Forget the Fads and Detox Naturally
It’s time for resolutions! This year, you’re going to get healthy if it kills you, and when it comes to fad diets and the newest exercise craze, it could come to just that.
By KD Reep
Focusing on your health is a noble and necessary priority, but in our hurried lives, trying to revamp our lifestyles overnight is unhealthy and dangerous. Forget cleanses and detox diets and vow to overhaul your health one step at a time.
“There is no merit to trendy juice or detox cleanses,” said Shannon Ledbetter, RD, LD, a clinical dietitian and wellness coordinator of nutrition services at CHI St. Vincent in Hot Springs. “People pay lots of money for something the liver and kidneys already do. They’ll start fad juice and detox cleanses, and once they are off of the program, they begin to gain weight, possibly more than what they weighed before.”
This rebound weight gain is hard on the body and harder on motivation. Consuming only juice, a mix of cayenne pepper and lemon water or teas will cause you to lose weight, most of which is water, but will leave you lethargic. While the fast drop in weight is satisfying, your body compensates by slowing metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight—and keep it off—afterwards.
“There are ways to naturally detox your body with a healthy lifestyle change that can keep weight off,” Ledbetter said. “The most important thing is to stay hydrated with water and non-caffeinated fluids.”
Kicking the caffeine habit can be a huge challenge, but Ledbetter’s tips on how to do it slowly will ensure success.
“Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day,” she said. “If you are trying to cut back on caffeinated drinks, slowly decrease the amount you consume each day and substitute with more water. If stopping by the coffee shop or whipping through the drive-thru are part of your daily routine, challenge yourself to go through every other day. Once you’ve accomplished that, shoot for twice a week. Eventually, that will become more of a hassle than a habit, and you’ll give it up completely.”
Another way to stay hydrated and cleanse your body naturally and healthfully is to eat three servings of fruit and four servings of vegetables every day.
“That’s a half-cup of each, which isn’t a lot,” Ledbetter said. “Fruit with breakfast and lunch, as well as a snack each day, and you’ve achieved that goal. For veggies, a salad at lunch and two helpings of mixed vegetables at dinner is all you need to fulfill this requirement.”
By eating these portions, you’ll have also consumed your daily requirement of fiber, which helps keep you full and eliminate waste.
“Set a goal of consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day,” she said. “I know it sounds like a lot, but when you eat whole grains, nuts and seeds as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, greens, kale and radishes, you’ll get your daily allotment quickly. Also, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions and leeks are full of fiber and water, and these foods support your body’s own natural detoxification pathways. Drinking green tea will help, too.”
Lastly, Ledbetter recommends consuming adequate protein—between 60 and 70 grams per day—to help naturally detox the body.
“Consider taking a multivitamin and multimineral to fill any gaps in a healthy diet since certain vitamins and minerals enable the body’s detoxification processes to function,” she said. “Eat naturally fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut or take a high-quality probiotic to help the body manage toxins from microbes that live in the gut. By making these changes you can naturally detox your body and maintain a healthy lifestyle forever.”