It seems like everyone is doing some sort of detox these days. I don’t believe in many of those crazy fad detox diets out there. This plan is all about totally clean eating for two to three weeks. Two full weeks is required in order to rid your body of built up toxins, so you can get a real feel for what it’s like to eat clean. And if you’re feeling hard core and want a deeper detox, go for three weeks, or even better yet, go vegan for the two or three weeks!
I like to do this once a year to help empty my barrel (more about that here). You may have heard of a version of this called the brown rice diet, or an elimination diet. Besides eliminating accumulated toxins and improving digestion, this diet is also a great way to help you identify food intolerances and allergies. To do that correctly, you need to slowly reintroduce foods back in your diet slowly after the clean eating period is over to see what kind of effect they have on you. If you’re interested, I can help you out with a more detailed personalized plan – check out my consulting packages.
Please check with your health practitioner before starting any new eating plan.
Depending on your level of health, you could experience detox symptoms. This is normal! The more your body needs to detox, the more severe and longer lasting the symptoms may be. But if you’re concerned, be sure to check with your health practitioner. Here are some common detox symptoms.
Sugar elimination – drowsiness, depression, lack of coordination
Coffee elimination – Headaches, shakiness, nervousness
Alcohol elimination – tension, inability to relax
Milk and dairy elimination – mucous elimination through sinuses, mucous membranes and lungs
Meats, fats elimination – coated tongue, foul body odor
Clean Eating Basics
This is a whole foods diet plan. That means NO refined or processed foods. Here’s the basics of what you’ll eliminate from your diet. I’ll get into the “why” for some of these in the Dos & Don’t section below.
Eliminate these from your diet.
- Wheat & Gluten
- Caffeine and Alcohol
- Refined and processed foods
- White vinegar
- Any known food allergies or sensitivities
Food Dos & Don’ts
- All fresh vegetables, organic where possible, especially for the Dirty Dozen.
- Try to incorporate onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, carrots, beets, cabbage, leeks, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens – spinach, kale, rapini, collards, mustard greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Sprouted mung beans, alfalfa, red clover
- Corn, mushrooms, potatoes which are common allergens
- Canned vegetables
For improved digestion, fruits should be eaten by itself, or 1/2 hour before, or two hours after a meal. Fruit in a smoothie is an exception. It’s okay to mix with greens and veggies, and enjoy anytime.
- All fresh fruits
- Fruit sauces with no added sugar (applesauce)
- Eat raw
- Dried fruits only if unsulfured
- Jarred and canned fruits
- Bananas and oranges no more than 3x per week, and not 2 days in a row
I often get asked why gluten is so bad compared to other grains, and what exactly is gluten anyway? Well, first off, gluten is a large protein molecule that is very hard to digest. It can create low level chronic inflammation in the body, throughout the digestive tract, joints, tissues, and even the brain, causing “brain fog”. If you have trouble with bloating, you will likely notice a huge improvement when you eliminate gluten from your diet. But don’t worry, there are plenty of excellent gluten free options on the market, with more being added every day!
- Brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff, organic oats, barley
- Couscous, durum, semolina
- All legumes (adzuki beans, navy, black, etc.)
- All peas
- Soy beans & soy products (soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, miso, tempeh)
Nuts and Seeds
- Almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts – RAW & UNSALTED
- Almond butter, almond milk (unsweetened)
- Chia, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds – RAW & UNSALTED
- Peanuts, pistachios, cashews
- Any nuts or seeds that are salted and flavoured
If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, I would encourage you to try to eat much less animal products than you normally do, or better yet, try to go animal product free for 2 weeks. This will give your body a chance to learn how it feels and you will have a better idea of what you’re missing, and what your body needs.
Dairy is another one of those foods that I get asked all the time, what’s wrong with dairy? Well, it’s really hard to digest. We need the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose in dairy, and most of us have lost the lactase enzyme by the time we reach adolescence. Dairy also contains casein which is a large protein molecule that’s hard to digest. Dairy is also mucous forming and can cause constipation. Not to mention the antibiotics and processed grains fed to the cows.
So skip the dairy! You can get plenty of calcium from sources like almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, leafy greens and beans.
- Free range chicken and turkey (or grain fed)
- Organic lamb, wild game
- Wild deep water fish (salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines, herring)
- Free run organic eggs
- Red meat (beef, pork)
- Sandwich meats, hotdogs, canned meats/tunafish, smoked meats
- Shellfish, catfish
- ALL DAIRY
- Whey protein powder
- Oils – olive oil, flax seed oil (do not heat)
- All herbs & spices without MSG or salt
- Organic tahini, nut butters (almond, hazelnut), apple butter, organic bean dips (hummus, pinto bean)
- Dairy free pesto
- Fresh ginger
- Make your own salad dressings: fresh herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar (no sugar)
- All refined oils
- All sweeteners (corn, maple, syrups, molasses, white sugar, etc.)
Drink lots of water! It’s necessary for the detoxification process. Start each day with a glass of warm or room temperature water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it. NO LEMON JUICE FROM PLASTIC BOTTLES PLEASE! These contain harmful sulphites and can leach contaminants from the plastic into the lemon juice. And try not to consume water with your meals. It may interfere with the digestive enzyme functioning. It’s best to drink 30 minutes before, or 15 minutes after your meal.
- Filtered water – at least 8 to 9 glasses
- 100% fruit & vegetable juice (e.g. Ceres – diluted with water)
- Herbal teas
- Rice or almond milk – unsweetened
- Green tea – 1 glass per day
- Green Smoothies!
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, black tea, pop)
- All pop
- Dairy or soy milk
- All fruit drinks high in refined sugar/salt
So that’s the basics my friends. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I’ll provide my shopping list and tips, and a sample menu plan.
To get you started in the meantime, here’s my elimination breakfast recipe, that I have for breakfast every day when doing a cleanse. But don’t just limit it to when you’re cleansing. It can be enjoyed all the time, and switch it up by adding fresh seasonal fruits. I enjoy it mid-morning after my green smoothie on many days. You can warm it up or enjoy at room temperature.
It’s loaded with healthy fibre to help keep you regular and help eliminate some of those nasty toxins!
Detox Breakfast Cereal Recipe
- 1/4 cup gluten free whole grains – oats, buckwheat groats
- 1 tbsp pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup almond milk, or adjust to preferred consistency
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Optional toppings – raisons, goji berries, raw cacao nibs
- Soak oats, buckwheat groats, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in filtered water overnight, or for a few hours.
- Rinse grains and seeds thoroughly.
- Add flax seed, chia seed and cinnamon.
- Mix with almond milk.
- Optional – heat on medium-low heat to warm.
- Put in a bowl, add optional toppings and mix together and enjoy!
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I’ll give you my clean eating plan shopping list, tips and sample menu plan.
I’m sure you have lots of questions on this topic, so please ask in the comments below and I promise to answer every one. Plus your comments and feedback give me ideas for future blog posts. Many thanks!
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Lots of love and gratitude,