Despite popular opinion and overkill in health & fitness magazines, a detox diet is not what you have been told. Here are a few truths about Detox diets that will help separate fact from fiction and tips you can use right away to get healthy, energize your body and lose weight, followed by a big list of foods that support the body’s detoxification process…and one food that is not good for detox diets!
Click HERE to read part 2 ‘How to Detox’ …
Detoxification is a rather complicated process involving two phases, multiple reactions and lots of work by the liver. On any given day, on a regular basis, the body breaks down toxins, renders them safe and then excretes them out of the body. There are specific nutrients & foods that inhibit or enhance our detoxification system.
A true detox program is medically supervised protocols done under the guidance of an expert Naturopath, Osteopath, Chiropractor, Chek practitioner or a progressive physician who practices functional medicine (truly preventative and corrective, as opposed to conventional medicine which focuses on managing symptoms, often ignoring the underlying problem).
So when people talk about detoxing – esp. doing the Master Cleanse or the Blueprint Juice fast, they most often have no idea what they are talking about, but also are shooting themselves in the foot.
Here are two quick reasons you need to know:
Many important nutrients in veggies are fat soluble, meaning they can ONLY be absorbed with fat. Mineral (zinc) deficiency inhibits detoxification. So low fat vegan diets & juice fasts miss the mark.
Please memorize this: Juice comes from fruits & veggies. Fruits & veggies are carbs. All carbs are sugar.
Juice fasting is truthfully a sugar feast, not a fast. With no fat to help absorb the nutrients, you are getting a sugar bomb, which stresses the liver, creates insulin volatility and does not improve health. Yes, vegetables have important flavonoids, carotenoids, lycopenes and phytonutrients, but to ignore the macro content of these foods (carb, pro, fat), although popular, is neither wise nor healthy.
Foods that support Detoxification:
Cruciferous (brassica) veggies:
Arugula, watercress, cabbage, Napa cabbage, daikon, wasabi, turnip, rutabaga, broccoli rabe, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale
Cruciferous veggies, not part of our Paleolithic history, first saw widespread use about 7,000 years ago in China before spreading to Europe in the Middle Ages. They are known for medicinal properties and today we know that they have many benefits to human health. But that is not the whole story…
Some brassicas contain more calcium per calorie than milk. The bioavailability of calcium from these vegetables is a little better than that of pasteurized milk and over ten times better than that from spinach. Some of these foods are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K1, beta-carotene and other nutrients.
However, cruciferous vegetables also contain substances known as goitrogens that inhibit thyroid function. If you suspect, or know you have thyroid issues, or have not been able to lose weight despite diet & exercise, I suggest you see an expert and be careful about eating these foods. Most doctors know very little about thyroid health, and the most common thyroid tests are not good enough, so seek out an expert and get your thyroid tested.
If you use crucifers regularly, it may be wise to boil them rather than steaming, especially if you suspect thyroid problems. So much for ‘raw food vegan’ diets being healthy for all people.
Foods that contain B vitamins
Vitamin B12 – Shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels), liver, beef, trout, wild salmon, grass fed beef, yogurt milk, pork, egg, chicken breast.
Vitamin B5, found in organ meats, egg yolks and whole grains. If you want to eat grains, I only suggest gluten free grains that have been soaked, sprouted or fermented. Although I don’t eat them and I’m not a fan, I do suggest buckwheat, quinoa or millet as good options for some, not all, people.
Vitamin B6 is found mostly in animal products, tuna (yellowfin), chicken breast, liver, turkey breast, cod, salmon, snapper, beef, halibut contributes to the proper functioning of over one hundred enzymes and critical for Detox. Pastured, grass fed animals and wild fish are the cleanest source of animal foods.
Foods containing sulfur
Wild fish, grass fed meat, raw eggs, onions, garlic, turnips, radishes, celery, kale, string beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, turnips, sweet potatoes, nuts & seeds kale, lettuce, kelp, seaweed, raspberries, raw eggs, garlic, onions
Foods that contain (or support production of) Glutathione
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. The highest concentration of glutathione is found in the liver, making it critically important in the detoxification and elimination of free radicals. It can be found or synthesize from compounds in certain foods (including sulfur foods above) as well as watermelon, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, and tomato, dark green leafy vegetables, asparagus, potato, acorn squash, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, and spinach.
Asparagus, avocado, and walnuts are particularly rich dietary sources of glutathione.
Cysteine is involved in the production of glutathione, it is found in most high-protein foods including raw dairy, pork, sausage meat, chicken, turkey, duck.
Milk Thistle (Oregon’s Wild Harvest is my favorite brand) is a plant that is native to Mediterranean region and is part of the daisy family. The seeds (silymarin) have been used medicinally for 2000 years to treat liver disease and protect the lover from toxins. I have personally used millk thistle with great results in my own health. I have also used it with clients recovering from drug abuse or body builders who ate too many processed protein powders and synthetic supplements.
