A true detox diet can seem daunting. The sacrifice of cutting out sugar, caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it helps to take small steps before jumping into a detox with both feet. Here are a few easy detox diet tips anyone can do starting today.
Switch coffee to green tea
Even though coffee may have benefits if consumed in small enough quantities, during a detox, it’s important to cut it out. Coffee is very acidic and can increase existing inflammation in the body. Combine this with cream and sugar and you’ve got an inflammatory bombshell that will inhibit weight loss, not to mention chronic pain relief. Green tea, on the other hand, will give you a little caffeine boost, but is much more alkalize, preventing inflammation.
Cut back on most protein and dairy
While protein-based foods, like meats and poultry, are generally an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, but when trying to detox, it’s a good idea to cut back. Foods rich in protein have a anabolic, or building, effect on the body. The purpose of doing a detox is to create a breakdown, ridding the body of toxins. Temporarily eliminating foods that are rich in protein or byproducts of dairy (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese) gives your body a chance to detoxify.
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Increase raw and steamed vegetables
This point really needs not elaboration, but during a detox, it’s more important to really up your veggies. First of all, you’re eating less protein, so you’ll need to compensate for extra energy somewhere. Second, most raw or lightly steamed vegetables do a great job handcuffing toxins, dragging them out of the body. Eat plenty of the following vegetables:
- Brussels Sprouts
Drink room temp or warm lemon water in the morning
We all know water is important to drink all throughout the day. In fact, we should all be drinking about half our weight in ounces, not including added water for exercise. Adding lemon (fresh-squeezed or from concentrate) to room temperature water in the morning before eating anything else helps get your system moving, flushing toxins out of your body. About eight to 12 ounces first thing in the morning with an ounce or so of lemon juice should be enough to give your body a boost.
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Get 1 extra hour of sleep a night
Sleep helps to restore balance, repair and reset our bodies. We all need 7 to 8 hours of sleep, yet many of us fail to get that much rest. During a detox, our body breaks down and sends toxins packing. This can be hard on our bodies, so it’s particularly important to get more R & R.
Swap sweets for dark chocolate
One of the hardest habits for people to kick is sugar. Real dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, has huge benefits and make adding to a “detox light” diet is completely worth it. Dark chocolate is very high in flavonoids, the same nutrient found in red wine. Chocolate also contains the amino acid arginine, which is closely tied to the regulation of inflammation and blood pressure! You don’t have to feel guilty about getting this type of a sugar fix. To get the benefits, enjoy a couple squares of dark chocolate. Don’t go overboard. Buy individually wrapped squares if you think you’ll be tempted to eat an entire bar.
Switch boxed cereal with added sugar for oats or buckwheat
The term “health washing” refers to making a food sound healthier than it really is by using words like “more fiber,” “low fat,” or “no added sugar.” For the most part, all healthy-sounding boxed cereal has been health washed and isn’t nearly as good for your body as you think it is. What’s more, boxed cereal is processed and almost always loaded with sugar. A quick switch to old-fashioned oats or buckwheat puts you in the drivers seat when it comes to controlling what gets added. A few simple, but healthy add-ons to any homemade morning cereal include:
- A little maple syrup or honey
Make homemade “detox salad dressing” in place of bottled dressings
Bottled dressings are full of ingredients, many of which are more than three syllables or complex lab-concocted compound words. Homemade salad dressing are usually easy to make. In fact, you’ve probably got all the ingredients for this detox dressing in your kitchen. Give this salad dressing s shot the next time you make a salad:
“Detox Light” Dressing
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Dash of sea salt & pepper to flavor
Whisk together in a small bowl, pour over salad and enjoy!
Exchange breads and pastas for quinoa and lentils
Breads and pastas are typically inflammatory. If you’re trying to detoxify your diet, you need to cut out foods that are creating inflammation in your body. In fact, if you’re carrying around stubborn weight that won’t come off, you’ve got inflammation. Instead of having toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner, substitute quinoa or lentils. They’re more alkalizing and full of nutrients.
Add a little coconut oil to everything
Coconut oil is the queen bee of all oils, especially when it comes to health. A medium chain triglyceride, coconut oil gets preferentially used as energy, having a positive effect on metabolism. Beyond energy use, coconut oil is antimicrobial and antibacterial. Regular consumption is benefits digestion, improves cardiovascular health and helps to regulate thyroid. If you want to work coconut oil into your diet, start small and build by adding to:
- roasted vegetables
- baked goods
Traci is a nationally-recognized health and fitness coach, and the current coach working with Steve Harvey's Bridal Bootcamp. Traci has also been featured on Dr. Oz, The TODAY Show, in SHAPE, SELF and local news programs. Her specialty is weight loss through clean eating and interval-style training. Traci is available for private coaching and corporate consulting. To contact Traci, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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