We all want to improve an area of our lives. Many of us do this by losing weight, eating healthier or even just be more mindful of our environment. All of these aspirations are achievable long term by using a detox diet to help make the transition to optimal health successful. Here are some important things to consider when choosing a plan.
We have created many modern conveniences, from a technology industry that bring us computers and cell phones to an agricultural industry that can feed all Americans with food to spare. We live in a world that our grandparents would not easily recognize.
With all of our innovations, we’ve also created man-made chemicals and toxins to facilitate industry productivity. From chemicals, heavy metals and plastics to make our technology faster and lighter to pesticides and insecticides to increase crop yields.
In fact, the EPA reports that over 70,000 chemicals are actively produced in North America and 10,000 of these are used in food packaging, wrapping and storage. There is no place on Earth where man-made chemicals and toxins are not detectable. And just like leaves can collect in a rain gutter, toxins can accumulate in us.
These toxins get stored in fat cells and in fluid in our tissue. They cause inflammation, slow metabolism and cause cells to malfunction. Symptoms of toxicity include fatigue, memory changes, achy muscles and joints and weight gain. If the accumulation of toxins exceeds a threshold, diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even cancer can develop.
These conditions can be avoided and often times reversed with knowledge of how to make healthier choices. I hope you find the following strategies helpful in making healthier choices.
Detox Options – The Good and The Bad:
We always hear how celebrities have detoxed themselves skinny. From the Master Cleanse to vegetable juice cleanses and even to complete water fasts, people are losing weight fast on these diets. In general, detox strategies fall into two main categories, Juice fasts and Detox Diets.
Juice fasts ask you to drink water, water with lemon juice, vegetable or fruit juice and maybe snack on a salad or veggies. Across the board, these diets shun protein and fat, two essential nutrients for maintaining muscle mass and the health of our nervous system.
The Good part of these plans is that people see results fast. Some report they are able to lose as much as 10-lbs. in 10-days. Given our fast paced life, these diets are very enticing and if done for a short period of time (in my opinion, not longer than 10 days) then they can be done relatively safely for a short-term goal.
The Bad part of these diets is that the weight lost is almost entirely water weight and muscle mass. This means that once real food is reintroduced, you’ll regain a great deal of the lost weight and often times end up becoming heavier than when you started. Other problems with these diets include: it is difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine on the diet due to more easy fatigability; it is difficult to maintain a normal social life with your friends or dining; they do not teach people how to develop a healthier way of life.
Detox Diets focus on incorporating a mixture of detox shakes with whole foods. As detailed in my book, Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind and on my website, you may choose a vegetable protein-based shake, free range, grass fed or wild caught animal protein sources with organic fruits and vegetables. Healthy fats in the form of olive oil and coconut oil are also recommended to ensure a well balanced meal plan.
The Good part of these plans is that they are much easier to do while maintaining a normal social life. Many restaurants serve healthy meal options on their menu, it’s just up to you to make the right choice. Also, detox diets can help you to develop long-term clean, healthy lifestyle habits, which hopefully will translate into longevity.
The Bad part of detox diets is that weight loss tends to be slower. It may take about 30-days to lose 10 pounds. Also, plans differ widely on the types of foods they allow so if you are following a plan and not successfully losing weight, you may be following the wrong one for you. Foods like dairy, whey, soy and casein protein are in many programs that I have seen ruin peoples’ success.
The Bottom Line:
Every day is a fresh start and an ideal time to focus on improving your health through diet modification and detoxification. Please choose a program that is right for you and the type of outcome you are hoping to achieve. If you are looking for a long-term solution, consider a Detox Diet that has a program to follow after the detox diet is completed.
Jeffrey A. Morrison, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The Morrison Center and The Daily Benefit® Program, an award-winning author of Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind, and a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine. Visit, www.morrisonhealth.com to follow him on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and watch his videos on YouTube.