I’ve done a detox several times, and I’m in the middle of one now, so I thought it was worth a post.
To start, let’s look at what a detox, or cleanse, does:
Webster’s Dictionary defines detoxification as “the process of removing toxic substances or qualities.” According to Gaiam Life, a detox “is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out.” Over at LiveStrong.com, Jennifer Terry wrote that “detoxification programs provide you with the ability to rid your body of toxins, waste and undigested foods.”
Basically, a detox helps eliminate toxins, balances the PH levels, cleans out waste that is “stuck” in your colon and liver, and more. Gaiam Life lists five main benefits you gain from a detox:
1) Resting the organs through fasting;
2) Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin;
4) Improving circulation of the blood; and
5) Refueling the body with healthy nutrients.
From personal experience, I’m telling you, my body feels amazing afterward. Its like starting fresh, clean slate, renewed body.
There are all sorts of detox diets, and many of them are not healthy or safe. Well, in reality, the diets themselves may be fine; it’s the time period you’re on a detox diet that can be unsafe. A popular detox – and my favorite (get to that later) – is the lemon water detox. The problem is that people do just the lemon water for weeks at a time (a friend of a friend did a month!). The standard I find is seven days, but I tend to stick to two or three days max of only the lemon water.
My conclusion, after plenty of online exploration but with no medical expertise to back it up, is that five to seven days is just about right. However, doing only water or lemon water for that full-time isn’t so good. You can do juices (all natural, NOT the sugar, processed crap), smoothies, fresh fruits and veggies, and more.
- One to two days of lemon water only (recipe below)
- One to two days adding all-natural juices and smoothies (my favorite below)
- One to three days adding fresh fruits and veggies
- Finally, no carb/sugar binging at the end!
Depending on my schedule, I don’t usually get through a full seven days. Three to five is more normal for me. I’ve also read that you should do a full detox at least once a year. Recently I’ve done one about every four months, so it’s probably not good to go a full week anyway. I find that three to five days makes me feel great!
Some final thoughts:
A less intense and long-term method of detoxifying your body is doing a general “cleaning up” of you diet. Eliminate (or at least minimize) things with lots of chemicals and toxins: lose ALL the sodas, stay away from bleached and refined flower products (white bread, rice, crackers, pasta, etc. Basically avoid “white” foods), cut out fake sugars (if you must have sweets, like me, keep it natural), and more. I’ll follow-up with a later post about “clean eating.”
Also, avoid the fad pill detoxes. Everything about that sounds terrible. And finally, a detox or cleanse is not an effective weight loss tool. You will probably lose some weight during, mainly because you’re not taking a ton into your body, but will likely gain that right back when you start eating again. Weight loss is not the goal of a detox; cleaning out your body is the goal.
So those are my (current) two cents on detoxing. Has anyone else ever done a detox? What did you do, and how did you like it? I’m definitely open to feedback and ideas, as I’m still exploring all of this.
- Two tablespoons lemon juice.
- Two tablespoonspure maple syrup. I’ve also seen honey or Madal Ball tree syrup (a blend of maple and palm tree saps).
- A dash of Cayenne pepper.
- Tall glass of water (8-12 ounces). Can be hot or cold, but I usually prefer cold with some ice.
My favorite smoothie recipe:
- One cup frozen fruit (I like mixed berries)
- 1/2 to one cup of water (experiment for the consistency you like)
- One cup spinach
- Spitz of lemon juice
- Dash of vanilla
- Optional: squirt of honey
- Optional: 1/2 to one tablespoon of natural peanut butter (it’s a strong flavor, so you may want less)
- Optional: Protein powder – amount of your choice
There are literally tons of great smoothies out there! And I know many people are into home juicing as well. I was gifted a juicer, but I haven’t tried anything yet.