What is a “detox” or “cleanse” anyway? Isn’t that just another word for diet? Well, no, not exactly. A diet, as I see it, is a way of eating that is supposed to help you get and stay healthy and manage your weight for good. Fad diets don’t work because they are too extreme and don’t really teach you habits that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and therefore, long lasting (sustainable).
A detox, or cleanse, on the other hand, is intended to be short term, kickstarts your road to health, and promises to:
- Educate you about healthy eating.
- Give you a taste of what it’s like to eat less and healthier.
- Rid your body of toxins from chemicals in your food, beauty products and the environment.
How do I detox?
Start by deciding how many days you can handle changing up your regular diet. Are you wanting to go a little extreme because you know you’ve been eating really badly lately? Or are you just wanting to try it out and ease into this? You can detox for 1 day all the way up to 21 days or more. I like to change things up for about 10 days to two weeks. I find that it’s enough time to relearn habits, gain some insight and actually feel a whole lot better. For a quickie, because you’re scared and want to get back to the way you were eating as soon as possible, I’d say do 3 days. I’ll get into the details of the quick detox below.
What can I expect while I’m detoxing?
You can expect to feel amazing, eventually. But things may have to get worse before they get better, depending on how toxic you are. Some common side effects of detoxing are:
- mental clarity & alertness
- weight loss
- flatter tummy
- more energy
What are some common detox programs?
Unfortunately, there are plenty of programs on the market right now, since detoxing is currently [still] a fad, that are pushing products on you, like protein powders, herbal supplements, etc.
You don’t need to buy anything special when you’re going on a cleanse, other than what you’ll find in your produce department or farmers market.
The kind of detox/cleanse that I’m talking about here involves only whole plant-based foods. Good ol’ fruits and veggies with a few nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. You don’t need to buy anything special when you’re going on a cleanse, other than what you’ll find in your produce department or farmers market. The key is to keep your diet simple and clean, giving your body a chance to rest, recharge and renew.
The easiest and possibly best detox plan that I love to recommend is a 3-day liquid only, which includes not just water and juice, but also blended foods like smoothies and raw soups. This will truly give your digestive system a well-needed break and only nourish you with pure phytonutrients. And when we have nothing but this in our system, things heal, we feel vibrant and energized and everything functions perfectly on its own. I can’t stress enough how miraculously the body operates when we give it what it needs and only what it needs. It’s so fun to indulge in tasty treats, because nowadays there are so many at our disposal. But in excess, this inhibits healthy bodily functions and things start to break down (think diabetes, heart disease, cancer).
How often should I do this?
As often as you sense is necessary! Or maybe once per season. Once a year at least. It’s completely up to you, but going on a detox every so often, from now until you’re gone, is absolutely one of the wisest things you could ever do. Seriously. And in between cleansing, hopefully you’ll learn a little something each time, mostly by paying attention to your body, and gradually your daily regular diet will clean up. You’ll likely crave much less junk much less often, and hopefully you’ll eat out less and cook at home more!
Do I have to fast?
Absolutely not. And I don’t really recommend fasting much beyond your built-in fast that occurs everyday after dinner until breakfast the next day. Juice fasting, or "feasting", is another option for 1 - 3 days or more. Aside from a strictly water fast, this is probably the most extreme way to detox your system. It’s difficult, jarring and doesn’t really teach much about healthy eating options. Juicing will indeed introduce you to and familiarize you with a bounty of raw fruits and vegetables, which is for sure the basis of a healthy diet. But drinking only juice for days on end can be so intense, that likely the pendulum will swing too far in the other directions when the detox is over. Of course, try it and experiment and see for yourself how you feel and what happens, and no matter what, you’ll learn something from the experience.
Starting Monday, June 20th, I’m hosting a 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge and sign-ups are happening now. This is not a detox program, but rather an easy introduction into the wonderful world of blending fruits and veggies, and lightening up your morning breakfast. Click here to sign up and join me in a couple weeks on the road to a healthier You!
I also offer detox programs (3-Day, 7-Day and 21-Day) that include shopping lists, meal plans, recipes and more. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.