Over time I’ve read a lot of information about diets, procedures, and other common approaches to detoxification.
The human body defends itself very well against most environmental insults and occasional indulgences. This means most people don’t need crazy tonics, flushes, or extreme diets. Unfortunately, there are countless detox diets being marketed even though studies have shown that fasting and extremely low calorie intake — common elements of detox diets — cause a slowdown of metabolism and an increase in weight after the dieter returns to normal eating.
So while I don’t support most extreme detox practices, the truth is that sometimes our body could use a little help. That’s the reason for me writing on this subject again so that you all can make learned choices and enjoy the benefits of healthy detox practices.
Detox is not just a word, it’s a process that is ongoing and we are just aiding the body in doing its job. To get the maximum benefits please follow these pointers.
A detox program can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:
- Resting the organs through fasting;
- Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
- Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin;
- Improving circulation of the blood; and
- Refueling the body with healthy nutrients.
Some natural detox methods
- Liver cleanse: Regimes for cleansing the liver should incorporate more bitter greens and chlorophyll juices such as wheat-grass and dandelion greens and Other liver-happy foods.
- Harmful organism cleanse: There are many herbs you can take to help kill off unwanted intestinal infestations that may be affecting your health. Wormwood, black walnut hull, clove and American wormseed are four herbs that create a hostile environment inside your intestinal tract for invading organisms, and help kill organisms that may already be there. Taking a probiotic supplement will also help flush out any unwelcome visitors.
- Liquid cleanse: An excellent way to cleanse the body while still maintaining energy levels. A liquid cleanse involves the use of fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices, pureed soups, miso soup, smoothies and fresh, clean water.
- Raw/alkaline foods cleanse: This is a temporary cleanse using uncooked fruits and vegetables, combined with smaller amounts of raw nuts, seeds and sprouts. This is an excellent way to detoxify the colon, liver and other bodily systems. It reduces the body’s need to constantly attempt to alkalize the acidic nature of the blood, from eating a modern, non-alkaline diet.
- Juice fasts: This consists of consuming only freshly juiced fruits and vegetables for one to three days. Helpful, cleansing fruits and veggies include apples, carrots, beets, ginger root, spinach, pears, celery, kale, cabbage, pineapple, cranberry, and other dark leafy greens. Citrus fruits are usually avoided while fasting. Organic fruits and vegetables are best, as well as freshly juiced fruits and vegetables (not bottled).
- Ayurvedic cleanse: A kitcheree cleanse is an ancient Ayurvedic method of cleansing the body through what is known as a “mono-diet.” In a kitchari cleanse, you can eat a super-alkaline diet of mung beans, cooked vegetables, basmati rice and spices. This diet offers a temporary relief to the digestive system, and contributes to overall detoxification, especially when combined with cleansing herbs.Steep ½ teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for ten minutes. Cool and drink Or, take two Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water before bedtime as a part of this cleansing method.
- Cleansing spices: Coupling a healthy organic diet with the use of cleansing spices is a mild way of creating change in the body. Cleansing spices to add to your diet include cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, fenugreek, ginger, fennel, cayenne pepper, black pepper, clove, parsley and rosemary.
The Daily Routine
- Rise early enough to give yourself a spacious and relaxed morning.
- Upon waking, scrape your tongue and brush your teeth.
- Sip 8–16 ounces of warm water with little lemon juice ( optional )to cleanse the system and to awaken the digestive capacity.
Optional: Gentle Exercise
- Slow, gentle movements will support cleansing; more than that can be counterproductive.
- This is not a time to push yourself physically.
- Consider walking, tai chi, qigong, or gentle yoga such as vata-pacifying yoga (which is appropriate during a cleanse).
- Take a bath or shower, using cleansing grains or natural soap
- After that, you’ll want to have plenty of time to prepare your breakfast, lunch and teas for the day without undue stress.
