If you've read my post about why we crave sugar, you know that sugar is addictive. If you haven't read it, you can find it by clicking here: Why do I crave sugar and what to do about it. Also, sugar is really hard to avoid because it is in almost everything we eat. I'm not talking about the natural sugar found in fruit. I am talking about the added sugar that is used to make foods shelf stable and taste good (think salad dressing, jarred tomato sauce and bread).
Even though sugar is almost impossible to avoid, you can detox from sugar and reset your body.
In this article we will cover:
What Does Detox Mean
Why Detox From Sugar
How Does Detoxing From Sugar Help The Body
Different Types of Detox Methods
How To Prepare for a Detox
What To Expect During a Detox
How to Exit A Detox
WHAT DOES DETOX MEAN
The most basic definition found in a dictionary is: a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. No matter what food, additive or substance you are focusing on, the basic plan is to stop using it for a period of time. When it comes to sugar, since it is found in so many foods, it is unrealistic that you will stop eating it altogether for the rest of your life.
WHY DETOX FROM SUGAR
A detox helps to start what is (hopefully) a life-long journey to reducing the amount of sugar you eat in a year. The average American consumes about 57 pounds of added sugar a year which is about 17 teaspoons of sugar a day. In reality, we should only be eating 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. (Source: University of California) Remember, this is added sugar! Not sugar that comes from fruit.
Where is this added sugar coming from? The typical culprits: soda, sugary cereals, packaged cookies, crackers, snacks, fruit drinks, ice cream, bread, yogurt, just to name a few. The constant intake of added sugar destroys the body's ability to maintain a natural balance of hormones. Added sugar spikes glucose in the bloodstream and signals the pancreas to release insulin. As we eat more sugar, more insulin is released and higher insulin causes the body to store more food as fat.
It gets worse! Higher insulin levels also mean that the hormone Leptin, can no longer tell our brain that we are full. Leptin is our natural appetite suppressant. When the brain can no longer hear leptin's signals, we overeat leading to weight gain and potentially obesity. Also, when leptin is imbalanced, it makes us feel lethargic which makes it difficult to be active, leading to more weight gain. It is a vicious cycle! (Source: University of California)
HOW DOES DETOXING FROM SUGAR HELP THE BODY
Detoxing from sugar is a great way to kick-start reducing sugar in our lives. Not only will it help with any weight loss goals you may have, it will also help with the following health conditions:
Increases Energy. Added sugar is a simple carbohydrate. They're digested fast and enter your bloodstream quickly, providing a rush. But once that shot of sugar is metabolized, you're in for a crash. Reducing sugar in your day will lead to more energy.
Reduces the Risk of Diabetes. About 1 in 10 people have diabetes, with 90-95% of them having Type 2. Type 2 is the result of a poor lifestyle (think not exercising, eating too much sugar and unhealthy fat, to name a few). While Type 2 typically strikes age 45 and older, more and more children, teens and young adults are developing it. (Source: CDC)
Promotes a Healthy Heart. Research suggests added sugar can take a real toll on the cardiovascular system. A 2014 study revealed that people who consumed 17% to 21% of their daily calories from the sweet stuff had a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease compared with those who kept their added sugar intake to 8% of their daily calories. (Source: Health.com)
Improves Gut Health. A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, which can damage your gut still further. High amounts of refined sugars, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor to a number of diseases and even cancers. (Source: Healthline)
Does any of this sound like you?
👉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. It might be the food you are eating or something else. Discovering the root cause and how to have a healthy gut can be confusing and hard! I am here to help.
I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy session where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how the Simply Great Health program can help.
How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:
✅Be more present with your children
✅Focus at work
✅Have more energy
✅Stop running to the bathroom
✅Workout without fear of an accident or farting
✅Restore your confidence
✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Take an active vacation
✅Reclaim your life!
Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your body and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DETOX METHODS
Detoxing involves a variety of different methods. Finding the one that works for you will take some trial and error. Below are some of the more popular methods.
3-day Kitchari Cleanse
This is the best detox cleanse, in my opinion. It focuses on eating Kitchari for each of your 3 meals for 3 days. This can be extended to 5 or 7 days, like most cleanses. Kitchari is a mix of basmati rice, lentils (or mung beans) and vegetables of your choice. The spices used in the meal are anti-inflammatory, making this meal really easy to digest.
