Contributed by Neda Mowzoun
Detoxification is one of the body’s most innate functions to keep it healthy–it is as basic for us as breathing. As we inhale oxygen, we exhale carbon dioxide and toxins from our lungs. To protect us from harmful substances, our bodies naturally detox every day, eliminating wastes through the kidneys, colon, liver, lungs, lymph, and the skin.
Detoxing aids in the removal of harmful toxins, promotes weight loss, and encourages a stronger metabolic rate.
Detoxing is a necessary preventive process to clear the congestion that occurs during digestion. It clears the thick plaque that clings to the walls of the intestine. This mucus prevents nutrients from being absorbed properly. This waste gets deposited in our body because of the unhealthy foods that we eat, such as processed food, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners, resulting in a breeding ground for bacteria which has a negative impact on our overall health.
Detox is not about deprivation. It is about clean eating, eating unprocessed foods, removing foods that could be causing inflammation in the body, and de-stressing.
There are various methods that can be used for detoxing your body. You can take supplements or follow an exercise regimen, but the easiest and most natural way of detoxing your body is by adding foods to your diet that are naturally detoxifying.
The right detox program will strengthen digestion and decrease inflammation.
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This means removing the top trigger foods that are known to cause allergies and inflammation for many. Removing these foods from your diet for 2-3 weeks and then slowly adding them back in will help you learn which ones may be an issue for you. These foods are:
Clean Animal Proteins
Upgrading the quality of the animal proteins you consume can support detoxification in a dramatic way. Choosing organic chicken and turkey, grass-fed meat, bison and lamb and wild fish will help you avoid the harmful effects of antibiotics, hormones and nitrates. Conventional animals and fish are fed wheat, corn and soy which are known to be inflammatory.
Combining nuts and seeds like hemp, chia and flax to create complete proteins for your diet is great—they contain all the essential amino acids and are also easily assimilated. They have a high amount of soluble and insoluble fiber which slows down the conversion of starches into sugar in your body, helping to balance blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds aid in cleansing as their fibrous, gelatinous seed promotes optimal digestion, moving food and waste easily through your system. Try making a chia pudding by mixing 1/3 cup of chia seeds with 1 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I like coconut), dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, stevia). Mix well and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy with berries or fruit of choice.
Lentils, mung and adzuki beans are detox approved legumes since they are easier to digest than other beans. If your energy is being used to digest your food, you cannot feel vibrant and energetic.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Green is the color of health—the darker and greener, the more benefits they provide to your body. Leafy greens are especially important since they are rich in essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants which protect your system from harmful substances. Greens are also rich in alkals, which neutralizes your gut from the excess acid disturbing the digestive system and causing inflammation. It’s important to consume organic when possible to avoid harmful pesticides which also turn into neurotoxins in our bodies. Buy organic when possible.
Use the guide, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) to help know which fruits and vegetables are important to buy organic. Also, adding in the fresh herbs, cilantro and parsley, aid in detoxing metals from the body.
Try an easy and delicious detox pesto by blending 2 cups of fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint), the juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, 1-2 garlic cloves and ½ cup pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium and zinc and have anti-microbial properties.
As we now know, consuming fats does not make you fat but focus on monounsaturated fats for their benefits. These fats include coconut, coconut oil, olives, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.
For detoxification, eating coconut oil is a source of medium chain fatty acids that are antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal that help keeps the gut healthy by restoring the acidity level of the stomach.
24 Hour Mini Detox
The goal every morning is to hydrate and eliminate.
Morning Elixir: Room temperature water with the juice from ½ lemon or lime and 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar.
Smoothies are a great way to drink a well-balanced meal- Think PCF (proteins, carbohydrates and fats).
Good options of proteins are adding 2-3 tablespoons of chia seed, ground flax seed, hemp seeds or plant based protein powders.
Carbohydrates are your fruits and vegetables. Always choose low glycemic fruits to keep the sugar under control. Berries are a great option. Add 2 handfuls of greens (sugar and kale).
Fats can be obtained from your non-dairy milk (unsweetened coconut or almond milk) or from seeds.
Try a cleansing smoothie with 2 cups of kale leaves, a handful of parsley, ½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple, ¼ avocado, dash of cinnamon and 1 ½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk.
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- A green apple, berries or grapefruit
- Veggie sticks with hummus or guacamole
Citrus Beet Salad
Steamed or roasted beets, segmented grapefruit, mixed greens, fresh parsley or cilantro, red onion, cucumber, fresh lemon and olive oil, sea salt, pepper.
Add in desired clean animal protein (organic chicken, wild fish or hormone/nitrate free deli meat) or plant protein (sprouts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds).
Instead of coffee for the afternoon crash (You will be amazed how this elixir will energize you!)
Mix 1 cup room temperature water with 2 tablespoons cranberry concentrate, the juice of 1 lemon, a dash of cinnamon and sea salt.
In addition to cleansing the kidneys, the cinnamon helps balance blood sugar and the sea salt provides minerals and electrolytes.
Tahini is sesame paste and is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron. It’s a good source of methionine, which aids in liver detoxification. It’s also a good source of calcium and high in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.
Try making a dressing with ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
Add the dressing to roasted chicken breast and raw or steamed vegetables.
Herbal teas like dandelion (root and leaf), nettles, and tulsi
Golden Milk Recipe
Mix ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger (or ½ teaspoon powder) and mash to create a paste. Add paste to 1 cup of coconut milk and warm gently.
Get creative and make your own menu using this protocol for 6-7 days for maximum results.