One of the most difficult aspects of beginning a detox diet is finding credible information about how to safely detox. Between misinformation and the extremely lucrative weight loss industry, finding how to detox properly requires a certain level of diligence. And no one is going to be as diligent about your health as you.
Detoxing is a process that cannot simply be accomplished by purchasing a sack full of fruits and vegetables, or maple syrup and cayenne pepper. If you go into a detox diet blindly you are setting yourself up for not only failure, but negative side effects as well. It is important to have the facts at your disposal and take care of any preliminary tests that may be required to keep you healthy and stable during the detoxification process.
I’ve come up with a few things I think it is crucial to know or do before you begin a detox diet.
Feed Your Mind
One of the primary reasons the majority of diets of any kind fail is that the dieters never actually learn anything about what it takes to accomplish the goal of the diet. Whether it is to improve skin health, remove toxins from the body or lose weight, you should learn about the benefits and drawbacks of your diet.
Before you begin a detox diet you should write down a list of any questions you may have so you can make sure you are satisfied with the answers by the time you have completed your initial research. Some of the questions you may want answered include:
- What can I eat during the detox period?
- Are there any special tools I need?
- How long do I need to detox?
- What are my limitations during this time frame?
- Is it healthy?
They say knowledge is power and nothing will make you feel more powerful about taking control of your health than knowing everything you can about detox dieting. Read up on detox dieting—the positive and the negative—so you aren’t just doing what someone else tells you to do, even if they are an expert.
This research will let you know exactly what to expect as well as what is unusual for a detox diet so that when you begin the cleanse you don’t quit prematurely. If you are prepared for any eventuality you will be better prepared to cope with any roadblocks you encounter on your journey to renewed health.
It’s All About the pH
One of the things you’ll learn during the research phase of detoxing is how important your pH level (level of acidity) is to an effective cleanse. Dr. Rich Anderson suggests taking a pH test prior to starting any detox, cleanse or fast because your body may not be primed for such activity and I happen to agree.
Being electrolyte deficient may result in extreme dehydration, which will result in an abnormal cell and enzyme functions. Starting a detox diet without checking your pH levels can be likened to starting a drag race without checking the gas tank, which you know can result in disaster.
You can conduct the tests on your own with basic pH paper, so make sure you have a clear understanding of what a healthy pH level (7.36) is so you know what you can and cannot do in the early days of your detox.
Old Habits Die Hard
Many people looking to detox assume the detox begins on day one. Unfortunately this assumption is directly related to whether or not you complete the detox successfully or stop it ahead of time. This brings us to old habits die hard.
If you regularly consume coffee, processed foods or alcohol or you smoke cigarettes then you need to be even more diligent about the steps you take before you begin a detox. These products can be “addictive” to some people which means you are likely to suffer mental or physical withdrawal symptoms if you simply try to quit “cold turkey”.
In fact I recommend that you begin to wean yourself off of these products at least one month before your detox diet officially begins, if not longer. By slowly removing alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other chemicals from your system you will be increasing your odds of success because you will not have to deal with the excess stress associated with withdrawal.
Organic Is Key
Many fad detox diets market themselves as being “superior” to traditional, healthier detoxes because you don’t have to purchase “expensive organic products”. While it is true that organic foods and household items tend to cost more than those items packed with chemicals, without organic products your detox will only be marginally effective.
Organic means natural, as in not treated with growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals not found in nature. For food this means you are consuming products that have been chemically treated and for household items such as soaps and cleansers it means that your skin will not be absorbing the chemicals you are trying to expel from your system.
If your goal is to be healthier at the end of your detox you need to minimize the toxins in your environment and diet.
Sweat It Out
One reason that dieters flock to fad detox diets is because of the promise that exercise is not required, but that isn’t really the whole truth. In fact, exercise is an essential part of any successful detox diet, as long as it’s the right kind of exercise.
This is your time to avoid strenuous workouts like an hour on the treadmill without forgoing exercise altogether. Exercise allows you to get rid of toxins in the most natural way of all: sweating it out. The right physical activity works with the detox process to help flush out toxins, increase oxygen rich blood flow and reduce stress.
Before you begin your detox, try out different ways to sweat it out like yoga or Pilates to see which activity you are most likely to perform. Set your routine before the detox period starts so you aren’t trying to get accustomed to a new exercise regimen while also getting used to life without toxins.
Before you start your first detox diet you should slowly begin to prepare–mentally and physically–for the changes that will take place. A little light reading and a quick pre-detox regimen will get you started so you know what to expect and how to ease your detox symptoms.
- Read a few chapters about detox symptoms, acceptable foods and exercise.
- Slowly reduce your reliance on alcohol, cigarettes and any recreational drugs you take.
- Visit a few supermarkets and Farmer’s markets to compare prices on organic foods.
- Sign up for a few exercise classes you’ve never taken before. Start with yoga, Pilates or Yogilates so you don’t reject these low-key exercises during your detox period.
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