Why A detox?
There is no wonder why detoxes are popular; the toxins from pollution, heavy processed foods and chemicals are everywhere in our lives. Usually, our liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and digestive system do the flushing process, but only up to a point and too many toxins make it hard for the body to eliminate. If like many people during the holidays you ate more heavy foods and alcohol, you might feel like you need to put your counter back to zero. A detox makes your body focus on assimilating the nutrients it needs and healing, and helps to feel more energized, have a better skin and mental clarity.
Detox doesn't mean deprivation
You want to eat natural foods with fibers and water that are easy to digest to cleanse your organism and rest your digestive system. So obviously no refined sugars and greasy foods but it doesn't mean you have to eat small. You should eat until you're not feeling hungry anymore, but slowly and take your time to chew. It has to stay a relaxing moment and not a negative experience. Some people like to do a juice cleanse but others might feel pretty tired afterward which can be counterproductive.
The 7 day detox plan
This classic detox focuses on only fresh fruits and vegetables the 3 first days and then reintroduces slowly all food types not to stress your organism, and continue detoxing slowly. If the original plan seems too harsh for you or if you are not on vacations and need more energy, you can also simply chose to only eat like the 5, 6 and 7 days for a week: fruits and veggies but also grains, legumes and a healthy source of fat, cooked healthily. Please note that I am not a doctor and that I choose to follow a plant-based diet, so feel free to adapt the plan depending on your needs and medical conditions. After that week, go back to a "normal" way of eating, but the best is to keep up with as many unprocessed foods as possible and include foods high in fibers, which are good to fight heart diseases and increase your general health.
Start every day with the famous glass of warm water and lemon juice as it helps to boost the immune system and cleanse the liver. And try to drink around 2-3L of water and herbal tea a day (maybe more if you exercise a lot) because liquids are an important part of the flushing process. Also add as many herbs, sprouts, and spices (such as coriander, mint, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, ...) as you want to adjust to your taste. Of course, choosing organic products is important as pesticides are toxins.
- Day 1&2:
Eat only fresh fruits in abundance. You can also make smoothies and include leafy greens, as long as you don't add nuts or milk. Fruits are full of fibers and vitamins and very easy to digest. If you want to only drink fresh juices the first day, remember to include more vegetables than fruits to your juices to keep a stable blood sugar level, since you remove the fibers (that help digest slower) when you juice.
- Day 3:
Eat fresh fruits in the morning and make raw salads with vegetables and leafy greens for lunch and dinner. If raw vegetables are harder to digest for you, then go ahead and steam, boil or grill them in the oven without adding unhealthy fats. Eating raw helps to keep all the vitamins intact, but listen to your body and do what is the most comfortable for you.
- Day 4:
Follow the same plan for the morning and lunch, but add cooked vegetables and a portion of cooked grains to your dinner. You can choose quinoa, steel cut oatmeal or brown rice. Grains are a great source of carbohydrates and help to feel full without being too heavy on the stomach.
- Day 5:
This time you want to introduce a healthy source of proteins to your dinner, such as beans, chickpeas or lentils. Full of iron, fibers and antioxidants, beans help you feel full longer while nourishing your body.
- Day 6&7:
The last two days you still want to eat really clean but add also healthy fats to your diet: avocado, seeds, and nuts (raw and unsalted !). They are important for the skin, brain and heart function as well as the immune system. Note that for some people, mixing fruits and fats makes it hard to digest as these two types of food digest at a different speed. The best would be to eat your fresh fruits always before the fats. You should also add fermented foods to your diet or take probiotics as it's essential for a good digestive health.