- Eat Simple Oatmeal or Kitchari or a loaded non dairy juice for breakfast (ideally between 7–8 a.m.).
- Eat a simple salad, soup or Kitchari for lunch (ideally between 12–1 p.m.).
- Eat a mild dinner like lentil soup or miso soup or Kitchari for dinner (ideally between 5–6 p.m., but no later than 7 p.m.).
- Retire for the night by 10 p.m.
- Sleep is the body’s best time to detox so be sure to get plenty of rest throughout the cleanse.
- In general, eat as much as is desired at each meal—enough to feel satisfied, but be careful not to overeat.
- Allow at least three hours between meals.
- It is best to avoid snacking between meals, but if you need a little something extra, you can enjoy some fresh fruit or a few raw nuts.
- If the monodiet is causing a sense of deprivation, you can try steaming your vegetables and serving them as a separate side dish, garnished with a little melted ghee, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Or, have a side of ½ avocado with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt or any whole fruit of your choice.
- Try not to eat anything after 7 p.m.
- Drink at least 8–12 cups of room temperature, warm, or hot fluids each day to ensure adequate hydration and to help flush toxins from the system.
- Ideally, most of your fluids should be taken between meals.
- Appropriate fluids include water, juices and detox teas; drink as much of any of these as you like.
A Supportive Lifestyle During Your Cleanse
- Keep your activities as quiet and mindful as possible.
- Surround yourself with things that you find uplifting and nourishing.
- Minimize stress and exposure to frantic or disturbing environments.
- If intense emotions arise during or after your cleanse, greet your emotions with compassion, observe them with detached awareness, and allow them simply to move through.
- REST as much as possible. You can ensure that the bulk of your energy is devoted to cleansing by minimizing the number of resources that your body allocates elsewhere.
After Your Cleanse
After you complete this simple, three-day cleanse, your body may continue to process toxicity for a few days. And, your digestive system will have become accustomed to a very clean diet; you may even be somewhat sensitive to overly stimulating or processed foods. A slow transition back into your normal routine and a more diverse diet will help to preserve the benefits of your cleanse. For a couple of days afterwards, eat primarily simple, whole foods, gradually diversifying your menu. This is not the time to celebrate with pizza and a beer! Also, pay special attention to how you handle potentially aggravating foods after your cleanse. Your body may have some new information to offer you about your relationship with specific foods.
Tips and Recommendations
- Do not eat fruits after meals. Fruit should always be consumed on an empty stomach. For example, if you eat a bagel and then some fruit the fruit will be left in the stomach too long and cause the bagel to spoil thereby creating an acid environment.
- Always eat fruits before meals and wait 30 minutes for the fruit to move out of the stomach and into the small intestine before eating more food. When drinking fruit juice make sure it is squeezed fresh and not from concentrate in a carton or can. If you drink the juice hold it in your mouth for 10 seconds before swallowing to allow the enzymes in your mouth to work.
- All fruit becomes alkaline in the body. If you eat fruit the right way, it keeps your body clean and increases your longevity.
- A quick and easy way to start body cleansing and looking radiant is to do a 3-day Fruit fast. Eat and drink fresh organic fruit and fresh juices for 3 days. You will be amazed with the results.
- Avoid Drinking cold water with meals. The water will solidify the oils (fats) in the meal which will slow digestion. Its best to drink warm water during or after meals. Cold water will also cause the body to expend excess energy to warm the water to body temperature.
- Avoid Eating Wheat: According to cardiologist Dr. William Davis the wheat people eat today is not the same as it was in the 1950’s. The wheat people eat today is actually genetically modified form that was developed in the 60’s and 70’s. This toxic wheat contains a protein called gliadin which is an opiate which stimulate appetite and causes obesity.
