Welcome back to part 2 of this 2 part series in “How to detox your body with whole foods”. In part 1 of this series, we got into the basics of what a detox or cleanse is, then we went over who actually needs to do a detox in the first place (hint…everyone). We covered the liver’s responsibility and how it plays a vital role in a detox and we talked about retraining your palate to crave foods such as spinach, kale, and healthy vegetables. Today I will cover the steps you will need to take, to embark on a cleanse all by yourself. Let’s get to it!
Drink more water and tea
H2O hydrates the body and helps the kidneys flush out toxins naturally. Extra water encourages urine production, which can help flush out waste. Water acts as an appetite suppressant, so you’re less prone to overeating or unhealthy snack choices. Most people I coach aren’t drinking near enough water. I want you to drink one glass of water 20 minutes before each meal. Your daily goal is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 140lbs, your goal would be to consume 70 ounces of water each day.
I also have clients who aren’t used to drinking water. They don’t like the flavor of just plain water. Their palate has been abused most likely by sweeteners. They add things like crystal light or zip fizz to give their water flavor. I’m going to advise against this. There are artificial ingredients and even natural sweeteners that can spike your insulin levels. Try adding things like lemon, lime, orange slices, frozen berries, cucumber slices, or even fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and basil to make your own “spa” water.
Focus on eating real foods
Your focus needs to be geared towards eating whole grains, proteins & vegetables. Stay away from caffeine, and inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, red meat, pork, gluten and all processed foods. Eat foods that nourish you and increase your bodies’ natural detox processes.
Focus on all the delicious foods you can eat during a detox or cleanse, as opposed to what you can’t. There are so many yummy foods that are available to you!
Most of us have a complicated relationship with food. We can’t avoid food. We need to eat several times a day to stay nourished and healthy. Unless you’re on a fasting protocol. For many emotional and addictive eaters, this is where the problem lies: you can’t give up the thing that’s causing you pain.
Many detox programs require you to give up a LOT of foods at once. Some even require that you give up food altogether and live on just juice for weeks. (Fat sick & nearly dead – my dad)
Basically, a food-based detox or cleanse is an opportunity to remove known toxins and “bad foods” from our diet for a pre-determined amount of time and add in good foods.
Skip the sugar
Skip sugar, candy, sweets, baked goods, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, barley syrup, cane sugar, artificial sugar and alcohol (yes, this includes beer, wine and liquor).
Focus on natural sweeteners such as local and wild honey, dates and 100% pure maple syrup.
During a cleanse, avoid all sweeteners if you can, or use natural sweetener alternatives sparingly.
Stay tuned for my 3 part podcast series coming up in the near future entitled “Kick the sugar habit”.
Ditch the dairy
Dairy is hard for most people (around 75-80%) to digest, so it’s good to experiment and see how it feels for you to be dairy free. Many people don’t know how good they can feel without dairy.
Avoid cow’s milk and dairy products including:
Ice cream and whey
Cheeses, including hard cheese and soft cheeses like cream cheese and cottage cheese
Dairy coffee creamer
Instead have coconut, quinoa, hemp or almond milk.
Soy milk and soy products are not recommended as an alternative unless they are organic and non-GMO.
(Option to tell a quick story about a client or yourself and how dairy impacted them or you)
Avoid gluten products such as bread, pasta, bagels or products with wheat, barley or rye. Keep your eye out for ancient grains like spelt and faro – although these are whole grains, they also contain gluten.Skip the gluten-free aisle of the store. Most are highly processed and packed with sugar. Read every food labels.
One snack cracker that would be okay for example, are “Mary’s Gone Crackers”. These crackers are whole grain gluten free crackers that are delicious and made from all real food. Limited processed, but all real food would be okay.
Instead of gluten-filled items, choose brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. (Option to tell a quick story about a client or yourself and how gluten impacted them or you – Tytus)
Avoid red meat
Red meat and pork are harder to break down on the digestive system than other sources of protein, so give your digestive system a much-needed rest.
Focus on chicken, turkey, wild caught cold-water fish, beans, and lentils during a cleanse or detox.
Bonus points for choosing grass-fed, pastured and organic meats, they have more nutrients in them.
