Busting 5 Popular Detox Myths
Do you need to detox? When I ask people why, I almost always get a resounding yes! The reason more often than not is “to lose weight”. Wait! That is not the purpose of detox, and what is most likely happening is that the body is going into starvation mode. In this two-part article I will share the truth and myths about detoxification. Let’s begin with the myths:
Myth 1: Detox to lose weight
You may initially experience some weight loss. But this is only the body expelling fluids, and is slowly feeling the harmful results of not getting adequate nutrition. This kind of weight loss is neither healthy, nor permanent. Soon you will regain all those lost kilos, and maybe even a few more, as the starved body quickly learns to store everything it receives, never knowing when starvation might strike again.
The best kind of detox protocol involves respecting the needs of your body, and not forcing it into some kind of submission. These days, "nutritionists" are mushrooming everywhere you look, and I’m not sure that they all have the required medical knowledge. In fact, an ‘one diet fits all’ approach is as meaningless as clothes that come in ‘free size’. Most people yo-yo between gluttony, dieting and detox. If you would only allow common sense to prevail, you will realise that this see-saw is doing more harm to your body, than those extra pounds could. Detox and diet does not permanently remove the ill effects of unhealthy eating.
Myth 2: Detox intermittently for success
Yet another myth is that detox needs to be done intermittently. Detox must be a constant process if it is going to work. We keep our external spaces clean every day, but readily agree that the inner space needs attention only once in a while.
So, then, what is a detox? It is exactly what it says – removing the toxins from your body. The best way to stop the body from being filled with toxins, is to stop filling it with toxins! Cut out toxin-rich foods such as red meats, dairy, heavy carbs, refined sugars, salt that is so-called ‘enriched’ with chemicals, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and other stimulants from your daily diet. If you include these foods only as an occasional treat, you will remain healthy, not suffer the emotional effects of deprivation, and have no need to detox.
If you have already been consuming a lot of these toxin-rich foods, then start the detox protocol by consuming a lot of water, and liquids like green tea, coconut water, lemongrass-turmeric-ginger tea, fresh vegetables and some lean protein for three days. Your body is then ready for the everyday detox. It can now start converting the good food that you eat into clean energy.
The everyday detox must include plenty of fresh vegetables, some lean protein, almonds, walnuts, seeds and some fruit. Add a teaspoon of pure cow ghee, turmeric gel capsules and herbal teas to your daily plan. Grated coconut, chickpeas, beans and lentils can also be eaten in small quantities. Sauté vegetables and protein in some coconut oil or olive oil, and top with shredded basil leaves for a healthy and delicious meal.
Myth 3: Detoxing is easier with supplements
A myth that so many propagate is that the detox process must include factory-made, chemical-rich supplements and powders. You can get all the nutrients these artificial supplements promise from Mother Nature. I don’t know about you, but I would trust her more than anything that is processed and made in a factory.
Myth 4: Snacking is not allowed when you detox
Here’s another myth. Of course a snack is allowed! But, you must remember that a snack is not a meal, so go easy on the portion size and make sensible swaps. So, replace fried potato chips with roasted vegetable chips; biscuits with a homemade almond flour and raisin cookie; noodles with zoodles; and popcorn with roasted makhanas. Enjoy a handful of chana sing or sukha bhel with your evening green tea.
Myth 5: Be rigid about your detox
I don’t know anyone who happily and diligently follows anything that is imposed upon them. A good detox protocol is extremely flexible, and gives you the permission to make changes while providing you with a broad enough structure within which you can stay healthy.
Listen to your body. Detox is not about deprivation, and if you are struggling with it, you are doing it all wrong. Detox is the best kind of self-care – knowing what is good for your body, and only consuming what it needs. Food is not your enemy. Neither does it make you unhealthy. But your attitude towards food, and the trips you make between starvation and greed certainly do.
The second part of this article 5 Truths About Toxins advises you not to follow the unhealthy detox trend and discusses how the best way to detox is to change your habits.