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The toxic truths about detox diets

Eat fresh! Local farmers market.
Eat fresh! Local farmers market.
Devin D.

Are you aware that the primary cause of disease is the accumulation of unnecessary waste build up in the body? The standard American diet is filled with chemical additives, refined grains and the environment is filled with pollutants, so there is a need to give our bodies a rest and cleanse on a regular basis to help purge the impurities out of our systems. Many turn to cleanses simply for weight loss purposes however when done correctly, not only can it help boost weightloss most important, your body will have a chance to reboot and function in a more efficient manner.

Fasting, "The master cleanse", "The Ultra Cleanse", "The Cabbage Soup Diet" the list can go on. What do all of these diets have in common? Celebrities swear by them and they each promise fast weight loss results. What do they fail to mention to the consumer buying into their claims? That the results are short lived and over time these can cause alot more harm than good.

Sure, after a few days your pants feel a tad bigger, you're lighter in your step. On the downside, you're left irritable, malnourished and more prone to overindulge in the first edible item you lay your eyes on. There's no scientific data backing the fact that these 'diets' are indeed safe and effective however,it is known that consuming too little calories along with an unbalanced diet plan will wreak havoc on your health and slow your metabolism.

"If it slows my metabolism, then how am I still losing weight"? A common question and this is why: When you cut your caloric intake drastically, the body goes into starvation mode. Initially the first few pounds will be water, after that it's all muscle. We need muscle to prevent bone loss and to help our bodies function properly. Muscle burns fat so the more muscle you have and maintain, the more efficient your body burns caloric intake even while at rest.

These packaged cleanses come in systems that are quite costly and may have undesirable side effects. So save your money and don't buy into the packaged claims that you see. The best way to detoxify naturally is with whole food sources. If you plan on trying a juice fast opt for stocking your fridge with organic naturally detoxifying foods such as celery, watercress, assorted berries, sprouts, dark leafy greens, garlic, aloe vera and cabbage.

Green tea and lemon are a part of this group. A great way to rev up your metabolism is by drinking a cup of hot water with lemon first thing on an empty stomach. Not only does this help knock the calorie burn up a notch you're also getting a great dose of vitamin C along with the benefits of a healthy complexion thanks to citrus! So go on and drink up!

Green tea, another fantastic choice that is a nutritional powerhouse. Antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease, neurological dysfunctions, lowers cholesterol as well as it helps prevent tooth decay.

Water. The best way to flush out the system on a daily basis is by consuming at the very least 8 full glasses of water. The body is 60-70% water so it is important to keep hydrated especially during hot weather as well as during/after strenuous physical activity. Water regulates body temperature, and provides a means for nutrients to travel to our vital organs. Water also transports oxygen to our cells, removes waste and protects our joints.

When proceeding with a detox regimen the most important thing to do is plan. It will take time to prepare these meals. Also, since you're cleansing the body the approach should be relaxed not rigid. We're giving the digestive system a rest so try and focus on your mental health as well. Try to reduce the stress level if possible, take a yoga class, learn the wonders of meditation. Take a much deserved time out for yourself, and reconnect.

Prior to your cleanse, keep a diary for a few days that lists the foods that you consume throughout the day. Through this you may notice patterns, where you may be deficient in some areas, what may trigger bad eating habits. Be honest with yourself and jot it all down from the apple you ate in the morning to the three bites of a glazed Krispy Kreme donut that you had during a coffee break. Every bite counts, every sip counts. Noone is here to judge you, the best way to break the habits are by facing the fact that you may over indulge in some things and skimp out on what's good for you. Noone is perfect and the key is to maintain a healthy well rounded diet.

In the planning stages, slowly wean yourself off of stimulants such as caffeine and sugar. Dropping them cold turkey will result in severe mood swings and energy crashes. Can't live without your 20 ounce coffee in the morning? Fill half of it with regular brew and the other with decaf. Milk and sugar a part of the routine? Try to cut back on both additives. Steer clear of artificial sweeteners. Sodas, energy drinks, bottled juices? Say goodbye!

Refined carbohydrates, processed snacks, dairy, meats, these need to be eliminated. The energy it takes for your digestive system to break these foods down and the build up of residue they leave overtime leaves something to be desired.  

Rule of thumb: If it doesn't come from the ground during a detox diet, it will not touch your lips! 

I am not a fan of pure juicing fasts however you can incorporate blended beverages with salads and cooked whole grains and fresh legumes. A raw food bar is a good snack choice if need be however, fresh is best. Also, please note that fat is an essential part of ones diet. Opt for healthier varieties such as olive oil, raw nuts, flax seeds and avocados.

For a newbie, this is not an easy process and it requires time and restraint however it does get easier day by day and the benefits will certainly outweigh what one may consider the downside of it. The point of doing the detox diet is to help clean the dietary slate and start a healthier eating program. When I say healthy, again it's all about balance. Deprivation is not sensible when it comes to long term dietary changes what is sensible is trying to adhere to a foundation of assorted healthy foods and indulging in a small portion of a treat on occasion. Most important- stay active!

Get creative. Browse the produce sections of the grocery store, visit a local farmers market, break out the blender and see that eating healthy can be such an enjoyable experience.


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