Detox, cleanse, purification—these are some of the popular terms used to describe essentially the same thing: expelling toxins from your body and “resetting” your digestive system. Detoxing is often synonymous with “juicing,” but a 100% liquid diet is more on the extreme end as far as cleansing goes. There are cleanses and purification programs that don’t promote starvation, but rather encourage healthy eating habits while cleaning your body. Not sure which detox diet to choose or whether it’s right for you to begin with? Here is some information from Cara-Michele Nether, Towson, MD nutritionist to help you on your journey to the healthy you.
What Detoxing Does
A basic detox or cleanse consists of 7-20 days of adopting a new diet. The exact diet depends on the type of cleanse you are doing. For example, our 21-Day Standard Process Purification Program focuses on eating whole foods and nutritional supplements while eliminating certain food groups, such as grains, dairy, nuts, shellfish and eggs.
This helps you achieve the following:
- Reduce the number of allergens, irritants and inflammatory agents you ingest from food
- Draw and expel toxins from your body
- Nourish your body to restore the digestive balance
Who is Detoxing for?
Most people could benefit from a detox every now and then. The truth is, our bodies are bombarded with large amounts of internal and external toxins on a daily basis. Things like second-hand smoke, heavily processed food, car exhaust, household cleaning products, air fresheners and lotions all contain harmful chemicals that we either breathe in, eat or absorb through our skin. Although our liver, kidneys and intestine are trained to remove these chemicals, they too can get overwhelmed. This is when you may start noticing certain physical and behavioral symptoms that indicate it’s time for a cleanse:
- Lack of energy
- Foggy thinking
- Trouble sleeping
- Dependence on certain foods to get you through the day
- Skin problems and breakouts
- Thick white coating on the tongue
- Phantom body aches that come and go without a pattern
- Bad breath or body odors
- Bloating and weight gain
Detoxing is Not a Solution to Your Weight Loss Problems
While certain weight loss is expected, detoxing is not your silver bullet. It’s important to understand that purification is merely a way to get your toxic load down and get your digestive system in shape. This comes with many benefits to your overall health and wellness, but it’s not a long-term solution for managing your weight. However, a purification program can serve as a kick-start for a new healthy lifestyle for you. Once you dip your toes into the water and realize how much better you feel when you eat right, you will have the will and the strength to make the necessary changes to get your nutrition on the right track.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cleansing
DO Consult With Your Nutritionist First
If you search online for a cleanse or detox, you will find the numerous way people (mostly women) starve themselves in the name of beauty. And if your main goal is being healthy rather than losing a few pounds, then do yourself a favor and talk to your nutritionist before starting a cleanse. Don’t have a nutritionist? Cara-Michele will be happy to sit down with you and tailor a purification program to your specific needs. Having someone by your side to guide you and support you throughout the process makes it a lot easier.
Do Follow Through
Simply eliminating coffee from your diet can be tough. Eliminating several groups of foods and trying new foods at the same time is even tougher. You need to have the right mindset when you start the cleanse and be determined to finish it. Giving it up mid-process or cheating won’t get you the results you wanted, so follow through! And that’s another reason why it helps to have a nutrition counselor who can hold you accountable and push you when you need some motivation!
Don’t Skip the Phase-Out Process
At the end of the cleanse there will be a phase-out process that involves slowly reintroducing eliminated foods to your diet. If you feel like you don’t have the need for coffee and alcohol anymore, that’s great. But foods like eggs, dairy and grains can be added back in to see if your body has any reactions to them. The mistake many people make is going back to their old diet right away, adding back all foods at once. If you do this, you miss the chance to identify foods that make you feel bloated or fatigued. You are also likely to gain the lost weight back very quickly. To avoid this, start adding foods back to your diet one by one and keep track of how your body responds.
There is some degree of planning involved in every cleanse, from choosing the right time for it, to making a grocery list. If you want someone to help you with advice and answer your questions along the way, get in touch with Cara-Michele today for a free consultation!