Be creative with your protein and think beyond the cow or even a chicken or turkey. This might be a perfect opportunity to see how it feels to go without animal meat, or at least a couple meals during the week.
Eliminate obvious toxins
To truly detox your body, particularly your liver, it is important to cease consumption of alcohol (as noted before this includes beer, wine, and hard liquor), tobacco, drugs, and even certain over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol and Excedrin.
This is the only way you can assist in eliminating waste materials that could impair cellular function.
Use a turmeric supplement or grate over meals to reduce inflammation and help with headaches or pain you may have during the detox. (Option to show a piece of turmeric since many won’t know what it looks like, option to talk about buying the turmeric with pepper for better absorption as well)
Drink herbal teas and reduce caffeine
Most of us don’t realize how dependent we are on caffeine and it can be a true addiction.
Coffee isn’t the only option when you need a pick-me-up. Sipping on an herbal tea can provide an all-natural temporary boost in energy levels without the risk of scary stimulants or processed ingredients. Coffee also messes with our hormones.
There are detox teas like milk thistle, lemon grass, nettle, ginger, dandelion root, green tea and many more. Nettle tea is the bowel mover. A cup of nettle tea in the morning is ideal to get things going in the bowel department. The nettle leaves increase the thyroid function, increase metabolism and releases mucus in the colon allowing for the flushing of excess wastes.
Consume herbal teas to stay warm or iced herbal tea to cool down. I like to drink Crio Bru first thing in the morning. It satisfies me and gives me a natural boost of energy due to the “Theobrime” in the bru itself. It’s a natural substance that works with your body’s processes to give you a boost of energy. No caffeine side effects.
Eat more veggies
Vegetables are usually fair game in a good Whole Foods Cleanse program. Try to eat a wide variety, and choose leafy greens at least once a day. Focus on adding vegetables to each meal and for snacks. Pre-cut snacking vegetables like celery, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc. You’ll always have something you can just grab out of the fridge. Pair your veggies with hummus, black bean dip or guacamole.
Add fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and dill to your meals as they increase the flavor profile and also have a lot of detoxifying properties.
Sub white potatoes for starchy more nutrient-dense vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, and squash.
Getting regular helpings of dark green leafy vegetables high in magnesium can help keep your energy constant. When magnesium levels are even a little low, energy can drop. You can take a magnesium supplement such as calm, but it’s important to get your most of your nutrients through real food.
Eat at home
Make an effort to eat at home for as many of the meals as possible, and to pack food with you if you know you won’t be home for most of the day.
Set aside time a few days before you begin a cleanse to go grocery shopping, familiarize yourself with ingredients and prepare foods to eat later in the week. When you have a refrigerator full of yummy, healthy foods that are ready to go when you get home from work, you’ll be much less tempted to stray from the detox food guidelines.
If you do need to eat out, order dishes that have a lot of vegetables and some lean protein, and ask if the vegetables can be steamed instead of sautéed in oil and butter.
Of course, you’ll want to steer clear of dishes with heavy sauces and anything fried.
(If you have been referring to your detox already, you can let them know that you have a great bonus hand-out about eating out, so everyone knows how to eat out during a detox. It is harder, but it is possible.)
Let’s talk exercise. During exercise, sweat carries some impurities out of the body, making it a natural choice for regular detoxification.
Engaging in physical activity sends oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells, helping your heart and lungs work more efficiently and boosting energy levels.
You may also want to modify your exercise for the week by focusing on taking walks outdoors, stretching, and trying lower-impact forms of exercise like yoga and Pilates. If you absolutely need to do more, try to lessen the amount of exercise you get. For example, instead of running 5 miles at an 8-minute-mile pace, jog 3 miles at a leisurely 10-minute-mile pace. Check out yoga studios in your area – many of them offer discounts for new students.
If you end up doing an intense workout, compensate by drinking extra water and snacking on high protein items like chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, and organic chicken or turkey slices.
Get quality sleep
Spending your nights tossing and turning can definitely make you feel exhausted the next day. While you sleep, your body is restoring and repairing the day’s damage. During a detox, I recommend getting to bed at least 30 minutes earlier.
