The Spring Equinox happens on March 20th this year. Spring is absolutely the best time to think about a detox. The word detox can be very scary if you haven't done it before. You may have friends and family members who have participated in a detox. They may have told they are only drinking juice or eating soup for 3 days. Some even take a water fast for 24 hours. This type of detox sounds very radical and may even make you think that you can't do that.
I'm here to tell you there are other ways to detox that allow you to eat food and still get the benefits of toxin elimination. I never thought about detoxing until recently. One of the main issues I had with some detoxes is the inability to actually eat food. I mean, I love to eat! When I started researching how to detox while still eating food, a whole new world opened up to me. The first 21 day detox I did made my body feel so good and light that I couldn't wait until Spring to do it again!
What is a detox?
When is the best time to detox?
Benefits of a detox
Most common detoxes
How long should we detox?
The 21-day Bentonite Clay Detox
WHAT IS A DETOX?
Simply put, a detox is when a person focuses on:
Eliminating a single food or ingredient (think sugar or gluten)
Improving a specific system in the body, such as the liver or the gut
Jumpstarting weight loss
The detox meaning is very personal decision. It stems from recognizing that there is something you want to work on, and by giving focus to it for a specific period of time, you work towards an improvement in your life.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DETOX?
When the seasons are changing, that is the best time to detox. The philosophy stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In TCM when the a season changes, it signals the body and mind that we need to change. While you may not have given this any thought before, your body and mind intuitively know when change is happening.
Do you get the urge to stay at home more during the winter? Surround yourself with warm, comforting objects, clothing, food and drinks? That is how we are in touch with the natural environment without even knowing it. When Spring happens, we feel the urge to clean closets, do a deep cleaning of the house and even some purging. This is our body and mind being in tune with nature, even if we aren't thinking about it.
Since the seasons change 4x a year, you could do a detox for every season. As you start to learn more about detoxing, the goal for each season may be different. In the Spring, we want to feel lighter and to shed the weight of winter. Spring may be the time to focus on weight loss or gut health so we are digesting food more efficiently. Ultimately, the reason you decide to do the detox gives you focus as you go through the process.
BENEFITS OF A DETOX
A detox allows the body to heal from the stress we put on it every day. Eating, drinking, rushing around to take care of everything and even our mental health benefits from a detox. Basic physical changes will be noticed. Anything from losing a couple of pounds to having more frequent bowel movements are the most common physical signs as we go through the detox. Depending on the length and method of the detox, the body can feel lighter and more energetic.
Emotionally, we may have mood swings or periods of sadness before we feel mentally refreshed. As toxins leave the body, emotions that come up can be dealt with via journaling, meditation or simply going for a walk outside. Our emotions surface during a detox because we are purging toxins and pathogens from our digestive system. There is a gut-brain connection. The gut produces 90% of our serotonin, the happy hormone. As we eliminate processed foods, sugar or alcohol, the bacteria in our gut responds negatively. If you stick with the purge of negative emotions, the reward is a calm and positive attitude.
MOST COMMON DETOXES
Sugar is by far the most popular detox. As we continue to learn the negative health consequences of sugar and how prevalent it is in everything we eat, more and more people want to cut it out of their life. Sugar is really hard to detox from and it takes quite awhile. The problem is eating sugar makes us want more sugar. Also, sugar impacts the brain. Studies show changes happen in the brain similar to the changes that occur from addictive drugs.
How to detox from sugar? Everybody is different so it is important to define how you will deal with reducing sugar in your life. Some people can go "cold turkey" and suffer through the withdrawal effects to quickly get sugar out of their symptoms. Others will need a gradual decline that could take many months to overcome.
The good news is that around days 5 to 7, regardless of which method you use, you will start to feel a difference. Another piece of good news is that your taste buds start to change at about day 14. This goes for any dietary change you make, not just sugar. Taste buds are created by habit. When we eat the same thing over and over again (like sugar) the taste buds become insensitive to the food and we have to eat more of it to actually "taste" the food. Cutting back on sugar resets the taste buds which means when sweet foods are reintroduced after the detox, such as fruit, they will taste sweeter.
There are a lot of websites that detail a sugar detox diet. They all have the same thing in common:
The more days you can cut sugar out of your routine the better off you will be.
Start off with eating protein, fat and non-starchy vegetables at every meal. This is important because starchy vegetables, grains and fruit become sugar in the body.
Absolutely no sweeteners, alcohol, artificial flavors and gluten flours or grains during the detox.
After a week or two of eating this way, you can start to incorporate some foods back into your routine depending on the goal you set for yourself at the beginning of the detox. Some people have a goal of making this a lifestyle change so the amount of foods that are put back into their routine is limited. This is a personal decision everyone has to make.
A gut detox is the second most popular detox. There are a variety of ways to do a gut detox. A popular way is to eat a mono-diet. A mono-diet means you are eating one type of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why does this work? Digestion is a really intense process. It happens naturally for us so we never think about it until there is a problem. Eating one food gives the entire digestive system a rest. The key is to eat enough at each meal to stay full until the next meal. You will want to aim for no snacks, at least 3-4 hours between meals without food and no eating after 7:00 PM.
