How to start a Detox : The Basics

So you want to start a detox.

Remember all those years ago when Cover of you were a teenager and all the grown ups said they envied you because you could eat whatever you wanted and not have it affect you? Well fast forward a couple years, the sand glass is running out and you’re probably starting to realize you can’t eat the way you used to anymore either. You’ve lost that spring in your step, you’re constantly tired, or sluggish, your allergies seem to be getting worse every season, bloating after a meal is a common nuisance, you’re not satisfied with your body as much as you’d like, and your skin is showing signs of gulp AGING! What is HAPPENING?! Years of bad eating habits is what is happening. For me, college happened. Late nights spent guzzling down energy drinks and cups of coffee, 4th meals at Taco Bell, eating out more than cooking in, tailgating every weekend during football season, and way too much ramen.

How to detox.

There’s a lot of different detox cleanses out there: Paleo, Candida, Sugar-detox, Juicing, etc. For me personally I knew I couldn’t just straight juice, nor do I think it’s necessary. I’m always weary of drastic diets that call for you to restrict yourself or your caloric intake to such extremes. I ate solid foods, along with juicing, and I ate often.

How long does a detox take?

Detoxes are meant to be short term about 7 to 21 days. I did mine for 60 days but I also have an autoimmune disease, so naturally it took longer for my immune system to calm down. I don’t expect anyone should have the need to go for as long as I did. So good news for you is 3 weeks max should get you to optimal level.

Should you do a 7, 14, or 21 day detox? Well that really is up to you and how much you think you can handle. You’ll certainly see results in 1 week, but some of my best results came in week 3, so stick it out if you can. That being said, after the detox you’ll have to make some long-term adjustments to your eating habits to keep you still firing on all cylinders. Some foods excluded during the detox can be introduced back in moderation, but some should really just be avoided. I’ll go into long-term maintenance in another post. Let’s just focus on getting started!

5 Steps

Step 1: Start off with a baseline

Take a symptom survey here to see where you’re at. My starting score was 84(abnormally high) and I’m finally down to a 12! Working on getting that sucker down even further into the single digits.

Step 2: Prepare yourself

Half the work of going on a detox is taken out if you plan correctly. Make a grocery list for the week, map out your meals and shop accordingly. I used a food journal to document what I ate, when I ate it, and any symptoms I was feeling. Document symptoms like the ones listed in the symptom survey in Step 1, even if you think they are irrelevant. It’ll come in handy in the future if certain symptoms persist, you can know which foods have triggered it and it can be eliminated. You can also log your food on your phone with apps like MyPlate, but I found it easier to just log my meals in the notes app of my phone and then transfer them to paper when I got home.

Step 3: Get a good blender for juicing and smoothies.

It’ll make your life so much easier especially if you’re on the go and want to forgo the fork. A good one out on the market that’s in the middle price range is the Ninja for around $90. The Magic Bullet will get you by if you’re really on a budget. I use both for different kinds of recipes (posts coming soon).

Step 4:

Break up with these foods:

  • Wheat/Rye/Barley/Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Sugar, honey, maple syrup
  • Caffeine (Coffee, Soft Drinks)
  • Red meats, deli cuts
  • Overly processed salad dressings/sauces
  • Peanuts
  • Corn and Soy *
  • Whey protein
  • Alcohol

Get with these foods:

  • Gluten-free grains: Brown rice, gluten-free oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, tapioca, potato flours/starch
  • Non-dairy: Almond milk, coconut milk
  • Agave nectar or stevia
  • Green Tea
  • Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs
  • Olive oil, coconut oil
  • Fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, lentils
  •  All vegetables especially leafy greens
  • Plant-based protein powders

This is just a short list of the basics to help keep it simple. There are numerous alternatives to non-dairy butter, gluten-free pastas, organic sauces, and dressings that you can substitute.

*Corn and Soy are common food allergens, which sometimes can go undiagnosed. Although you may not have a known allergy to them, similar to sugars, dairy, and certain grains, they are foods that are harder for the body to digest. For the sake of helping your body cleanse for these short 7 to 21 days, it’s best to just avoid these two foods for now and introduce them back in after the detox to see if you notice any changes.

