As a nutrition counselor, people often ask me if they should go on a detox. I always begin by asking them why they feel they want or need to. Most commonly people say they've eaten way too much sugar, had too much alcohol, feel exhausted and stressed, their digestion is off or they want to lose weight fast. In the best of dietary worlds, we wouldn’t have to detox! We would be eating a clean, balanced diet, getting enough rest and managing stress. Not really the case for most of us...
A dietary detox can indeed be a great way to reboot and refresh. I can't think of anyone who doesn't want to look and feel their best. The system hollers when it longs to find its way back to balance and no doubt, it will find a way to let you know! Best scenario - if you have 2-4 quiet days, it’s wonderful to plan a retreat for your body.
A fresh juice cleanse (75%-100%) is an easy and sensible way to detox. It really does feel amazing to be all squeaky clean and energized after a juice fast. It gives a nice rest to your digestive system and a boost to your immune system. Some people choose to take fresh juice for all their meals throughout the day, and another popular method is to juice until dinner. And dinner is....not lasagna, but a raw veggie salad or a light vegan soup.
If you are planning a detox, especially if it is new to you, ask yourself these 3 key questions:
- Why am I detoxing?
- Is this the right time to detox?
- How am I prepared for when the detox ends?
Asking yourself if it's the right time is important. Are you heading to a big social event on the evening of your 3rd day of juicing? Look carefully at your schedule, so you don't derail your detox. In your enthusiasm to launch your wellness regime, you may be starting a new fitness regime as well. With increased physical activity, you need more calories and you will be more hungry. Again, another red flag during a time of detox. You may be feeling so great by day 3, you forget a key point. What are you doing after? For some, this means binging and going straight to your favorite fast food joint! Prepare! Towards the last day(s) of your detox, get your kitchen ready so you can ease off of it wisely.
Joe Cross, Joe the Juicer, has a great site with stellar guidance for wise juicing. Blue Print Cleanse is a great choice if you want juice delivered (US and Canada). They email tips before, during and at the close of your cleanse.
The body has its own brilliantly designed cleansing system, so whether you go on a detox regime or not, it's a great life skill to learn how to work with it. If we rely only on detoxing, we may never get our dietary path in balance. We may give ourselves permission to indulge excessively, because we know we can always detox later on. It can become a crutch and even an addiction. Overtime, it can become taxing on the system and slow down metabolism.
If we eat a clean diet, we don't have to go to extremes nor detox so frequently. Add some detoxifying foods to your diet daily/weekly:
- a glass of warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning before eating or drinking
- ginger and turmeric root tonic
- raw vegetables
- dark leafy greens
- fresh fruit
- fresh vegetable juices
- water, 6-8 glasses a day
- herbal teas
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