I am writing this blog to share my detox journey with you. I posted little bits and pieces about it last week and have received many messages, questions and interest on the program. I want to answer all of your questions, but first let me tell you how and why I got started.
I NEVER thought I would do a detox. As a registered dietitian,I have always been very skeptical about diets, vitamins, supplements, and cleanses. Through my current functional nutrition training, my mindset has changed. Of course I am all aboutfood first, but realize we can’t get all of the nutrients we need from our food anymore. Our food quality is not what it used to be. It is suggested that you have to consume 13 apples to get all of the nutrients one apple provided years ago. Why? – soil and nutrient depletion. Our society uses way too many harmful chemicals and pesticides on our produce, killing the nutrients and making it harder for us to nourish our bodies. Remember “five a day (servings of fruits and vegetables)?” Well now it is more like “ten a day.” How many of you can honestly say you get 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day? This is where plant based nutrition products can help us fill in the gaps.
WHAT IS A DETOX?
Detox, which is short for detoxification, is the body’s natural process of neutralizing and eliminating toxins. Toxins are substances that can potentially damage body tissue, such as waster products that result from normal cell activity and chemicals that we are exposed to in our environment, food, and water (Cathy, Wong, ND). Most of us think of the liver as the main organ that performs detox. Did you know there are actually seven channels of elimination in our bodies? They all work together to transform these toxins into less harmful compounds and excrete them from the body. The seven channels include: liver, kidneys, skin, lymphatic system, blood, intestines, and lungs.
Research suggests we consume chemicals on a daily basis from the food we eat, air we breathe and water we drink. These chemicals can accumulate and deposit in the fat cells of our body. This is why I buy organic whole milk for the baby and grass fed, organic meats for the entire family- there is fat in these products and toxins are fat soluble- I do not want these toxin’s accumulating in my children’s bodies!
Think about all of the toxins out there- pesticides, antibiotics and hormones from our food, chemicals from the packages, plastic containers, detergents, household cleaners, pollution, drugs, cigarette smoke, heavy metals, etc. It is IMPOSSIBLE to avoid them all. We can do our best to cut back and buy all-natural, chemical free products, organic products, and glass containers, but we are still going to be exposed to many of these toxins. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect can lead to illness, hormonal imbalance, poor gut health, decreased immune function, mental disturbances, skin issues, fatigue, etc. The list goes on and on.
FOODS THAT AID IN DETOX
It is suggested that certain foods aid in detox:
- Organic foods- less chemicals
- Nutrient dense foods such as fruits and vegetables- rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants
- Fiber rich foods- aid in digestion and elimination
- Water- provides hydration
More research is needed on the benefits of these foods and their role in detox. We know they aid in detox but there are no clinical trials to prove their effectiveness on our long-term health. I highly encourage EVERYONE to consume more plant-based foods on a daily basis. Not only do we know these foods can aid in detox, but they lower our risk of many chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Think about the rainbow and choose different colors for different health benefits. Fill up at least half your plate at lunch and dinner with colorful vegetables and choose 2 servings of fruit per day. Serve vegetables with a healthy dip for a snack or throw spinach, kale and carrots in a smoothie. There are so many ways to incorporate vegetables into your daily routine.
MY 7-DAY DETOX
The detox program I am on consists of plant-based, organic food products (I did finish the 7 days but continue to eat clean and follow a modified detox regimen). I am calling them food products because they have a food label and are safe for children, adults, elderly and even our pets! That says a lot about their safety since EVERYONE can ingest them. The company’s (where the products are from) philosophy is cleanse the body of toxins, balance your hormones and become more alkaline, and build up your cells with good nutrition.
The first two days were a cleanse- I took all of my products throughout the day and was allowed a serving or two of fresh fruit and vegetables and a healthy fat. Bone broth was encouraged daily to help promote fullness (rich in amino acids). I continue to take greens and high quality chia seeds daily and consume a healthy form of Gatorade to make sure I stay hydrated. Guess what?!- I was not sitting on the toilet all day! Yes I peed a lot, but did not spend the day pooping like a lot of cleanses out there. The third day, a shake was introduced. Days four and five, I got to have an actual meal- a healthy, balanced meal. And then the last two days were back to a cleanse.
And no… it was not easy!!! There is a lot of planning and preparation involved. Every evening I spent 30 minutes organizing supplements and foods for my husband and I to make sure we had everything we needed to be successful. The first two days were the most difficult. I didn’t realize how much of my day is spent thinking about food. But I stuck to it and leaned on the support of my family and teammates. I lost about 8 lbs and went down over a pant size. My sugar cravings were gone!!! This is one of the main reasons I did this. I was craving chocolate, ice cream and soda a little too much!
The program is 7 -28 days. I have a lot of you asking me, “what happens after the seven days? How do I keep the weight off?” That is a great questions and I am going to address it here. I followed the detox script to a tee for 7 days. Then I slowly increased my intake of healthy food. I now crave vegetables more that I ever have and drink water all day long! I still have not had coffee in over two weeks because I don’t even desire it. I crave water, lots of it! I have continued to take a lot of the products daily because I believe in the cleanse, balance and build philosophy. I started taking them several months ago and for the fist time in years, can fall asleep without Benadryl and my moods are much more stable. I don’t sleep a lot because of the baby and I still have energy during the day. My workouts have become more intense, I am happy with my weight, and my hormones have become very balanced. Win, win, win!
I have not gained all of the weight back I lost because I am continuing to eat healthy and continue to take the products. I am not eating dessert anymore every night of the week because I don’t want it. Last night we had dessert as a treat- my philosophy is fill up on nutrient dense foods throughout the day, hydrate, exercise, and make the majority of your intake plant-based foods. This gives you room to have a treat here and there. Good nutrition is creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I have reset my body and metabolism and feel pretty darn healthy! I am so happy I did the detox and highly encourage it.
Warning!:). You will gain weight if you go back to your old eating habits after the detox. If you go out to McDonald’s and eat a cheeseburger and fries you aren’t going to feel very good! It is very important to remember that this detox is NOT just a one week program. It is the beginning of a lifestyle change that focuses on cleansing, balancing and building your body up using plant-based nutrition. You should feel energized, focused and healthy when you are done. You will want to nourish your body with healthy foods and hydration. In a few months if you feel like you need another reset, go for it! Thanks for letting me share my experience with you!
Joanne Gibson, RDN, LDN, CLT, CPT