Some ‘detox’ programmes are little more than fad diets or fasts misleading you into thinking you will lose weight through a ‘system spring-clean’.
Your body has a natural in-built detox system (made up of the digestive tract, the urinary system and the liver) that helps to process all the chemicals modern life throws at you. Ideally you should be eating a healthy balanced diet most of the time so an actual ‘detox’ would not be necessary or beneficial.
Eliminating lots of different foods all at once is a pretty drastic change, so any ‘detox’ has to be done carefully in order to be safe. By cutting out whole food groups, consuming just liquids or simply fasting will force your body into “starvation mode”. Your metabolism will slow down and once you go off the ‘detox’ and back to eating again, you end up gaining weight!
A ‘detox’ type approach may have benefits if it gets you thinking about how eating habits affect your health and wellbeing. It should encourage you to make a special effort to change your eating habits and to cut down on fatty, salty and sugary foods and to eat more fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and fish. It should also inspire you to drink more water and to cut back on caffeine and alcohol. And it could give you a ‘I’m taking charge of my health’ buzz, which boosts self-esteem, confidence and motivation to follow a healthy lifestyle.
There are vegetables that are known to enhance the detoxification process so including these may be beneficial:
Cruciferous vegetables: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, watercress.
Allium vegetables : chives, garlic, leeks, onions, spring onions, green onions, shallots.
Diuretic foods: cucumber, celery, cranberries, watermelon, parsley, fennel, celery, green beans, asparagus.
A healthy food list guide to plan healthy meals if you plan to do a ‘detox’:
STEP ONE: Two fistfuls of fruit, salad and/or vegetables (all – include a cruciferous, allium and diuretic vegetables as much as possible)
STEP TWO: One fistful of low GI, higher fibre carbohydrate (legumes, beans, lentils, barley, sweet potato, oats, sweet corn, wheat free bread)
STEP THREE: One small portion of a healthy fat (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, cold pressed oils).
Drink enough water and/or herbal teas.
A ‘detox’ should not be a quick fix to weight loss but rather a little kickstart in the right direction to get back on track after over indulging or before starting a healthier eating plan. Be realistic with your weight loss goals and aim for safe and healthy weight loss of 0.5 kg to 1 kg per week.
If you suffer from any illnesses, are pregnant, or have problems such as heart disease, diabetes, low blood sugar and kidney problems please consult your doctor or dietitian before doing any ‘detox’ plan.