As we move toward less active winter months, consider a fall detox. This can be a good time to renew your body, as you let go of the old and bring forth a cleaner, fresher and more vibrant you. Detoxification is about reducing your intake of toxins and improving elimination.
Elimination: Part One
The first step in your fall detox is to eliminate caffeine, alcohol and sugar. If these substances are a large part of your daily routine, ease into it slowly, reducing the amount by half every couple days. You can begin your fall detox in this way while you prepare for the more intensive detox plan.
Preparing the Mind
Begin by eliminating all negative thoughts. When you pay attention to the steady stream of thoughts in your head you may be amazed at how many are self-destructive, critical or negative. Let go of them. Replace each negative thought with a positive affirmation. Detoxing is also about a state of mind.
Now that you are in the detox mind, remember to drink lots of water. Our bodies are mostly made of water and without this essential component toxins build up in our cells and accumulate within the body. Drink at least 1.6 liters of water per day during the detox phase (about seven 8-ounce glasses). This will reduce cravings and make the elimination phase easier to stick with.
Elimination: Part Two
Remove all wheat, dairy, corn, soy and eggs from your diet. You may feel as though I have just wiped out your entire diet. Don’t despair. This is part of your internal cleansing. These are the foods that tend to increase your body’s acidity and mucous production. Removing them will improve elimination and reduce the build-up of toxins.
The Detox Plan
Upon arising: Drink a tall glass of filtered, room temperature water with the juice one-half lemon.
For breakfast: Eat a bowl of fresh fruit, followed by a bowl of cooked brown rice, quinoa, millet or amaranth. You may add a pinch of sea salt.
Lunch: 2 medium bowls of steamed vegetables. Save the water from steaming to drink later. It is full of nutrients. Choose fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, chard, asparagus and cabbage. Alternately, you may make a raw vegetable salad with a mix of dark leafy greens and some bitters, such as watercress, endive or radicchio. Toss with a simple salad dressing of lemon juice and spices.
Dinner: Eat a bowl of steamed vegetables or a salad. If you feel tired, add some protein here. You may also substitute miso soup.
After dinner: No more food, just water and herbal teas.
You can follow this detox plan for 2 to 3 days or 5 to 7 days.
Other nutrients and supplements that can aid in body detoxification include Vitamin C, NAC, chlorophyll, alpha-lipoic acid, garlic and dandelion root tea.
Now, Sweat it Out!
One of the best ways to rid the body of toxins is to sweat them out. Work up a sweat with a run, long bike-ride or trip to the sauna. The sauna with the most therapeutic benefits is the far-infrared sauna.
After the Detox
Ease into your “normal” dietary routine. You may find that you like the way the detox has made you feel. This can be the beginning of a new you – a new mindset of healthier, more sustainable living.
Vincent Pedre, M.D. is an Integrative, Holistic General Practitioner and Board-Certified Internist in private practice in New York City.
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