You don’t have to look very far to find a book, article or television show about a cleansing or detox diet. Less than 100 years ago, however, cleansing diet or detox diet was not a term you would have heard. So, what is different now? We have much more exposure to toxins. There are environmental toxins such as PCBs, household cleaners, automobile fumes, toxins from coal-burning plants and pesticides, to name but a few. We can do our best to avoid these toxins, but even if we make the attempt to make our home nearly toxin free, we still need to go out in the world for work or other activities.And then there are the toxins we intentionally add to our bodies: food preservatives, artificial colors, and flavoring, over the counter and prescribed medication, recreational drugs, alcohol, and perhaps worst of all sugar. Yes, that’s right, sugar. It is estimated that the average American eats more than 100 pounds of sugar a year, which translates into about 500 extra calories a day. Sugar is not just found in that tempting dessert or a fancy cocktail. Take a close look at bread labels, canned goods, and frozen entrees. It is everywhere! So, why should we watch our sugar consumption?
Dangers of Sugar:
• Contributes to heart disease
• Causes belly fat
• Increased risk of diabetes
• Increased risk of cancer
• Effects cognitive abilities
• Contributes to Obesity
It makes sense that it would be beneficial for almost anyone to rid occasionally or, at least, cut down the toxins in their body with a detox or cleansing diet. Losing weight, or, at least, losing water weight is one of the primary functions of a cleansing diet. The toxins are stored in fat cells. That is why extra weight or fat from the waist down is especially dangerous because it has a bigger impact on vital organs. The toxins also play havoc with hormonal signals, contributing to weight gain and many other problems.
Benefits of Detox Diet:
• Boost energy
• Removes excess water and waste
• Weight loss
• Improves skin
• Improves hair and nails
• Improves cognitive function
• Has anti-aging impact
• Improves digestion
• Lifts depression
With all the detox and cleansing plans out there, how do you know which one is right for you? First of all, stay away from any cleansing plan that encourages the over consumption of fruit and especially fruit juice. Fruit juices are full of sugar and should be consumed sparingly in a regular diet. Additionally, most formulated weight loss drinks are also full of sugar and preservatives.
Tips to Selecting a Good Cleansing Program:
1. Consume live, raw ingredients- fresh vegetables and fruits contain enzymes that aid in digestion and assimilation.
2. Make sure you are selecting a variety of flavors and colors- keeping it interesting and delicious will help you stick to your detox plan. Nature has a way of adding interesting colors and textures to her most nutritious foods. A meal with green, yellow or orange veggies, red berries or blueberries, and walnuts or almonds is loaded with healing and cleansing properties. Culinary herbs such as parsley, cilantro and basil also add flavor and many health benefits.
3. Choose a plan that is easy to plan and prepare and the ingredients are accessible.
You will also want to add exercise to your plan to help remove the toxins through sweat. Additionally, you may find yoga or meditation to be helpful as you go through this process.