You know that spring is in the air when you hear people buzzing about “detoxing”!
I’ve written about it in the past here but because it won’t seem to go away I want to bring up the topic once more. So you want to detox? The concept sounds so nice, doesn’t it.
I am obviously all for eating healthy and for fresh starts but please ask yourself what exactly you are hoping to detox from. Unless you are an alcoholic or have a drug issue, I am assuming you are hoping to detox from a winter (or most likely longer) of eating things like white sugar, white flour, fatty meats and dairy, oils, artificial sweeteners, chemical preservatives and colorings, maybe even some trans fats. Am I close?
I agree, all that stuff sounds pretty bad. But toxic? And even if you did want to omit all of that, for say a week or two, then what? What happens one day when you go out to eat for lunch and have some white flour in your wrap? Or maybe a few pieces of chocolate? Did you suddenly, in that moment of reckless abandon, re-toxify yourself? Were you ever really detoxed anyway? Do you need to begin another detox diet to clear out your system? And how long do you go on it for before you are completely free of toxins? And what exactly do you eat to detoxify? What foods are off-limits and what can you have? Even if you only ate fruits and vegetables– what about pesticide residues? And what happens when your detox is over and you want to go back to Taco Bell? It’s beginning to sound like every other diet out there– which we all know don’t work.
Detox is one of those buzzwords that make dietitians want to scream. I want you to understand that there is nothing to detox yourself from, there are only eating habits to change and improve. Stop thinking in terms of going on or off various diets and/or detoxes. Shift your thinking to simply EATING A VARIETY OF HEALTHY FOODS IN MODERATION.
Can you see how silly the idea of a “detox” diet plan sounds? It’s really no different than making healthy food choices, which is something we want to get in the habit of doing on a regular basis anyway, not as a temporary way of eating. But… if you want to start eating better and calling it a “detox” helps, then by all means go ahead!
The truth is, there ARE going to be times we overeat and there WILL be meals consisting of foods containing minimal nutritional value. No detox diet is going to change this. Accept that this is the way eating goes and all you can do is keep striving to do the best you can do. It’s OK.
From my original post on the topic:
You want to really “detox”? It has to be a way of life, not some special eating plan you follow for a period of time and then go off. Eat a wholesome plant-based diet and check out the following tips from my article “The Truth About Detox and Cleanse Diets”:
Here are some basic guidelines for helping you to stay healthy:
• Avoid processed foods with artificial additives, preservatives, colorings and sweeteners
• Avoid refined grains, sugars and oils
• Eat plenty of foods found in their wholesome, natural state: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains
• Buy organic when possible
• Choose natural versions of body care and beauty products
• Only use non-toxic household cleaners
Go out and run! Breathe and sweat it out. It’s probably one of the best things you can do for busting stress– do you ever consider all the toxins that being stressed-out produces!? For all we know, it could be more damaging than any food we are eating.
The allure of a “detox” arises from feelings that you are not good enough the way you are (when you really are!) If you aren’t happy with how you have been eating, come up with a realistic plan of action involving mini changes that you can start at your next meal. Maybe resolve to eat a little lighter of a lunch today or enjoy some herbal tea after dinner in place of dessert. Take it one meal at a time. Be grateful for every day you wake up blessed with the opportunity to treat your body, mind and soul well. Be kind to yourself, others and the earth. Stay present in everything you do. Observe each moment as it happens. Don’t let thought of the past (“I can’t believe I pigged out on pizza”) or worries of the future (“What if I haven’t lost 50lbs by May?”) fill your mind. Stay positive and focus on making healthy choices right now.