Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. It is a process of cleaning the blood by removing impurities primarily from the blood and in the liver where toxins are processed for elimination. The purpose of any detox plan is to take the load off the organs that detoxify the body, such organs as the liver, kidneys and bowels, while at the same time supporting and improving their performance levels. By removing and eliminating toxins followed by feeding your body with healthy nutrients, it can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
Some of the benefits of detoxing include making your eyes sparkle and your skin glow, boosts energy levels, improves digestion and can even help shed a few unwanted pounds and eliminate bloating. During a detox period, basically you will consume no grains, no alcohol, no milk, no processed foods, and no sugar. Note that a detox is far from a quick fix for weight loss and if you want to detox body, you should only do so for a short period of time lasting no more than seven days.
When starting a detox, you will eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, all processed foods, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. You will also want to minimize the use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes) and substitute natural alternatives as this affects the body as well.
Make sure you also have a post-detox plan as cleansing itself won’t lead to permanent weight loss. It can also give a psychological jump-start to implementing a healthy diet and make the body feel good. Continue to eliminate processed food and added sugar after your cleanse and aim for 5 or 6 small meals a day. Focus on eating fresh fruit & veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, & lean proteins and choose organic if possible.
**Don’t detox if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly, have high blood pressure, are underweight or against your health practitioner’s recommendation.
Foods to avoid during detox (and after as much as possible):
Milk products (except ½ cup plain Greek yogurt each day)
Sugar, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners
Grains: wheat (bread, biscuits, cakes, pasta), rye, barley, oats, spelt and rice
Foods to enjoy during detox (choose organic when possible):
Fresh fruit (try to stick with low sugar options during detox, such as berries or apples and avoid higher sugar fruits such as watermelon or grapes)
Fish: fresh, canned in water or olive oil
Skinless chicken or turkey
Legumes: dried or canned, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
Olive oil (extra virgin), Coconut oil (unprocessed)
Nuts: raw unsalted almonds, walnuts, macadamias and cashews
Seeds: raw unsalted sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Green tea, white tea, weak black tea (decaffeinated)
Water: from three to four liters of water per day
Additional daily detox routines:
Morning lemon juice: Used to kick start the digestion and cleanse the system, squeeze the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot water. Drink first thing in the morning before breakfast.
Exercise: During detox aim to exercise for one hour daily and gets you sweaty! Kickboxing, boot camp, spin class, jog along the beach, walking uphill, hot yoga or running are some great ways to sweat. Vigorous exercise increases lymph flow and circulation to help sweat out toxins.
Detox the mind: While you’re detoxing the body, it is good to clear the clutter from the mind too. Set a goal to meditate for 15 minutes daily. If you do not know how to meditate, you can do simple deep breathing exercises to clear the mind. Start by placing hands palm down on your lower belly and then breathe in through your nose, counting slowly to 3 or 4 counts as your belly rises and then breathe out just as slowly, allowing the belly to drop. Do this for 15 minutes daily.
Drink up: Aim to drink up to a gallon of water daily. This will help move the lymph and support kidney detoxification. Choose from pure spring water, sparkling water, and/or herbal detox teas. You can also add one teaspoon of the dried herbs to a cup of boiling water, steep for five minutes, strain and drink. You may also drink fresh vegetable juices as well.
Conscious Eating: Try to chew each mouthful of food 10-12 times before swallowing and think about the food you are eating. Bringing mindfulness to mealtimes improves digestion, allowing you to feel a sense of fullness to help avoid overeating.
Raw foods: Raw foods contain more nutrients and enzymes. In addition, try adding fresh sprouts to a salad daily.
Body brushing: Doing this daily will support circulation and increase skin detoxification. Using a loofah or natural fiber body brush, brush the skin with firm circular strokes before you step into the shower. Start from the feet and hands, moving up the legs and towards the arms, avoiding the delicate area of throat and face, and any rash or sore spots. For the face & neck, you may use a cleansing brush or microderm abrasion specifically made for those areas. Then jump in the shower. Finish your shower with a one-minute burst cold water which brings the blood circulation to the skin.
Salt Detox Bath: These are a great way to get out lots of harmful and unnatural substances that you don’t want in your system. When you take an Epsom salt bath, those “uninvited” pollutants are told to leave your body. Magnesium helps keep your bodily functions running smoothly, including some of the pathways that lead toxins right out of your body. Sulfate helps to strengthen the walls of your digestive tract so that it’s easier to release toxins. As a compound, magnesium sulfate also raises the amount of digestive enzymes in the pancreas. The compound also helps in purifying and detoxifying your body of heavy metals.
Ingredients for a Salt Detox Bath:
1/4 cup Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
1/4 cup Epsom Salt
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Favorite essential oil if desired (I use 10 drops of peppermint or lavender)
Dissolve Salt, Epsom salt, and baking soda in boiling water in a quart size jar and set aside. Fill tub with warm/hot water and add apple cider vinegar. Pour salt mixture in and add essential oils if using. Soak in bath for 30 minutes or as long as desired. Note that with any detox bath, you may feel tired or lightheaded when you get out.