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3 Simple Steps to Detoxify Your Diet
Do You Need to Come Clean?
Do you feel out of sorts, sluggish or listless? Is your body slow to respond to diet or exercise? If so, it’s time to come clean! I’ll show you how to detoxify your diet in 3 simple steps.
Maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that something you are eating is contributing to your poor health. Or, heaven forbid, you’ve been given a scary diagnosis that is or could be made worse by your eating habits. If you’ve said, “It’s time to get rid of stuff in my diet that is making me fat, sick, or just feel lousy,” then it’s time to unburden your body of unhealthy toxins, poisons, and detrimental substances. But where do you start?
The Good, the Bad, and the Yucky
When I began to research foods and toxins that were detrimental, I found a mountain of information! It seems there is an opinion or study on just about anything edible you can put in your mouth. Sugars, fats, carbohydrates, wheat, meat, dairy products, on and on. At one point I considered giving up eating and resorting to a permanent fast!
But when I started looking at those foods in relation to disease, it became much easier to determine what was and was not good. I found that demonizing a particular food or food group wasn’t the answer. More likely, the solution was in learning about not only the food but how it was grown, processed and preserved. I also discovered some things about the way our bodies metabolize certain foods. This is key to detoxifyng and healthifying your diet.
You see, not everyone metabolizes things the same way. Otherwise, someone with a hereditary predisposition to, say, heart disease, high cholesterol or diabetes, could be instructed, “don’t eat sugar,” or “avoid all fatty foods.” They could then go on their merry ways and by avoiding these foods, prevent themselves from ever getting these diseases. It just doesn’t work that way, though. True, you can often avoid disease by diet, exercise, and good habits. However, that’s not always 100% foolproof.
Step 1: Pay Attention to Your Body
Although exercise and lifestyle are as vital to your health as food, what if what you eat makes you feel miserable? Even “good” foods may play the villain in your well-being. Some foods and food groups I personally had to reduce or stop eating are: sugar, bread, cow’s milk and cheese, cabbage, onions, processed foods, soda pop, wine, and coffee. I’ve found that these foods cause me distresses ranging from bloating, dry mouth, gas, stomach pain and diarrhea, to rapid weight gain. Some foods on this list make me feel like I ate a side of pork all in one meal!
Your list will be different. Perhaps you’ve never really paid attention to how certain foods affect you. To eat in a way that is more nutritionally sound, you must begin by focusing on how different foods make you feel. If you aren’t sure if a certain food is causing you discomfort, try eliminating it from your diet for a week or two, then slowly add it back. If you felt better while you avoided it, or worse when you began eating it again, you have pinpointed a food that is toxic for you.
This is the first step in detoxifying your diet. You want to eliminate these types of foods first because you are removing substances that either stress your digestive system, or that you do not metabolize properly. The result is that right away you begin to feel better. This doesn’t mean, however, that all the foods on your list are unhealthy; it just indicates that they are foods that aren’t managed well by your own digestive system.
Step 2: Cleanse & Hydrate
The second step is cleansing. Detoxifying is done simply by increasing your intake of water. There is an abundance of scientific reasons backing this up. Click here for more on the benefits of drinking more water.
Here are a few high points:
- Prevents dehydration and fatigue
- Clears and hydrates skin, helping to reduce or remove blemishes and wrinkles
- Increases brain function (the brain is nearly 75% water)
- Keeps your bowels and joints moving
- Helps you feel full, less likely to overeat
- Detoxifies your blood, digestive system, and organs
You don’t like drinking water? Try squeezing a little lemon or fresh fruit juice in it. How much should you drink? Conventional wisdom says at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day. Other studies show that you should pay attention to your thirst level. Additionally, you should increase intake when you are more physically active and when you are ill or running a fever.
Step 3: Nix Processed Foods
Finally, the third step in detoxifying your diet is to eliminate highly processed foods and replace them with fresh fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared meals. Processed foods contain higher amounts of sugars, salts, and preservatives to give them longer shelf life. Unfortunately, those additives do nothing for human “shelf life.”
Extra sugars, artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn sweetener in foods and drinks are shown to cause weight gain and can increase the likelihood of diabetes. Added salt is harmful to the circulatory system, contributing to high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease. Preservatives may contain toxic chemicals that have no nutritional benefit and may promote harmful side-effects ranging from headaches and allergies to cancer.
You might think there’s got to be more to detoxifying your diet than these 3 simple steps; it’s just too easy. But the truth is, it is that simple! You can overcomplicate things, but then the process becomes an impossible task. By keeping it elementary, you’re more likely to be successful. It doesn’t mean you can’t take it further later on; so if you choose to, I say “go for it!” But for now, stick with the 1-2-3:
1) Pay attention to your body, find what works and doesn’t work for you
2) Cleanse and hydrate yourself
3) Replace processed foods with healthy alternatives.
Give yourself a couple of months and see how you feel. Your health will improve and you may even shed a few pounds in the process!