Ok, you have done your research, you have planned ahead, and have chosen the cleanse program that is best for you. Many programs have a “prep” protocol, to prepare your body for a detox. Here are my 10 recommendations for the 1-2 weeks leading up to a cleanse program.
1. More, More and Even More H20
Mindfully increase consumption of clean, filtered water. At least 8 glasses of pure water every day, and more with exercise. For every cup of joe, caffeinated tea, or glass of vino, try to add an extra glass of water a day. Water not only hydrates, it helps flush toxins out of the body, keeps our skin supple and clear, supports digestion, muscle and joint function, energy levels, the benefits of drinking adequate filtered water goes on and on!
Lemon water is a great way to start detoxification processes every morning, stimulating digestion and liver functions. Just 1/2 a lemon squeezed into a full glass of room temp water does the trick.
2. Invest in High Quality Protein
The source of your protein is very important! Protein builds muscle, and maintains and repairs your body’s cells. Try to buy organic, hormone and antibiotic free meats and fish, beans, and legumes, to lower the toxic load on the body. I also recommend a plant based protein powder with no sugar added such as Vega or Sun Warrior for post workouts or meal replacements when needed. Quinoa is also a complete protein, as is the combination of brown rice and black beans, meaning you are getting all essential amino acids! Amino Acids build our tissues!
3. Eat More Healthy Fats
The jig is up! It is widely known now that healthy fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, beans, seeds and nuts, don’t make you fat, they promote weight loss and detoxification. Healthy fats are important for our brain, blood, skin, and vital organs. Essential fatty acids coat our cells, promote cell regeneration, and reduce inflammation.
4. Strive for a Minimum 6 Cups of Vegetables Daily
Veggies can be steamed or raw, doesn't matter, just load up on as many greens as possible, especially the leafy ones! One of the easiest ways to increase vegetable intake is to juice. Juicing is all the rage right now, but be mindful about the ingredients of your juices. Many juices on the market are mostly fruit and many have added sugar. Fruit juice, although natural, is also high in sugar which suppresses the detoxification processes. Try for all veggies and only 1 fruit in juices, and as much organic produce as possible. Refer to the EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 for what foods are most contaminated by pesticides and other toxins.
5. Detox Supplements
If it’s only in your budget to do a whole foods detox program, perfect! If you are able to and want to invest in supplements that boost detoxification processes, here are the ones I recommend:
Primary antioxidants, better known as The ACES, are comprised of Vitamins A, C, and E, Selenium and add Zinc if possible. Vitamins work synergistically, so try to consume balanced amounts.
Glutamine and Glycine
Glutamine is an amino acid that improves gastrointestinal health, builds and repairs the intestine, an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration, promotes muscle growth and decreases muscle atrophy, improves athletic performance and recovery from endurance exercise, improves metabolism and cellular detoxification, curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol, and helps balance blood sugar. Glycine helps decrease toxicity of food preservatives that have been consumed, supports liver detoxification, and clear blood fats and uric acid when at too high of levels.
Liquid chlorophyll, spirulina, algae and chlorella. There are many powder and liquid options. The more greens and B vitamins, the better!
A non-dairy sourced, broad-spectrum probiotic 30-50 billion live units daily to support rebuilding healthy gut flora, and keep the intestines balanced and in-check. Probiotics are friendly bacteria important to support digestive function.
Ground flaxseeds or oat bran help bind and eliminate toxins from the body. Important if you are doing a juice cleanse too, because toxins won't leave the body as effectively if they have nothing to bind to for elimination!
Fish oil in liquid or pill form - essential fatty acids!
6. Clean and Safe Personal Care and Beauty Products
We often think more about what we put IN our bodies, rather than what we put ON our bodies. US researchers have reported that 1 in 8 of the 82 000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. 1 in 8! Our skin is our largest organ, and one of primary sources of detoxing. When you exercise, you sweat out toxins, for instance, so you want your skin to be healthy and nourished, to prevent toxic overload. I endorse and consult for a company based in my home state, California, called Beauty Counter. Contact me to learn more about mindful beauty and the potential health risks of toxins being absorbed through our skin.
7. Get into the Detox Mindset
Mindfully scale back on fast food, convenience food, processed and refined foods for at least a week or two weeks, and scale up on fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. Your body will thank you if you reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake prior to detoxing. It's not fun to experience an overload of detox symptoms, similar to withdrawal symptoms, especially from sugar and caffeine! The more you acclimate to a detox diet, the less shock on your body and elimination pathways, and the more comfortable you will be while detoxing, to live your normal day to day life!
8. Integrate Other Detox Enhancers
There are so many ways to enhance detoxification in addition to food, a major one through sweat! Exercise, sauna, meditation and breathing techniques, stretching and yoga, adequate sleep each night, use of natural cleaning products for your home and body, skin brushing, castor oil packs, colon hydrotherapy, and massage therapy are just a few ways to enhance your detoxification process. Choose one of a few, depending on your budget and lifestyle so that you can select additional detox methods you know you will commit to, without it feeling like a chore.
9. Proper Prep
For at least 1 week before beginning a detox, try to eliminate all of the following:
Artificial Sweeteners and Additives
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Commercial Smoked and Cured Meat
Corn, Soy, and other GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Products
Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils
Soft Drinks and Carbonated Beverages
Nightshade Vegetables – Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms
Food Containing Vinegar
Food Containing Yeast
10. Keep It Simple
Begin integrating some gentle detoxification principles for at least one week before beginning a full protocol, for an easeful transition.
Fiber to support proper (and more comfortable!) elimination. Soluble Fiber binds to excess hormones and toxins for removal (apples, pears, beans, oatmeal, oat bran, nuts and seeds, berries). Insoluble Fiber scrapes the small intestine and colon clean (whole grains such as brown rice, vegetables, nuts and seeds).
Bitters to support flushing the liver (dandelion and mustard greens, arugula, broccoli, spinach, dill, chard, sesame seeds, bitter melon). Tea sources such as dandelion leaf, milk thistle herb, chamomile, peppermint, Jerusalem artichoke are great options.
My biggest piece of advice for success is to avoid binging before and after your detox program, to prevent uncomfortable side effects and symptoms; the shock on the body and mind are not worth it!
Laura is a Southern California girl living in Calgary, Canada as a Yoga Instructor and Holistic Nutritionist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher with 300 Hours of Teacher Training. Her company, BendBalance, is focused on educating and empowering the community to make conscious choices to live an overall healthier, happier, and more balanced life. Nourish. Sweat. Soul.
Check out her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/bendbalance/ ... Website coming soon!