Welcome to Day 1 of The Detox Guide series! I am excited to share information about this process with all of you, and I am hoping it will help you be even more successful with your efforts.
Today’s topic is your food plan. Obviously, there are foods you are going to need to avoid, but you can still enjoy some delicious, healthy options. In an effort to keep you from feeling deprived, I’ll start with what you can and should eat.
In general, you want to eat foods that are good to your liver, your ultimate purifying and detoxifying organ. In addition, you still need to eat enough nutrients for the rest of your body’s needs.
The foods with the most nutrients are vegetables and fruits. Not a surprise, deep down we all know that. So not only should you eat some every day, these are the foods to focus on when giving your body a break from the Standard American Diet (SAD).
What else can you eat? Rice and ancient, gluten-free, non-GMO grains like quinoa. Rice is considered one of the most non-allergenic foods, and so it is a good staple for a cleanse. Don’t worry about having enough energy. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of complex carbohydrates to sustain glycogen levels.
Not only that, fruits and veggies contain antioxidants which are needed to help break down and eliminate toxins. For instance, grapefruit & lemons contain antioxidants and natural vitamin C. And, lemons are known for their ability to break down built up toxins in the body. You might even start your day by drinking a cup of hot water with fresh squeezed organic lemon (sorry, no sugar).
Without a doubt, it is easiest to follow a program and a meal replacement-type shake to complement a limited food menu and to insure an adequate intake of nutrients and amino acids. An easy one to start with is the 7-Day Cleanse from Natural Factors (see the program instructions). I highlighted this one since it is 7 days, and this series will be 7 days to guide you through common considerations during a cleanse.
Whether you choose to use a detox program or not, you will still need to modify your food intake. So here is a more comprehensive list of foods you can enjoy during your detoxification process with a detailed infographic at the end for easy reference:
Foods You Should Eat During Your Detox (organic when possible):
- Organic greens — kale, endive, arugula, spinach
- Cruciferous vegetables — broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
- Protein or amino acids — fish, chicken, lamb, beans, nuts, seeds
- Fruits high in antioxidants — berries, raisins, grapefruit, prunes
- Fruit and green smoothies
- Whole grains
- Extra virgin olive and coconut oil
- Garlic and onions
- Locally grown food
Beneficial Supplement Options For Your Detox
- B vitamins
- Milk thistle
- Dandelion extract
- N-acetyl cysteine
- Vitamin C
- Fenugreek seed
Now let’s move on to the no-nos.
Since the point of detoxification is to clean the organs and blood, you’ll need to avoid foods that stress your liver. General guidelines suggest that you restrict the amount of protein you take in at each meal, since protein that isn’t cleared from the system can build up to toxic levels. It is well documented that the SAD contains too much protein. The correct amount of proper protein, however, helps repair damaged tissue. So what is the correct amount of protein?
That will depend on you, and what your body is used to. If you’re not used to consuming much protein, don’t overdo it now! How much protein you should consume greatly depends on your current weight and health condition. Assuming you are generally healthy and weigh 156 pounds (equal to 70 kg) your ideal protein consumption would be in the range of 63 to 87 grams of protein daily. The calculation range is .9 to 1.25 grams of protein for every kilogram weighed.
70 (kg) x .9 = 63 grams protein and 70 (kg) x 1.25 = 87 grams protein
You are probably wondering about the protein calculation above since the FDA Recommended Daily Allowance is about 50 grams of protein. This protein calculator is a slightly modified version of Dr. Diana Schwarzbein’s recommendation in her book, The Schwarzbein Principle – The Transition. Dr. Schwarzbein is an endocrinologist and her book about metabolic health made a great deal of sense to me.
Now that’s not to say it has to be animal protein or even protein really – after all, protein is really just molecules of amino acids. There are plenty of amino acid supplements for vegetarians or those concerned about the amount of protein they consume (or don’t). For those who don’t want to think too hard about it or don’t want to take supplements, it is just easier to count grams or ounces of protein.
You’ll also want to eliminate the typical allergenic foods such as dairy, wheat, corn, soy and eggs. While you may not be allergic, many people have hidden sensitivities to these foods. When you give your body a break from them, you may just be surprised at how symptoms you have, and probably ignore, just disappear. Things like clearing your throat frequently during eating, sniffing frequently or feeling bloated after eating. These are all potential signs that a food might be an issue for you. Your body can’t heal and rejuvenate if it’s constantly under attack.
Foods You Should Avoid During Your Detox (and many perhaps permanently):
- Processed foods
- Refined sugars
- White flour
- GMO food
- Too much protein
- Prepared meats — bacon, deli meats, hot dogs
- Soda and juice
- Canned vegetables and juices
- Too much sodium
- Beef and pork
- Saturated animal fat
- Snack foods
- Soy and barbeque sauces
- Milk and cheese
If you avoid these foods, you will naturally avoid excess sodium. Processed foods are the reason Americans, in general, consume too much sodium. Excess sodium contributes to fluid build-up in the liver and lymphatic tissue.
Now here’s that infographic I promised for easy reference. Print it off, put in on your fridge, pin it up at your desk at work, share it with all of your friends! This will help you be committed!
So, to sum things up, your detox food plan should be composed of the many nutritious foods that promote liver health. And who knows, you may no longer be attracted to the no-nos by the end of your detox process!
Tomorrow’s topic will be your water consumption during a detox program.
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Featured image courtesy of Katrinitsa via Flickr.com