Detox cleansing, also called detoxing, is becoming increasingly popular, and you can’t go wrong by giving your body some deep love anytime. In this post I spell out the facts about how to detox, and offer two detox cleanses to try. Plus, I took Dr. Oz’s infamous 3-Day re-set detox cleanse and share how that went. I also asked longtime friend, Calgary-based holistic nutritional consultant Janet Perry, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist™ to share her how-to detox expertise and provide advice and sample recipes.
What Is Detoxing? The whole foods used in detox cleansing remove most sugars, bad fats, chemicals and artifice commonly found in a modern diet, consuming only those for a period of time is termed a ‘detox’ or a ‘cleanse’. Proper cleansing encourages the body to do what it wants to naturally, is gentle and should be tolerable for longer periods of time. A detox cleanse can take from three days to six weeks. A safe detox cleanse is one which doesn’t make you starve yourself or take fancy pills, potions or expensive drinks.
Why Detox? Our bodies become toxic when our natural method of eliminating metabolic waste from poor diet and environmental pollutants and other factors cannot keep up with the amount of toxic overload. Toxicity can affect every system in the body, making us sick. Common complaints that can help you determine whether you have a toxic overload include:
– Constipation, constant headaches, muscle ache and fatigue
– High consumption of tuna, swordfish and shark
– You have mercury dental fillings and dental amalgams
– Food allergies/sensitivities
– Stubborn weight loss
– Being on a daily medication regime
– Hormonal imbalances (and consistent use of hormone replacement treatments such as birth control)
– Consistent use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or other over the counter medications
– Skin abnormalities such as acne, rosacea or eczema
– A lifetime of consuming lesser foods
Should You Detox?
If you’ve experienced:
– fatigue or low energy levels
– sugar cravings or cravings for baked goods
– salt cravings
– having less than one bowel movement per day
– indigestion / acid reflux
– difficulty losing weight
– recurring infections, colds or general malaise
– frequent headaches bad breath or excessive body odour
– skin problems, such as acne, eczema, flushing or rashes
you will likely benefit from a dietary detox cleanse.
What To Expect: People can sometimes experience what is known as a healing crisis when detoxing – this reaction occurs when the body tries to eliminate toxins at a faster rate than they can be properly disposed of. The more toxic one’s bodily systems are, the more severe the healing crisis. Such reactions are temporary and can occur immediately — or within several days, or even several weeks, of a detox. Symptoms usually pass within 1-3 days. When an ex, who had never detox cleansed before, joined me in attempting the Dr. Oz 3-day re-set detox cleanse, he was in bed all Day 2 feeling nauseous and suffering from headaches.
The healing crisis is the result of every body-system, in concert, working to eliminate waste products through all elimination channels and set the stage for regeneration. Common symptoms of a healing crisis are:
– extreme fatigue and/or its opposite, restlessness cramps headaches aches / pains insomnia
– sinus congestion
– skin eruptions, including: boils, hives, and rashes
– strong emotions: anger, despair, sadness, fear, for example
To ease your way through a healing crisis, drink plenty of fresh water to flush the body of toxins. Try to drink from 2 to 4 litres per day to help flush the toxins out of your system and speed along the detoxification.
It sounds awful. What’s the upside?
Some of the ways a detox can benefit you are:
– improved immune function
– more energy clearer complexion
– weight loss
– removal of mucous, congestion, fermentation and inflammation in your digestive tract
A detox cleanse can also help reform lifestyle addictions for sugar, salt, alcohol, junk foods, nicotine, etc.
Janet created the following basic, 7-day cleanse for me, which I have continued for as long as 30-days. The longer I stuck to it, the easier it became and the better I felt:
FOOD / DRINK TO ENJOY (Organic Preferably)
– Spring, distilled, filtered water
– Herbal teas – must be free of sugar and additives
Fresh whole fruit:
– Raw As wide a variety as possible
– Raw, steamed, stir fried, juiced, as soups, and salads, be sure to include lots of leafy greens
– Eggs, poultry, lamb
– Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
– Nuts and Seeds: Preferably raw, unsalted, also nut butters are allowed Seeds include: almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia, hazelnut, pistachio, flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds Note: peanuts are not allowed
– Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, flax-seed oil, hemp seed oil
Note: Flax and hemp seed oils should never be heated and should be kept in the refrigerator
– Brown rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth
Foods / Drink To Avoid:
– Added/refined sugars.
– Any ingredients that end in “ose”, such as sucrose, ribose, dextrose, lactose, etc. are sugars, and are to be avoided
– Soda pop and commercially prepared juices
– Refined carbohydrates such as breads, pastas and all baked goods
– Wheat / Gluten – read labels carefully
– Tofu / Soy based products
– Processed foods such as luncheon meats, frozen dinners and foods that have a shelf life without refrigeration
– Hydrogenated and trans fats, such as margarine
– All preservatives and additives, including those listed as “natural flavours”
– Fried and fast foods
– Artificial sweeteners
SAMPLE MEAL PLAN:
Before Breakfast: Glass of warm spring or distilled water containing the juice of half a lemon
– Good for liver detoxification
– Boosts metabolism
– Wait 15 – 30 minutes before having breakfast
– Fresh fruit Always eat fruit alone on an empty stomach. Wait 15 – 30 minutes before eating anything else – – 2 egg omelet with fresh vegetables cooked with olive oil or coconut oil, poached or soft-boiled eggs, do not eat eggs more than 3 times a week
– ½ – 1 cup Brown rice with vegetables
– Brown rice cake with almond butter
– Handful of nuts
– Salad of raw vegetables with roasted chicken, not fried, chicken should be skinless.
