How to Efficiently Detox your Body in 7 Days
Well the holidays are upon us and that means Grandma’s cooking, gluttonous baking, and eggnog lattes. No matter where you turn, sugar is upon us, and I don’t recommend restricting yourself during this wonderful time of year where memories are made and fun is had. What if you could go into the holidays without a cloud of guilt weighing over you, and you can truly just enjoy yourself?
I always recommend doing a cleanse at least once a year, preferably twice. Detoxing the body, and most importantly, the liver, helps cleanse the body by removing toxins and waste products, improves the production of bile so you can better metabolise fat, and can more effectively fight free radicals in the body. You see, when you are no longer filling your body with toxins, such as sugar, alcohol, saturated fats, or just generally large amounts of calories through the day keeping your body in a constant digesting (and possibly low grade inflammatory) state, your liver is busy processing these toxins. It’s working overtime, and not the kind where you get paid double.. During a cleanse, by ingesting the right foods, fluids, and supplements, which I’ll explain shortly, your liver is less busy filtering these nourishing micro-nutrients, and can clean up the build up of toxins in the body over the last few months, or even years.
I am first going to explain the Do’s of a cleanse. I’m sure all of you have already mentally purchased your maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and a bag of organic lemons, but that isn’t the only way to cleanse (although that one definitely offers some benefits!) We’ll leave that one to the die-hards.
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Consume more greens. I don’t care how you do it, but do it. You can buy greens powders, make green salads (great resource here), green supplements, or even just chucking frozen greens into you smoothies. Greens are powerful rock stars in the nutrition world- and they ought to be consumed daily during a cleanse. They top the charts for nutrient density – packed with vitamins A, C, and K, potassium and magnesium, and a few of the leafs (Mr. Spinach and Collards) are high in calcium and folate. Pictured below is one of my favourite salads as of late. Arugala, peppers cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets! I topped with a a lemon garlic tahini dressing.
Give your digestive system a break. Intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular. That’s not to say it is just a fad and will be old news next year. There are some benefits from fasting, if done properly. It puts less stress on the digestive system, giving your organs a chance to take a break from being in overdrive. Fasting promotes cellular repair and regeneration, so that your cells can work more efficiently which will help regulate hormones and increase metabolism.
Increase you Vitamin B Intake. B Vitamin’s are incredibly important! They give us energy, help with stress, support cardiovascular health, support neurological function, help us metabolize our food, and much more. Vitamin B’s are essential to fuel our cells and produce energy. Being a water soluble vitamin, they are lost daily, so you should definitely up your intake during a cleanse. What’s the best way to get your B’s in? Well, food is always number 1. Vitamin B rich foods include all types of meat (chicken, beef, pork), vegetables (dark leafy greens, potatoes), lentils, nuts and seeds. Fortified cereals and grains are often high in B Vitamins but I (highly) suggest sticking to whole foods. Supplementation is also recommended. I recommend taking an oral vitamin daily, or if you’re brave enough, getting Vitamin B injections or infusions.
Consume Less Fats. Consuming fats puts more stress on the liver, which is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. By eating a cleaner, lower caloric diet (but not too low!), you have less food to break down and digest, and subsequently your liver has less work to do. And when your liver isn’t filtering foods, it’s able to focus on detoxifying the body.
Drink more water. More importantly, drink more lemon water. Hydration is key during a detox, as it aids the body in flushing toxins. Adding lemon is a little booster for your liver.
Take digestive enzymes. Take one before every meal, to once again take a little stress off your digestive organs. Do you see a theme here?
Follow a cleanse protocol. This is for the people that need a program or guidelines they can follow. I personally do well when I have a meal plan set out for me, with lists of certain foods to eat/don’t eat.
Don’t consume processed sugar. White sugar is a toxin. Simple as that. Stick to carbohdyrates with a low glycemic index and natural sugars such as in fruit (or get rid of these during the cleanse) so once again you decrease the toxic load on your liver.
No alcohol. Put the wine down and pour yourself a chamomile tea. You’d be amazed at how even your sleep can improve without your nighttime cocktail.
Don’t limit your caloric intake too much. Cleansing does not equate to not eating. Your body still needs fuel during the cleanse, as you will likely still be maintaining your current lifestyle (work, exercise-although limit strenuous workouts), so make sure you consume enough calories and don’t put your body in starvation mode. You can still get the benefits of detoxing by eating clean foods. It’s the removal of toxins that allows the body to begin the cleansing process.
Don’t consume “calorie free” substitutes. We are all guilty of a little stevia or sugar free Cinnamon Dolce at Starbucks in my case. But if you’re still consuming sweeteners during the cleanse then you are still chasing that sugar fix. Get your dopamine instead from something that will serve you (maybe a yoga class or tea date with a friend). Also, there is quite a list of ingredients I cannot spell nor pronounce and are far from being a whole food, so get rid of these chemicals so your liver can do it’s job.
Don’t rely on caffeine. Caffeinated products are not the worst thing during a cleanse, but maybe limit your intake to one cup a day. I personally have given up coffee for the time being, but I am quite enjoying my daily bulletproof matcha. I’ve noticed by anxiety has decreased, my sleep is better, and I feel more hydrated! Too much caffeine puts more stress on the adrenals, which often are already overworked if you’re a stressed out individual, so slow it down with a herbal tea or lemon water.
Don’t Give Up! Commit. Just remember the benefits and why you started in the first place. Increased energy, balanced hormones, less cravings, glowing skin, improved sleep, weight loss, and better mood.
If you haven’t cleansed for some time, you may feel some discomfort during the first few days, or duration of the cleanse. You will feel crappy, I won’t deny that. Headaches, sluggishness, bloating, and hangry/irritability are common symptoms. Your brain isn’t getting the dopamine it’s used to and your microbiome isn’t getting their sugary friends that has normally been residing in the gut, feeding your current bacteria. Just remember, this is temporary, but a necessary process of the detox.
Just like changing anything else in life (relationships, careers, health) a little discomfort is needed for growth. So be a little uncomfortable, experience some negative feelings, and in the end you will come out of this detox a stronger, much healthier human. Even just by completing the detox will give you a sense of accomplishment and that alone will serve you and give you motivation to crush your next goals. Maybe even a little motivation to keep up some of these new dietary habits and next thing you know some of your mental and physical issues dissipate because after all, food is medicine, and food heals.
I definitely like to think I have a pretty green lifestyle, but let’s face it, we could all use a cleanse once or twice a year. From environmental toxins, to meals out and sugary snacks, alcoholic beverages. and even a poor sleep schedule, detoxing is never a bad idea. It’s almost like a reset button, and once you complete your cleanse and feel amazing, you may not want to go back to your old habits.
So there we go, a few of my tips. In the end it’s really simple. Eat less, drink more water, and take supplements if needed. Don’t eat sugar, don’t drink alcohol, and don’t eat out. Get more sleep, laugh a little more, and enjoy your detox journey. If you have trouble staying on track and need a little guidance, follow my detox plan that you can purchase below. I can guarantee that you will do your body a huge favour, and come out feeling lighter, happier, and full of energy, just the way you deserve to feel.
Thanks for tuning in. As always. stay holistic.
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