I'm back! I was away on the Beachbody Success Cruise, which explains my MIA status... but I'm back and ready to blog!
Detoxing is all the craze right now, but does it work? Is it for real? Do you know how your body works internally so that you can keep it functioning properly? Most people don't, which is why we jump on any "fad" diet that comes to us. We all want a "quick fix" or a "miracle cure." I ask you this, though... why search really hard for a cure for something you could have prevented in the first place?
Are you ready for a little nutrition lesson so that you can see for yourself if detoxing is the way to go?
How does the body get energy?
The body receives energy through the foods we eat. It's preferred source of energy is carbohydrates, secondly fats, and lastly proteins. I'll get more into that in another blog that breaks that down more... but as you can see, you ARE what you eat. A proper diet should contain 40% carbohydrates, 30% fats, and 30% proteins. Of course, those percentages can be altered depending on your needs and goals, but that should be done with the help of a registered dietitian who helps you create a program for yourself.
Food as fuel.
Think about what happens when you put the wrong type of gas into your car. Or, what if you put something other than gasoline in your car, period. How do you think it would run? This is the same for the body. It's meant to run on natural foods. Over the years, however, our diets have gone from being derived from nature to being derived from chemicals in factories. Look at the ingredients on some of the foods you eat frequently. Do you know what more than half of those ingredients are? Chances are, probably not. Our bodies were not meant to run on artificial chemicals. If the majority of your diet comes from fast food, pre-packed shelf foods, or other chemical ridden foods, it's NO WONDER that you constantly feel sluggish, lazy, sleeping, and just all around like crap! Yes, that CRAP can build up in your system because your body does not know how to process it and turn it into energy.
R efined Sugars
P rocessed Foods
So, what about these DETOX diets?
First of all, starving yourself clean is NOT the answer. Most detox
diets have you doing that (very little food and lots of liquids).
Starving yourself and then going back to your old habits will probably
cause more stress on the body than good. You don't need to cleanse
yourself in the fad way of doing it... you need to cleanse yourself for
life, and this is going to come from a lifestyle change. Our bodies
were designed to get rid of toxins naturally if we let them. If you truly do have problems with your body's natural capabilities to eliminate toxins, however, then you need to speak to your doctor about this (liver problems). For most people, this is not the case, however.
How do I get rid of that CRAP, then?
The body knows how to get rid of these naturally if you have a healthy liver and drink plenty of water (along with eating the proper foods providing antioxidants to the body). However, what good do you think that does if you continue to put that CRAP immediately back into your body? Not much, because you will keep building it up in your system and you will continue to be fatigued AND put yourself at risk for a number of preventable diseases. Did you know that approximately 90% of all diseases are preventable? The other 10% are genetic... but 90% are preventable! Yet, millions of people contract these preventable diseases in their lifetime. Why are we doing this to ourselves!?
What steps can you take to get your body functioning properly?
1.) Get rid of the CRAP (caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol and processed foods). Of course, 100% getting rid of them is not in most people's vocabulary, so at least work on highly minimizing them. Go 80/20. Let only 20% of the food/beverage you intake come from that list of CRAP. 80% should come from the list below:
- Vegetables (fresh or frozen are best)
- Fruits (whole fruits, not juices... juices have refined sugars added)
- Whole grains (bake them yourself, or at the least look for breads and grains that DO NOT contain high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils or large amounts of refined white flours and sugars. Look for adequate fiber amounts as well.)
- Unsaturated Fats (from healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, also nuts, seeds, fish, etc.)
- Lean Proteins (fish, chicken, turkey, bison... limit intake of beef and other higher fat meats, and when consuming beef try to get very lean cuts - 95% lean or more)
- Fat free or low fat dairy (or dairy substitutes like soy, rice, almond, etc.)
2.) Drink plenty of water. Make sure that water is the majority of the liquid you intake. It will help flush the system and will also help the body to properly break down foods and spread the nutrients it intakes. Unsweetened tea is also good (caffeine free most of the time). Try to avoid adding flavor packets containing artificial sweetners/chemicals (aspartame, sucralose, etc... Sweet 'n' Low, Splenda, Equal, and the likes). If you must sweeten hot tea then look into using a single packet of raw sugar or a tbsp. of honey.
3.) Make sure your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs. This can be done via supplementation (though speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian when it comes to getting an actual regime of what to take... especially if you are vegan or vegetarian and may need to supplement to get the proper amounts of some of your vitamins and minerals). I, personally, drink Shakeology each day for myself... that is my choice for myself and I enjoy it. You need to find out what it right for you.
4.) Exercise! Yes, exercising can also help the body properly eliminate these toxins that build up. Not only that, but exercise is so important to getting your body back into optimal shape on the inside and the outside. If you aren't on a regular routine it's really time to start working your way into one, because exercise is another MAJOR key to preventing those preventable diseases. If you don't know where to start then consider getting an appointment with a personal trainer who can work with your current level of fitness and personalize a plan for you based on your goals. You may also consider getting a fully developed home fitness program if a trainer is out of your price range. The programs are also very effective... just make sure you get one that includes cardio, strength and flexibility and comes with a routine to follow (a calendar of workouts/workout schedule). If going that route, though, definitely find an accountability partner or group to help keep you on track.
"BUT I NEED MY CAFFEINE!!!!"
I know you think that now but, trust me, once you eliminate those foods that are making you tired and sluggish and start eating properly you will have so much energy that you won't need stimulants like caffeine anymore.
It's time to start training yourself to change your habits today... before it's too late!
For more information about eating properly, check out mypyramid.gov