You’ve heard it time and time again – detoxify. It’s a word that has been thrown around quite often and has been developing a large buzz around the important role detoxification plays in weight loss and overall health and wellbeing. In this guide I will go through all the best methods and techniques that I have been found to be useful. This guide will also cover the tools and tricks of the trade that I have used and successfully implemented.
What is detoxification?
Detoxification is basically cleansing or expelling the build of toxins from the body. These toxins are common place within our bodies, these toxins come from the environment, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and through the build up of bacteria in our bodies.
Why is detoxification so important for your body?
Toxins that build up within our bodies lead to inflammation. This inflammation in turn causes organs to work below capacity lacking the proper excretion abilities leading the body to becoming acidic this then leads to numerous other diet related disease and illnesses. One primary cause of weight gain is toxin build up within the liver once the liver is overloaded it slows down the rate in which it filters toxins from our bodies. Another primary reason to detoxify is to allow the digestive system to recover. Our digestive system is always under huge stress as it tries to process the almost indigestible foods that we consume on a daily basis. One of these indigestible foods is gluten which is detrimental in overall health, another major player being dairy more specifically lactose. Gut healing is the precursor for better organ function, weight loss, longevity, disease prevention and overall health and vitality.
How do you know if you need to detoxify?
Due to the build up of toxins in our environment there is an ever increasing need to detoxify our bodies. We are constantly bombarded from toxins left right and centre. The build up of toxins in body often leaves tell tale signs these can be and are not limited to:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Weight gain
- Brain fog
- Mental confusion
- Irregular bowel movements
- Difficulty sleeping
- Puffy eyes
- Dull skin
These afore-mentioned symptoms are related to how well our organs function; especially the liver. Our organs have to work at maximum capacity in order for our entire system to work in unison to help regulate optimal function.
Different detoxification methods
There are detox programs which people will follow that are normally setup over a certain period of time which incorporate eating clean foods mostly a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Other detoxification modes are through sweating and even breathing. The release of carbon dioxide from our bodies brings with it toxins, this method is great, however it requires a very long time to detoxify the body using only breathing techniques.
There are 5 primary modes of detoxification, these are:
1. Juice cleanse, Juice fast or Juice feast
The juice cleanse is where a diet of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables are consumed throughout the day. This cleanse can be known as a fast, the fast is restricted to a maximum consumption for roughly 4 litres per day of fruit and vegetable juice. On the flipside a juice feast allows a person to consume a minimum of 4 litres, why 4 litres? As it is the minimum effective load of calories that one needs to go by his or her day and to function normally without starving the body with much needed calories.
2. Smoothie cleanse/fast/feast
Smoothies act in a similar way to the juice fast/feast. However smoothies contain the fibrous left over’s from blending fruits and vegetables. This fiber is often insoluble fiber which requires the digestive system to use energy in order to break down this fiber – remember that we are looking to heal the gut rather by making it work less.
3. Clean eating cleanse, primary consuming fruits and vegetables
This is another simple mode of detoxification is to eat primarily uncooked fruits and vegetables for a period of time. This is the best way of introducing a juice fast/feast/cleanse and allows the body to rid itself of any bad habits that may cause withdrawal symptoms such as coffee and sugar addictions.
Exercise is a key to detoxification. Not only does exercise allow the body to expel toxins through sweat, it aids in burning fat and regulating weight loss hormones in the body.
5. Sugar detoxification
A sugar detox works by cutting all forms of foods which contain sugar, whether it is processed foods, soda, alcohol or adding sugar to your tea or coffee. Sugar is an incredibly addictive substance which has dyer consequence on health due to sugars ability to increase weight gain and not to mention its carcinogenic effects.
How often should we detox?
Detoxification plans usually recommend detoxing around 3-4 times a year. Each time you detox can be a different period of time, which is completely up to you. You can also commence juice fasts simply when you feel the need to fast when your body requires to be rebooted.
What is the best method of detoxification and why is it so important?
One of the best ways of detoxification is to commence a juice fast. There is also another option to drink smoothies. Smoothies are extremely beneficial; however the whole aim of the game is to give our digestive system a rest in order to heal itself. With smoothies we are receiving a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber; the insoluble fiber cannot be processed as easily as the soluble variety – making our digestive system work harder than it has to. Juice fasting allows the direct absorption of nutrients into our blood stream with the added part of soluble fiber which is contained in left over pulp from the juicing process. Juice is absorbed incredibly fast leaving the digestive system relatively untouched therefore allowing your gut to heal quicker.
