What is the best “detox diet” or “juice cleanse” that is around?? When is comes to the right answer for that question, it’s pretty simple: there is not a program that is usually required for this, RATHER a detoxification lifestyle needs to be adopted.
Detoxification is a vital task that our bodies do throughout the day. If this process lacks in any way, risk of early morbidity and mortality can result. The scientific definition for detoxification is: the process that involves the mobilization, biotransformation, and elimination of toxicants of exogenous and endogenous origin.
What are Toxicants (toxins)?
Toxicants originate from external (exogenous) sources:
- Drugs – pharmaceutical and recreational
- Heavy metals – lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic
- Chemicals – herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, food additives, household cleaners, and other
Toxicants can also originate from internal (endogenous) sources:
- Bacterial endotoxins
- End products of metabolism
Changing the diet to remove toxins:
Using nutritional support to promoting detoxing the body is a great first step to feeling better.
- Remove foods containing petrochemical residues from farming practices
- Buy organic when can, the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen
- Remove foods containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as charbroiled meats
- Remove trans fat completely
- Remove water contaminated with metals and chemicals
Next, it is important to have a diet rich in foods that nourish your organs that work so hard and provide substrates and cofactors that are needed to detox your body.
Detoxification Lifestyle Do’s
- Avoid environmental toxicants such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and electromagnetic radiation
- Mobilize or eliminate toxicants through loss of excessive fat and added sugars
- Use saunas, chelation therapy, and physical activity: get that body sweating, It’s Good For You!!
- Optimize your gastrointestinal (GI) health
- Adopt and stick to a healthy nutritious lifestyle and keep hydrated
- Pay attention to stress and resilience, focus on healthy relationships
- Make sure you get good sleep and make time to relax – “YOU” time
How does eating whole foods help us detox?
“Let food be thy medicine”, taught by Hippocrates in 400 BC. Our human cells do the bulk of the work when it comes to detoxing, they expend a lot of energy to make sure that detoxification pathways continue to do their work and that they don’t slack. A variety of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, protein) are required on a continuous basis (meaning every day) to construct the multitude of enzymes and the actions that are required in the body. This means various oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, and conjugation pathways, as well as being enzymatic cofactors, phytochemical antioxidants, and fiber.
How do start?
Become your own HEALTH DETECTIVE!
A useful tool we like to suggest is putting yourself through a comprehensive ELIMINATION DIET. This works by eliminating the most common allergenic foods and beverages from your diet for 4 weeks, then gradually adding back in the eliminated foods (every 4 days, 1 group at a time) and really listening to your body. Observe each effect that the food groups have on your body and write down any adverse reactions you may have had. You will learn some of your bodies sensitives and triggers and learn what you may need to limit or avoid totally.
What are the common allergenic foods?
There are 8 foods that are known to cause the most allergenic reactions among people:
Milk, Wheat, Soybeans, Fish, Shellfish, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Eggs
Take home message
Focusing on whole foods to support the highly complex processes of detoxification and biotransformation is the best approach. If you feel like, or want to juice for a day or so then go for it. BUT I caution you to reconsider if you are wanting to do it as a means to detox the body for an extended period of time. This can leave you feeling uncomfortable, hungry, tired, and can be dangerous for your health if not conducted the right way.