How to Prep for a Detox
Before you begin a detox diet, you need to get your body ready for optimal cleansing. Here’s how:
1) Give Your Diet a Mini-Makeover
Some foods can interfere with the liver’s ability to detoxify your body, which could impair your detox efforts. For three days leading up to your detox diet, try to eliminate: alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, Trans fats, and packaged, boxed, canned or fast food. Up your intake of raw vegetable salads and lightly steamed vegetables.
You may also want to take this time to rid your kitchen of any foods or beverages that might tempt you during your detox diet.
Plan your menu for the week and make time to grocery shop. If you don’t normally buy organic, look for local farmers’ markets, health food stores, or grocery stores with a good selection of organic foods. If you’re not able to buy all produce organic, get a fruit and vegetable wash (Environee makes one) to help rid your produce of pesticide residues, waxes, and other undesirable chemicals. If you are going on a detox diet, see a sample menu and start to play around with some of the recipes. If you feel like you’re going hungry while cleansing, it may seem far harder than it actually is. I also recommend you start to play around with some juice recipes. Juicing is a great way to keep you energetic during and assist in the cleansing process.
2) Prevent Caffeine Withdrawal
If you drink caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, you may experience headaches, tiredness and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Here are some tips on how to prevent this from happening:
-Gradually decrease your caffeine intake prior to starting the diet. It may be best to start several weeks out.
-Try substituting some of your coffee intake with decaffeinated coffee. For instance, try having a cup of coffee that is 75% regular coffee and 25% decaffeinated coffee. Gradually up the percentage of decaf until you’re ready to eliminate it entirely.
-Switch to lower-caffeine green tea, white tea, matcha, or oolong tea.
-If it’s the bitter taste of coffee you miss, try a caffeine-free herbal coffee substitute such as Teccino herbal coffee.
3) Drink More Water
Your body needs plenty of water during a detox diet. Drinking lots of water keeps you hydrated and may help flush out toxins, so be sure to drink at least eight glasses of filtered water daily. Also try having a cup of room temperature or lukewarm filtered water with lemon in the morning. This will help get your digestive system moving and prep your liver for your cleanse.
4) Stock up on Tools for Detox Success
Some practices may help promote cleansing throughout your detox diet.
Consider booking some massage or infrared sauna appointments ahead of time. It is important you carve out some quiet time, as well as some extra time to relax, do yoga or just rest during the cleanse. Generally, you should feel pretty energetic, but sometimes, cleanse symptoms can occur. It’s important to be aware of what these symptoms may be as well as have some extra R&R to combat them.
When detoxing, you may suffer from symptoms as your body expels the toxins from your body. This is perfectly normal and is not a sign that you’re getting sicker.
Common Detox Symptoms:
Detox can create a number of symptoms in your body as your body goes through the process of
purifying itself and eliminating toxins. Some common detox symptoms include:
temporary muscle aches
mucus or other discharge
a coated, pasty tongue
irritability or mood swings
cravings or hunger
You may even find that the detoxing process causes you to suffer the old symptoms that you had that the body has suppressed. You may think that you are becoming ill but it is important that you continue with the detox and try not to take any medications to help with the symptoms. The aim to flush chemicals from the body, not introduce more!
5) Know What Not to Cut Out
Don’t stop taking any prescription medications while on a detox diet. Discontinuing certain medications can have serious, possibly life-threatening consequences.
6) Only cleanse or detox under the supervision of a professional. A professional will be able to assist you through your cleanse to be sure you get optimal results, as well as help guide you through any side effects or symptoms. Because we are all so different, a health care professional will also be able to make the best recommendations for you with regard to your health and lifestyle.
Wong, Cathy. The Inside-Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Weight Loss, Total Body Health, and Radiance. Wiley, 2007.
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.