The thought of going on a seven-day detox diet can be incredibly daunting. With so many different diets touted online and in books, it’s tough to tell which approach is right for you. And as do-it-yourself detox becomes more and more trendy, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the purpose of cleansing: focusing on whole, unprocessed foods that nurture your body and lighten your toxic load. A seven-day detox diet can be helpful if you use it as a way to begin a healthy way forward when it comes to your eating. But embarking on one every now and again to "right" eating and drinking "wrongs" is not a healthy approach.
“Alcohol may lower inhibitions, which could make you more likely to reach for unhealthy foods,” says Keri Gans, RD, Nutritionist, and Author of The Small Change Diet. Anyone who has tossed back a couple of margaritas and some chips and guac at happy hour can relate! Save the booze until after your reboot. “Once you’re firmly back on track, if you want to reintroduce alcohol in moderation, go for it,” she says.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that certain foods can both impair and enhance liver function,” Purdy says, adding that her vision of a detox diet is “short term—about one to three weeks—based on eating healthful whole foods—eg, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, herbs and spices—as well as eliminating foods that may add to the traffic jam or cause additional inflammation for some people such as refined sugar and certain food additives or preservatives.”
Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, an integrative medicine nutritionist and the author of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, who gave a presentation on detoxification at FNCE 2013, notes the importance of debate itself and appreciates the fact that RDs aren’t quick to accept any nutritional therapy without science-driven evidence. “Scientific debate is good, and I think there should always be debate whether it’s about detoxification or diabetes,” she says, adding that she believes more education is needed across the RD community on the specifics behind the detoxification process and the role nutrition plays.
9. Make it a point to learn at least one new thing each day: the name of a flower that grows in your garden, the capital of a far-off country, or the name of a piece of classical music you hear playing in your favorite clothing boutique as you shop. If it’s time for bed and you can’t identify anything you’ve learned that day, take out your dictionary and learn a new word.
The desire to achieve and to demonstrate perfection is not simply stressful; it can also be fatal, according to the British journalist Will Storr. His forthcoming book, “Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us” (Overlook), opens, alarmingly, with a chapter on suicide. Storr is disturbed by the prevalence of suicide in the United States and Britain, and blames the horror and shame of failing to meet the sky-high expectations we set for ourselves. He cites surveys that show that adolescent girls are increasingly unhappy with their bodies, and that a growing number of men are suffering from muscle dysmorphia; he interviews psychologists and professors who describe an epidemic of crippling anxiety among university students yoked to the phenomenon of “perfectionist presentation”—the tendency, especially on social media, to make life look like a string of enviable triumphs. Storr confesses that he, too, is dogged by self-loathing and suicidal thoughts. “We’re living in an age of perfectionism, and perfection is the idea that kills,” he writes. “People are suffering and dying under the torture of the fantasy self they’re failing to become.”
It’s extraordinary to be able to say: “I fought for my kids; I fought for what was right; I fought for good health; I fought to protect my company; I fought for a good career that would bless my family. I fought a good fight.” It’s good to fight the encroachment. Opposites are in conflict and you’re in the middle. If you want something valuable, you’ve got to fight for it.
Backward Scheduling: Too much to do every day? Use this simple technique to determine a realistic schedule. Write down everything you want to get done today. Then put a time estimate on each task (make sure it's not a multi-day project!) and add up the time. Things always seem to take more time than we expect so overestimate a bit Compare what you have to do with how much time you have available and adjust to fit. Of course, some things will have to move to tomorrow. At least now you're in control. Schedule your tasks into the day beginning with the time you need to finish.
In 1966 (a full eleven years before George Lucas reinvented the movie industry), Gene Roddenberry pitched an idea to t.v. execs that was so unusual in the day of Andy Griffith and Bonanza that he wound up describing it as the “Wagon Train of space.” In retrospect, that wasn’t a bad description as characters moved from one adventure to the next each week, but never really got anywhere. But that was okay. These people, even the strange one with the pointy ears, were relatable.
Not all the nutrients and other substances that contribute to good health have been identified, so eating a wide assortment of healthy whole foods like fruits and vegetables helps ensure that you get all of the health-promoting benefits that foods can offer. If your diet, day after day, consists of the same half dozen foods, it could fall short. In addition, varying your food choices will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that might be present in particular foods.
Calcium. As well as leading to osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium in your diet can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Whatever your age or gender, it’s vital to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, limit those that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job. Learn more »
Taking a peek around, I noticed very little clothing. Women were clad in shorts and tank tops or sports bras and briefs. Most men were topless – shorts only. A couple wore loose cotton shirts, which I thought was smart. They could suffice as a towel, in case one didn’t have one to wipe one’s sweaty face. Which I didn’t. And that was unfortunate, because within seconds I was pouring buckets of it.
