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Going on a detox diet? Steps to take

Last updated on: October 28, 2012 12:50 IST

Going on a detox diet? Steps to take

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Courtesy HealthCareMagic.com

Detoxification basically involves eating the right foods and eliminating toxins. So read ahead to know the steps to take, the tips to incorporate and a glossary of what to eat and what to avoid while on a detox diet.

We all know what detox diets are -- they are meant to cleanse the body of toxins and can also help you lose weight.

A detox diet cannot, however, fulfill the normal basic calorific requirements of the body and so, when embarking upon one it is important to ensure your wellness throughout.

Step One: Eliminating toxins from your system

Detox essentially involves the removal of all kinds of processed and artificially flavoured foods and drinks from the diet.

Although it is not scientifically proven, a detox diet is supposed to eliminate all toxins (a function performed naturally by your kidneys and liver on a daily basis).

It is not recommended to follow any detox plan for more than seven days.

There are a number of detox diets that people follow, like the natural liver detox, lemon detox diet, liver detox diet, cleansing diet etc.


Photographs: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS/Wikimedia Commons
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Step Two: The right approach to a detox diet

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Rather than following a strict 'all-water', 'all-fruit' or 'all-juice' detox diet, you should follow a diet that allows you to eat, which will also avoid pushing yourself towards the risks associated with detox diets.

The key is to know what to eat and what not to eat. Planning your diet will help better. You don't need to resort to extreme means and menus.


Image: Don't follow fadds like an 'all-juice' detox diet; choose one that allows you to eat
Photographs: Agricultural Research Service/Wikimedia Commons
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Step Three: Practices to follow alongside

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  • Practice relaxation techniques to support a detox diet.
  • A stop in the sauna for a quick steam is good.
  • You can also try a variety of these options to feels good: aromatherapy baths, spa massages, saunas, visualisation exercises, walking (but never engage in strenuous physical exercise while on a detox diet, since you will feel weaker), yoga and meditation.

Image: A stop at the sauna for a quick steam is good while on a detox diet
Photographs: Todtanis/Wikimedia Commons
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Tips to detox

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  • All natural herbs and supplements that are made from dandelion root, ginger, milk thistle and licorice are known to enhance the detoxification process.
  • These are found in detox teas, which can be purchased at most grocery and health-food outlets.
  • The detox teas also help to protect the liver from getting overused during the detoxification process.
  • It is good to refrain from taking any unnecessary medications or using any chemical-based products that involve inhalation, and/or cleansing products during the detoxification process.
  • Try to drink at least a minimum of eight glasses of warm or lukewarm water per day and take enough time to chew food well, especially grains.

Image: Dandelion root is a natural supplement and enhances the detoxification process
Photographs: Zero-X at Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
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Foods to be allowed during a detox diet

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  • Fruits: Any fresh or frozen fruits can be consumed.
  • Vegetables: All fresh vegetables are allowed, in particular cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic, beetroot and all red and green leafy vegetables.
  • Rice: All forms of rice, which include rice cakes, crackers and pasta, can be eaten. Consuming brown rice is better.
  • Other grains and cereals: Split yellow and green peas, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, quinoa, amaranth, millet and chickpeas are a few that can be purchased at any health food store or grocery stores.
  • Nuts and other seeds: Unsalted nuts or seeds can be used to sprinkle over vegetable salads or eaten as a snack. You can also grind them and use as powder. You can use a variety of the available options as per your liking: flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts. However, avoid the use of peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Oil: Oils containing unsaturated fats are better. Extra-virgin olive oil is a good option.
  • Condiments: Any vegetable salt, sea salt, vinegar, soy sauce, all herbs and spices.
  • Tea: All herbal teas and green tea.
  • Beverages: Water, lemon juice, unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, rice milk etc.
  • Vitamins and minerals : You can take these vitamins and minerals and the foods that contain them to help support your body during detox better: any good multivitamin with selenium, molybdenum, and zinc, vitamins C, A and E, choline and methionine-containing foods, sulfur containing foods.

  • Image: All herbal teas and green tea are permitted while on a detox diet
    Photographs: Courtesy Gud2Eat.com
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    Foods to be avoided while on a detox diet

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    • Sugar: All sugar, products that contain sugar and hidden forms of sugar, for example sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Natural sweeteners like erythritol and stevia are allowed.
    • Dairy products: All milk, butter, cream, cheese, sour cream and other dairy products.
    • Wheat: All wheat and wheat-containing products, such as pasta and bread etc.
    • Gluten: All the gluten-containing grains: wheat , spelt, triticale, kamut, rye, and barley.
    • Coffee: All coffee and caffeine-related products.
    • Other : Anything containing yeast, alcohol, food additives and preservatives, chocolate and high-fat foods, fried foods, red meat.

    Image: Avoid all dairy products while detoxing
    Photographs: Sammis Ochoa/Wikimedia Commons
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