If you’re sleepy, take a nap. It’s amazing how much we can learn from our bodies and our cravings once we start to listen. Read my blog articles I’ll link to in the show notes on how to get your best night sleep ever. There are definitely tips you can apply today to help you sleep better tonight. One would be getting up with the early morning sunlight and going for a 20 min walk. That early morning light help you reset your circadian clock and produce melatonin.
Lighten your load
One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork. Overwork can include professional, family, and social obligations. Try to streamline your list of “must-do” activities. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks.
Try to limit the amount of work you do during a cleanse or detox. This doesn’t mean you have to take a week off, but skip after-work events if possible in favor of giving your body and mind a rest.
During a detox, try not to plan anything “extra” during that period to lighten your load.
Choose an easy detox
Okay, let’s assume I’ve talked you into doing a detox. Now it’s time for you to find one if you think you’ll struggle doing it on your own. Most people do.
Detoxing has a negative connotation in some circles that doesn’t have to be there. It’s not necessary to do a hardcore detox that forces you to suffer to get a benefit from detoxing. Instead, choose a gentle and whole food based detox, they are effective and more likely to help you make a lasting change.
Choose an easy detox that has a lot of the work done for you with a variety of easy and delicious recipes to choose from. Look for shopping lists, and a daily protocol so you’re not left feeling frustrated and stuck.
The real learning here is for you to allow yourself to choose a detoxing program that’s right for YOU, no matter what any expert, including myself, tells you.
The reality is that most of us don’t have the opportunity to take a week or ten days with a chef. But that doesn’t mean you can’t detox anyway! There are plenty of one, three and five-day detox programs that are quick to administer and deliver REAL results.
Even better, there are plenty of detox programs out there that take a lot of the work out of it for you.
I’ve had so many people tell me that they are nervous about what’s going to happen to them if they detox. They worry about being hungry, or getting too tired. It might be too hard or frankly spending too much time in the bathroom.
Choosing gentle and whole food based detoxes are incredibly effective and are more likely to help you make lasting changes that impacts your health over the long term.
What’s the point of doing a lemon juice cleanse if you’re so miserable halfway through that you just give up and dive into a bag of tortilla chips? This is actually one of the worst things you can do. With the lemon juice cleanse you’ve pushed your body into believing you are starving. Guess what happens when you eat something when your body thinks you’re starving? That’s right, the body stores the food as fat to protect you from impending starvation and death. Ugh! SO frustrating!
Recruit a buddy
Having a support system in place absolutely increases your chances of success! You’re much less likely to “throw in the towel” if you know you have someone on your side to talk you away from the cookies.
Gather your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, & soccer moms together to support each other. Join a group detox where there’s a leader and you can connect with other detoxers.
Have you ever tried to use willpower to get yourself to do something? How did it go? Were you able to get what you thought you needed or did you end up in worse shape than when you started off?
With studies on human behavior, many do not have success by themselves with just willpower.
The easy and fun solution….join a group with a leader.
Considering the amount of connectivity we have these days with our smartphones and laptops, you’re able to find a group detox no matter where you live.
Regardless of what kind of detox feels right for you, give yourself the benefit of having a cheer section to help you keep going when the going gets tough.
Notice your food attachments
A detox is an incredible opportunity to look at your eating habits from a new perspective.
Most of us have attachments to certain foods whether it’s sugar, chips or a glass of wine or soda at the end of the day.
Take the opportunity to become really mindful of your habits during a detox. How often do you want to reach for a piece of candy? Are you looking for a snack because you’re truly hungry or because you want a distraction from your work? The key to changing your “bad” health habits is to become aware of them first.
Create your action plan
We are more accountable when we share our plans and goals with another person and write them down. We add more accountability the more people we tell and ask for their support in achieving this goal.
Now that you know the keys to detoxing your body, what is one thing that you’ll commit to doing or eating differently? (post it in the comments below). Think of choosing the low hanging fruit, something you may have done in the past that would be easy to be a success at again. Once we are successful in adding a small habit, it’s easier to continue to add more to our lives.
Would you like to get 2 sample recipes from my SPRING whole foods reset? Here is a PDF of some delicious detox recipes for you. Take a look and see for yourself if eating this way would be doable for you for 5 days. If so, purchase your whole foods reset for any season HERE
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