Translated as ‘lion’s tooth’ in French, dandelion greens are wonderful in salads, sauteed or steamed. They taste like chicory and endive, and are a little bitter. The addition of a little lemon-juice and pepper adds a nice flavor. The leaves should always be torn to pieces, rather than cut, to maintain the flavor.
They’re higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is better than spinach. You also get B vitamins, C, E, D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
It’s been used medicinally for centuries to support the liver and gallbladder. Dandelion are also an important source for pollen and nectar for bees.
Foods high in Antioxidants
Foods high antioxidants also support your body’s natural detoxification system, and also protect your body from damage.
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and is a standardized method for measuring antioxidant activity of food – the higher the ORAC score, the gretaer the potential for protective ability of the food.
Fruits – ORAC Score
Acai – 18,500
Prunes – 5,770
Pomegranates – 3,307
Raisins/Dark Grapes – 2,830
Blueberries – 2,400
Blackberries – 2,036
Cranberries – 1,750
Strawberries – 1,540
Noni – 1,506
Raspberries – 1,220
Plums – 949
Oranges – 750
Red Grapes – 739
Cherries – 670
Kiwi Fruit – 610
Grapefruit, pink – 483
Grapes, White – 460
Banana – 210
Apple – 207
Apricot – 175
Peach – 170
Pear – 110
Watermelon – 100
Honeydew Melon – 97
Vegetables – ORAC Score
Kale – 1770
Spinach – 1260
Brussels sprouts – 980
Alfalfa sprouts – 930
Broccoli flowers – 890
Beets – 840
Red bell pepper – 710
Onion – 450
Corn – 400
Eggplant – 390
Foods that DO NOT support Detoxification
Grapefruit and its juice inhibit detoxification, so if you want to Detox , I suggest avoid grapefruit for a certain period of time while taking action to clean up your diet. Protein types need to be very careful with citrus fruits anyway.
If there is one lesson you can take away form this post, its: don’t follow trends. America is plagued – not only by media induced mass hysteria, but by the inability to think for oneself.
Other critical points to consider are raw food vegan diet is not healthy for most people, nor will it save the world as many people falsely believe. Popular Detox, cleansing & fasting programs are not detoxifying at all, in fact, many of them are unhealthy and enthusiastically promoted by people who are buzzed from a sugar high and know little about nutrition or natural health.
21 Day Detox
If you want to see radical improvements in your health, energy and lose weight, here is a 21 Day Detox program for you. Its not so much a program as it is some simple guidelines:
Commit to 21 days of Detox and eating clean. Start today and don’t stop until you look and feel better than you do right now.
Eat the food above, avoid grapefruit and get some milk thistle.
Switch to natural, organic soap, deodorant, toothpaste (sans fluoride) and get green household cleaning products.
Once you get healthy and have a regular diet & lifestyle that supports health & wellness, then your body will better tolerate intermittent fasting. Learn mind-body exercise as well as strength training and spend as much time in nature as possible.
Make sure what you read, hear, watch or hang out with inspires & supports your personal, professional or spiritual development…and have some fun. Personally, I DO NOT encourage watching the news, especially local news programs. I think ‘reality shows’ which are NOT reality at all, are degrading and insulting to any intelligent person – I find these popular shows toxic. I have friends though that get a kick out of Jersey Shore – so figure out what works for you. I do watch The Office and documentaries often. PAY ATTENTION to what goes into your brain – make sure its healthy and not toxic.
Whatever you do, make sure it is truly serving you and not wasting time.
What to Avoid
Processed grains and flour products: pasta, crackers, breads, cereals, energy bars Vegetable oils: bottled salad dressings and sauces (any other food that come s from a package, can or box)
Crap drinks: Gatorade, vitamin water, anything from Starbucks, sugary drinks (alcohol, juice, soda)
Pasteurized dairy including milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt
Commercially-raised meats, fish, poultry, eggs
Conventionally-grown (non organic) produce (fruits and vegetables)
Commercially produced, chemical based cosmetics, skin care products
I have said this many times, if you cant afford all organic and grass fed foods, at least get your animals fats & protein grass fed. That should be your priority.
Coffee – If you are addicted to coffee, which most people are, your best bet is to switch to a healthier version of low acid, shade grown, fair trade, organic coffee. Don’t have it on an empty stomach, have it with food instead. Gradually reduce the amount you consume before your addiction consumes you and your end up burned out and unable to lose weight.
Follow these ideas for 21 days and please let me know what kind of awesome results you get.
When your juice fasting friends start crashing and getting cranky, be kind to them, get them some fat and send them the link for this article.