It's January. It's officially time to “detox”.
I haven't read People this week, so I'm not sure what the likes of J-Lo or Cameron Diaz are doing to get their bodies into tip-top post-holiday shape. But I can tell you this, the typical starve-yourself-and-drink-maple-syrup-with-cayenne-pepper type fasts are B-A-D for you! Sure, you'll lose weight, who wouldn't when all you're doing is NOT eating. But, these types of fad diets starve your body of the nutrients and fats it needs to function properly and lose weight. Yes, you heard me, you need to eat fat to lose weight. If you don't eat fat your body thinks its being starved (because it is) and guess what it will do… it will hold onto fat because it needs it for energy and it will begin digesting your muscles. Eewww!
So, what do we do?
Eat foods that are as close to nature as possible.
Now, I'm not saying to go out and eat dirt. I'm saying to eat clean, naturally occurring, non-processed, pesticide-free and hormone-free foods. These ‘close to nature' foods are the easiest on your body, most specifically, your liver (which is your bodies major detox organ).
The whole idea of doing a “detox” is to detox your liver of all the harsh environmental toxins it's exposed to. You see, these toxins stress the liver out so much that it basically just stops doing its job leaving you feeling like a gnarly wasteland. Yummy.
Here are 5 tips for the best detox diet you can actually live on and function optimally on, all the time:
1. Eat Organic. Period. Non-organic food contains chemical and pesticides and hormones and antibiotics which are all toxic to you and your liver.
2. Keep it simple. Get the sauce on the side, or better yet, skip it. Most dressings, condiments and sauces are loaded with sugars and chemical additives. Instead dress your salad with plain ol' olive oil and vinegar. And, when it comes to cooking, broil or grill your meats and fish.
3. If it sits on your counter and it doesn't go bad, don't eat it! This means don't eat anything thats processed or preserved or chemically treated. Read ingredients and skip the foods that contain chemicals you can't pronounce. Try nourishing your precious body with snacks like nuts or fruit or veggies or an organic “meal replacement bar” (my favorite ones are Lara Bars and Natures Path Organic Granola Bars). All your breads and pastas should be made from organic stone-ground whole wheat or whole grains, as these are rich in fiber and nutrients. Conventional white breads and pastas are made from chemically treated and bleached white flour. Mmmm, bleach!
4. Green Veggies Galore. Of course you should be eating plenty of fruits and veggies, all the time. But, when detoxing you should pack in the green veggies. Dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are chock full of disease fighting and age-defying antioxidants. As well they contain chlorophyll which is particularly great at ridding the body of toxins. Get your daily dose of kale, spinach, broccoli rabe and brussel sprouts!
5. Eat Fat. Feed your body good, healthy fats rich in omega-3 because they are imperative for nutrient absorption, efficient metabolism, concentration, energy level, hormonal regulation and overall good health. Feed it to your bod in the form of walnuts, avocados, flax seeds, olive oil, eggs, meat, coconut oil, ghee, organic butter and fatty fish like salmon. In addition, try supplementing with a fish oil supplement rich in omega -3’s. For brands I like Nordic Naturals, Garden of Life and Green Pastures. And, heres a little trivia for you: grass fed beef is richer in omega-3 fatty acids that conventional hormonally treated, pesticide-ridden, grain-fed beef.
Bottom line: the best kind of detox is the one you can live on–and one you can actually eat on. Eat loads of organic green veggies and fresh organic fruit (at least 3 to 4 servings of each/day), eat 8 ounces of low-fat protein each day, limit your dairy intake (a good rule of thumb is no more than 4 ounces of organic dairy/day), have one to two servings of whole-grain carbs per day, drink water and avoid processed foods.
And, if you want to completely detox, take a break from alcohol and coffee and drink liver cleansing and anti-oxidant boosting green tea and dandelion root tea instead.
Oh, and don't forget to exercise!