Detoxing is a great way to remove “bad substances” (called toxins) from the diet and is frequently recommended by health experts. However, to keep your detox on a healthy level, let’s take a moment to look at common mistakes to avoid and situations where you should stop a detox plan.
Common Detox Mistakes
- Omitting any solid food: By avoiding solid food, glycogen (carbohydrate storage) levels become depleted and body weight can drop several kilograms/pounds within a few days. However, this weight loss is the drop of glycogen levels NOT fat storage. Strictly liquid cleanses give a false sense of weight (including weight loss) and primes the body for exponential bounce back effects typically seen in yo-yo dieting.
- Omitting all fats or proteins: Lack of these key macro-nutrients leads to severe cravings. Diminished ability to focus and insomnia can result, as well as headaches and a weakened immune system. Caution is recommended, as an individual on little or no fats and protein is prone to illness and injury.
- Omitting any sodium/salt: Although it is recommended to keep salt levels in check, a healthy balanced system still needs sodium. A lack of focus and light-headedness are a few of the consequences from a severe lack of salt in the diet.
- Working out during the first 3 days of a detox: Depending on your lifestyle prior to a cleanse, the first three days can be the most exhausting for the system. This is because the eliminated toxins are “leaving the system” and this can make the body prone to diseases or injuries. Generally the body needs more rest during the first few days the body works to flush toxins.
What Foods to Avoid on a Detox and Why!
- Artificial sweeteners: They alter the taste and enhance cravings for specific foods. It is recommend to avoid them altogether when detoxing or cleansing.
- Deep-fried food, processed food and alcohol: These all contain a high density of toxins. Consuming toxins whilst trying to rid the body of toxins is counterproductive.
- Non-organic raw and unwashed fruits and vegetables: Pesticides on non-organic food are highly toxic, and it is recommend to wash them off thoroughly prior to consumption. It is one of the most common mistakes! In fact, it is better to avoid eating unwashed fruit and vegetables altogether or to remove the skin, if washing them is not an option. To learn more about pesticides, see this comprehensive article.
- Unfiltered tap water: Unfiltered water, especially in Asia, can contain toxins such as excessive lead and other heavy metals resulting in cognitive decline and/or digestive discomfort with the increase in the level of toxins.
- Non-organic milk: Factory-milked cows are generally filled with hormones and antibiotics and is difficult to digest. Detoxing without milk or milk products is easier on the system and can help facilitate toxin removal.
When to Stop a Detox
As the name suggests, a proper detox is eliminating toxins out of the system and organs. However, if many toxins are shifted at once, there will be an increased amount of toxins traveling through the system potentially being released in the form of skin problems, a fury tongue or even a stronger body odour. Small changes and so called “healing crises” side effects are fairly common. Some symptoms or tolerable, however if you feel any of the following symptoms, it is recommend to stop the detox right away:
- Strong nausea and vomiting
- Severe digestive issues (like diarrhoea)
- Severe migraine attacks or strong back pain
- Enhanced anxiety or hallucinations
- Seizures or cardiovascular problems
Consult a professional for advice prior to starting a detox program when:
- Pregnant (if done wrong, it can be very dangerous for the unborn child)
- On strong heart or cardiovascular medication / support (unmonitored detoxing can be life threatening)
- On a high processed food diet (a progressive cleanse is recommended to prevent shock to the body. Including a pre and post cleanse phase will facilitate toxin removal and a more positive experience.)
Detoxing programmes are a great tool to use in eliminating excess toxins and kickstarting a healthier eating regime. With many options, it’s important to evaluate each plan, taking into account lifestyle, current toxicity levels and other factors. If that is done correctly, it is easy and effective, making it more suitable on a regular basis.
To learn more about detoxing and Tanja Guigon-Rech, click here.