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Detoxification is a process of eliminating toxins from the body. This is a natural process, performed primarily by the liver. Detoxification is an important process for the body as it helps in reducing the rate of ageing, prevents bloating. The major reason for excessive weight is the consumption of foods that are essentially garbage to the body. Foods high in sugar, saturated food causes more harm than good. The nutritional value of such foods is low, and they increase the amount of unhealthy fat in the body. Factors such as pollution, stress, excessive alcohol consumption also lead to weight gain and unhealthy skin. The process of losing weight is more of a process of detoxifying your body of all waste that was accumulated due to bad eating and living habits.
Naturally, this a lengthy process but one can help fasten it by going a detox diet for short periods like a few days. It is important to remember that detox diet only works in the short run. It has no proven results in the long run. However, detox diets help in adapting to a healthier lifestyle and make the transition faster. The popularity of detox diets increased due to models and celebrities using them just before a photo or video shoot to look their best.
Detox diets are essentially consumption of raw fruits and vegetables with a very strict list of foods that one is allowed to eat. Coming from a diet with large amounts of processed foods, high in saturated fat, the transition to an all-natural diet can be very daunting and may cause headache and nausea in some cases. With the sea of resources available online on detox diets and trends, one can very easily lose sight of the main aim of detox diets: transitioning to consumption of unprocessed, whole foods that are nutrient dense and reduce toxicity in the body.
Preparations for Detox Diet
Since one is essentially giving up on most of their cravings in this diet, this process can cause moderate to extreme changes in behaviour, which are temporary. The first two or three days can be the most challenging as you are still trying to adapt to the diet. It is therefore advised to start a detox cleanse week on a Friday as most people have weekends off from work and help avoid any extra stress unrelated to the diet. Easing into the diet is also very important, for instance, someone addicted to coffee can start with consumption of low caffeine drinks like green tea or matcha. It is also advised to gradually control and filter your diet in the weeks leading upto your detox week as it can help prevent straying from your diet plan.
Detox week should also coincide with days when you have no socio-cultural commitments like weddings, parties, etc. In some cases, there may be reactions such as loose bowel movements and headaches, and these are bodily reactions to the withdrawal of certain foods and detoxifying organs. These symptoms should subside in two to three days. Storing only foods that you are allowed to eat in a detox diet can help to stray from your diet plan. It is important to plan your meals beforehand, and you can prepare meals in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
What to Eat in Detox Diet?
Since there is no scientific evidence to detox diets, there are no hard and fast rules as to what you can eat in a detox diet. However, a diet primarily focussed on whole foods, fruits, and vegetables rich in antioxidants, fiber is the accepted norm. Foods such as nuts, berries, seeds are all important inclusions in the diet. Moderation is a key factor when building diets around such foods. Additionally, one can include plant-based protein and foods rich in probiotics, like miso, in the diet. Here are some tips on what to include in your diet:
- Eat locally grown fruits and vegetables, with a mandatory inclusion of seasonal fruits and veggies.
- Each meal should be balanced meal, containing adequate portions of all macronutrients (proteins, healthy fat, and carbohydrates). It should also contain some fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Consuming an array of vegetables is very important. The diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, as opposed to the inclusion of only popular ones. These may include dark leafy vegetables, onions, carrots, and cucumber. Foods such as cooked chickpeas, brown rice, avocado, the baked sweet potato should be included for their high fiber content, healthy fats and an adequate amount of protein.
- Breakfasts can include oatmeals, fresh berries, chia pudding, and a healthy smoothie.
- Planning for smart snacks to consume between meals is very important. It is here that one can lose sight of the diet and consume processed foods. Some possible snacking options may include a small bowl of nuts and berries, red beet hummus with raw vegetables, yogurt and roasted chickpeas.
- Larger meals like lunch or dinner should contain nutrient-rich foods to make you feel satiated. It can include baked mushrooms, sweet potato, curried chickpeas, black beans, salmon, and can be garnished with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
- It is also very important to remain hydrated at all times. Water is nature’s detox drink. It can help the liver to cleanse all the toxins from your body. Rehydration after a long night’s sleep is the essential part of a detox diet. You should consume 8-10 glasses of water in a day. You can add lime, honey to make the consumption a little less monotonous.
- You must take care to avoid all foods that are processed and contain high amounts of saturated sugars and fats. Alcoholic beverages must also be avoided while on a detox diet. They contain high amounts of acetaldehyde, which can harm the liver cells and body tissues. It is important to lighten the load on your liver during the detox week as an entire load of detoxification falls on the liver. It can also help to adapt to a healthier lifestyle in the long run.
Self-care During Detox Diet
The goal of a detox diet is not deprivation. It is to help you adapt to ways that are healthy to your mind and body. Utilising the detox week to adopt healthy habits such as improved sleep cycles is very important. It is also the perfect time to test out new and unfamiliar stress management techniques. Practices such as deep breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga can help you manage your daily stress and make you calmer. Simple practices like taking a walk, listening to music, reading books, and hiking can help you soothe your mind.
Exercising is very important for any individual. Seeking to increase your physical activity during the detox week can relieve some of the stress. It not only provides a way to vent out your frustration but also helps keep the mind and body in perfect condition. Exercises may not always be intense, and it can include a leisure walk after lunch or dinner, a simple hike right before breakfast. You may feel lethargic at the start of your detox week. Hence you must break your workouts in short intervals. Easing into a routine is the key. If you are not used to working out on a regular basis, it is important that you do not set unrealistic goals like working out for extended periods of time.
Additional Tips For Detox Diets
- If you aren’t used to consuming large amounts of fibers, try easing into the diet by eating foods that help in digestion like herbal tea.
- Initial lethargy and frustration will disappear for most by day four or five. Many people feel an increase in energy and digestion by the end of detox week. Hence, it is important to not feel frustrated at the beginning as adopting any habit can take up to 6 weeks for an average person.
- Detox diets are a great way to experiment with new foods and lifestyle. It can help adopt healthier lifestyle habits like drinking more fluids and eating more vegetables. You need to build on the momentum you gain during this period and adopt a less restrictive but a healthy lifestyle.
- It is often advised to perform detox diet several times a year. It is important to incorporate newer foods and habits each time you perform a detox diet. Testing new wellness techniques can help you build a healthy lifestyle in the long run.
- Seven-day detox diets may not be appropriate for everyone. In cases of chronic illness, heart conditions, liver or kidney disease, and eating disorders, it is important to consult with your doctors before going on a detox diet. Any concern regarding certain habits and foods should be consulted with a physician before starting the diet.
It is important to remember that diets like a seven-day detox diet are not healthy for extended periods of time. It is just a way to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The process of a healthy lifestyle is always evolving, and detox diets are a way to find the perfect mix to help lead healthy and long life.