Setting up a Healthy Detox

After a few weeks of binging on piles of mashed potatoes, frosted cookies, and working your way through all the dessert-related gifts you may have received, you may be noticing that your clothes are feeling a little tighter than usual.

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get back to business.

Many people use their New Year’s resolution to install a new exercise plan or a carefully planned diet. However, to start off your new healthier lifestyle on the right foot, many health and fitness professionals recommend a full-body detox.

The concept of detoxification is relatively simple. Over time the body accumulates toxins from the chemicals we come in contact with on a daily basis. These toxins build up and prevent the body from functioning at its optimal level. A detox diet is a non-medical way to flush the body of these toxins while replacing them with much needed vitamins and nutrients.

There are many different detox diets, some lasting for up to 21 days. Programs are available for a more regulated detox in which nutrient supplements are purchased to be added to the diet along with fruits and vegetables. However, since there is no single detox method, the diets can be customized based on personal preferences and desired results.

Regardless of specific foods or timelines, detox diets all usually take a similar form.

• Drink plenty of water. The water is what helps flush the toxins out of your system.

• Eat only fruits and vegetables for 2-3 days (though some detoxes call for extending this diet for up to a week). Depending on preference, these fruits and vegetables can be consumed in their natural form, strictly as juice, or in some combination of the two.

• Citrus fruits should be a key part of your diet due to their ability to replace toxins with essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also recommended to drink water flavored with fresh citrus.

• To get the most out of your detox after the initial cleanse, you should cut out all the “bad stuff.” This category includes alcohol, sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods.

• Some detoxes also recommend that you engage in soothing exercises like yoga and meditation. One of the causes of toxin build-up is stress, so calming the mind will allow the body to return to its healthiest state.
Other tips and/or warnings:

• It is still very important to remember to supply the body with the healthy nutrients and vitamins it needs, so make sure that you are eating foods that are providing you with enough fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, etc.

• Because you are not consuming as much food as you would normally, you should not engage in vigorous exercise until after the detox to avoid harming your body.

• Detoxes are not designed as permanent weight-loss diets. Even if you lose weight during a cleanse you will regain the weight if you immediately go back to your normal eating habits. To perpetuate the weight loss you will have to design a new diet after finishing the detox.

• As is the case with most intensive diets, you should consult your doctor before starting a prolonged detox.