There are a wide variety of foods you can eat on a mono-diet. Steamed white potatoes, with or without the skin, but without seasoning. Some fat is fine. I like ghee because I am lactose intolerant. Kitchari, a mix of basmati rice, lentils and vegetables of your choice made into a stew. Kitchari requires a special spice mix that you can buy premade. This type of cleanse you can do for 3 days - 7 days. I like eating a mono-diet one day a month just to be kind to my digestive system.
The third most popular detox is a liver detox. The liver is involved in more than 500 different processes in our body, including digestion! To know if your liver isn't working as well as it should, some of the signs are the same as a digestive health issue. Gas, bloating, acid reflux, heartburn, inability to lose weight, moodiness and fatigue to name just a few. Being kind to your liver can significantly help resolve these symptoms.
The best liver detox is to rely on eating vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Research shows that including carrots is one of the best vegetables for a liver cleanse because the beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A which helps flush fat out of the liver. Beets are another favorite vegetable to eat to cleanse the gallbladder and improve bile flow.
In addition to eating vegetables, drink the best liver detox tea: dandelion root. Dandelion root is a natural diuretic helping the liver to quickly eliminate toxins. It has a strong earthy flavor and can be sipped on all day or taken mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Just don't put sweeteners in it which can reduce how much the liver will benefit from the tea.
The best detox for weight loss is any of the above! The sugar, gut and liver detoxes require making changes in our eating routine, which will result in weight loss. If you only want to focus on weight loss, then a detox that focuses on drinking juice or soup may work for you. When weight loss is the goal of a detox, be forewarned the weight will come back easily. Working on changing your entire routine is the best way to lose weight.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach passionate about teaching people just like you how to make meaningful changes in their routines to eliminate bothersome symptoms. Do you want to stop the...
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right. Discovering the root cause to be free from embarrassing symptoms can be confusing and hard! I am here to help so you can stop suffering and get back to living!
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✅Be more present with your children
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HOW LONG SHOULD WE DETOX?
The length of any detox will depend on how much time you can devote to the detox. Part of the detox process is to be as stress-free as possible. This means no urgent deadlines at work or having a jam packed schedule. Detoxes need to be scheduled when there is time to relax and reflect. If this means you only have 1 day, then do it for 1 day. Some of the detoxes can instead be lifelong changes not just a small time period.
THE 21 DAY BENTONITE CLAY DETOX
This detox is my favorite detox to do! Why? Because you get to eat. Albeit it has to be mostly plant based, free of alcohol, very little meat (if you eat meat) and gluten free. Sugar is a no-no as well. But again, do the best you can do and if you can't do all 21 days, do as many as you can.
During this cleans you will be drinking bentonite clay at a minimum once per day. Bentonite clay is very strong. It is very important to drink a lot of fluids during this cleanse to avoid constipation. At least 100 ounces per day is the goal. If for any reason, you skip a bowel movement during this cleanse, do not drink the clay until you have a bowel movement. You can take magnesium to get things moving if you have to.
Make the Bentonite Clay:
Use a glass jar with a sealable lid, add 1 cup of filtered water. Do not use tap water!
Add 3-5 TBSP of Pure Bentonite Clay
Seal jar, shake vigorously until completely blended
Place in refrigerator overnight.
Make the Cleanse Shake:
Add 8 - 12 ounces of thin, organic juice such as apple or cranberry to a glass.
Add 1 heaping teaspoon from the clay mixture you made
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of psyllium fiber
Shake and drink immediately
IMPORTANT: Make sure to drink the cleanse shake 90 minutes to 2 hours after eating. Do not take supplements and medications when drinking the shake. Bentonite clay is very powerful and will take good nutrients and medications out of the body along with the toxins. If you are on medications, make sure to work with a medical professional while doing a cleanse.
If you can drink 2 shakes a day, go for it! As I mentioned, do not drink a shake if you get constipated. Skip a day or two until you have a bowel movement. Above all, working with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist is important during this cleanse.
It's important before making a major change in your lifestyle, like a detox, that you take 1 week prior to the cleanse to start practicing healthier routines. Reduce meat consumption, do not have alcohol, reduce the amount of sugar you eat, start to increase vegetables and drink more water (a lot more). This one week prep will help you get the most out of any detox you may follow, even if you are only doing it for 3 days.
Here are some recipes to try while doing a detox! Of course, make sure the ingredients meet the goal of the detox you are doing. Just click on the name of the recipe to be brought to that page.
NATURAL DETOX DRINKS
DETOX SOUP RECIPE
OTHER DETOX RECIPES
I hope this post on detoxing helped reduce your fear about participating in a detox. An important point is to remember, if you feel hungry - eat! Just be mindful of the choices you make when eating. It helps you stay motivated to detox and eat good food if you have a plan of what you will eat each day. Also, a good support group (friends, family, social media) can help with accountability.
Do you think you will try a detox this Spring? Let me know by leaving a comment below.