I’ve received so many emails asking about detoxing and dieting after the holidays I thought it would be better to answer in a blog post than a million emails (but keep them coming you guys I LOVE IT!) PS I fixed the contact page! See I’m cleaning things up around here, before you know it I’ll have a top banner again. Okay, anyway, here we go!
What Does Detox Mean?
I’m going to bring out Dietitian Kelli for a second and explain what the word detoxification means in terms of the human body. Detoxification is performed in many organs in the body, but the majority occurs in the liver.
We have two phases of detoxification known as phase 1 and phase 2. In phase 1, detoxification, chemicals, and other substances (such as excess hormones, metabolites, etc.) are react with enzymes through various chemical reactions for two primary reasons: to make them less dangerous and to flag them for removal.
This process often creates free radicals, which are less dangerous than the original substance but can also cause harm. Antioxidants work to neutralize them so that they cause less damage until Phase 2 occurs.
During phase 2 detoxification, the liver is responsible for facilitating reactions that make the substances water-soluble; they can then be released from the body. So to review:
Phase 1 harmful substance–> free radical–> neutralized by antioxidant
Phase 2 –> substance becomes water-soluble –> kidneys can filter it out in the urine.
So, when I think of the word “detox,” I think of it like this. The problem with detoxification is when there is an overload of harmful substances, and the liver can’t keep up. This creates a bottle-neck of excess toxic chemicals or free radicals until the liver can catch up.
So, to help your body properly “detox,” you need to limit the number of harmful substances coming in. That way, the body, and your liver have a chance to catch up and filter out all the bad stuff efficiently without having to work overtime.
No magic pill, no supplements, give your body break. Of course, there are a few supplements I do recommend, but I’ll get to that.
How to Detox the Wrong Way
For the love of God, please do not drink lemon juice and cayenne pepper for three days, that isn’t detoxification, that’s starvation. I’m also not a big fan of juice cleanses.
I like to add green juices to my diet for the extra nutrients, but something about limiting your body of healthy fat and protein in favor of sugar doesn’t sound good to me. That will stress your body out more than help it. Remember, stress is the number one reason you gain weight, yes, number one!
I don’t recommend elimination diets either. Yep, that means no 10-day paleo/gluten-free/dairy-free cleanses. If your bowel habits aren’t regular, and I think you know if they aren’t, then you need to address that first.
Your system might be so out of whack we need to take multiple strategies to bring it back. I won’t go on a soapbox about that, though, just read the post I wrote above.
How to Detox the Healthy Way
However, if you are like me and want something to kind of jump-start you into the New Year, then I can support that. You DO NOT need to get crazy about it, though.
Follow these simple steps to help clean up your eating, support your body’s natural detoxification system, and kick start, your healthy eating program.
- Support your body by taking your high-quality basic supplements: Multi-Vitamin, Fish Oil, and Probiotics daily.
- Drink half your body weight in water every single day.
- Limit preservatives, chemicals, and additives. In other words, don’t eat anything from a package. Stick to REAL food as much as possible.
- Limit added sugar and do not consume artificial sweeteners, not even stevia.
- Avoid alcohol. You had to know that one was coming, and yes, wine included.
- Put two fistfuls of vegetables on your plate for every meal. Plants are full of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and immune-boosting properties that support our ability to detoxify. (Organic is best to limit pesticide exposure.)
- Use as many spices as possible. Spices boost your immune system, your metabolism, and fight inflammation. Nothing is better than using lots of spices on your food.
- Cook with the right cooking oils. Limit inflammatory fats such as corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc. Stick with coconut, avocado, or EVOO.
- Use the skin deep app to limit the number of chemicals that you are exposed to in personal care products
- Get 7-9 hours of HIGH-QUALITY sleep.
- Optional: If you currently consume more than 2 cups of coffee a day, you may want to consider switching to green tea for a bit. (Here is a post I wrote about coffee and caffeine.)
If you do those things, you will vastly decrease stress and inflammation in the body. [clickToTweet tweet=”A true detox isn’t a diet or cleanse, it’s much simpler than that. The ten best ways to detox!” quote=”You will give your organs a break from trying to process through so much junk so much time and gain tons of energy. That’s what detox should be about, not dieting or starvation. “] Just supporting your body with the healthiest most nutrient-dense foods possible.
Many of the long-time readers may recognize that most of those tips are linked to my 52 Weeks to 52 Healthy Habits series. Most of these things are things I believe you should get the hang of practicing all year long.
However, of all the habits in those series, I think those are the most important to your health. So if you feel like tackling a bunch in the new year then go for it
52 Healthy Habits E-Course
I also put together an e-course based on the same series!
The e-course sends the series one week at a time directly to your inbox. It will also provide supportive information such as tips and tricks to help you ingrain each healthy habit as part of your permanent lifestyle. You can use this along with your FREE tracker to make this your healthiest year ever!
How Long Should You Detox For?
I thought many of you might be wondering this. It depends on your goals. 7 to 21 days is an excellent time to strict about alcohol, sugar, and getting enough veggies. But again, those are things I urge you to work towards all year!
Detox Meal Plan Ideas
No sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, all real food. (Also check out my clean eating pantry essentials list.)
Detox Friendly Breakfast Ideas
Coconut Flour Pancakes
Spinach and Tomato Goat Cheese Quiche
Paleo Cauliflower Rice Frittata
Blueberry Cottage Cheese Oatmeal or Smoothie
Southwest Cottage Cheese Egg Muffins
Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Quiche
Cashew and Date Healthy Coffee Creamer
Detox Friendly Lunch
Detox Friendly Dinner
Detox Friendly Snacks
Veggies with dips such as:
Some of you may be wondering about the Life Time Detox program I did and coached many clients through. Overall, I still think it’s a great program, just expensive. I’m just not really into forcing myself to slam down smoothies that taste like chalk.
Also, I don’t love the elimination diet it entails. I had many clients go through it only to wonder why they felt so much better, which would lead them to get a food sensitivity test. I think that’s good, but I’d instead go a different route.
Also, the supplements that come with that are okay. Still, whenever consuming anything other than an MV, FO, or probiotic, I believe you should work on one with a practitioner to fit your individual needs.
If you are interested in that, please check out my nutrition services website www.hungryhobbyrd.com. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
How do you clean up your diet after the holidays?
I pretty much do all the stuff mentioned above. That’s why I wrote about it!
What are your go-to clean it up meals?