Detox cleanses aim at ridding the body of accumulated toxins. These toxins come from the food we eat, air we breath, water we drink, and many other modern day contaminants including prescription medications and other drugs.
There are many different kinds of detox cleanses, some of which can be very harmful to the body if not performed correctly. If you wish to embark on a detox cleanse, it is important to devote time to planning your cleanse beforehand so that you can ensure you are feeding your body with adequate nutrients. The most extreme form of detox cleansing involves ingesting only liquids- juices, teas, broths, and lots of water. However, one should never begin a cleansing process this way, particularly when transitioning from a poor dietary regime. It is important to “build up” to this step by first eliminating caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, and wheat from one’s diet. Consume lots of fresh or lightly steamed vegetables, gluten-free grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit.
The past week has been my “building up” phase and yesterday I began the liquid detox process. Here is a summary of my plan for this week:
JUICE: Fresh juice made from a combination of carrots, apples, broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsley, mixed greens, beets, red cabbage, celery, lemons, ginger root, burdock root, and garlic.
BROTH: I simmer the leftover pulp from the juicing process in a large pot with filtered water to create a nourishing broth. I also consume miso broth (made from miso paste and hot water) with spices like cayenne pepper, turmeric, and black pepper. Because the body is not working to digest food during a liquid cleanse it is important to ingest probiotics. Miso is my probiotic of choice, but supplements can also be consumed.
TEA: Herbal teas help supply the body with necessary vitamins and minerals, but certain ones are especially beneficial for detoxification, most notably dandelion root. During a cleanse it is important to focus on herbs that support liver function, adrenal function, and circulation. I make my tea in a french press and tend to throw in a wide variety of herbs including tulsi, oatstraw, nettles, red clover, alfalfa, licorice root, dandelion leaf, dandelion root, astragalus, cleavers, chickweed, mullein, horehound, cinnamon, and peppermint. Licorice and astragalus are especially beneficial for the adrenal glands, red clover and dandelion help purify the blood, cleavers and chickweed have cleansing actions and promote healthy skin, and demulcents like cinnamon, mullein, and horehound coat and protect the digestive lining. Herbs like tulsi, oatstraw, nettles, and alfalfa support the nervous system and provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals.
- Milk thistle tincture– The milk thistle seed supports liver function and when taken in large doses can actually help regenerate the liver! Its active constituents do not release well in tea, thus it is recommended to consume as a tincture.
- Activated charcoal– This can be found in capsule form. It works very well at absorbing toxins that are released from the body internally.
- Bentonite clay– Works similarly to activated charcoal by absorbing toxins in the body, can also be taken in capsules.
- Algae oil– This supplement is part of my normal dietary regime, but especially important during detoxing in order to supply the body with omega-3 fatty acids necessary for heart and brain health.
- Olive oil– Taken in small quantities to supply necessary omega-6 fatty acids during a cleanse. Evening primrose oil is also a great choice for this purpose.
- Aloe vera juice– An especially detoxifying substance that facilitates the removal of toxins from fat cells in the body.
- Spirulina– A complete protein that also contains a range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Considered a “superfood.”
- Vitamin C– A good idea to incorporate during a cleanse, even if consuming fruits, veggies, and teas with vitamin C. Helps rid the body of toxins. (Important: take ascorbic acid NOT citric acid)
- Protein powder– Though many cleanses do not incorporate significant protein additions, I am skeptical as to my health and well-being this week without ingesting substantial amounts of protein (Spirulina and green vegetables contain protein, but I would need to consume a LOT to get a good amount of protein). I purchased a protein powder made primarily from yellow peas and alfalfa. I plan on consuming this in small amounts, when I feel that my body is “asking for it”.
So far so good! My mind feels clear and my body feels nourished. Consuming juices, teas, and broths throughout the day is surprisingly filling! I am trying to rest and relax as much as possible, which is very important during a detox cleanse, so that my body can focus on the main goal- detoxing! Ill be sure to post more about this process as it continues.