How to Detox for Better Health
Q: I am interested in doing a “detox” for better health. My first question is what exactly is a detox and what if any foods should I avoid or focus on to help me through such a process?
Mark: First I would like to say that ‘detoxifying’ is a relative term. It involves going from a more toxic state to a state of less toxicity, or ideally to a state of optimal health.
Toxins Come from Many Places
There are many reasons why people have accumulated toxins in their body. Environmental pollution, poor food choices and even genetic predispositions can cause our body to retain certain harmful substances. When we have these accumulated toxins, our body does not function optimally. Digestion may be sluggish; we may have allergic reactions, feel lethargic and have a host of other symptoms that can mask as many common ailments.
Healing with Food
As you know, we are strong proponents of healing with food. Food plays such a central role in our lives. When we make healthier food choices, our body responds by functioning at a higher level. As I mentioned earlier, the idea of detoxifying is relative. Most everyone benefits from detoxing- from those on the standard American diet (SAD) to those on living foods diets.
So the types of foods and the types of cleanses we would recommend are relative to the current state of health of the individual. Generally when we consume ‘lighter’ foods compared to what we regularly eat, our body will begin a natural process of detoxifying. In all instances, we recommend using organically grown ingredients whenever possible.
Chose a Cleanse that’s Right for You
There are many different types of cleanses and fasts for people to try. Different strokes for different folks. Some people benefit from juice or water fasting, others may go on a fruit only fast, some benefit from doing cleanses that involve a simple diet of grains and vegetables.
For those who would like a gentle way to detoxify through use of diet we suggest the following. Pick a week where you can experiment with making some changes to your eating habits. Evaluate your current diet. If you are eating lots of heavy foods, such as red meat, try going a week without it. You may want to also eliminate dairy products, which has proven to be an incredible way to clear up allergies, asthma and congestion. Many times we have food allergies that we are unaware of until we do without the food for a certain period of time.
Other things to look at ‘fasting’ from include fried and greasy foods, refined sugars and flours, wheat products, coffee and or caffeine. Limiting salt intake is also a great thing to strive for in your cleanses. It’s important to remember that although you may be enjoying the taste of these things now, you will often notice very positive changes in your health by fasting from any of them.
Eliminating Cooked Foods
One type of ‘fast’ that we enjoy is to eliminate all cooked foods from the diet. This can be for a day or a week or longer. . During this cleanse you may enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, smoothies, teas and juices. You can also enjoy small quantities of raw nuts and seeds. This can prove to be a powerful way to activate a natural cleansing or detoxing process.
If your diet is relatively healthy, you may want to experiment with a juice fast, or fruit and juice combination. Fresh squeezed lemon juice with water is an amazing drink to include as it helps reduce mucus, provides vitamin c and potassium. Grapefruits are a great food to include in a fruit cleanse. Along with the vitamin C, the rutin in the grapefruit acts as a natural blood purifier. See below for a simple and refreshing grapefruit salad.
There are several teas that can also be enjoyed during cleanses, depending on which part of the body you are focusing on in the cleanse. This is a vast topic and is best covered in a future article. Some suggestions for teas for detoxing may include red clover or dandelion root which are used as blood purifiers. Kukicha tea has been used to assist in detoxing for those who have consumed a large amount of animal fats.
Supplementing Your Cleanse
Supplementing your cleanse with some green superfoods like spirulina or wheatgrass juice gives your body the important micronutrients it needs. New Greens by Pure Prescriptions, mixed with some fruit juice or water is one of my favorite additions to most cleanses. Please see below for a sample recipe.
Listen to Your Body
It’s important to listen to your body. Something to be aware of is a ‘cleansing reaction’. When our bodies begin to detoxify, these toxins are released and can sometimes cause symptoms to appear such as nausea, headaches etc. Let your body be the judge. This may be a sign that you are detoxing too quickly.
Move Your Body
Light exercise is a wonderful compliment to any cleanse. In addition to the release of ‘feel good’ endorphins and all the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, light exercise opens up the pores and allows toxins to be released through our largest eliminative organ – the skin. Sitting in a sauna a few times a week for up to 10 minutes will also release these toxins.
Keep it Fun!
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that this process of detoxifying through diet should be fun. Remember that we are journeying towards a state of optimal health and well being. Envision the healthier you and this can inspire you along the way.
Enjoy these recipes from our cookbook:
Simple New Greens Smoothie
- 10 ounces fresh apple juice or other fruit juice
- 4 ounces filtered water – or to taste for desired sweetness
- 2 tsp new greens by pure prescriptions
- 1 small banana
- 1 tsp hemp seeds-optional
- 1 tsp soy lecithin- optional
- 1 tsp flax oil- optional
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. If you leave out the banana, you can stir all ingredients in a tall glass. You may also replace the banana with some other fruit, fresh or frozen.
Simple Grapefruit Salad
- 1 medium grapefruit
- ½ medium lime, juiced
- 1 small date- pitted and chopped small
- few mint leaves, minced
Peel grapefruit and divide into segments. Chop into small pieces. Combine with other ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Enjoy.
Seek Out A Qualified Health Care Practitioner
Detoxing, fasting and cleansing is a vast topic. Please consult a qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions or concerns, if your health is challenged in any way and before engaging in longer fasts and cleanses. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
None of the above is intended as medical advice. Since every individual’s health condition and circumstance are unique, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified health care professional before using any of this information for medical purposes.