Keeping a food diary can help you identify foods that don't agree with you. Every day, list the foods you eat and any symptoms that occur. Once you pinpoint a food that seems to trigger your symptoms, cut it out of your diet for a couple weeks and see what happens. Then add it back in. If the symptoms went away with its subtraction but return with its addition, you've found your culprit.
But I recently found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed by my own self-improvement journey. I’m working to get out of debt, learn more about money management and change my mindset around money. I’m trying to incorporate more yoga and meditation into my life. I hired a running coach to help me train for my next half-marathon. I’m working to build my health coaching business, which means every day I’m learning about business strategies, marketing and more. I’m working on being more communicative with my partner. I’m changing my diet to get relief from my regularly occurring headaches. I’m learning about essential oils and how to incorporate them into my daily life. I’m trying to lose a few pounds. I’m trying to be a better friend and make more time for phone calls, coffee dates and hanging out. I’m working on making self-care more of a priority. I’d like to read the stack of personal development books I’ve ordered from Amazon over the past year. I’m trying to be more present. The list goes on.
The 3-Day Detox Diet. Don't have 2-weeks for a full detox? This 3-day detox is my own plan. It's easy, it's simple and there are no fancy foods required. In fact, it follows guidelines developed by the USDA's MyPlate nutritional program. This is the plan that I use when I need to reset my taste buds after a busy party season or a vacation full of indulgent foods.
Exercising at least 20 minutes each day can have enormous health benefits. Most people don’t make exercise a habit, and in turn, suffer from a lack of vitality. The body needs to move and you need to break a sweat, for it to be considered exercise. And, while walking 10,000 steps each day increases your overall health, it’s not the same as exercising.
Just ask my ex-boyfriend from 15 years ago, who got fed up with my unkempt ways. He was former Navy and I couldn’t keep up, no matter how many times he stressed the significance of folded socks or scolded me for walking outside barefoot and tracking dirt into the living room. One morning, home from my new job on nightshift after graduating nursing school, I tripped over a package sitting in the doorway. It was a bag of cleaning supplies; Windex, Lysol, dish soap etc. I got the hint, and he got the boot. Soon he was living in his own apartment, free to scrub and fold to his military heart’s content.
"The term 'detox' has become a buzzword that is often misused by the media and consumers," says Jackie Armstrong, MPH, RDN, EP-C. Jackie is a Performance & Wellness Nutritionist at Stanford University and the founder of Well-Fueled.com. She says that detox diets are often misunderstood. "Our organs and tissues are constantly in a state of detoxification — getting rid of unwanted substances produced by the body or from our environment." She goes on to explain that research is lacking to support the effectiveness of most detox diets.
“You are so brave to go alone!” I hear this a lot. The former me, the girl that lived life as though she was ticking off inventory items, and trying to awkwardly fit into a strict set of guidelines, feels a bit stunned herself. But the new me that knows life is short and meant to be lived with abandon….well, she’s thrilled – and only a fraction nervous.
Find a simple exercise regimen and stick to it. Regardless of what kind of exercise you do, simply do something. Whether it’s light jogging, weights, yoga, or some other lightly-strenuous activity, merely getting started will help to build the habit. Don’t expect to go from zero to hero overnight. Building this habit takes time. Start small and build slowly over time.
Foroutan says that eating detoxifying foods, beverages, and spices almost always is beneficial, but because of the lack of evidence-based, peer-reviewed clinical trials evaluating specific detoxification protocols, she says certain patient populations, such as pregnant and breast-feeding women, shouldn’t follow any vigorous detox program due to the potential for toxins to be released to the fetus or through breast milk.
Your tip So-called toxins don't cause belly bloat and lethargy, but too much salt will. In addition to cutting back on pickles, olives, and chips, watch for stealthy sources such as canned veggies and condiments. Look for high-fiber packaged snacks that contain less than 100 milligrams of sodium per serving to help keep the digestive system humming.
Your tip Restricting food in stressful times with a detox is counterproductive because it deprives your body of energy. You can get plenty of immune-bolstering vitamin C by filling half your plate with bright produce such as broccoli, bell peppers, kiwifruit, tomatoes, and strawberries at every meal, including in restaurants. "The lure of detox is that it's a quick fix," Blatner says. "But whatever you do for a few days will never make up for how you treat your body the other 362 days a year."
Avoid alcoholic drinks (such as wine, beer, and spirits) during the cleanse. Alcohol is metabolized in the body mainly by the liver. It is broken down briefly to acetaldehyde, a chemical that has the potential to damage liver cells and body tissues, before it is further broken down and eliminated from the body. Besides lightening the load on your liver, avoiding alcohol (and caffeine) for the week can help to shift habits you've cultivated.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.
Spend 15 to 30 minutes every single day listing off what you have to be grateful for. Even if you feel like you have nothing to be grateful for, search for something. Maybe you’re in a financial hole, but at least you have the intellect in your mind and the ability to walk, talk, and reason. If you search, you can always find something to be grateful for.