Another benefit is you are eating real satisfying food. If you are new to cleansing for any reason, a Kitchari cleanse is the best way to start. It is easy on the body and satisfying. Click on the article name to read more about Kitchari on Yoga Journal. A recipe for cleansing Kitchari
3-day Soup Cleanse
A soup cleanse is exactly like it sounds, you eat soup for 3 days. But not just any soup. A variety of pureed vegetable soups are the best. Preferably homemade but if you don't have time for that, you can purchase premade frozen soups for the cleanse. Every 2 hours from when you wake up to 2 hours before you go to bed, you drink soup.
Liquid cleanses are very easy on the digestive system and will help to keep you full since they are loaded with fiber and will often contain healthy fats such as coconut milk to make the soup rich. Below are a few detox soup recipes so you can get a feel for the types of soup to eat if you choose this cleanse.
3-day Juice Cleanse
A juice cleanse is a bit more challenging so if you are not used to cleansing, I would wait until you have a couple under your belt. Just like the soup cleanse, you will drink juices every two hours. While the juices are a blend of both fruits and vegetables to keep glucose levels from spiking, it is less filling than a Kitchari or Soup cleanse.
Juice naturally has the fiber removed from it so it is hard to have a full feeling. Below are a few detox juice recipes so you can get a feel for how to put a juice cleanse together.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A DETOX
To prepare for a detox, it is a good idea to slowly reduce eating and drinking products that contain preservatives, added sugars and are high in saturated fats for 1 week prior to the cleanse start date. This will help reduce withdrawal symptoms that you most likely will have. I'll cover more on that in the next section.
Switch to eating more fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts to start to prepare the body. If you can limit the amount of meat, chicken and pork, that is highly recommended as well. Any kind of meat stays in the colon anywhere from one to four days. It would be better to have a cleaner colon starting the cleanse to ensure less chance of constipation.
To start getting used to drinking less sugar, switch to water, black coffee or even sip a detox tea. What does detox tea do? Detox tea helps the body move waste. There are a variety of different types of detox teas. Herbal teas are the best detox teas and actually do not contain tea leaves at all. Start drinking some before the detox and you can even drink them during the detox. Just make sure not to add sugar (not even honey)! Below are a few detox teas to try.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A DETOX
It is best, if you can, to detox when you aren't working. Use the weekend if you can to start or end the detox. Don't be surprised when you start to have withdrawal symptoms during your detox. Day #1 is usually pretty easy. You've made up your mind, your motivated and you are probably enjoying doing something good for your body. Day #2 is when the work begins. You may notice headaches, crankiness, gurgling in the stomach, fatigue, hard to fall asleep, difficult concentrating and cravings.
These are perfectly normal. Especially if you continue the journey after the 3-day cleanse to reduce sugar in your daily routine. The withdrawal symptoms can last a few weeks. Remember, sugar is addictive and your body has been used to getting it's fix for a very long time. It now has to adjust and the withdrawal is real!
What isn't normal is dizziness, fainting, heart palpitations, racing heart rate, sweating, chills and vomiting. If this starts to happen, you need to eat something substantial like oatmeal with fruit, lean protein with veggies, a meal replacement shake, beans and rice or a baked stuffed sweet potato. Detox smoothie recipes are another great alternative. If you feel like you can continue the cleanse after drinking a smoothie, by all means, return to it for the time you have left. Below are detox smoothie recipes to try.
You should never feel like you have to "tough" it out. If the cleanse is too overwhelming, stop it, return to normal eating and plan to try it again. We tend to pick a too aggressive cleanse when we try it for the first time. It is OK if you need to back off and plan for a detox another time. Just keep trying. It will get easier.
HOW TO EXIT A DETOX
Once the detox is complete, do not celebrate with a pizza and a beer! Your body has been through a lot and will need to come back to eating regular meals slowly. This is where soups and stews can be amazing. Foods that are well cooked are easy to digest. Try to stay away from meat for the first 3 days after a cleanse. Fish is a better choice.
Make sure to drink plenty of water once the cleanse is over. Not only will this help with acclimating to foods faster, it will help you continue to reduce sugar in your routine. We are continually dehydrated and often pick food over water. Drinking half your bodyweight in ounces every day is highly recommended.
Detoxing periodically is a great way to start reducing sugar in your life or to achieve another health goal. If you are human and live on earth, your body is accumulating toxins. Even if you have a healthy eating routine. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the foods we eat contain toxins. The beauty products and cookware we use contain toxins. The chemicals we use to clean the house and our clothes contain toxins. We can't escape them.
The good news is you can reset your body. The cleanses listed in this article can be practiced a couple of times a year. Some of the best times is during the change of seasons. When our bodies are naturally responding to the change of weather.
Will you try a detox this year? Let me know by leaving a comment below.