Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body. The best known Detox plans (the kind which are affiliated with celebrities) should not be continued for long periods of time. They are generally used to kick-start a healthy lifestyle plan and depending on which plan you follow can last between 3-10 days.
For many of us, Detox makes us think of being starved of food and drinking nothing but water for days on end! Detox diets which are this extreme tend to result in a junk food binge which negates the point of a healthy and cleansing eating plan. A successful detox should leave you energised, radiant and seeing positive changes to your weight and body composition.
You may be considering starting a detox plan following the recent Easter chocolate filled weekend, particularly with beach body season just around the corner (although it may not feel like it in this weather). In order to plan and implement a successful detox which will lead onto a healthy lifestyle change, you need to know which foods you CAN eat as well as which foods are best avoided.
Recommended To Avoid:
- Red Meat
- Cheese, butter, ice cream
- Pasta, bread, pastries
- Fried foods
- Saturated & trans fats
- Additives & preservatives
- Tea, coffee
- Fizzy drinks
- Sauces – ketchup, salad cream, spaghetti bolognaise sauce
- Fruit juice, squash
Recommended To Eat:
- Garlic & herbs – turmeric, wheat grass
- Steamed/raw vegetables
- Fruit – acai berries, gogi berries, pomegranate, grapefruit, orange, apple
- Lemon & hot water
- Herbal teas – thistle, nettle, dandelion
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown rice, sweet mash, quinoa
- Raw nuts
- Oats mixed in water, banana slices, Hot water & lemon.
- Mixed berries with natural yoghurt, green tea.
- DETOX SMOOTHIE – aloe vera, acai berries, wheat grass, pomegranate, nettle and lemon are all cleansing ingredients which are ideal to kick start your day. Add one or two of these ingredients to other fruits/vegetables you may be using and mix well. Experimenting with flavours and ingredients is a great way to prevent tedium.
- Two poached eggs, one piece of fruit, hot water & lemon.
- Homemade vegetable soup (avoid tinned or ready-made soup).
- Tuna and sweetcorn, brown rice, green leafy salad.
- Guacamole – avocado, lemon juice, chilli, tomato and garlic with vegetables.
- Avocado and prawn salad.
- Grilled fish and vegetables.
- Turkey/vegetable stir fry.
- Baked salmon, quinoa, steamed vegetables.
- Chicken, brown rice and black beans.
- Citrus fruits
- Natural Yoghurt
- Plain popcorn
By eating and preparing natural foods you will feel less bloated, irritable, stressed and tired among many other health benefits. If you are feeling any of these, you may be restricting your calories too severely and should consult our calorie calculator to get a better idea of the energy you require to lose weight in a healthy way. Always avoid detox diets which promote prolonged severe calorie restriction, those which encourage the use of laxatives and those which do not promote a balanced diet. Deficiency in macro and micro nutrients will impact your health negatively. Common negative consequences of deficiency include anaemia, muscle breakdown, fatigue, decreased immunity, depression and even cardiac arrhythmia.
The idea of a good detox is to eat pure and natural foods that will aid the function of the lymph, kidneys and liver, NOT to starve in a bid to drop weight rapidly. To be in optimum health takes constant care and you cannot expect 3-10 days of restrictive dieting to make up for years of eating junk food and neglecting health.
Cuervo AM, Calorie Restriction and Aging: The Ultimate “Cleansing Diet”, Journal of Gerontology, 2008, 63(6):547-9.
Rose N, The Raw Food Detox Diet, book published October 2009.
Baillie-Hamilton PF, Mason R, Chemical Toxins and Obesity, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 2002, 218-23.