these detox juices.
Don’t forget to maintain these healthy habits once you’re done your cleanse! Eating well, exercising regularly, and meditating—these are all habits that will promote good health and assist your body in remaining toxin-free for many years to come.