Detox_200x200Around this time of year as the holidays come to an end and we prepare for a fresh start to a New Year, we start to hear a lot about detoxing. The practice of detoxing has been performed for centuries in hopes to improve overall health and to help clear the mind, a common goal for the New Year.  Detoxing can be a wonderful way to rid unhealthy toxins, but just as we are all different from our heads to our Yogi toes, not every detox program is right for everyone.  If you are generally healthy, it might not be necessary to go on a 30 day cleanse or if you generally eat processed foods- going on an all juicing detox may not be the right fit.  In the following article, we will explore reasons to detox and methods that could work for you.

Why Detox?

The good news is that our bodies are naturally equipped with a self-cleansing process.  If you are generally healthy, the kidney, liver and colon work hard at making sure to flush or filter unwanted toxins.  However, for these 3 organs to work efficiently, they need the right kind of nutrients. Add on excess caffeine, sugar, processed foods, stress, chemical laden cosmetics, and often times, too little exercise … and the natural detoxification process slows down.
The result is that when there is overflow, toxins get stored in the liver, lungs, kidneys, fat cells, intestines, bloodstream, and skin. This overflow can lead to chronic illnesses the following symptoms; feeling sluggish, memory loss, allergies, infections, anxiety, depression, difficulty gaining or losing weight, muscle and joint pain, weakness, rashes, indigestion, etc.
To maintain optimum wellness, it is essential that you cleanse and eliminate toxins.

Methods of Detoxing

So we know why we should detox, let’s explore some methods.

Detoxing through Foods

If you are new to detoxing and eating whole foods, a good way to start flushing your system of is to add natural detoxing foods that can easily be added to any diet.  This does not require any special machine such as a blender or juicer or restrict you to staying home.  It just takes being conscience of eating more greens and grains in each meal and less sugar, caffeine and/or alcohol.  Chances are that when you eat more whole foods, you will eat less of those foods that cause toxins, buildup and disease.
One of my favorite detoxing foods is a wonderful plant based protein, Quinoa. It is a complete protein (it contains all essential amino acids) and is rich in magnesium.  One cup of cooked quinoa provides 5 grams fiber and 8 grams protein, plus significant folate, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin E. See a recipe below, but feel free to explore and have fun with these new foods.
For this type of detox and for generally living well, add these foods to your diet:

  • Aloe Vera (great to add to smoothies)
  • Asparagus (roast, eat raw or lightly steam)
  • Beets (wonderful roasted  and added to salads)
  • Blueberries (eat raw or add to your smoothies)
  • Cabbage (add to any baked dish)
  • Carrots (eat raw or lightly steam)
  • Celery (add peanut butter and you have a perfect snack)
  • Cucumbers (juice, blend, add to salads, eat raw- ideas are endless)
  • Daikon Radish (grate and add to your salads)
  • Greens (lightly steam, enjoy as a salad)
  • Mushrooms (sauté or add to pasta, rice, etc)
  • Seaweed (add to your salad or eat on their own)
  • Watercress (add to your smoothie or salad)
  • Barley (makes a nice breakfast cereal)
  • Brown Rice (add steam veggies for a perfect stir fry)
  • Oats (makes granola and wholesome steamed oatmeal)
  • Quinoa (so many possibilities- but I like to add my favorite veggies, olive oil, dried fruits and feta or goat cheese, recipe below)

Also enjoy a nice cup of detoxing tea- here are some favorites- Ginger, Dandelion, Chrysanthemum Flower, Milk Thistle, Hawthorn Berry and Tumeric. Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals make excellent teas.

A Juicing Detox

Juicing can be a good method for those used to consuming whole foods, while looking to intensify the detox.  Juicing can be a wonderful way to get all the vitamins and minerals into the blood stream quickly and also give the digestive system a well-deserved rest. However, if you are not used to juicing, you may want to try one a day for seven days (such as for breakfast) before you try a 24 hour juice cleanse (I generally do not recommend one for longer than 24 hours, if you choose to go longer, I would consult with your physician prior to starting). Juicing can be as much physical as well as emotional. When you stop eating habitual foods, you start to notice how emotional connected we can be to foods and especially to “snacking.”
But if you want to commit and push past the cravings and try a juice detox, you will need a juicer and depending on which juicer you choose, you may be want to be home bound during the duration.  Juicers can range anywhere from $50 to $500 and in the following types; centrifugal juicer, a masticating juicer, or a triturating (twin gear) juicer. Generally, the less expensive ones will start to oxidize quicker and have to be consumed right away. The more expensive one can be stored for up to 24 hours, but take up more counter space. So do your research and find the one that is best for you- I went somewhere in the middle.

A Blend of all juicing, whole foods and supplements

There are many detoxing systems on the market today, but we found one in particular called Zrii that uses a blend of whole foods, smoothies and Ayurvedic supplements.  With Zrii, you take one pill, fiber powder, flax oil and a smoothie each morning, followed by eating whole foods all day and ending with the fiber, oil and pill before bed. The detox lasts seven days and with the right preparation, you can continue on your week as you normally do.  This system is good of someone looking to combine a little of each detox method, but reap the benefits of feeling lighter both in the body and mind.

The Conclusion and Caution

Find the right detox is a lot like finding the right pair shoes, it has to fit and be one you are comfortable with. I recommend starting slow and integrating more whole foods in your diet, followed by salads, smoothies, juices and then trying a more intense system of flushing. In the end, the goal is to feel healthier, so take your time and listen to your body. Your mind can be a challenge in overcoming habitual eating, but in this process, you may find the reason you tend to eat those not so good foods and start creating some good new habits.
A word of caution, detoxing can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and/or fatigue. To be on the safe side, make sure to consult with your physician before you start any type of detox.
No matter which detox you choose or when you get started, make sure to drink plenty of water (add lemon or apple cider vinegar to increase the benefits) and get moving, whether it be walking, running, yoga, tai chi, biking, etc to aid in the daily removal of toxins.  Here is to becoming a better you (although you are already pretty wonderful) from the inside out and here is to accomplishing all of your New Years goals-make it a great year.
For more information on detoxing, click here for details on our upcoming detox workshop.

Detoxing Recipes:

Blue Fields

  • 3/4 cup of Vanilla or unsweetened Almond milk (Organic Cows Milk, Hemp Milk or Coconut Milk)
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 1.5 cups Ice

Add all the ingredients to the blender and enjoy!

Keep it cool

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 green apple
  • 1” piece of ginger
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ lime

Simply add all to your Juicer and enjoy!

Winter Quinoa Salad

  • 1 3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 butternut squash and/or parsnips diced (with skin removed)
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of cranberries
  • ½ cup or toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese or feta (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pan with Pam and bake the diced butternut squash for 30 minutes or until soft. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Add 2 cups water to a pan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender (You will see white circles when finished). Remove from heat, set aside, and cool slightly. Combine the olive oil, quinoa, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, parsley, lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!