Detox diets are extremely popular ways of reducing the amount of ‘toxins’ in our body – whether these be from junk food, sugar, alcohol or even cigarettes.
The reason for detoxing is to give the body a break from these substances, to prevent side effects such as weight gain, fatigue and poor health in general.
What is a detox diet?
Simply put, a detox diet is where you refrain from putting certain toxins into your body, as mentioned above.
For this reason, it can take many forms. There is no one specific way to detox or follow a detox diet, since it will vary depending on what you want to cut back on. For example, someone who wants to detox themselves of alcohol will follow a different diet to someone who wants to cut back on sugar or processed food in general.
How you detox is up to you, but there are lots of different pre-set plans available for you to follow if you would rather have a structured routine.
Generally, to start a detox diet plan is to typically begin a state of fasting (not eating anything for a short duration) and followed strictly by a diet of vegetables, fruits and an abundance of water
What can you eat on a detox diet?
As previously mentioned, what you eat and do not eat is up to you.
However, if you want to do a full detox then there are several different foods which you should focus on consuming to ensure that you are as successful as possible.
✔ Food (Organic would be great options) and drinks which are free of pesticides.
✔ Unprocessed, whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, grains, berries etc.
✔ Lots of fruit and vegetables.
✔ Lots of water- at least 2 litres per day.
Furthermore, you should aim to eat lots of healthy super foods, and supplement with powders such as maca powder, which can have various other health benefits.
Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive, meaning you can eat plenty of other foods which are not on it. You should refer to the list of foods which aren’t usually allowed to see if what you are eating is appropriate.
What should you avoid on a detox diet?
Again, this will not be the same for everyone, but if you’re looking for an overall detox then there is a small list of foods which you should NOT be eating.
✘ Alcohol and other toxins such as tobacco, and caffeine.
✘ Processed or refined foods.
✘ Refined sugar (added sugars) and artificial sweeteners (e.g. sucralose)
Certain sweeteners from natural sources such as stevia are allowed, although if you are not sure then it is best to avoid them altogether.
If you want to focus on still getting your protein in, try an unflavoured version or a stevia sweetened version of our Impact Whey Protein.
Simple ways to detox
If you aren’t looking for a strict plan to follow and just want to try and be healthy, there are several things you can do to give your body a helping hand.
The first thing is to start each day with a healthy smoothie. This ensures your body gets in all of the micronutrients it requires and as well as it tasting great, it will give you enough energy to power you through your morning. There are lots of recipes on the web and here on The Zone for you to follow.
✓ Another way would be to just cut out one form of toxins, or do each one for a certain period of time. For example, if you smoke regularly, try and go a few days or a week without a cigarette, or if you eat a lot of sugar and processed food, give it up for a week.
This may prove to be tough whilst you are giving it up, but even after just a week you will feel much better about yourself and will be well on the way to a healthier lifestyle in the long run.
✓ You could also just find a diet to help you lose some weight and generally improve your all round health. There are plenty of diets which are described in detail here on the Zone for you to choose from.
Detox Diets | Any side effects?
Whilst generally, diets and detoxes do not carry a risk, there are certain things you should keep in mind if you are looking to commit to a medium to long term plan.
1) The first point about some detoxes is the fact that they can be nutritionally insufficient. If you are following a plan like this, be sure to consult your doctor to ensure that it is healthy and will not harm you in the long run, rather than help you. Furthermore, you shouldn’t stick to them for too long.
Note: It is also worth keeping in mind that if you are detoxing on a plan where calorie intake is low, you may experience some muscle loss as well as fatigue. If you want to maintain your muscle then you should aim for a more liberal plan.
2) Another thing to consider is any allergic reactions you may experience. Lots of the herbs and roots which are used on detox diets can cause people to experience allergic reactions, so be careful if you are going to try a lot of new foods and ingredients which you haven’t previously.
Take Home Message
Detox diets are very popular for people who are looking to begin it with a new, healthy outlook on life. Whilst they can be effective, there are some things to bear in mind and it can be tough to cut out lots of certain types of foods.
✓ The thing to remember is that a detox can mean lots of things, so your diet should be tailed to you and your goals –
For example: the best detox diet for an individual can consist of something as simple as incorporating 1-3 cups of hot lemon water into a daily routine in order to boost energy – or even improve the quality of hair, skin and nails.
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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.