What is a Detox?
Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate toxins from your body.
Today we’re going to talk about actual foods you like to eat and how to detox naturally, eating good foods instead of a typical detox diet – which involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Sometimes a detox also includes herbs, teas, supplements, and colon cleanses or enemas.
I think a lot of times we forgot about where we learned facts or random bits of information that we’ve stored for later. For whatever reason I remember when I first heard about detoxing. I was babysitting this little girl down the street and her father was randomly home in a robe with a cup of something green and a recently used blender sat on the counter.
When I asked what he was doing home, he turned a bright color of rose pink and said something under his breath about cleaning out his system and not being able to do it while at work. Something about his doctor requiring it at his age.
I asked about it later (though I can’t remember to who) and somehow associated the word “detox” with endless hours in the bathroom – I don’t want that experience if I have a choice.
So why do people do it? At about 55 your doctor will suggest you detox about 1-2 times a year to clear out any toxins but honestly toxins are in our body at all ages and if you don’t take the steps to eat right, you’ll be living with those toxins for awhile and they will mess with your body and change you menstrual cycle and slowly effect things without you knowing. So let’s go through what you can eat to naturally detox your body.
It starts in your liver. First it converts toxic substances to highly reactive metabolites and then excretes these toxins. What else plays a role in your detoxification: your kidneys, lungs and even your gut! Toxics impact these organs. The more dangerous toxins come from things like the residue you consume on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables which is why people suggest you buy organic foods.
So lets go over how to cleanse your body naturally with food because a healthy diet is the best way to detoxify.
Lets start with what to remove from your diet:
1) Remove foods that interfere with detoxification. These include fructose (found in soda, fruit juices and even commercial juice cleanses).
2) Avoid trans fats and damaged fats. These fats are in processed foods with “partially hydrogenated” listed in the ingredients.
3) Try to eliminate gluten, dairy, soy and corn as they are the most common food sensitivities and they may make your gut more permeable which would allow more toxins to enter your bloodstream.
The Best Foods for Natural Detoxification
Fats and Oils: Natural fats and oils like extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil provide energy for the detox and biotransformation processes.
Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and flax seeds are excellent sources of fiber that assists in proper excretion and elimination.
Proteins: organic grass-fed beef and wild-caught seafood are proteins that are crucial for the proper function of two major detoxification pathways inside the liver cells.
Legumes: Another good source of soluble and insoluble fiber is beans, lentils, and other legumes which serve as a variety of amino acid precursors.
Fruits: Fruits contain a wide variety of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) and are also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and are high in water content.
Vegetables: non-starchy vegetables provide a wide variety of phytochemicals and fiber.
The main thing to keep in mind is, to body cleanse through a diet you need to include plenty of nutrient-dense, low-sugar, high-fiber plant foods paired with protein and healthy fats. Focus on whole, unprocessed, real foods. Also remember when I mentioned how damaging toxins are on the fruits and vegetables via residue. You can avoid this by choosing organic plants because “The Environmental Working Group or EWG” estimates conventional produce contains 178 pesticides which is a ton! If you can’t choose organic because of cost or availability, check out the EWG’s guide to the most — and least — pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables, appropriately called the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.
It’s suggested that you should supplement your natural detoxification program twice a year with a more formal detox full body cleanse. Though if you’re already eating right and have a good amount of vegetables in your diet your body probably won’t react in less than ideal ways (I.e. Extended bathroom hours!)
Remember through all of this to eat well, get a good amount of sleep each night and manage stress levels as much as possible. All of these changes will keep you healthy, full of energy and reduce your risk of disease.
Try out these recipes to get you started: Dinner detox recipe or a Dinner Vegan detox recipe