Hi everyone, hope your Monday’s have been good! Today I wanted to do a Monday musing post about detoxing.
*Disclaimer – I am not a qualified nutritionist, this is just my opinion and my general thoughts, always do what’s right for your body and consult a doctor if you are unsure!*
I know that the word ‘detox’ tends to bring to mind thoughts of ridiculously restricted eating plans, surviving on lemon juice and maple syrup drinks or those expensive detox kits that come with pills and potions and make promises of dramatic weight loss.
Its because of this that I actually hate the word ‘detox’. I also dislike the words ‘clean foods’ and ‘cleanse’ – as again, these words imply that food is in some way dirty. Obviously I do believe that some food is better for us than others, but for me, thinking of any food in that way isn’t healthy.
Detoxing can mean so many different things to different people, in the realm of ‘healthy living’ I have came across a number of different ‘detoxes’ in some books and in blogs, and they are all different!
I actually believe that our bodies are pretty good at detoxing themselves without the need for a defined ‘detox plan’. However, going back to my thoughts on how we are all different, I think that ‘detoxing’ in a sensible and healthy way can be of huge benefit to some people. I did a vegan, refined sugar and caffeine free detox in January this year and I really enjoyed it, although it did highlight a few issues. What I did like about it was that from my starting point (i.e. vegetarian and pretty healthy general diet) it wasn’t too restrictive, especially as it was for a whole month. It helped me to refocus and connect with my body, get myself into the right mind set for the rest of the year, experiment with some new foods and just generally feel a lot better after eating richer foods over Christmas.
I think detoxing is a very personal choice, that certainly may not be for everyone. Obviously anyone with an ED or recovering from an ED should not be restricting themselves in such a way, like wise, anyone that is very active should think hard about whether a detox plan would be supplying them with enough energy. I also think that going into a detox when the sole motivation is weight loss may not be the best approach, in my experience overly restrictive plans meant to be followed for a long period of time just set you up to fail.
For me, I think there are a few guiding principles to consider when thinking about detoxing:
- What is your motivation? Be honest with yourself and see the above paragraph!
- How long do you want to detox for? This should help guide you with how restrictive a detox you should consider. A one day juice fast may not be too bad but longer than this may not be right for you.
- What is your starting point? If your already eating a very healthy diet then jumping into a week long sugar free plan may be ok, however if your current diet is less than stellar, this could be just too restrictive for you right now.
- Get inspired: read some sensible nutrition books that include detoxes. However, make sure you read them for inspiration rather than just deciding to follow them straight off, they may not be right for you! I tend to think that all nutrition books should be read with a ‘critical consciousness’ rather than just accepted as ‘the truth’. The sheer number of nutritional books and diet plans out there with completely opposing views, theories and philosophies are testament to that! In fact I could write a whole post on ‘how best to read about nutrition and diet’!
I’ve been indicating for a while that I’m looking to do a ‘detox’ of some kind. So why do I feel I need to do one?
- Motivation: I’ve blogged quite a bit about how I’ve been feeling a bit out of balance recently, over eating late at night and feeling particularly sugared and caffeined out. I’d like to make an effort for a set period of time to really nourish my body and eat simpler foods free from refined sugar and caffeine as I feel that for me, it will help me to rebalance.
- Length of time: I have some time this week with being on holiday to take longer to prepare foods, have access to my blender and juicer therefore I’m looking at 5 days towards the end of this week.
- Staring point: I already eat a pretty spot on diet that is almost entirely vegan, so I feel that I can do something a bit more focused for those 5 days.
- Inspiration: I’ve taken inspiration from Crazy Sexy Diet and The Beauty Detox Solution to plan how I’m going to detox, however, I have just taken inspiration from these plans and will not be following them strictly at all!
So at the end of this week I’m going to do a Healthy Feast. (Much better way of looking at it than calling it a detox I think!) It will focus on eating an abundance of simple whole foods: mostly raw fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and healthy oils and fats, plus nut milks, herbal and green teas (I know that green tea contains caffeine but not enough to make me feel it). On the first and last days I’ll be eating whatever and as much as I want of those foods. On the middle three days I’ll be a little more restrictive by sticking to green juice until lunch time – this gives the digestion a break, however, if I feel like I need more than that I will be listening to my body and eating! I’ll then be adding in everything else. I’ve called this a ‘feast’ as I want there to be no doubt that this is in any way about unhealthy restriction – I’m looking forward to filling up on a mountain of fresh fruit and veggies and I’ll be hammering the avocado, nuts and healthy oils to ensure I’m still getting in a lot of calories.
A big part of this plan will be eating simple foods – I’m going to be taking a break from my usual powders and potions! So no ‘super foods’ like maca, spirulina etc. I know these are completely fine, but I think I use them so haphazardly I don’t truly reap the benefits, having a break from them and then slowly reintroducing them may be helpful for me. I’ll also be giving protein powders, the gums and stevia a miss so I can reconnect with the simple flavours and textures of whole foods. I will be using fresh dates for sweetness instead.
I’ll also be giving my usual vigorous workouts a miss and opting for more relaxed yoga and pilates. This also fits in with my ideas about my exercise plan for the future which I’ll be blogging about soon!
I feel that for me, all of this will help me to reconnect with my body, sort out my sugar cravings and get refocused for October.
Have you ever done a ‘detox’? What are your thoughts on detoxing and would you ever consider trying one?