It takes a lot of energy to digest the food we eat. When you detox, you are giving your body and digestive system a break from all the energy and processes involved in breaking down food for 1, 3, 7, 10, 14 or 21 (or however many you choose) days. In addition, you eliminate the sources of potential allergens and sensitivities, so that you can easily identify your “trigger foods” as you slowly integrate them back into your diet once you have finished the detox.
Every thing in life is about digestion. We are constantly tasked with digesting not only the food we eat, but the situations that arise in our lives. When are bodies are in a state of dis-ease due to inability to digest, we suffer from inflammation, weight problems, general malaise, and a host of medical problems ranging from heart disease to cancer. This is due not only to the food we eat, but to the way we process the emotions and situations that occur in our lives. When we detox, we make it easier for our bodies to physically digest the gross matter we put into it; as a result, we may find it easier to digest the situations and emotions that arise in our everyday lives.
How it works:
We eat a vegan, gluten- and grain-free diet. We may eliminate meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar, gluten, and/or all grains and caffeine, depending on what we are trying to accomplish. We may also puree our food during the detox to aid digestion.
Juice – fresh juices from a juicer rather than pasteurized, pre-packaged juice
Soups and veggies – use starchy vegetables and potatoes in moderation or not at all and use simple seasonings like lemon and herbs.*
Fruit and fruit smoothies – generally all fruits are ok except be careful bananas, which can be difficult to digest
Nut milks – like almond, coconut, etc.
Green drink – there are many, many varieties, I prefer the powdered kind as it is unpasteurized and has less sugar.
Red drink – or high antioxidant berry drink. Examples include: pomegranate, tart cherry, acai berry.
Tea – detox tea, kombucha, green tea, and just about any tea, and perhaps coffee, depending on whether or not you are trying to eliminate caffeine.
Water – Try drinking warm or room temp water, it aids digestion and you may find you like it! Add lemon or herbs.
kitchari– An ayurvedic detox staple, is made with yellow dal and basmatic rice, along with digestive herbs.
Helpful supplements – aloe vera juice, digestive enzymes, probiotics, amino acids or protein (like rice or hemp protein)
*(for those trying to identify allergens, you might want to additionally avoid soy, tomatoes, and eggplant, which trigger allergies in some people)
Cook vegetables with ghee or other healthy oils like coconut or olive oil.
Plan to eat or drink every two hours or whenever you are hungry or thirsty. Really focus when eating and chew your food, even though it may be liquid. Alternate between eating and drinking. Keep your portions small and stop eating when you are 70% full.
Breaking the detox:
It is generally recommended to spend an amount of time equal to half of your detox coming off of the detox. For example, for a 10-day detox, you should spend 5 additional days transitioning to normal food. For a 3-day, spend a day and a half transitioning back. Transition back by continuing to eat detox food but add a meal with grains. Then slowly add back in dairy or meat if you wish. When adding foods back in, take time to notice how your body feels after you eat them so you can gauge your own “trigger foods.” Add one food back at a time.
You don’t have to consume all of the products listed above for your detox, but they are all in my “bag of tricks.” Even just doing juice for 24 hours would be a great, short detox. One easy way to accomplish this is to have a meal around 6 pm the day before you start, then only eating juice or fruit and veggies until 6pm the next day when you can resume normal eating.
Play with it and I’d love to hear about your results!
And here is my super secret recipe for cleaning fruit and veggies: Fill your sink with water and add half a lemon and a tablespoon of salt. Let your “goods” soak for about 10 minutes. The combination of salt and citrus makes a mild form of hydrochloric acid that is a totally safe and effective way to clean your stuff!