Forgo the diet and detox instead
Diet. Does that word just make you cringe. That word is a tough one for many people. As a integrative nutrition health coach we learned about many dietary theories out there and let me tell you there are so many. Then recently my husband sent me an article that was titled the 41 best diets overall. I did not even want to read it. 41!? That is not even all of them right, those are just the best. Who else is confused about what to eat. All the time there are different ways to eat and how this food is bad for you wait now its good for you right? Is anyone just fed up, overwhelmed and don’t know where to start?
I don’t use the word diet if I can help it anymore. To me diet means restrictive, and something you don’t want to do or can’t sustain for long term health. It is temporary right, like I am going to eat this way for 30 days, then go back to the way I was eating before, or eat this way until I lose x amount of weight, then stop.
The Keto diet is big right now, paleo is big, then you start hearing of other ones like cave man diet, vegan, vegetarian, mediterranean, Atkins, whole 30, macros, is anyone throwing their hands up yet? I am, and like I said I didn’t want to even read this article. I know the times I have actually done something that I called a diet I was probably eating the worst. No variety, chicken and broccoli, only fruit, only veggies etc. and I could only do it for a short amount of time. This is not the way to live. We don’t want food to control our lives right?
When I worked in traditional medicine as a Physician assistant not that long ago a doctor that was in charge of a weight loss clinic was talking about his program. He focused on calorie restriction and exercise, and I know some use prescription medicines to enhance weight loss. This is not a good solution. I feel that the emphasis for how to lose weight is all wrong, making the person feel like a failure for not moving enough, because calories in and calories out. That is not how to lose weight anymore. There are many factors playing in to why people can’t lose weight which is why focusing inward on gut health and detoxification can really be a game changer for people.
This is why I love to talk about why we need detoxification vs a diet. If we understand how our bodies detox, and why a build up of toxins and poor underlying gut health are contributing to excess weight and not feeling our best, then we can understand more about how to detox and the best way to eat and live to maximize this process.
How do you know if you need to detox? Typically increased belly fat or trouble losing weight, feeling sluggish, trouble sleeping, feeling more stressed or emotional, having brain fog, skin issues, trouble with pooping, feeling bloated, or just feeling blah are good signs you need to kick it in to high gear.
Lets get in to how our bodies detox on a daily basis. Our lungs, liver, skin, kidneys and our gut microbiome are the biggest players in helping our bodies detox daily. The liver is probably one of the biggest organs that helps us detox, and this is where most of our medications get filtered as well as alcohol, so we need to be mindful of that as well. If there is a breakdown in any one of these areas then we are not detoxing properly and these toxins we are exposed to daily through air pollution, water not being clean enough, chemicals and synthetic additives in our food supply, and toxic household and personal care products hijack our bodies and make us sick.
Toxins get stored in our fat cells, so restricting calories is not enough to get toxins moving out of our bodies. This is why we need to focus on eating quality foods that provide us nutrients that help us detox, remove processed foods that are stressing out our liver more, eat foods that nourish and feed our gut bacteria, drink plenty of clean water, and eliminate properly. Yes I am talking about peeing and pooping. Our urine needs to be clear during the day. We should be drinking about half our body weight in ounces of water daily. We need to be pooping daily if not 2-3 times per day. If you are not doing this, then toxins are being reabsorbed in to your body.
When we eat organic veggies that are high quality nutrient dense foods, it is enhancing our bodies ability to detox. AT the same time we need to start thinking about what we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis and start to replace toxic products with non toxic ones. An example is to get rid of the toxic household products and swap them for plant based cleaners. One of my favorites is a brand called branch basics. Also remove plastic and use glass containers and reusable stainless steel water bottles.
Once we do these things our bodies respond fairy quickly, which is pretty amazing! This is why I recommend doing some sort of detox program or clean eating plan many times during the year. Often times we do good for a while then slide back in to some bad habits at certain Times of the year. I am definitely guilty of that. I don’t recommend going completely off the deep end with eating, but keeping a good 80/20 plan and then at times going 100% during a detox. The way I recommend eating on a detox plan is to eat whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, beans, lentils and lots of organic veggies that are in season, which right now are greens, and root type vegetables as well as a variety of color on a daily basis. Also eating good sources of fats like nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oils, ghee, avocado, fatty fishes like salmon, and then if you eat meat thinks like chicken or turkey, and eggs. I try to make sure these are grass fed, and organic as well.
This is how my five day detox groups are set up. There are plenty of yummy and easy recipes you can incorporate as time goes on after the detox is over which I love. I also love how people feel after and the changes they continue with. I run a winter, spring, summer and fall detox program throughout the year so stay tuned for more information on these upcoming programs!
I think if we change our way of thinking about food, weight loss, health, and understand when our bodies are begging us to detox it makes the process of eating better and removing the crappy foods a much smoother one. Remember that making small changes over time will amount to some very big long term health improvements!