– Soups with vegetable without pasta, but can add brown rice to make heartier
– Fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower with sugar-free salsa or homemade guacamole
– Roasted or grilled chicken, breast or thighs, preferably skinless, or grilled lamb chops
– Salad with a variety of chopped vegetables, olive oil dressing
– Steamed greens such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans Vegetarian Dinner: Stir fried brown rice with lentils and vegetables Salad of raw vegetables
-Eating 5 small meals a day is better for digestion than eating 3 big ones
– Eat, do not go hungry
– Try not to eat after 8:00 pm
– Try to drink at least 2 litres of spring or distilled water daily, room temperature is best
– Try not to drink with meals, slows down digestion, you may sip water for lubrication while you eat though – Sleep is important any time, but especially during a cleanse when your body needs the quiet time to cleanse itself and recharge
– Gentle exercise is important, yoga and walking are excellent choices during a cleanse
– Have a deep tissue massage
– Enjoy a sauna or a steam bath – sweating helps eliminate toxins from the body
– Have a bath with a relaxing essential oil such as lavender
When the Dr. Oz 3-Day detox cleanse began circulating the Internet I had to give it a whirl. I wouldn’t recommend this as a first cleanse to someone who hadn’t already experienced a typical detox or a healing crises.
Because this cleanse is all liquid, I noticed what I call “food noise” on high volume. Every time I watched TV it was all junk food commercials. Walking up the street, I’ve never seen so many restaurants and take-out spots. Food, food, everywhere. It’s amazing how bombarded we are with temptation and encouragement to eat. I found it quite torturous for the first two days.
By day three I was feeling great. Going off it I made the mistake of flying to LA and imbibing with friends right away at SUR. My system, newly re-set, wasn’t ready for booze and heavy food and I paid for it all night long.
If you try this cleanse, definitely ease back into your regular diet. I’d do it again though. It really reduced my normal sugar cravings, booze cravings, all the cravings I have for the bad stuff. Months later I don’t turn to any of it like I used to.
Caveat: Despite Dr. Oz’s claim that the cleanse costs $16 US per day, our bill for everything he includes in the recipes came to $30 CDN per day.
Janet Perry’s Brown Rice Detox – 7 Day Protocol
The Brown Rice Detox helps the body reduce or eliminate accumulated toxins, improve digestive function, reduce bloating, and decrease cravings. There is no need to be hungry during this cleanse, eat as much brown rice as you like. However, don’t eat to the point of being stuffed.
Foods and Drinks To Enjoy, Organic preferably:
– Water Spring, distilled, filtered Drink at least 2 litres per day.
– Herbal teas that have nothing added to them, you can enjoy up to two cups per day.
– Fresh Fruit Avoid canned or dried fruits, fresh is best
– All fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach
– Fresh Vegetables Raw, steamed, roasted, grilled or stir-fried
– Have a variety, your plate should always have a rainbow of colourful vegetables on it.
– No canned or jarred vegetables should be consumed.
– Brown rice
– Coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil
– Flax seed oil and hemp seed oil (always refrigerate, never heat, use for salad dressings)
– Herbs And Spices
– Fresh garlic
SAMPLE MEAL PLAN:
– Glass of warm spring or distilled water with the juice of half a lemon in it
– Good for liver detoxification
– Boosts metabolism
– Wait 15 – 30 minutes before having breakfast
– Fresh fruit Always eat fruit alone on an empty stomach (combining fruit with other foods slows down digestion)
– Wait 15-30 minutes before eating anything else
– Cooked brown rice with chopped onion, garlic and kale, stir-fried with one teaspoon of coconut oil. Add any dried herbs you like
Home-made salsa with sliced cucumber and celery for dipping.
– Cooked brown rice with diced zucchini, red and yellow peppers, sautéed in one teaspoon of coconut oil. Add any dried herbs you like.
– Salad with a variety of raw vegetables, flax-seed or hemp seed dressing – Homemade soup using vegetable broth, rice and vegetables
– 1 small sweet potato, baked, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, dried sage, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. (I bake 5 small sweet potatoes the day before I start my brown rice cleanse, then just reheat them. I wash them, pierce them all over with a fork, wrap in tinfoil and bake at 350° for about 30 – 40 minutes.)
* If you don’t like sweet potatoes, you can bake a regular potato. Buy organic, and eat the skin, both sweet and regular.
– Stir-fry vegetables, garlic and onion with one tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix in brown rice, add any herbs or spices. Salad with a variety of chopped vegetables, flax seed or hemp seed dressing.
Janet Perry can be contacted via her Facebook page.
The information contained in this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, or be used as the basis for treating a particular symptom or disease, or to replace any prescribed treatment that you are currently undergoing.