Detox diets are as popular as they are controversial. A detox can be used to improve mental focus, to break bad food habits or to lose weight. Some doctors swear by them, while others are more critical.
Unhealthy diets like the Master Cleanse offer unbelievable results that tend to be exactly that: unbelievable. But a healthy detox strips your normal diet down to the basics in order to give your body time to push out the toxins. That can be difficult depending on your dietary needs.
Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans come into a detox needing different things. For example, a vegan wouldn’t have the same issue with saturated fats as an omnivore, and an omnivore wouldn’t have the same issue with soy as would a vegan or vegetarian.
Detox For Everyone:
Regardless of your current dietary restrictions, all detoxers should remember that the most important element in detox is hydration. Water is the fundamental building block of any detoxification routine, as water dilutes toxins in the kidneys—toxins which can then be eliminated. Going without adequate water means that your kidneys could actually be pushing toxins back into your bloodstream.
The addition of lemon juice to water helps to detox the liver and cleanse your body. Be sure to drink at least eight ounces of water every hour—holding onto a cup is a good way to remind yourself to drink.
If you struggle with giving up coffee, try drinking a cup of green tea instead. The caffeine in green tea will ease withdrawal symptoms like headaches and lethargy. Furthermore, green tea is an antioxidant.
It is important to maintain physical activity without pushing yourself beyond your body’s limits. Increasing your circulation through an easy jog, brisk walk or yoga practice will help to keep your blood pumping, sending any toxins back to your liver to be filtered and eliminated.
Detox For Omnivores:
Most omnivores have the hardest road when it comes to detoxification, since they have the broadest range of foods to give up.
When focusing on a body cleanse, it’s important to remove sources of saturated fat and cholesterol, like red meat and egg yolks. Cutting back meat intake to twice a day, and from healthier sources like egg whites and chicken breast, typically provides the body with enough protein to thrive without going overboard.
Work on trading out sources of carbohydrates; candy, sugar and junk food should be in the trashcan. Blueberries are a great source of carbohydrates and contain more antioxidants than most other foods.
Oils are also important to keep in mind. Margarine might seem like a good idea, but our bodies are actually programmed to digest butter more easily. Virgin coconut oil and olive oil are two options that can also improve brain function by detoxifying and increasing the amount of healthy fatty acids.
Detox For Vegetarians:
For a vegetarian, a detox should lead toward a diet made of raw foods, reduced gluten and alcohol. A good goal is to make sure that 80% of your diet is raw (fruits, vegetables and nuts) and 20% comes from cooked food (legumes and brown rice).
Focus on giving up processed foods. Even if a food doesn’t contain meat, if it’s processed it’s probably higher in sodium, sugar and gluten than you could otherwise expect or want in your diet.
Consider replacing your salad greens with dandelion greens. Dandelions are one of the most popular plants used in detoxification, as the phytochemicals in bitter greens help to eliminate toxins from the body.
Make sure that all your fruits and vegetables are organic in order to avoid adding additional toxins from pesticides to your diet.
Detox For Vegans:
As a vegan, it may be difficult to determine how a diet can be further pared down. However, many vegan foods on the market, particularly meat substitutes, are packed with additives, preservatives, wheat and artificial coloring in order to “bulk out” the recipe.
Beyond meat and related products, it’s important to remember that caffeine, wheat, alcohol and sugar can also be damaging to the system and should be eaten in moderation at all times.
Carve out a weekend in which you have no demands on your time and minimal stress, as stress can cause weight gain and blood sugar spikes.
Vegan detoxification routines are based on the importance of vegetables for carbohydrates and raw nuts for protein and fat. Asparagus is high in folic acid, a nutrient best known for preventing birth defects during pregnancy. It also helps the body increase available glutathione for increased detoxification. Avocados are high in vitamins C and E (which help to boost the immune system) and in unsaturated fats necessary for brain function.
No matter where you fall on the food spectrum, a detox diet can and should be sustainable, healthy and, above all else, sane.
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Assist Ed: Dejah Beauchamp/Ed: Sara Crolick