By Rachel Fiske
Undergoing a detox diet or cleanse has become hugely trendy these days, and there is certainly nothing inherently wrong with wanting to support our body through cleansing. However, it is hugely important that we take this on in the smartest and healthiest way possible. If not, we can actually do far more harm than good.
The fact of the matter is, before we decide to do anything drastic (fasting, for example), we first must focus our energies on a detoxifying, low-carb diet plan. Fasting in the right way does have its time and place, but it should be under the supervision/guidance of a professional, and done in a very specific manner. However, beginning with a cleansing diet that is low in carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) is absolutely essential, and highly effective in supporting our bodies’ detoxification pathways, prevention and treatment of disease, or just simply boosting overall health. Weight loss is usually a nice side effect, too.
Will juice fasts or extreme detox programs work?, You usually will lose weight, because most of them severely restrict calories, which leads to rapid weight loss (but generally also results in rapid weight gain post-cleanse). You also risk slowing your metabolism in the long term. Also, if given the right nutrients from whole foods and through the elimination of processed and packaged foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, your body is designed to effectively detoxify itself via the liver and kidneys. A gentle food based cleanse that includes healthy protein, good fats, plenty of vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit is best.
Here are some reasons you might consider a whole-foods based cleanse:
Check out the most important components of a detox diet:
Step #1: Breaking Sugar Addiction
Are you familiar with frequent energy dips and spikes throughout the day? Do you experience that all-too-familiar mid afternoon slump where you really need a pick-me-up? This is blood sugar dysregulation, meaning your blood sugar levels are out of balance. When a sweet sensation is introduced, this produces an insulin response in the body. Insulin is known as the “fat storage hormone,” because one of its primary roles is escorting nutrients into your cells. When we over-produce insulin, our body goes into storage-mode, and this can lead to weight gain or weight loss resistance.
The goal of a good detox diet should be to maintain healthy and stable blood sugar levels. This means breaking the cycle of eating a high carbohydrate (particularly simple carbohydrate) or sugar-based meal or snack that energizes you for a short time, and then leads to a sudden energy dip. Eating for blood sugar regulation should keep us satiated and ward off that feeling of being ravenous enough to reach for just about anything.
ALWAYS REMEMBER ABOUT SUGAR:
OK TO USE IN MODERATION:
This is always a confusing topic, but good quality fats are hugely important in our daily diet, including during a cleanse or detox program.
What are good vs bad fats?
Bad fats are often hydrogenated (trans fats) or rancid oils
Trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids that have been chemically hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in order for the final product to have a longer shelf life. The problem is, our bodies don’t recognize these compounds and cannot properly digest and assimilate them. When eaten, these compounds permeate our cell walls causing malfunction and have been linked to many degenerative diseases rampant in western society.
Other “bad” fats include a lot of commercial vegetable oils such as canola, soy, corn and grapeseed. Unfortunately, these oils are often rancid (oxidized) before even hitting the shelves, and can lead to imbalances in omega3: omega 6 fatty acids, which causes inflammation.
Good fats are not only good, but necessary
Good fats work protect our organs and cells, regulate body temperature, provide satiety, carries fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, and are the most concentrated sources of energy. We need them to survive and thrive. If we are not getting enough, we are missing vital nutrients, not to mention are likely over-eating carbohydrates and experiencing intense carb and sugar cravings.
Fats to include
Saturated (okay to cook with on high heat)
Yes and no food list for your food based detox:
Meat, Seafood & Eggs (including but not limited to):
Vegetables (including but not limited to):
Beets (limited amounts)
Peppers (bell and hot)
Fats and Oils:
Olive Oil (cold pressed)
Nuts/Seeds and Butters:
Fruits of all kind, but in moderation (no more than 2 pieces per day, especially if following a low carb diet)
**many people will choose to omit grains and legumes, and they can be quite inflammatory. Your cleanse will be even more effective without these foods, but if you do decide to include them, stick to the following options.
**If weight loss is your goal, you might want to consider omitting dairy.
Raw or organic whole milk
Cottage Cheese (whole fat)
Yogurt (plain, whole fat)
Water (preferably clean/filtered)
Chips (potato, corn, any!)
Any “diet” or “sugar free” packaged food.
ALL processed soy should be avoided
Pre-made coffee “drinks” (shakes, frappuccinos, etc)
Fruit juice of any kind
Non-fat, low-fat milk, non-organic whole milk
Energy drinks, sports drinks, etc.
Committing to this detox plan for a 4-8 week period can give your body the tools it needs to restore energy and feel good again. Weight loss is quite common, but the main goal is resetting your diet in order to make long term change.
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.