There was a time when any mention of the word detox diet had me thinking, here we go, another weight loss fad. To a degree I still believe that this is true, that the marketing and hype surrounding detox dieting is primarily targeted towards the masses wanting to shed some pounds, quickly and with minimal effort. However there is the other reason for detox dieting and that is - to detox.
Undeniably, our bodies are subject to toxins, poisons and pollutants throughout our everyday lives. From the foods and drinks we ingest to the air we breathe, chemicals used in the production of food, and gases produced from vehicles and machines make their way into our bodies. These are just a few of the ways our bodies are accumulating impurities on a daily basis that can reduce the quality of our lives, whether it be by developing conditions and diseases to just lacking the energy and mindset to make the most of each day.
The basis behind a good detox diet is to encourage and maximise the body's ability to flush out the toxins and the poisons that have accumulated over time.
Who should detox?
Most people can undergo a detox diet but not all detox diets are the same and it is wise to consult your doctor and research specific diets before deciding if they are appropriate and safe for you.
Some reasons that detox dieting are recommended for people are if they are a smoker, drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, generally have a bad diet and have recently had an illness. Also those that live in areas subject to air pollution or have taken any types of recreational, over the counter or prescription drugs. In other words, detox dieting is targeted towards just about anybody.
Don’t be under the impression however that a detox diet is good for you if you are feeling exceptionally unhealthy. On the contrary it is recommended that you undergo detox when you are in a relatively physically fit and stress-free state to cope with it and manage the diet appropriately. It’s also important to remember that you will most likely feel worse before you feel better once you begin the detox diet.
Not all detox diets are created equal and not all are considered safe and healthy. Many detox diets out there emphasise a quick weight loss usually because of an abnormally low intake of calories. This is highly unlikely to be a maintainable weight for various reasons. A slower less intense detox approach will more likely produce long term weight loss and weight management results. It puts you in a good state of mind to continue a healthier lifestyle after the detox diet is over. Furthermore, this type of detox approach will incorporate a wider and healthier range of foods and meals to include in your detox diet making it less of an ordeal and perhaps even a pleasurable experience.
Common recommendations shared by all Detox diets
However a detox diet is structured they often share similar components.
Exercise encourages the excretion of toxins through bodily fluids, particularly sweat. However on some of the detox diets that are very low calorie, particularly those that don’t involve solids, only a light amount of exercise is recommended. This is because some of these diets doesn’t allow for sufficient calories to fuel more intense activities.
Given that the main aim of a detox diet is to actually detox it makes sense that you stop toxins from entering the body in some of the most blatant everyday ways. Sticking to organic food and drinks will cut out the chemicals used in farming, processing, flavouring, preserving etc.
Using natural toiletries such as deodorants, soaps, makeup and creams will stop chemicals from entering your body through your mouth, skin and hair.
This is extended into other household products such as soups and liquids used in the kitchen and cleaning products that are in contact with our hands and enter the air that we breathe.
Our bodies will respond furthermore to detox if we are in a clean state of mind. Being relaxed and stress free is important to the process of detox and a lot easier said then done. There are things you can do though including being well prepared and planning your week in advance. This reduces the chances of unexpected happenings and being on top of everything. Slotting in as much relaxing time and even some time off work is extremely beneficial.
Breathe deeply and enjoy as much fresh air indoors (open a window) and outdoors as possible.