It seems like everyone is interested in doing some sort of a detox. As the interest in detox diets increase, so do the number of cleansing plans and products. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with a healthy individual doing a mild detox or cleanse from every now and then for short periods of time. Living in a big city, even my own body can get congested from environmental pollutants alone without even touching on diet.
More often than not, however, people want to start a detox diet because they want to loose weight or de-gunk their system of junky food, caffeine or alcohol. Waking up one day and starting a detox or cleanse plan after months of not eating the right foods with the goal of cleansing your body is commendable, but an uphill battle.
Giving your body a chance to adjust to a life with less toxins before starting a detox will make any plan much easier and more successful. If you want to start a detox, make sure you're healthy enough to be able to handle common detoxification symptoms, ranging from feeling generally unwell to headaches and everything in between. If you already have a cold and start detox, you'll feel worse before you feel better.
Think of this as the pretox to your detox! Detoxing or cleansing by starting with a good foundation will make your life much easier and less frustrating.
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Start anywhere from three to five days before your detox begins. Just like athletes need to build a strong fitness base before competing, each of our bodies need a stronger nutritional base before cutting out foods we're addicted to.
It never hurts to increase your water intake, especially in the days before starting a detox. Not only will the extra hydration help, but the added H2O will help start flushing toxins out of your system. If you're dealing with any digestive concerns, or if you're not having at least one bowel movement a day, water will help get you there.
How much water should you drink?
About half your weight in ounces. A 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces; a 200 pound person should drink 100 ounces, etc.
Keep in mind, sodas, juices and coffee drinks don't count (even the calorie-free variety laced with artificial sweeteners). Straight water, mineral water and even the occasional club soda are all good options.
Normally cut from any detox diet, cutting back on caffeine before starting will make your life easier, especially if you're making more than one trip to the coffee pot every day. Cut back by 1/2 to 1 cup a day. Easing off can help buffer caffeine withdrawal headaches many deal with when going cold turkey.
If you're drinking a lot of coffee or prone to caffeine headaches, swapping coffee for a cup of green tea can help take the edge off.
Forgoing sugar on a detox diet is a no-brainer, but since it's so addictive, it can be the most challenging part of a plan. Start weaning yourself off sugar early, including high sugar fruits, like grapes, pears and bananas.
It's not uncommon for a detox plan to have some fruit in it, but a good plan will have less fruit and more vegetables.
Sugar is usually the wall most people run into when it comes to completing a detox plan. After the first day on the detox, cravings for sugar and refined carbs can come on strong. Keep low sugar foods handy to snack on in case the urge to eat something sugary arises.
Detox plans are stressful on our body. Starting on a detox diet with a lack of sleep can really put you behind the 8-ball. Sleep deprivation not only affects our drive and motivation, but also our ability to make smart food choices.
Less sleep also means that you don't get the full benefit of the growth hormone your body normally delivers to you when you're catching some Zs. Aim to turn off the screens an hour before you hit the sack, stop eating two hours before you go to bed, and try to close your eyes a full our earlier than you normally do.
Like sugar and caffeine, alcohol is always nixed from a detox diet. Avoid happy hour for a few days before you start the plan do give your liver a a leg up on ridding toxins in advance. When you drink alcohol, your body hits the pause button on the digestion of any other type of food (protein, carbs and fat) until the alcohol in your drink has started to work its way out of your body. This can be a double-whammy in the weight loss department. Not only are you potentially storing fat in the form of food that doesn't have a chance to break down because it's been suspended to break down alcohol, but your liver is getting more congested, which will make your detox much harder.
Many people don't realize how sensitive they are to wheat-based products (or just how much they eat) until they cut them out. Most "wheaty" foods are refined, something a detox diet does without. Do yourself a favor and take a vacation from sandwiches, pastas and pizza in the days before you start you plan.
It's never a bad idea to take a break from wheat for a few days - regardless of what your goal is. Most wheat is sold in the form of refined carbs. Cutting out refined carbs will only do your body good!