Do you want to boost your energy levels, improve your digestion and lose a kilo or two in the process? Then you need to try detoxifying your body. Detoxification is the removal of toxic substances from the body. Usually detox diets cleanse and remove toxins from your liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. Detox diets can refocus your mind and body by eating nutritiously. Our bodies have a natural detoxification system, but sometimes a week long detox plan can speed things up and clear your body.
Now, there are many detox diets out there, and some involve you fasting for a week straight, only drinking detox juices and water and restricting all other foods. But those seem very counter-productive because you’ll go into starvation mode and you are likely to gain the weight back after you end the diet.
Here we will tell you what to eat and not eat during a detox as well as some other methods to get you through the week.
What not to eat
You do need to avoid things that are harmful to the body (the reason behind detoxifying). This includes puffing on cigarettes, eating milk products (it contains bacteria, although it might be good bacteria, we don’t need any more of it in the body during a detox), any kind of sugar, caffeine (coffee and tea), and any type of grains such as bread, roti, pasta or rice, as well as beef.
What you should eat
You need to go all nutritious for a week. That means avoiding any of the above and substituting with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean fresh steamed fish, lean roasted or grilled chicken (no salan), legumes (they must be dry such as dry kidney beans, chickpeas or lentils, not curry type), unsalted nuts (limit to one handful every other day), green tea, vegetable and fresh fruit juices and of course tons of water. Although sugar is a no no during a detox, you can substitute sugar with a low calorie honey as a sweetner (limit to one teaspoon a day).
Drink water mixed with lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper in the morning. The antioxidants in the lemon kick start the digestion and cleanse the system while the cayenne pepper helps to speed up your metabolism.
- You cannot skip exercising during a detox (or you need to start if you don’t already exercise). Aim for a 20 minute very brisk walk, 10 minute jog or a few burpees every day (read Did you do the Burpee Today). Exercise that gets the sweat rolling will increase lymph and blood flow and help sweat out toxins.
- While detoxifying the body, you need to have mental clarity as well. Aim for 10 minutes of meditation or even yoga daily. An easy way to meditate is to close your eyes and slowly deep breath. Breath in through your nose, hold for 3 seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Incorporate the nutritious foods as mentioned above. Eat raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits daily, and alternate one serving of lean fresh fish, lean chicken and dry legumes per day every day.
- Drink at least 3 liters of water every day. This will help the lymph fluid and support kidney detoxification. You can also drink the lemon juice during the day as well as other vegetable and fresh juices.
- Chew each mouthful of food 10 to 12 times before swallowing. Bringing mindfulness during eating will improve digestion, allowing you to feel a sense of fullness without the need to overeat.
Some foods you can eat
Here are some example of vegetables, fruits and juices you can eat and drink:
- Brussels sprouts – These are high in sulfur, which help to remove toxins from the blood. Eating a serving or two daily will help ring out the toxins. They also boost glucosinolate, an antioxidant that forces the liver to release enzymes that block damage.
- Garlic – Garlic also has a lot of sulfur. And apart from the detox benefits, it has many other useful properties as well, such as strengthening the immune system, improving cardiovascular diseases and help regulating blood sugar.
- Ginger – Ginger helps the liver function, speeds up metabolism and flushes out waste. In addition, it has several other important health benefits for the body.
- Carrots – This food is rich in glutathionine, a protein that helps detoxify the liver. Carrots also contain good amounts of vitamin C, B6 and potassium, as well as vitamin A and K.
- Raw tomatoes – Tomatoes are also rich in glutathionine, as well as lycopene which has been shown to protect again breast, skin and lung cancer. Eat tomatoes while they are fresh and in their raw form.
- Grapefruit – This food has enormous amounts of glutathionine as well as pectin which can help lower cholesterol.
- Spinach – Yet another glutathionie rich food, eat spinach raw or steamed. It also has a great amount of energy-boosting iron.
- Walnuts – They detoxify the liver and feed the brain. Walnuts are a good source of glutathionine and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Avocados – Rich in glutathionine and monounsaturated fats, these help lower cholesterol and has many antioxidant properties.
- Asparagus – Asparagus is known to help with liver drainage, fight the aging process, protect you from getting cancer, a good anti-inflammatory food and helps your heart to stay healthy.
- Beets – Many detox cleanses go wrong when toxins are reintroduced to the body because they don’t make it all the way out. Beets will make sure that those toxins you are trying to get out actually do leave the body. They also help with free radicals.
- Ginger cucumber juice – This green juice will help you wake up in the morning and stay fresh throughout the day. It includes cayenne pepper, lime juice, parsley and ginger.
- Coconut-lime detox drink – Another green drink combines tastey and healthy. Blend together spinach, lime juice, lemon juice, coconut water and a small teaspoon of honey.
- Almond antioxidant smoothie – Get your daily dose of antioxidants with this blend. Combine your favorite berries (strawberries, cherries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries) with a few almonds, some honey and vanilla.
- Purple power – This drink is loaded with fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach and blueberries. Add some ginger and mangos to amp up the flavor.
Although the body already has a detoxification system in check, detox diets can go a long way in clearing your system of toxins in a week. Avoid those master cleanses where you drink only lemon and cayenne pepper water 6 times a day daily, as that can be more harmful than do you any good. Sure you’re likely to lose some weight, but you’ll gain it back after you start eating again. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, and leaner chicken (with no salan). Stay safe, and avoid detox diets if you have low blood pressure, are pregnant or breastfeeding.