Has this ever happened? You try an detox program, and get marginal results. The box raved about releasing the intestinal sludge and toxins, the girl on Instagram boasted it gave her her abs back in less than a week. The network marketer swore by her intermittent fasting program, but for you, you got less than impressive results. If any.
Unfortunately, this is all too common when chasing the lose-weight-fast bandwagon. Most people frustrated with bloating, jelly belly and excess weight often decide to take drastic measures and do a detox to cleanse from poor eating and lack of exercise, but with little results. When they come to me suffering exhaustion, poor gut health and weight issues, they've often spent hundreds on dodgy programs, products and supplements.
It's no surprise, people are often in worse shape than when they started!
The truth is that detoxing safely isn't difficult if done correctly. But if it's done doing the following, you may actually be harming your digestive system, slowing your metabolism, and putting you back right where you started. So, before you start any detox plan, make sure you avoid these common – and harmful – mistakes.
1. The Use Of Laxatives
Laxatives can help get rid of unwanted waste and toxins, but they shouldn’t ever be used as a way to lose weight or detox. Consistent use of laxatives will make your elimination system become lazy and dependent leading to colon issues, dehydration and even liver problems.
Use laxatives for their intended purpose only, which is temporary, not as a way to purge your body of waste. Simply eliminating processed foods from your diet is the easiest and a healthy way to jump-start your detox. Cut the sugar and dairy. Focus on high-fibre foods and a balance of lean protein and healthy fats.
If you find you are backed up and bloated, drink lemon water for a week, and try a hot lemon "tea" before bed by steeping whole lemon wedges in a teapot. Serve as you would regular tea with a drizzle of raw honey if you absolutely must to sweeten it.
2. Eating a “Last Cheat Meal”
I'm not a big advocate of 'cheat meals'. I think it stems from the fact that people view it as their last splurge and go too hard.
Indulging in your favourite high-calorie meal on the night before your detox plan starts, while I understand the reasoning, isn't a successful way to kick things off. Instead, it sets you up for failure, and more than likely, you’ll struggle to get started on strong footing. After a binge meal, you will more than likely feel sluggish and bloated the next morning. This is not the way to begin a major change to your diet.
The best way to efficiently cleanse from toxins and reset your body is to detox in stages. Slowly start to remove the unhealthy foods from your diet and increase or do a little bit of exercise. Add in probiotics. Eat more high-fibre vegetables. Eat less sugar, dairy and gluten (which are both common allergens). This approach will aid you over the long run and provide you with long-term healthy habits.
3. Skimping On Nutrients
If you’re leaping into a detox without a clue of what you’re doing, then you’re heading for disaster. Cutting out the wrong type of food groups can cause you to miss out on important nutrients and minerals. For instance, many people think if they just drop carbs, they'll lose weight and be better for it. But in actual fact, we need a certain amount of carbs to function our best. Some body types need more than others, and depriving your body of essential nutrients forces it to steal them from your vital organs such as the liver.
Rather than worrying about how many calories you’re eating, it’s best to focus on the nutritional values of everything you put into your body. A week of doing this and you’ll soon notice a change in your mood, your gut, and personal energy.
4. Just Detoxing Your Body
A detox is not just about your body. There are a variety of benefits from detoxifying, but what most people don’t realize is that toxicity is all around us, and in many forms.
Environmental toxins build up in our bodies from the air we breath, the chemicals used in our homes and the products we use every day for hygiene, beauty and grooming.
As professional Health Coach and ambassador to Arbonne's Healthy Living program, I am a strong believer in detoxing your entire life not just your body. I share the Best of the Best Clean Swap Box and the skin care range with clients because of the pure botanical ingredients. If you have ever questioned what's in your makeup, click here.
But it's not just cosmetics that can lead to toxicity.
Look at your surroundings and see what items in your home can be replaced by more environmentally friendly options. Things like food-storage, cleaning materials, household items, and even bedding. Eliminating the toxins in your environment by choosing eco-friendly sources for your everyday products goes a long way in helping how you feel. This will ensure that your body becomes less toxic.
5. Avoid Dairy Products (Or Reduce)
Humans are the only species that consume the breast milk of other animals. Kinda creepy when you think about it.
I have a real love hate relationship with dairy. The healthiest types of dairy are derived from animals that were pasture-raised and/or fed grass. This provides high quality milk with a much more robust nutrient profile. However, for many people, their body can just not digest or tolerate the milky stuff and this can manifest in a number of ways including mood swings, skin conditions such as eczema, bloating and IBS, or stomach upset or diarrhea.
Three out of every four people are intolerant to lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy products. Some people may also have sensitivities to the milk protein, whey or casein. Signs and symptoms of milk allergy range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems. A milk allergy can in fact, also cause anaphylaxis — a severe, life-threatening reaction.
As if that is not enough to concern you, cow's milk contains traces of anti-inflammatory drugs such as niflumic acid, mefenamic acid, ketoprofen, diclofenac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, flunixin, diclofenac. If you are going to use dairy, whether cow, sheep or goat, whenever possible reduce your toxicity by choosing organic, farm raised over mass produced.
Plant-based milk alternatives offer many healthy options for those with sensitivities or who are looking for vegan sources to swap dairy in recipes. It's a relatively easy detox to swap almond milk for your creamer, or try coconut yoghurt in place for Greek. The problem is, that these non-dairy types of products everywhere. So, should you try soy milk or almond milk? What is the real nutritional difference and how do they compare to cow's milk?
Don't worry I have you covered. Go read this post called A Guide To The Best Plantbased Milks for everything you need to know about healthy, non-dairy milks.
6. A Working Up A Sweat
Your skin is the largest organ of the body. When you work up a sweat, it is the body's natural way to get rid of toxins. You literally sweat them out.
So yes, getting a hard workout session in every week (or day) is one way to naturally and deeply detox while enjoying sport, CrossFit or a fun-filled gym class with mates. The more exercise you do, the more you sweat which means the cleaner your body becomes. I know right. Another reason to get moving!
Don’t put off sweating while in detox mode; and if you’re not a fan of exercise (come on, really?) then hit the sauna for 30 minutes. Not only will you detox, but you will also burn up to will 300 calories during one 30-minute session! Definitely get your glow on!!
It’s natural to want to take drastic measures after a period of mistreating our bodies from overeating or binge eating. However, it’s important not to start a regimen without doing the proper research to ensure that it is safe and nutritionally sound.
Taking a little bit of time to plan your detox will save you headaches in the end and will ensure that you kick start your healthy lifestyle the right way.
Health + happiness,
Want to explore detoxing in more depth with a little support? Want to look and feel better by eating real food not shakes and restrictive diets?