Things to prepare before detoxing
Check your schedule and mark a week where you have a clean break from functions or events, such as weddings, birthdays or special occasion meals. While I’m not a proponent of “wait ‘til Monday morning” dieting, you certainly don’t want to set yourself up for failure by attending events that might derail your detox. This is why I really like detoxing quarterly on the first day of each season (winter solstice, spring equinox, summer solstice, fall equinox). You know that day is approaching so there’s no excuse for not being prepared for it.
Another reason to plan ahead and have a rather open schedule is that some people may experience a slight ‘cleansing’ reaction in the first few days of their detox. This could be anything like dizziness, headaches or loose bowel movements. This is due to the sudden withdrawal of certain foods, as well as the stimulation of your detoxifying organs. Hang in there; don’t be frightened! These symptoms cause no harm to you and should disappear in 24 to 48 hours.
Foods to avoid
- Milk and other dairy products
- Sugar, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners
- Grains: wheat (bread, biscuits, cakes, pasta), rye, barley, oats, spelt and rice
- Dried fruit
Foods to enjoy
While I must maintain my belief that a raw, plant-based, whole-food regimen is best for everyone for optimum health, I realize most people just aren’t there mentally or emotionally and therefore, not physically either. Some may never be there. And that is quite alright! Just start where you are and be grateful for the journey.
That being said, the following foods are what some non-vegan nutritionists give the approval to eat. Attempt to limit your food intake to these items only throughout the detox period:
- Fruit: any and all fresh fruit
- Vegetables: any and all fresh vegetables
- Fish: fresh, canned in water or olive oil
- Lean red meat, chicken (without the skin). Limit to two serves per week.
- Legumes: dried or canned, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Eggs: preferably organic
- Olive oil (preferably extra virgin), Coconut oil (unprocessed)
- Nuts: raw unsalted almonds, walnuts, macadamias, and cashews
- Seeds: raw unsalted sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds
- Green tea, white tea, weak black tea (decaffeinated)
- Water: from one to three liters of water per day
Things to do while detoxing
- Morning lemon juice: This is a great thing to do at all times actually, to kick start the digestion and cleanse the system. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot water. Drink first thing in the morning before breakfast.
- Exercise: During detox, aim to exercise for one hour daily. And not just any exercise – something cardio related that makes you sweat. Running, jogging, kickboxing, a spin class or hot yoga. High impact exercising will increase lymph flow and circulation to help sweat out toxins.
- Raw foods: Aim to cut out the cooking process and eat mainly raw foods. Raw foods contain more nutrients and enzymes, and contrary to popular beliefs, you will receive adequate protein as well. Spouting your beans and greens takes things to an even higher level of goodness, so add fresh sprouts to a salad daily.
- Detox your mind: While detoxing your body, it’s great to take that time to clear the clutter from your mind as well. Aim for 15 minutes of meditation per day. I would encourage you to always have a notepad—or better yet, a special meditation journal—nearby to capture your authentic thoughts. Never leave it to chance you’ll remember later the information that comes to you.
- Breathe: Now, this may sound crazy to you that you’re being told to breathe. However, most people don’t do it properly and doing it properly improves your health. A simple way to understand it is that is: healthy cells are those that are highly oxygenated. Breath (O) and water (H2O) keeps the body filled with more healthy cells than cancerous cells.
So, here’s a good regimen to get you in the habit of breathing properly. It’s called belly breathing. Start by placing hands palm down on your lower belly. Breathe in through your nose, counting slowly to 3 or 4 counts. Take note of your belly rising with each breath. Breathe out just as slowly, allowing your belly to drop. Do this for 15 minutes daily along with your meditation.
- Drink: Aim to drink three liters of fluids daily, which is almost one gallon. This will help move the lymph and support kidney detoxification. Most of what you drink per day should be fresh, alkaline water. Water is so very crucial to wellness; it is one of the fundamental vehicles of life, making it a sacred element. Other things could be fresh, 100% vegetable juice (no concentrate!) and herbal detox teas. You can also make your own brew by mixing one or more of a combination of Dandelion root and nettle, cleavers, calendula, burdock, and red clover. Add one teaspoon of the dried herbs to a cup of boiling water. Let this steep for five minutes, strain and drink.
- Body brushing: Do this daily to support blood circulation and increase your skin detoxification. Using a loofah or natural fiber body brush, brush your skin with firm circular strokes before you step into the shower. Begin with your feet and hands, moving up the legs and towards the arms, avoiding the delicate area of throat and face, and any rash or sore spots. Then jump in the shower. Finish your shower with a 30-second burst of cold water, which helps to bring blood circulation to your skin.
- Chew: Again, this may seem like a crazy thing to instruct someone on, but most people don’t do it properly! We’ve heard for years to chew our food 32 times before swallowing—which seems like an insane amount of times. What we may not have heard, though, is the WHY behind it. Chewing your food until it’s liquefied by your saliva breaks down the food so that the nutrients and enzymes in it are absorbed more easily into your system. This improves digestion. It also allows you to feel a sense of fullness without a need to overeat. Being more mindful of these things helps to make all that chewing not seem so insane after all!
Things to do after detoxing
Now that you have succeeded in the thorough cleansing of your internal organs (liver, colon, gall bladder, digestive tract, etc.) this is a great time to consider re-evaluating your ongoing diet. Why dirty your system up again, with more toxins, parasites, waste and excess minerals?
Especially if you are coming from a habit of eating meat on a regular basis, it is imperative that you use this opportunity as a springboard to a higher level of eating: vegetarianism or even veganism. For optimum health, wellness and longevity, you must embrace a pure, whole, plant-based regimen full of nutrients and live enzymes.
Note: Consult your physician first if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly, underweight, suffering from high blood pressure or under a practitioner’s care.
Never compare your health challenges or goals with others, or pattern your treatment after others. Your vehicle on this road to wellness is a one-person carriage!