Step 5: Start reading labels.

I’ll make it easy for you. Stick to the outer perimeters of the grocery store when shopping. This is where they sell all the produce, and meats. The middle aisles are full of boxed processed foods. Buying frozen vegetables and fruits are completely ok. You can buy your allowed grains and nuts in the bulk section of the health foods store or in packages in the organic sections.

Tips:

  • If you’re an avid coffee drinker, try to gradually phase out the coffee to one cup a day the week before you go cold turkey. After the detox you’ll find you have enough energy that you won’t need it anymore. I know shocking.
  • There may be times where you’ll start to feel worse than you feel better. This is usually a result of candida die-off. Your body is trying to reprogram itself for the lack of sugar it’s used to getting. Drink plenty of water to flush out your system and power through it.
  • Be wary of bottled fruit juices, they are loaded in added sugars unless otherwise stated. But of course if you’re juicing at home this won’t be an issue.
  • If you’re out and want to grab a smoothie from a shop make sure you ask them not to add the liquid sugar, this includes Splenda or turbinado.
  • Add some plant-based protein powder to your shakes to keep you full.
  • Eat three meals a day, juice in between meals and snack often. You can’t go wrong with nuts or berries.

Closing notes

My detox journey has literally given me my life back. I’m not achy, I have energy, more mental clarity, my allergies, eczema, and asthma have disappeared and so I can only imagine for those of you who don’t have the issues I had how much more this can benefit you. Remember this cleanse is only for a short time to help you jump-start living and feeling great. A lot of the changes I’ve made going forward now don’t seem like much of a sacrifice because honestly I feel too good to not feel bad anymore. So my advice to you is, go into this with a positive attitude. You can do it!

Suggested reads:

Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself. By Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on:

  • How to Stay Motivated on a Detox
  • Detox Meal Planning
  • Wheat vs. Flour. What’s the difference?

Related posts:

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “How to start a Detox : The Basics

  1. I have to confess I’ve never done a detox! Yes, gasp! I’ve very lucky that I don’t have allergies other than sometimes some hay fever in spring, and that I eat rather healthily, tons of homemade cooking from fresh natural ingredients. I’m usually scared a detox will leave me energyless but your detox tips sound really good actually! xx

  2. Pingback: Blogiversary and My Favorite Mistake | Little Bliss Book
  3. Pingback: Fitness: Keep It Simple | Little Bliss Book
  4. Pingback: Detox Meal Planning | Little Bliss Book
  5. Pingback: Detox 2.0 | Little Bliss Book
  6. I guess I’ve been detoxing for a while according to this :)
    I have been trying to adapt a more primal (not 100%) diet because even my soaked and sprouted grains were giving me digestive problems :(

  7. Pingback: Healthy Living: The 10 Day Detox Plan | Erin O'Leary Photography
  8. Hey dear, hope you’re doing well. I’ve got a question regarding your detox – did your skin break out at first? I’m assuming it has to do with purging toxins, but I wanted to see if you experienced the same thing.

    • Well only time I broke out was in the form of eczema but that was because I ate something I was allergic to. The moment I was able to pin point what caused it, I cut out the food and my skin would be fine. I’m assuming you’re breaking out in pimples/acne? I will say though my skin got ‘shinier’ on the detox so yes you can experience oilier skin but like you stated, you’re ridding yourself of toxins:) Just monitor what you’re eating if it gets worse, but you should be fine.

  9. Pingback: Summer Solstice and Small Steps | Little Bliss Book
  10. Congratulations on accomplishing your goal and for feeling better! I was only slightly privy to the struggles you faced along the way, but admire your determination. Nutrition is no longer the future, it is the present and I’m glad to see people adopting healthier lifestyles. Keep up the great work and keep blogging for us!!

  11. awesome post, and nice site! i’ve been wanting to try a detox, but like most things in life, i just have not took the time to get around to it!…..so i’ll be keeping an eye out for future posts/advice/motivation!

    • Thanks Steve! I know time management is a big reason why most people delay a detox. I plan on writing a post soon on the little ways you can ‘cheat’ your way into making time in your busy life:)

Leave a little thought...xx Rakhi

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s