What not to consume when juice fasting
It is important to remember that juice fasting focuses on limiting the amount of toxins that enter the body and it is essential not to ever incorporate liquids such as milk, coffee, caffeinated teas, soft drinks, processed or pasteurized juices of any kind, protein shakes and powders liquid meal replacements and so forth.
What is the best value for money juicer?
There are different uses for different juice, some juicers specialise in faster juicing times, while the masticating juicers are slower and often have a higher yield in juicing foods such as leafy greens.
The Breville Juice Fountain has been featured in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and has been a worldwide best seller. This juicer is a centrifugal juicer which means that it works through shredding produce through a steel shredder to extract the juice. The Juice Fountain is extremely quick and extremely powerful. It demolishes hard fruits and vegetables almost instantaneously. This is a great juicer for people that are new to juicing and have busy lifestyles. The Breville Juice Fountain has dishwasher safe parts and can be cleaned very easily. However on the downside the Juice Fountain has a tough time juicing leafy greens. If you have a busy lifestyle and are limited to getting just that one quick juice a day you are looking for then this is the juicer for you. This juicer is a great entry level juicer which is priced around the $150-$299 mark depending on the model. Personally I have owned this juicer and it is definitely one to consider buying.
The Omega VRT350 is a vertical single style auger juicer, which means that the fruits and vegetables are basically squeezed to extract the juice and the nutrients. This juicer runs at 80 rpm which is a relatively slow speed, which means that this juicer is much quieter than the Breville Juice Fountain. The Omega VRT350 juicer has more parts to clean than the Breville, however the parts are not dish washer safe – but this is relatively easy and does not take much time for clean up. The advantage of this juicer is that the quality of the juice is higher in comparison to centrifugal juicers such as the Breville. As this juicer is an auger style juicer the juice does not become exposed to large amounts of air, therefore reducing oxidisation of the juice. The Omega is amazing at juicing leafy greens and maximises the yield significantly. Leafy greens are one of the best sources of nutrients on the planet and this juicer does extremely well in juicing greens.
The Champion Juicer is a masticating juicer which means that produce is literally chewed and pushed through a rotating cutting blade to extract the juice. This is another slow rpm juicer which makes it quiet but not as quiet as the Omega. This juicer is perfect for juicing harder fruits and vegetables and gets a great yield. However the Champion Juicer G5-PG-710 does not juice leafy greens as well as the Omega does but does generally better than the Breville. This juicer is known to be an extremely durable juicer due to its build quality. People who have purchased this juicer have used it for very long periods of time without almost ever having any troubles. If there are any issues there is a 10 year warranty on all the parts, 3 year warranty on the machine and a 1 year warranty on the cutting blade.
- If you are lacking time and money go for the Breville.
- If you are looking for something that has longer life, quiet and have plenty of time on your hands go for the Omega VRT.
- If you are looking for something that is in-between and has great durability go for the Champion Juicer.
How much juice should I consume on a juice fast?
Normally a juice fast requires a minimum of approx. 500ml to 800ml (17-27 oz) with each meal of juice that being breakfast, lunch and dinner this gives you enough calories that you need to function for the day aim to have around 1200 calories per day as a minimum whilst on the juice fast. It is completely up to you how much you would like to consume as a rule of thumb drink around 3-4 litres of juice a day (3-4 quarts of juice). The minimum should always be adhered to and everything over the minimum is fine as long as you do not force yourself over consuming juice – you have to listen to your body.
How long should I juice fast?
There have been numerous accounts of people completing 100 day juice fasts, although this is entirely possible these people have had experience in developing their fasting abilities. The normal prescribed juicing periods are 3 days, 5 days, 10 days and even up to 15 days. If you are beginner like so many others feel free to try a 3-4 day juice fast then re-evaluate how you feel at the end of your juice fast to see if you are able to go longer.
What can I juice?
The most beneficial foods to juice are vegetables, these are the foods that contain the most phyto-chemicals and out the plant kingdom. Leafy greens have the most phyto-chemicals making them the most beneficial addition to any juice. A good idea would be to juice as much of the leafy greens as you possibly can, so that you can maximise your nutrient intake rapidly added with some sort of sweet fruit such as an apple. The normal ratio to most green juices is 1 part fruit and 3 parts vegies. By all means feel free to try the numerous other recipes out there and keep changing up the recipes after all variety is the spice of life.
Herbs especially the leafy green herbs such as cilantro/coriander and parsley are a great addition to juices again they are leafy greens and contain high amounts of beneficial nutrients. Other herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric and garlic can also be juiced to add another detoxification component to your juices.