- Avoid Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are contained in diet sodas, other diet products, and listed in many ingredient panels. The most dangerous sugar substitutes approved for consumer use are: saccharin, aspartame, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. Sucralose and aspartame are the most damaging to your body. Substitute with natural sweeteners such as raw organic locally harvested honey, stevia, etc
- Avoid Refined Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup:Carbonated sodas are one of the most common sources of refined sugars in the American diet. “Energy drinks” and commercial fruit juices are no better. Avoid the following label ingredients: Corn syrup, Molasses, white sugar, dextrose, sorbitol, processed fructose and sucrose.
- Avoid Table Salt: Table salt (sodium chloride) is dangerous to consume. It is refined and bleached and depleted of the vital minerals the body needs. It also contains additives that are harmful when ingested. Replace common table salt with Himalayan Crystal Salt which is a healthier option.
- Avoid White Flour: White flour is made from stripping the bran from wheat, bleaching it to remove the yellow color, adding synthetic B vitamins, and increasing the amount of gluten the flour can produce. The synthetic vitamins that are added into the flour are toxic to the human body. Replace white flour with grain free organic alternatives, buckwheat,etc
- Avoid Soy Products: Soybeans are high in Phytic acid which is damaging to the digestive tract and can block the absorption of nutrients and essential minerals like copper and calcium. Also, most soy contains pesticide residue and is genetically modified. Fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh, and natto, may be consumed but in moderation.
- Avoid Genetically Modified Foods: Called recombinant DNA technology, this technology changes the core genetic code of organisms. Scientists use this genetic manipulation to create any trait they wish, or suppress natural traits they don’t want. GMO foods are extremely damaging to the body. The best way to avoid GMOS is to eat certified organic foods only.
- Avoid Microwaved Foods: Using a microwave destroys and radiates all the nutrients in food and beverages. Use non toxic cookware for preparing foods.
- Avoid MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): A manufactured food additive, MSG is used to enhance the flavor in foods. MSG is injected into lab animals to induce obesity, so you can only imagine what it does to our bodies. Since the introduction of MSG, diabetes has doubled and the obesity rates have skyrocketed. MSG is hidden in many ingredients such as spices, corn oil, frozen and canned foods, infant formulas, foods labeled “no added MSG”, and cosmetics. See below for label ingredients to avoid which may contain MSG.
- Avoid The Following Label Ingredients: Natural flavors, soy lecithin, titanium dioxide, autolyzed yeast, bouillon broth, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, malt extract, malt flavoring, plant protein extract, stock flavoring, textured protein and yeast extract, all yellow, red or blue dyes, carnauba wax, sodium citrate, anything hydrogenated, dextrin, gelatin, food starch-modified, artificial flavors, colorings and anything you do not know what it is.
- Don’t eat if you feel stressed or anxious
- Never reheat food more than once
- Chew your food slowly and thoroughly
- Incorporate probiotics in your food to balance out the bacteria in your gut.
- Replace a meal with a healthy smoothie or juice.
- Practice relaxation techniques and do yoga or get a massage.
- Increase circulation by massaging pressure points and skin brushing
- Turn to natural herbs and holistic medicine to give your body what it needs
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol
- Perform a full body cleanse every month to get rid of any toxins that have built up
- Learn to truly take care of yourself and listen to your body when something is or is not working
- Enjoy a soak with an Epsom salt bath
- Incorporate natural fibre, oat bran, psyllium seed, flax meal etc , incase of sluggish bowel movement
- Get enough sleep and rest
Note: Have breakfast before 9 am and one should be in deep sleep by 11 pm.
Please be aware of body and mind changes during dietary changes and detox programs. Follow what suits your body constitution as each one is unique. Please make conscious choices especially in such kind of programs for the body and be aware of every thing you consume.
A detox program varies from one to many days. Don’t tax your system by a detox when bothered by ongoing health issues. Consult your doctor in such cases for a detox cleanse and vary the duration.
I would NOT suggest heavy fasting and cleansing. Periodic gentle cleansing is what I’d recommend and only after you feel the need for it.
Basic Detox Recipes to follow.