A detox diet is thought to rid our body of harmful toxins such as pesticides, antibiotics found in food, and the aftermath of too many cocktails.
According to Cathy Wong, author of The Inside Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Natural Weight Loss, the over-consumption of processed foods, which often contain artificial preservatives and chemical residue from packaging, can lead to muscle pain, a poor digestive track, lackluster skin, and fatigue. But with a liquid diet, you can, hypothetically, rid your body of all those sugars that make you want to crash on the couch underneath a heap of ravaged Krispy Kreme donut crumbs.
Although a detox diet has become a buzz-worthy method in the celebrity world, there isn’t any scientific evidence that proves detox is an ideal, healthy process for weight-loss. However, quite a few physicians have stated that doing a detox can “re-boot” your body to healthier eating.
“Processed foods wreak havoc on the liver,” according to Dr. Michael Roizen, co-author of YOU: The Owner’s Manual with Dr. Mehmet Oz (the Oprah of television doctors and star of The Dr. Oz Show). When the liver is under attack from junk food, our metabolism weakens.
Dr. Oz suggests that a detox can keep our “natural detoxifiers”— the liver, colon, and kidneys—running smoothly.
And according to Dr. Andrew Weil, a leading doctor and best-selling author in the practice of integrative medicine, detox diets “may make you feel good, and give you a chance to think about what you are putting into your body.”
We spoke with Claire Timmerman, a sales associate at Clifton Natural Foods, about two different kinds of cleanses: a milder juice fast and the more intesnse “Master Cleanse.”
Note: If you find yourself wanting to feel “flushed,” it’s best to first speak with your physician before planning a detox.
There’s quite a bit of pre-gaming necessary before you dive into days of consuming just liquids. Common side effects of going into detox-mode are headaches and slight fatigue; these are generally due to caffeine withdrawal. It’s best to slowly wean yourself from the daily (coffee) grind. Instead, replace coffee with caffeine-free tea for at least three days before you embark on your diet.
Then, find a friend willing to say goodbye to solids, too. It always helps to have a diet partner, who is going through the same experience, to keep you motivated.
Last but not least, it’s best to plan your week knowing the location of every nearest restroom...those toxins have to go somewhere.
The Fruit Flush
The “fruit flush,” also known as a regular juice detox, is a mild detox. “I have a juicer so I make fresh juices. The key is to make sure it’s fresh juice because it still has the live enzymes,” says Timmerman.
Enzymes found in raw and fresh foods are thought to help break down food into ideal compounds for absorption into the bloodstream to build critical proteins and populate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria.
It’s best to drink a variety of juices, from apples, grapes, and citrus fruits to vegetables like beets, parsley, and spinach. You can also add herbs such as basil, ginger, spearmint, and fennel, which may function as antioxidants, antivirals, stomach aids, and bloat reducers. And, as with any other cleanse, make sure you drink at least a gallon of purified water per day as well.
The Master Cleanse
If you’re brave enough, kick out toxins with this ultimate cleanse. The goal is to live off only the Master Cleanse— a mix of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, natural maple syrup, and filtered water— for ten days. Cayenne and maple syrup may sound absurd, but the mix is said to taste similar to sweet tea. “Cayenne is a natural digestive suppressant; you won’t get as hungry,” says Timmerman.
Spend two days introducing the lemon mixture into your solid food diet, as suggested by Peter Glickman, author of Lose Weight, Have More Energy & Be Happier in 10 Days: Take Charge of Your Health with the Master Cleanse.
Then for the next ten days, drink a minimum of six to 12 glasses of the mixture per day, along with a laxative. This diet is considered the most “hardcore” of liquid diets, since it has a few side effects. These can include fluctuation in blood pressure, nausea, physical aches, sinus drainage, sweating, and a white coating on the tongue, among others.
You may also endure fatigue. As with any detox, from sugar to cigarettes, the first three days are thought to be the hardest.
Once you’ve successfully vanquished the binds of body toxins, you must ease your stomach back onto solid foods. “I always start with brown rice and steamed vegetables, and other things with fiber,” says Timmerman, “You should also start with yogurt and applesauce. It replaces friendly bacteria to get everything back to normal.”
Following the fast with organic, fiber-filled foods reaffirms the desire to be more health conscious with what you put in your body.