Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Detox Primer

Q: What is the purpose of a detox?
A: Top reasons that individuals engage in a detox program include the desire for more energy, the need to overcome addictions, to kick start weight loss, and as a tool for healing. Detoxification has been shown to be beneficial in overcoming chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and auto-immune diseases.

Q: Is Detoxing the same thing as bowel cleansing?
A: No, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, is adamant on this point: "Detoxifying is an ongoing bodily process; it isn't something that you can buy in a package....Laxatives can no more detoxify you than washing your mouth out with soap can." To detox your body is to release stored additives, drugs, pollutants, free radicals and other harmful substances from all of your organs, including your heart and lungs.

Q: Can I only drink green smoothies while I'm detoxing?
A: No, fresh fruit, vegan soups, salads and simple vegetable dishes are just as effective. The point is to get plenty of phytochemicals and antioxidants and to minimize the burden on the digestive and elimination systems.

Q: What should I avoid?
A: Cut out these seven troublemakers: dairy, meat (including chicken and fish), extracted oils, refined sugars, stimulants (such as alcohol, caffeine, guarana), synthetic nutrients, and known allergens (soy, eggs, corn, peanuts).

Q: Do I have to go "cold turkey," removing these foods from my diet all at once?
A: No, changes don't have to be dramatic to be beneficial. Proceed as you are comfortable so that you don't place undue stress on yourself. (Stress in itself is toxic). Rip Esselstyn, author of the Engine 2 Diet, draws the parallel of being a fire cadet or a firefighter - still in training, or facing the full heat.

Q: If I can't have extracted oils, how will I get essential fats?
A: Be sure to include oily plant foods in their natural form in your diet. These include avocado, olives, coconut, and flaxseed meal.

Q: Do I have to eat 100% raw during detox?
A: No, it is better to transition slowly to more raw foods than to bust into an extreme program, bounce back to old habits, and binge on unhealthy alternatives. Of course, the more raw food you can manage, the better.

Q: Can I eat seeds, nuts, beans and grains?
A: These are important foods for a nutritarian lifestyle but in the beginning they pose challenges because many people have a tendency to overeat them. They are higher in calories than vegetables and fruits and are more difficult to digest, so it is wise not to include them for the first leg of the detox unless they are sprouted.

Q: How can I expect to feel?
A: It is normal to have some negative reactions, such as rashes, headaches, gas, bloating and diarrhea initially, but within a short time (days) most people begin to feel a new strength and vitality. Detoxing can be compared to Spring Housecleaning - the mess seems to get worse before it gets better as accumulated junk is pulled out and discarded. Click here for an article from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation detailing the reactions to expect. A good rule of thumb is that the more toxic your body is, the more uncomfortable you will feel, but the greater your benefits will be.

Q: How long will it take to detox?
A: Cleansing the body is a "physiological birthright," says James Simmons, author of Original Fast Foods. It is an ongoing metabolic process, just like washing waste down a sink. But if the sink is backed up, it must be cleared, and the length of time that takes depends on the amount of garbage plugging it. Whether or not a person engages in exercise simultaneously and how rapidly he adopts lifestyle changes will affect how quickly the body responds.

Q: Will I be able to exercise or carry on moderate to heavy activities?
A: That depends on your strength. In the first day or two of a detox, some people feel a degree of weakness. However, exercise enhances the body's ability to "take out the trash," so at least walk briskly, breathe deeply and take in some sunshine if you are able. Meditation is also a positive activity to speed the detox process.

Q: What if I'm hypo-glycemic or insulin-resistant?
A: A high-fat diet can exacerbate blood sugar problems. Detoxing addresses fat intake.  But still, the increase in fructose, especially consumed through smoothies, may be a concern to persons who are sensitive to blood sugar levels. It is suggested that these individuals eat their fruit whole, not blended or juiced, and convert to non-sweet fruits (cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes) and sub-acid fruits (apple, pear, banana) if sweet fruits continue to cause a problem.

To your health and happiness,

1 comment:

  1. I'm doing the Adventure Cleanse Tuneup from Crazy Sext Diet by Kris Carr right now. Detoxing from coffee has been really hard, but that motivates me to keep my diet clean so that I don't have to detox over and over!