Thanks to much of what we hear in the media, detoxing has earned a reputation for being unhealthy, unnecessary and even unsafe. When you hear the word “detox” what comes to your mind?
- All liquid diet
- Expensive supplements
- Short-term gains
The truth is, detoxing doesn’t have to involve any of the above – if you detox under the support of a credentialed healthcare professional; a detox can establish healthier eating choices, increase energy levels, kick-start weight loss, and reclaim total body health.
The idiom “the devil is in the details” fits when reviewing a detox program. Reviewing the small print detox details is suggested before you start.
Myth #1: You won’t enjoy anything you’re eating while on a detox.
This is one reason why experiencing a detox diet is exciting – it gives you a chance to try new foods with a renewed purpose!
For example, I’ve been intimidated by artichokes. I wanted to try them but whenever I saw this odd looking vegetable I’d think “how do I make a dish with them?” The detail of finding a recipe with a mix of some of my favorite foods with the artichokes opened me to more possibilities.
Plus now that frozen artichokes are available, can say adios to the salty marinade or brine that comes with them!
For a detox, elimination-style diet to work, you’ll need to forgo several foods during the detox. Pressing the pause button on your current eating is the cornerstone to identifying trigger foods affecting your health. Substituting recipes created with taste (and ninja detox skills) in mind, keeps you motivated to stay the course.
Focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t.
It’s empowering to learn that you don’t need the foods you previously thought you couldn’t live without. Especially when you discover that these very foods are causing you to have sub-optimal health.
To ramp up your motivation mojo, look for programs that offer recipes that can be prepared even by a cooking novice without fancy, one-time use ingredients.
Approach your detoxing with a beginners mind – open to trying new foods with no judgement, whether you’ll like it or not. Trying foods that provide the body with compounds that assist the body’s detox process can be the motivation to take a second bite!
Myth #2: You’ll constantly be hungry while detoxing.
You could end up eating less total calories from your detox meal plans or the same amount of calories but from different sources (i.e. less carbs, more protein and fat). Surprise – this change in sources can lead to decreased appetite resulting in modest weight loss.
Steer clear of detox diets that promote low calories (below 1200 calories per day) as this can actually disrupt your hormones and metabolism, making your body less efficient in the long run.
We all have times when we eat mindlessly, unaware of genuine hunger and fullness cues from our body. One benefit of a detox is that it requires you take a pause in your usual eating style to reconnect with your hunger cues.
Liquid diet extremists will claim that they feel great following a juice only diet. This may be true for the short term.
Whenever we make a change in our usual eating patterns we experience some discomfort. We and our bodies are creatures of habit. A daily habit of ice cream at night, or special coffee-house Frapp mid-day, and even weekend eating and Netflix binges become comforting habits that our minds (and bodies) don’t forget easily.
My primary goal for a detox diet is to be the gateway to help others make inroads on adding new eating habits that provide the most nutrients with recipes and foods that are attractive, tasty, and economical. In addition, learning about practices that help the body and mind detox beyond food, such as dry brushing, magnifies the concept that self-care translates into a happier and healthier you.
Myth #3: You need to do an all-liquid detox to remove toxins from your body.
Liquid-only diets (juicing) have had more than their share of popularity. The lure of quick weight loss is understandable. However, this type of detoxing can backfire. Highly restrictive eating results in sudden weight loss that involves losing both muscle and fat with regain quickly after the liquid diet ends.
Another major concern is that the liquid/juice diets frequently used for detox diets do not provide a well-rounded nutritional profile to meet macro and micro nutrient needs. Following this plan for one day may not make an impact. However, following this type of detox for several days or even weeks can be detrimental to health.
Plus, for a juicing plan, using non-organic fruits and vegetables actually raises the total amount of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides consumed by the person. Not to mention the natural high sugar load that can lead to increased triglyceride levels for susceptible individuals.
Researchers have isolated enzymes, antioxidants, and other nutrition-related compounds in whole foods that contribute to the detox reactions in our liver and kidneys. An effective detox will include a variety of whole foods with these attributes to contribute to long-term results.
I can easily picture myself sitting down to eat a lemony Spring quinoa and spinach blueberry salad vs. sipping and slurping a liquid-meal. We know that liquids quickly leave the stomach turning on peptides and hunger hormones. Who needs that?
Myth #4: Detoxes are just a way for people to make money on expensive supplements.
A whole-food detox should provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and all three of the macronutrients; protein, carbs, and fat.
However; supplementation of any diet is not considered a sign of quackery. For example, increasing total fiber in the diet can be a challenge for the non-veggie centric type, or for those that find increasing whole food fiber results in too much digestive distress to continue.
A fiber supplement, combined with selecting high fiber fruits and veggies, and reduction of processed fiber-devoid foods, can be the perfect answer to meet a person’s fiber needs. This is especially important for women who detox to reset estrogen levels.
Another example of a supplement that can be beneficial, depending on the individual, are probiotics. Introducing specific strains of bacteria to the gut, especially during a detox, helps the body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and are players in the detox process. Let’s not forget that we’ve identified some bacteria as being more weight loss friendly than other too.
Detox = Reclamation
It may be semantics but detoxification also means reclamation. A guided detox experience is an effective way to reclaim your health.
Aside from the benefits discussed above, following a qualified nutritionist’s plan can help identify food sensitivities, reset hormones like insulin and estrogen, kick-start weight management and establish new, healthier life living habits.
My mantra is to Detox smart … Detox efficiently … Enjoy your detox
What’s been your experience with detoxing? I’d love to hear your comments!
Are you ready to discover how to reclaim your health today?
Bonnie Roill, RDN, CWC, Hormone Support Coach is a nutritionist for women looking for a seasoned dietitian that uses foods and botanicals to re-balance hormones to create a healthier weight, increased vitality, restorative sleep, and a happier tummy. Her group phone-based program “Clean Eating Junpstart Detox“ program is a whole food 21 day program that provides a kick-start to reclaim total body health. The next program starts October 10, 2016 – click here for details.