The health benefits associated with proper detox are unparalleled.
Most people will feel more energized. They may also lose weight and experience a reduction in bloat as their digestive functions improve. An improved overall bodily function has been noted as a positive result of detoxing correctly.
With so many positive benefits, it is easy to see the allure in taking on a short detox. The issues arise when patients undertake a detox that is rife with misinformation. Though not harmful for the most part, many of the assumptions made about detoxing are incorrect. Embarking upon a false detox won’t garner the desired results.
There is so much information out in the world concerning detoxing and cleansing techniques that it is really easy to get overloaded. Information overload can lead to the wrong things entering our body as a result of the wrong data entering our head.
The biggest culprit when it comes to detoxification misinformation concerns the idea of fruit fasts and juicing. In many cases, a patient will notice weight gain on fruit or juice cleanses. That is because they aren’t cleansing toxins out of their system. By supplementing solid food with juice throughout the cleanse, the patient may not be decreasing the number of calories consumed. They are simply drinking them instead of eating them.
The naturally-occurring sugar found in fruit provides the greatest disservice to a patient seeking to cleanse their body through detox. When such high amounts of sugar are being consumed over a short period, insulin and cortisol levels rise. This can cause an increase in oxidative stress on the body. The end result often leads to reactions within the body that directly oppose the desired outcome of the detox.
An over-abundance of cleanse products marketed to consumers is another concern. These products contribute to assumptions about detoxification that are often incorrect. A quick trip through the digital stratosphere reveals an endless amount of resources for detox teas, apple cider vinegar pills, and colon cleansers. In their search for a quick fix, patients are often over complicating their detox cleanse.
The key to executing a proper detox is to follow a full program instead of spending money on wormwood supplements and oxygen digestive system cleansers. When embarking upon a proper detox, there are key processes within the human body that need to be addressed. Purchasing costly components online that promise to provide a shortcut to a complete cleanse do not often address all of these processes.
The Three Stages of a Proper Detox
The first stage of a proper detox involves preparing your body to eliminate the toxins within it. This step is often skipped because it is the hardest step and it requires the most willpower. The patient has to be completely dedicated to achieving a healthier overall state of being as it requires them to consume nothing but water for the first two days of a detox cleanse.
The water only portion of the cleanse is essential in breaking up the toxins within the patient’s body. As such, this is the biggest shortcoming of juice cleanses. Fruit, even in liquid form, is food requiring processing. Introducing food into the digestive system while attempting to clean it out is counter-productive. Instead of breaking up toxins to be excreted, the digestive system is now focused on processing the new sugars being introduced to it, which are often converted into fat. Water is purely a detoxifying agent.
The second recommended phase of detox is 'conjunction.' Conjunction is the work of amino acids, like glutathione, passing through the body and gathering the water-soluble toxins. These are then neutralized and prepared for excretion, which is the third phase of detoxification. The elimination of toxins occurs as expected, primarily through urine but also through bowel movements.
Consuming a strict regimen of food and liquids throughout this process is the key to optimizing the body and achieving the maximum benefits from the cleanse.
What a One-Week Detox Regimen Looks Like
A strict dietary regimen is followed throughout a proper detox to optimize the elimination of toxins from within the body. Consuming food and liquid outside of those recommended for the cleanse stifles the results that the patient is seeking. Adding toxins to the body while trying to eliminate toxins is counter-productive.
- Water Only - First 2 Days
- Water & Bone Broth - Day 3
- Water, Bone Broth, & Eggs - Day 4
- Water, Bone Broth, Eggs, & Avocados - Day 5
- Water, Bone Broth, Eggs, Avocados, & Nuts - Day 6
- Water, Bone Broth, Eggs, Avocados, Nuts, & Fish - Day 7
The first two days of detoxification are the hardest to get through. We have habituated ourselves to consume food and drinks regularly throughout our day. Shifting from that habit to consuming nothing but water for two days can feel like torture. Consuming nothing but water for the beginning of the detox is essential to setting the body up for correctly breaking down and eliminating toxins.
Bone broth is introduced on the third day of detox. It is a means of easing food back into the body following the two-day fast. Bone broth is nutrient-dense and works well for boosting immunity. As an integral component to a gut-healthy diet, it helps to balance intestinal flora throughout the detox.
On the fourth day of detox, eggs are added to the patient’s diet. Eggs are nature’s most natural form of animal protein, and by opting for the organic variety, the patient does not need to worry about the omega 3 – omega 6 ratio.
By reintroducing specifically chosen foods one at a time to the body’s digestive system, we are reorienting its processing system while allowing it to continue with its detoxification. By this point of the detox, the body has been cleared of bad fats and is able to start accepting good fats. For this reason, avocado is added to the detox diet on day five and, nuts are introduced on day six. Avocado is pure monounsaturated fat, and nuts are an excellent source of healthy fat.
On the final day of the detox cleanse, a light, healthy fish is introduced to the patient’s diet in order to re-habituate them to eating solid food.
Supplements that Aid Detoxification Pathways
Certain supplements can help the body’s processes during detox, both by providing it with nutrients it is not getting and by helping to support detoxification pathways to purge toxins. A multivitamin is essential throughout the detoxification process.
Other supplements that support the cleansing process include chlorella, DMG, glycine, taurine, turmeric, and stinging nettle. These work specifically with the body to help it detox. Grape seed, alpha-lipoic acid, and acetylcysteine aid glutathione are helpful in supporting conjunction.
Who Should Try a Detox?
The internal benefits that some people receive from a detox are exceptional. They can aid with weight loss and increased energy. They can assist in reducing bloat and regulating bowel movements. Another benefit a properly performed detox is more restful sleep.
Through the cleansing of fat from the liver and cells of the body, a detox can decrease a person’s oxidative stress and help to balance their microbiome. All of these benefits can lead to lasting results in terms of a person’s overall health and well-being.
Those who are seeking a healthier lifestyle, and typically haven’t paid close attention to their diet and exercise generally find great benefits to undertaking a detox. For lasting effects, they should consider maintaining a healthy lifestyle complete with exercise and whole, plant-based foods preceding the cleanse. Once a person has made a habit of eating healthy, even if they slip up at Christmas, they no longer need frequent detoxes to maintain a positive, toxin-free environment within their body.
Fred Pescatore, MD, is a traditionally trained physician practicing nutritional medicine. To pursue his vision of a more personalized and healthful program, Dr. Pescatore opened Partners in Integrative Medicine. He is the author of several important books, including his newest book, The Hamptons Diet Cookbook, the follow up to his NY Times best seller The Hamptons Diet. He was the Associate Medical Director at the famed Atkins Center for five years. He is the President of the AHCC Research Association, President of the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists and is a member of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters, amongst other organizations. For more information, visit www.hamptonsdiet.com.
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