What is a detox and why is it needed?

Curious how to cleanse your body and optimize your health without having to drain your savings account or empty out your fridge? Here’s why you may want to consider a natural detox diet, plus how you can get started.

What is a detox and why is it needed?

It’s true that most of us are exposed to a plethora of toxins, heavy metals and chemicals on a daily basis, found in everything from the air we breathe to the food on our plates. However, your body is equipped with a natural detox system that can help remove these dangerous compounds, and switching up your diet and lifestyle is the best way to maximize your body’s toxin-removing potential. Fortunately, you don’t need to shell out wads of cash or start munching on lettuce for weeks on end to see results.

What Is a Detox? Why Is It Needed?

Depending on who you ask, the detox diet meaning can vary pretty widely. For some, it may be considered an intense cleansing diet that consists of drinking strange concoctions for weeks on end to clear out toxins and achieve weight loss. For others, the term “detox cleanse” is little more than a marketing ploy used to shill expensive and overpriced products to health-conscious consumers.

In reality, a detox diet can be a healthy way to get back on track and help your body do exactly what it’s designed to do: clear out toxins and keep you in tip-top shape.

See, your body has a complex detox system built right in, and all of your organs work together to keep you feeling healthy. Your skin pushes out bacteria through the sweat, your kidneys filter through liters of blood and produce urine, your lungs expel carbon dioxide, your intestines extract nutrients from food to excrete waste products, and your liver clears out toxins from the body.

Factors like chronic stress, unhealthy habits, physical inactivity and a diet high in ultra-processed foods can totally tank your body’s natural detox system, making it even harder to remove toxins from the bloodstream efficiently.

A body cleanse or detox diet that involves cutting out junk foods and increasing your intake of nutritious whole foods along with a few powerful detox foods can be an easy way to help your body detox and hit the reset button. Best of all, unlike on other detox diets, this kind of natural cleanse won’t drain your energy levels or leave you feeling worn down. Instead, it can boost energy, restore motivation and help you feel your best.

What is a detox and why is it needed?

Detox Diet Plan: How to Detox

There are lots of different definitions of what defines the best detox diet or the best cleanse for weight loss. However, a good detox diet should supply all of the important nutrients that your body needs while also cutting out the chemicals, junk and added ingredients that it doesn’t.

Following a few easy guidelines and incorporating some detox foods into your diet is the best way to optimize your built-in detox system and supply your liver with the tools it needs to clear out toxins efficiently.

Wondering how to detox your body without spending a fortune on expensive programs and products? Luckily, following a detox diet for weight loss and better health can be as simple as making a few simple swaps in your diet. Here are some of the basic rules to follow on a healthy detox diet:

Switch out sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and sports drinks for water, unsweetened tea or detox drinks, and be sure to stay well-hydrated.

Nix added sugars from your diet from foods like candies, cakes, cookies and sweets, and aim for a sugar-free diet instead.

Cut out all heavily processed and refined foods, such as convenience meals, pre-packaged snacks, and store-bought cakes and cookies.

Up your intake of whole ingredients and raw foods, including fruits, veggies, healthy protein foods and whole grains.

Swap processed meats like bacon, hot dogs and sausages for better options, such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon and organic chicken. If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are also plenty of plant-based protein foods available, including nuts, seeds and legumes.

Include more natural detox foods in your diet, such as grapefruit, bone broth, Brussels sprouts, berries, beets, chia seeds and nuts.

Trade in your salt shaker for some healing herbs and spices instead. Seasonings like cumin, basil, parsley and paprika can bump up the flavor of your foods while also providing a host of powerful health benefits.

Adjust your sleep schedule to ensure you’re squeezing in at least eight hours per night, which allows your body to heal and restore.

Get in some daily exercise, and stay active with your favorite workouts, such as walking, jogging or biking.

Minimize your stress levels and incorporate some natural stress relievers into your routine, such as yoga, meditation, journaling and essential oils.

Seven-Day Cleanse Protocol

Whether you decide to do a three-day detox diet, a five-day detox diet plan or a full seven-day cleanse diet, you have plenty of options for delicious and healthy foods to enjoy. Use the meal pattern below to get some ideas, and feel free to follow the plan as long as you’d like to jump-start your detox.

Day One

Breakfast: Egg white omelette with tomatoes, garlic, onions and peppers + 1 banana

Snack: Omega blueberry smoothie

Lunch: Baked chicken with broccoli and brown rice

Snack: Walnuts and dried fruit

Dinner: Chickpea and veggie stew + roasted Brussels sprouts

Day Two

Breakfast: Raw yogurt with chia seeds and fresh fruit + grainless granola

Snack: Carrots with hummus

Lunch: Roasted salmon with zucchini and baked sweet potato

Snack: Cottage cheese with celery and tomatoes

Dinner: Portobello mushroom pizza with arugula salad

Day Three

Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs + whole wheat toast with avocado

Snack: Apple slices topped with cinnamon and raw honey

Lunch: Quinoa and veggie stuffed bell peppers

Snack: Almond butter banana protein bar

Dinner: Grilled chicken, avocado and grapefruit salad

Day Four

Breakfast: Paleo protein pancakes + fresh fruit

Snack: Dark chocolate with sliced strawberries

Lunch: Turkey burger in lettuce wrap with sautéed veggies

Snack: Chia seed pudding with strawberries and rhubarb

Dinner: Sweet potato hash with black beans and spinach

Day Five

Breakfast: Overnight oatmeal with berries, nuts and cinnamon

Snack: Baked apple chips

Lunch: Steak and Brussels sprouts stir-fry

Snack: Energy balls

Dinner: Marinated tempeh with herbed garlic lentils

Day Six

Breakfast: Broiled grapefruit with raw honey and bananas + kale and feta egg bake

Snack: Gut-healing smoothie

Lunch: Greek meatballs with orzo pilaf

Snack: Garlic roasted chickpeas

Dinner: Pulled beef sliders with carrot chips

Day Seven

Breakfast: Sweet potato toast topped with avocado and fried egg

Snack: Air-popped popcorn

Lunch: Mediterranean grilled lamb chops with cauliflower tabbouleh

Snack: Almonds with blueberries

Dinner: Lemon chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts

( Rachael Link )

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