Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cleansing with Whole Foods: 5 Detox Tips

Get the benefits of a juice cleanse with a diet of whole foods.
(Photo © istockphoto/ranplett)

More people are cleansing to eliminate the toxins that are present in everything from the food we eat to the air we breathe. These toxins build up over time, and can lead to a long list of conditions including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and even allergies. While detoxing is often associated with juice cleanses, a liquid-only detox is not for everyone. So what do you do if you need more than juice to get through your day?

Opt for a whole foods cleanse instead, suggests Catherine Hesse, a nutrition and wellness coach at Exhale Mind Body Spa in New York City. According to Hesse, a strict diet of organic fruits, organic vegetables, purified water, and whole grains allows you to clean out your system and not feel like you’re depriving or starving yourself. And if you’re wondering if you’ll get the same benefits, worry not. “Committing to a cleanse of whole foods will release toxins while simultaneously replenishing the body with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to bring mental clarity, weight loss, healthy organ function, brain function, purified blood, clear skin, increased energy, bright eyes, increased digestive function, and hormonal balance,” says Hesse.

Below are Hesse’s five tips for a successful whole foods detox.

1. Eat lots of greens. Super greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli naturally take away what isn’t serving your body and bring in the vital life-giving nutrients most people are missing in their diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber—all of which help purify your blood, clear congestion and mucus, and promote healthy intestinal flora, among other benefits.

2. Consume “water veggies.” Water-based vegetables like cucumbers, radishes, and celery fill you up without weighing you down. Since they’re low in calories and are mostly made of water, they aid in weight loss while still loosening and moving toxins out of your body.

3. Drink water, water, and more water. As your body reaps the cleansing rewards of all the whole foods you are eating, it will need extra water to flush all the toxins out and keep you hydrated. Purified water is best to ensure you’re not putting back the same contaminants you’re trying to get rid of.

4. Lighten up your exercise routine. Your body is working overtime during a cleanse (especially if your regular diet doesn’t contain a lot of whole foods already). Keep your body, warm, comfortable, and rested. Try some gentle yoga to complete a nurtured body and spirit instead of overexerting yourself with a high-impact workout.

5. Be patient—it will get better! Because the body is eliminating toxic build-up, the body will experience an array of physical ailments. Common symptoms are fever, head or body aches, fatigue, gas, emotional irritability, tight muscles, skin irritations, loose stool, or constipation. The good news is that these symptoms are typically temporary, and you will start to feel better within a few days.


Hayden said...

Alre you supposed to feel bad when detoxing. I had a bad headache and pooped like a racecourse. Os that natural?

Maria Wakem said...

Hayden, some people experience side effects when toxins are leaving their system, headaches and more frequent bowel movements being among the most common. See tip #5, but if things don't get better, also see a doctor. :-)

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