A diet that is specifically intended to rid the body of toxins is referred to as a detox, or cleansing diet. This is usually a diet rich in natural foods and one which avoids processed or hard to digest foods such as fatty meats, lard, and rich dairy products. Other than body detox, there are colon cleanses, liver and gallbladder cleanses and master cleanses, which incorporate all of the above. Most body detox diets have severe food limitations which can make the diet restrictive in nature. It’s for this very reason that you should not embark upon a detox diet without the guidance of a medical practitioner.
Popular Home Detox Diets
Over the years, some detox diets have gained popularity as they can be done in the confines of your home. These include the Lemonade Diet, which is a combination of spring water, organic maple syrup, freshly squeezed organic lemon juice, and cayenne pepper; the Raw Food diet made up of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and juices; the Green Smoothies diet, a combination of blended fruit and vegetables; and the Hallelujah Diet or Bible Diet based on a vegan raw food diet plan.
Beginner's Home Detox Plans
While just about any detox diet can be undertaken at home, it's best to begin with a gentle plan. According to researchers on DisabledWorld.com, a simple detox diet consists of removing foods that trigger health problems, avoiding chemically and commercially packed processed foods such as freezer meals, canned food, and ready to eat meats, and sticking to natural, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and seeds. The plan should include consuming plenty of water to help flush toxins from the liver and kidneys. Most detox plans advocate no caffeine, alcohol, or smoking while on the diet. Herbal teas can be consumed. According to dietitian Juliette Kellow, a sensible plan takes into account your nutritional needs above all else and should be well balanced.
After you have undergone a detox and cleansing program, it’s important to maintain it by continuing to make natural foods a large part of your diet. According to Homemadebodycleanse.com, you can complement your dietary habits by practicing hydrotherapy, alternating hot and cold water showers three times a week. You should also increase your intake of vitamin C, which helps produce glutathione, an antioxidant that eliminates toxins from the body. Deep breathing and meditation exercises can also reduce stress, as does regular aerobic exercise.
Do Detox Diets Work?
According to registered dietitian Keri Glassman, detox diets have their plus and minus points. While they can help the body flush out toxins and give the person on the diet extra energy and improved health, they can also be responsible for severe weight loss, fatigue, headaches, nausea and nutritional deficiencies. A controlled cleansing diet, however, can have a lot of benefits, including making you think responsibly about the food you put into your body.
The Side Effects of a Detox Diet
Just like with any diet plan, a detox diet has its downsides—the number one being repeated fasts or food restrictions can lead to vitamin deficiencies, muscle breakdown and blood-sugar problems. According to Lona Sandon, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, fasting can deprive the body of vitamins, minerals and much needed nutrients and can weaken the body and the immune system. All detox plans should be undertaken with the help of a registered dietitian or medical practitioner. However, if you are pregnant, a teenager or have health conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, or low or high blood pressure, it is best to avoid a detox diet.
Usha Sliva is a Vancouver based writer who since 2005 has focused on health, nutrition and wellness. Her work appears on websites such as Health Enhancement Systems and Mind Body Sanctuary. She’s an avid yoga practitioner and runner. Sliva holds a master's degree in social anthropology, and a writing certification from Simon Fraser University.