Two common questions I’m often asked are: “What do you mean by detox?” and “Why should I do one?”
What’s a detox?
A detox is a period of time in which you give your body a break. A break from what? A break from the foods that doesn’t serve it for optimum health. You probably know the ones: fried foods, simple carbs, caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, and things like that. Instead, you replace them with things that serve the body better. Another word for detox is cleanse, and I use the two words interchangeably. Cleanses don’t last forever; they usually have a fixed period of time, like a day, 5 days, 10 days, or something like that.
Don’t our bodies know how to detox on their own?
Yes…and no. Our bodies are well-designed machines, and they have several systems that are designed to help us detox naturally: the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and skin. However, we live in a highly toxic world, and toxins come at us from all directions. These days, we’re exposed to pesticides, poor quality air and water, plastics, electromagnet fields, cleaning supplies, cosmetics … whew, the list goes on. The truth is, our bodies just can’t keep up with everything that is assaulting it.
How do I know if I need to detox?
When our bodies can’t keep up, it can’t flush out all the toxins; they linger. They build up in our body tissue and get stuck. Accumulated toxins can lead to belly bloat, food cravings, weight creep, and more. Other signs that you may need a detox include indigestion, PMS, upset stomach, irregular bowels (diarrhea, constipation, or both), poor sleep, and skin breakouts.
What are the benefits of a detox?
While results can vary from detoxes, many people report the following benefits:
- Improved energy
- Better digestion
- Clearer mind
- Better sleep
- Weight loss
- Kicking food cravings
- Clearer skin
Which detox should I do?
There are a countless number of detoxes to choose from. Some examples include:
- Colon cleanse – taking supplements, herbs, or meds that make you sit on the “royal throne” for some time your colon is empty (if you’ve ever had to prep for surgery or had a colonoscopy, you know what I’m taking about).
- Juice cleanse – drinking nothing but green juice for a period of time.
- Liver cleanse – eating certain foods and supplements to support the liver.
- Master cleanse – drinking a concoction of water, cayenne pepper, maple juice, and lemon juice all day long for 10 days
- Whole food cleanse – eating lean protein, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit.
I think a detox choice is very personal. For me, the master cleanse would never work; I LOVE food and eating too much to give it up for that long (my daughter makes fun of my deep-rooted fear of being hungry). Know yourself and choose a detox that will work best for you.
I like the idea of a whole foods detox but it feels overwhelming. How do I get started?
A “whole food” is any food that has been plucked from the ground, picked from a tree, or had a mother. I love the simplicity of this definition. If you’re not used to eating a whole foods diet, it can feel overwhelming to get started. One big tip is to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store instead of the middle aisles. The middle aisles tend to have a lot of highly processed and high-sugar foods, whereas the outer perimeter is where you’ll find the produce, seafood, meats, and eggs, which are you best bet. Even if you choose not to detox, but simply want to improve your food choices, that is an excellent place to start.
On the other hand, maybe you’re one of those people who simply want someone to tell you what to do. If that’s you, check out my 5-Day Spring Detox. It might be just what you’re looking for! (But hurry…registration closes Saturday, March 3rd!)