One of the biggest challenges that people face when they begin a whole body detox, is that they focus more on what they cannot eat rather than getting excited about what they can! The goal of any good detox is to provide as little stress as possible on your body while cleansing your gut from harmful pathogens and the release of toxins. This is something that can be easily done when you: 1) reduce your exposure to environmental toxins; 2) greatly reduce or remove sugar from your diet; and 3) prosper in meals loaded with alkaline-rich foods.
Most cleanses or detox programs have one thing in common. NO SUGAR!
Ever wonder why Kombucha has sugar listed in its ingredients? It's not there just to make the drink tastier, its role is to provide a food source for the living microbes growing inside. This quick-to-burn fuel helps good and bad bacteria grow with ease. Sugar feeds bacteria--it's that simple. When your body is telling you that it’s time for a cleanse, you should probably limit your sugar or try to cut it out altogether. Some detox programs like the Wild Rose Herbal Detox go so far as even limiting tropical fruit because they typically have higher amount of sugars compared to cooler climate apples and pears. This precaution is especially useful for those trying to rid their body of the fungal overgrowth Candida. (1)
Although it can solve your need for convenience, plastics have one major downside to your health. Over time, they gradually leach into your body. Now, just hold on before you start throwing out all of your plastic containers--it’s important to note that not all plastics are created equal.
#1 Recycling Plastic
Probably the most common number you will see is the number 1. This plastic can be found in most disposable water bottles and soft plastic builds. Although generally marked as “safe” in terms of contaminants, this plastic should be used with caution when temperatures may fluctuate. Extreme temperature changes (both hot & cold) can lead to degradation of the material into your water. Avoid using water bottles that have been left in your car in winter or summer months.
#2 Recycling Plastic
Number 2 is the safest form of re-usable plastic. This option has a waxy exterior and is often used in milk or juice jugs. Unlike the clear plastic noted above, it is one of the only plastics that is deemed “safe” for re-use by leading health experts like David Suzuki (2).
#7 Recycling Plastic
Probably the most noteworthy of all the plastic hype, number 7 is made using the dreaded BPA. For those not aware of the health concerns BPA holds, its job is to act as a hardening agent in plastic materials. This chemical has been shown to leach into your body and disrupt your hormone receptors. No wonder this plastic is being avoided like the plague!
Any good cleanse is made great by incorporating regular exercise. Tearing muscles gives your body the chance to release harmful build-ups of unwanted toxins caught up in your system. As these toxins make their way through your body you should be minimizing the damage through a boost in antioxidants. A general rule of thumb is to gravitate towards colorful fruits and vegetables, giving the most bang for your buck.
Sometimes the easiest way to incorporate all of these detox friendly ingredients is to juice them together into one detoxifying drink. This recipe is one of our favorites from the “Joyous Detox” book written by best-selling author Joy McCarthy. It bundles the perfect amount of revitalizing foods full of antioxidant all into one delicious drink. The strawberries work well for a detox since they are low in sugar compared to other fruits. The beets in this drink are loaded with antioxidant goodness to combat those free radicals released though exercise.
Photo and recipe credit: Joyous Health
Place ingredients one by one through your juicer. Enjoy immediately!
When coming to the end of your detox it’s important to start thinking about your next steps. You have cleaned the slate for a new you, now it’s time to set the stage for a healthy diet! Some probioticsare better than others, each one serving their own purpose in your digestive tract.
One of the more common strains is Acidophilus. This variety dominates the capsules of many probiotic options. It helps produce vitamin K by breaking down the lactase found in milk. Encountered often in yogurt, this probiotic works well in dairy diets and is being studied as a way to help those with lactose sensitivities. While in the body, acidophilus creates an environment that makes it harder for harmful pathogens like candida to succeed. (4)
Less of a strain and more of a colony, this probiotic grouping is said to comprise the majority of your gut bacteria. Neurologist Dr. Perlmutter has outlined greatly the effect of this colony in relation to its greatest rival form - Firmicutes. It has been shown that those with higher levels of Bacteroidetes tend to carry less body weight than those high in Firmicutes. The great relationship between having more or less of these colonies speaks to each person’s diet. The vegetable-loving Bacteroidetes have a passion for fibre in the form of vegetables and fruit. While the Firmicutes have a unique ability to extract more energy from food. Although research is still in the beginning stages, there are some strong correlations between how impactful these probiotics are in your day-to-day health. For more information on these complex relationships dive into Dr. Permutters research in the book Brain Maker. (5)
Dr. Recommended Strains
As mentioned above, Dr. Perlmutter has been doing some impactful research on beneficial probiotics. For those looking for an easy answer and greater convenience try one of his formulated probiotic options.
One important component of revitalizing your gut bacteria is incorporating more fibrous foods in your meal planning. Foods high in fibre are great for your gut bacteria health.(6) Think back to the section on Bacteroidetes, by increasing these types of strains through fibre-forming food you allow your body to absorb more vitamins and nutrients through digestive enzymes. Here are a few of our favorite fibre-rich foods that are easy to incorporate into lunch and dinner, especially helpful for those picky eaters you have at home.
Sometimes called “Sun Chokes” for their bright yellow flowers that grow above the soil, this root vegetable is grown and harvested similar to a potato. Although much healthier of an option, these roots strike a similar resemblance to the potato when cooked or sliced. They have a creamy white flesh that is slightly sweet, yet lacks all the starch found in potatoes. Full of dietary fibre, Jerusalem artichokes are great fried like potatoes or cooked into a soup with a medley of other root vegetables. These little gems are not commonly found in the produce section of your regular grocery store however, Goodness Me! prides in stocking our shelves with sun chokes any chance we get! You will often find this root vegetable nestled up next to the beets and parsnips among other fresh produce.
Try these baked Jerusalem Artichokes for a fibre-rich meal your family will love. Simply swap these out in place of any potato side and you will find that the lack of starch in these little tubers will be noticed right away. Rather than leaving you feeling full and bloated, Jerusalem Artichokes offer a light, filling sensation that can be easily enjoyed.
This sneaky vegetable is sometimes disguised under the name “inulin” in your treats and snacks. Similar to the Jerusalem artichokes, Chicory root has a great amount of dietary fibre to care for your new probiotics.Sha Sha Bread Company has made good use of this ingredient in their pre-biotic snacks made to fuel your probiotics. What easier of way could there be to have your kids eat healthy than to sneak the foods you want into their cookies?!?
Hopefully these tips and tricks have been able to clear the fog of your detox confusion. Results are different for everyone while going through a detox, so it is important to listen to your body first and foremost when trying something new. If you have any tips or detox recipes to share, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below with what has helped you through this process.