All fruits and vegetables that are high in water content, often fruits – when bitten into tend to be juicy and full of liquid, this does not include fruits such as avocados or bananas. Juicing avocados and bananas might clog up your juicer and turn into a paste when it is extracted.
Before you start a juice fast
Before starting a juice fast it is critical that you ease your way in. Start by eating clean meals with low protein and fats for 3 days up to 1 week incorporating 1-2 juices a day throughout the week. Once your body has become accustomed to the large amount of nutrients that you are consuming, it will lessen the risk of many of the side effects of going detoxifying your body. These side effects are headaches, nausea, fatigue and mood swings. Don’t worry, this will pass. It is simply the body’s reaction to the large amount of toxins that is being flushed out of your system. It’s also a good idea to quit caffeinated beverages and sugary food during this period of time as withdrawal symptoms may be amplified during your juice fast.
During the juice fast
During the juice fast you may feel slightly sick and incredibly sluggish for the first 1-3 days and almost any sort of exertion will leave you tired. You may also experience a number of symptoms that arise when your body is going into detoxification mode and is in the process of eliminating all the unwanted toxins that your body and organs have accumulated over time. During the period of your juice fast whether it be 3 days 5 days or up to 15 days, you must drink plenty of water between each meal (juice), your daily suggested intake of water around 8-9 glasses or as much as you please to keep your body hydrated and to add another level of detoxification to your fast.
After a juice fast
After your juice fast you can resume eating solid foods which are again made up of fruits and vegetables for up to 3 days minimum and can be carried out to a week. This allows the body to start regaining a feel for solids. In the week after – if you are a meat eater, start introducing a little cooked fish into your diet twice a week. After this week start bringing back cooked any cooked meat and eggs, keeping in mind to eat a plant strong diet.
What to avoid on a juice fast
During your juice fast you will want to avoid liquids such as sodas, pasteurized juices, all forms of milk, including nut milks, grain milks and seed milks. Protein powder cannot be added to a juice fast plan, if you are looking for extra protein add Spirulina or bee pollen instead or even soaked Chia seeds.
Give your juices a kick!
You can also consider adding a bit of a kick to your juices by incorporating Spirulina, blue green algae, chlorella powder, liquid chlorophyll, powdered greens or powdered high antioxidant foods (berry powder). Spirulina is great due to its high protein concentration. These powders can be added to regular filtered or spring water and most definitely can be added to coconut water. You might also want to add pre-soaked chia seeds to your water or juice or even psyllium husks for added fiber to your juices. This is a personal choice for people as some people might experience constipation. Another great option would be to add some Aloe Vera to your juices, definitely an ingredient that works well with clearing out the bowels which requires minimum digestion. Want good fatty acids? Add some ground flaxseed or MCT oil to your juice. Foods such as bee pollen and Maca powder give juices that extra hit of protein and keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day without crashing while also allowing you to sleep like a baby at night.
How to incorporate detoxification into your daily routine and how I do it
A lot of people start off with a juice fast or a detox diet for a few days and this is awesome and is something that everyone should undertake every 3 months or so. However, a better answer would be to incorporate these practices in small doses after your initial detox to continue having the benefits of detoxifying your system and creating the perfect balance of alkalinity within your body.
My daily detox routine goes like this:
- Upon rising: 2 glasses of warm lemon water straight out of bed.
- Walking: Walking first thing in the morning after drinking your lemon water will allow your body to start it’s detoxification for the day allowing the body to expel toxins through the skin and breath and kick starts the digestion process.
- Breakfast: A green juice or green smoothie for breakfast. I ensure not to eat any food for breakfast as it prolongs intermittent fasting, another tool to help the body stay in fat burning mode and help lose those extra pounds.
- Throughout the day: I drink low caffeinated green tea around 3 times a day. This is also accompanied with copious amounts of water sometimes with the addition of Spirulina and pre-soaked Chia seeds.
- 20 minutes in the sun: Natural UV light has powerful detoxification purposes it is great to get around 20 minutes of sunlight a day with some part of your skin exposed to the sun. Ensure that you are properly protected by wearing a hat or clothing that appropriately covers the more sensitive areas of your skin such as your head and face.
Well I hope that this little guide has helped you in some way and has given you a better understanding on how to start a juice fast and how to incorporate simple detoxification principles into your daily routine.
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To your health and wellbeing!
Photo Credit: Stiftelsen Elektronikkbransjen