Magazines, newspapers and blogs are full of the latest detox diets to help you shed those pounds that you’ve piled on over the holiday season.
Detox guru Dr. Alejandro Junger said “Becoming healthy is the most common New Year’s resolution for a good reason. It is one of the core resolutions which all other resolutions depend on. Without vibrant health and wellness, how can we begin to really enjoy life to its fullest?” Good point don’t you think?
Then there are those health “experts” who say don’t waste you time, energy or money on a detox because your body does a good job on its own without the help of a detox diet, cleansing or detox supplements.
So if your resolution is to lose weight should you detox or not?
Before I answer that let me say that there are many different types of detox diets. I certainly don’t advise doing a hard core detox in January if you live where it’s Winter and cold. In fact a good detox diet should not deprive you of nutritious food, make you miserable or leave you feeling drained.
Starving yourself does not work for detox or lasting weight loss. Yes, you’ll lose weight but it will all come back once you start eating food in greater quantities again. When you restrict food your metabolism responds by slowing down. Not good if you want to lose weight!
No, modern detox is about nourishing your body with CLEAN food that will supply your body with the nutrients needed by the detox system. The new detox diet helps to reboot your metabolism and health. If done correctly you will lose weight as a side effect.
Detox damaging chemicals
The true aim of a weight loss detox is to eliminate the chemicals in your body that interfere with the weight loss hormones. These are the toxic chemicals that are get stored in your tissues. The ones that the according to those “detox debunkers” are detoxed by your liver and kidneys every day without any help!
Now, I ask you, would they be stored in your tissues if your body kept up with the day to day detoxing it has to do? No, of course not.
Can detox get rid of these chemicals? Yes, it can. I’ve done a lot of detoxing over a number of years and, according to blood and urine tests, I’ve had done I’ve lowered the toxins found in my body although I still have some. It’s virtually impossible these days to get rid of them all unless you are going to live in a sterile bubble.
There are many doctors who practice functional or environmental medicine who have results in their files of blood, tissue and urine tests from their patients showing that a toxic load has lowered as a result of a detox diet and specific supplements that help support the detox pathways.
These results are not scientifically proven with double blind studies nor published therefore not considered evidence by the medical community as a whole. Who is going to pay for these studies when no one is going to profit from them? That’s the crux of the matter.
So the question is should you detox in January to lose weight?
The answer is yes but don’t do any juice fasting or restrictive cleanses unless you unless you have serious health problems and are being supervised by a health practitioner experienced in detoxification.
Here is a 3 point plan that will help you detox and lose weight at the same time.
Get those bowels moving
It’s very common after a bout of overindulgence on unhealthy food and alcohol for the bowels seize up. Unless your bowels move well at least once every day (twice or three times a day is better) toxins can build up in the gut and be redirected back to the liver where they congest it and interfere with it’s efficiency.
Fluids & Fiber
The way to prevent this and get the bowels moving is to drink plenty of healthy fluids and eat fiber. Good fluids include filtered water, healthy smoothies, vegetable soups and green tea. Make some delicious detox waters if you don’t like plain water.
Good sources of fibre are fruit and vegetables. Fruits with the highest fiber content include apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries and mango. Dark-colored vegetables are fiber rich. Build your meals around carrots, beets, broccoli, collard greens, Swiss chard and spinach. Peas, lentils and seeds are also high in fiber.
Whole non-gluten grains like buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa (all really grain-like seeds), and brown rice are good for fibe. Gluten grains are hard to digest and can gum your bowels up so are best avoided.
Love your liver
If you’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol and eating a lot of sugary foods over the holiday season then give your liver a break. Cut out alcohol, sugary drinks, foods that contain sugarand unhealthy fats. Need tips on how to avoid sugar? Read my post on sugar detox.
Unhealthy fats are hydrogenated fats and heated vegetable oils. You can read more about unhealthy fats in my article “Say NO to Toxic Trans Fats if you want to Detox” And, this article has some important information about cooking oils: “Is It Toxic To Cook with Sunflower Oil?”
Watch out especially for foods containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which ends up clogging your liver up with fat, raising your triglycerides increasing the risk of heart disease and causing leptin resistance. (Leptin is a hormone that signals the brain when you are full from eating). You may see it on labels as “natural corn sugar” but don’t be fooled.
Although researchers say that a glass of red wine a day is good for your heart When your liver processes alcohol it produces free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidization which is the major source of the damage that leads to liver diseases.
The remedy is to eat an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. They are high in natural antioxidants and plant chemicals that are important for good health.
Cruciferous veg to the rescue
Overdose on cruciferous veg; broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, rutabaga (swede), kohlrabi, watercress and arugula (rocket). They are the ones that contain substances that induce the liver’s detox enzyme system.
Artichokes, dandelion, radicchio and chicory are good liver foods while the sulfurous veg like onions, garlic leeks, shallots and eggs supply sulfur which the liver uses for one of its detox pathways.
A substance in beets (beetroot) stimulates the production of bile which carries toxins that the liver has processed out of the body. Try them cooked and raw. Get some recipes here.
People who live mainly on a processed food diet are lacking in nutrients that are needed for efficient detoxification.
Fill up with good fats
Get some Warming Winter Detox Diet Recipes here.
Your liver’s detox function depends on good circulation of both the blood and lymph. Lymph is the body’s primary waste elimination system. It takes away the toxins from your cells while delivering nutrients to them from the blood.
The lymph system does not have its own pump like the heart that pumps the blood. It is propelled by muscle contraction. So you can see that Without movement the lymph stagnates.
Researchers are just beginning to understand and demonstrate that your health and lack of disease is partly directly related to how efficient your body is at circulating lymphatic fluid and dealing with the toxins and other materials it contains.
Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when we are dehydrated, but flows well when we drink plenty of fluids. A sluggish digestive tract can result in toxins in the colon getting reabsorbed into lymph channels, increasing the general toxic load in the body.
Exercise can help with bowel regularity too. So we are back to drink more healthy fluids, eat more fiber and exercise.
When we put the proper fuel (food) into our bodies they run the way they were designed to run but when we put in the wrong fuel they do not run properly. It’s a simple as that!
A lifestyle change
Don’t think of a detox diet as a diet. Think of it as a lifestyle change. It’s about making smarter choices. You’ll do best if you focus on making a few healthy changes at a time. And then as you achieve success you will be motivated to try for another goal.
So, what are your health plans for 2016? Are you ready to try a detox diet? Let me know in the comments below.