What You'll Learn Here:
~ by Jo Jordan
To maximize the benefits from your detoxification diet, it’s important to approach the process as an adventure. Simply do your best, and do not be too hard on yourself if the pot at the end of the rainbow is not as heavy with gold as you had imagined it. You’ll feel lighter, and that’s the main thing!
And remember, if you are able to eliminate just one product that affects you negatively, you’ll be healthier for it.
Getting off to a Good Start
Here are some tried and true detoxification diet tips:
- Eat three well-balanced meals each day.
- Never skip meals.
- Be sure to snack! Just make sure your treats are healthy, and in line with whichever level of the plan you on. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are the best times for snacks.
- Avoid snacking after dinner.
- Plan your detox diet for a 7 to 21-Day period you know will be relatively stress-free.
- As much as possible, pre-shop for your detoxification diet foods and supplements.
- Follow the “if you can’t pronounce the ingredient names, don’t buy it” rule.
- The shorter a product’s ingredient list, the better!
- Buy organic and locally grown and raised food.
- Wash all produce thoroughly.
- Make a list of the little non-food related things that make you happy, and reward yourself each day with at least one activity from the list…a walk in the woods, a long distance call to an old friend, re-runs of Seinfeld, or curl up with a trashy novel!
Flavorful Food Tips
Depending on which detoxification phase you are attempting, as you begin to eliminate products, you may need to find substitutes. You may also want to find ways to give tried and true foods a little zip, and incorporate things that will support the detoxification process. Here are a few suggestions:
- Seasoning is a great way to add flavor as well as beneficial antioxidants to your food. Cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, for example, are believed to help destroy toxins, and they contain loads of botanical nutrients.
- Onions and garlic add zest to food. They are also both rich in sulfur-containing compounds, and assist with the detoxification of heavy metals.
- Unrefined sea salt is a fine mineral source. The trace elements in ordinary table salt are destroyed during refining.
- Black currant, flax seed, and grape seed oils are wonderful, healthy alternatives to salad dressing.
- For cooking, use olive oil or safflower and/or sunflower oils as long as they are cold, pure-, or expeller-pressed.
Fruits and Vegies
It’s important during a detoxification to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. A good source of the vitamin C and glutathione – essential to the detoxification process – green leafy vegetables have well-known cleansing properties. Also to consider:
- Apples, regardless of the type, are low in calories and high in soluble fiber.
- Artichokes are high in insoluble fiber, and contain plant compounds known as caffeoylquinic acids, which increase the flow of bile and help to digest fats. Simply wash, pull off the outer and lower petals, and trim off the sharp tips of the outer leaves. Boil artichokes upright for about thirty minutes. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature!
- Beets are beneficial to fat metabolism, and they contain betaine, which promotes the flow of bile and regeneration of liver cells.
- Broccoli supports the liver’s detoxification enzymes. Other members of the Brassica family – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi – provide the same detoxifying effects. They are also rich in fiber.
- Mangoes are ripe with fiber and nutrients. Eat chilled mangoes for breakfast or dessert. Mangoes are perfect in sauces and chutneys, or simply serve them sprinkled with lime juice.
Fiber and Protein
The liver requires protein for detoxification. Fiber is also a vital part of the process. Here are a few suggestions:
- Chicken, turkey breast, and egg whites are all excellent sources of protein.
- Beans and legumes are a great choice for bulk and protein.
- Beef – as long as it’s organic – is a good protein source in small amounts (2-4 oz.).
- Bulgur is high in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories. A cup of bulgur – with its nutty flavor – offers twice the fiber of brown rice. Partially cooked, it requires little preparation time. Use in place of rice in most recipes, or in cold salads.
- Fish – sardines and mackerel, or flounder, cod, and rainbow trout – is a good source of protein.
- Flax seeds are an excellent source of both insoluble fiber and essential fatty acids. Grind them up fresh each morning in your coffee bean grinder. They’re perfect on breakfast cereals, steamed veggies and salads, or in soups and stews.
- Lentils are a great source of low-fat protein. An excellent meat substitute, they’re full of fiber and a variety of nutrients. The body absorbs lentils slowly, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Millet is rich both in fiber and in protein. Try it as a hot breakfast cereal by cooking it with apple juice instead of water. Combine it with cooked beans or peas and a few spices to make vegetarian burgers, or add it to stews and soups.
Hydration is extremely important during a detoxification diet. However, caffeinated drinks are considered dehydrating, and therefore counterproductive to the process. Consider these alternatives:
- Substitute regular coffee for green tea. It’s rich in powerful antioxidants. These work to lower cholesterol, destroy disease-causing organisms, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and stimulate the immune system. The polyphones in green tea promote longevity, attacking the free radicals associated with aging.
- For a change of pace, try ginger tea. It improves digestion and strengthens the immune system, warding off colds and flus. Simply peel and thinly slice a two-inch piece of fresh ginger root. Boil four cups of water and add the ginger. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for twenty minutes. Add honey and lemon.
Fruit and vegetable juices, and rice milk are yummy, hydrating drinks. And there’s also good, old-fashioned water with fresh lemon juice.
Take time to chew your food well, especially grains. Chewing helps to relax your stomach muscles and triggers nerve messages, activating the entire digestive process. Consder turning off the television while eating, and try listening to some soothing music to aid in relaxing your stomach muscles and destressing yourself while eating.
Get plenty of rest including downtime, naps, and lights out by 11pm. Remember, you’re trying to restore your body, so sleep and time to reflect is crucial.
Try to get some exercise on a daily basis. A thirty-minute walk after lunch will make a world of difference to the detoxification process.
Do not get discouraged if you slip up. Even if you manage to cut out just one unhealthy product during your detoxification, your body will appreciate the difference. And you can always do another detoxification diet when you notice fourteen relatively stress-free days coming up on your calendar.