Detoxing can be a tricky and daunting undertaking, especially if you’ve never done it before. But there are a ton of health benefits to cutting back on not-so-good-for-you foods and giving your body a break so it can cleanse and reset. Detoxing isn't for everyone, but if you've thoughtfully committed to doing it, know that you're taking care of yourself. Ultimately, you will feel refreshed, radiant, and powerful. Below are tips and information on how to detox: what to expect and how to set yourself up for success.
Human bodies are like machines. We need to clean their pieces from time to time and let them rest. The easiest and most inexpensive way to do so is through a cleanse. By healthfully juicing for a couple of days, you can eliminate toxins that have accumulated over time and allow your body’s digestive system to rest and repair. Most issues begin and end with the digestive tract so keeping it happy is key. By eliminating toxins, you unclog the clogged and purify the body.
How to detox?
There’s no perfect way to prepare for a detox, but the more you do it, the more your body will love this period of rest. Symptoms during a cleanse are signs of toxicity, which means that your body is working hard. Go for a 1, 3, 5, or 7 day all liquid detox composed of fruits, vegetables, and raw nut milks, with lots of water in between so your body continues to flush everything out. The body and the mind are fully connected, so if you trick the mind, your body will respond accordingly.
How to prepare?
Try to eat light for a couple of days before your detox. Consume a lot of fruit (another way of detoxing), steamed veggies, whole grains, yautia, boniato or auyama, and lots of water. Eliminate processed/packaged food, coffee, alcohol, soy, and all things white (breads, pasta, rice). As a rule of thumb, try to eat organic or seasonal.
What to expect?
Some people feel light as a feather. Other people get headaches, are tired, and experience minor discomfort. This is because the body is ridding itself of toxins through bowel movements, pores, and sweat. The five major organs of elimination are the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the kidneys, the lungs, the liver, and the skin. Symptoms tend to be short-lived and the discomfort you feel will pass. However, listen to your body and do what is best for you. Have fruit or steamed veggies if you feel the need to eat something, but don't take medication. Your body is releasing all toxins, medication included, and this will not help it do its job.
Weakness or lethargy is also common. Your body is focused on cleaning and diverts energy internally instead of externally. Mild pain on the right side, below your ribcage or in your abdomen is normal. This is your liver at work!
The key here is to learn how to read your tongue. A star sign of detoxification is seeing a coated tongue clear up; the more you have a white-coat layer on the tongue, the more you need to work internally. Your tongue is an indicator of what is happening throughout your GI tract. Once you learn how to read it, you learn how to read what could be happening inside.
Congrats, you made it! Now that you've given your body a chance to restart, try to keep it up. Eat as cleanly and organically as you can, and avoid processed, packaged foods. Ease back into eating with light meals of mostly raw or steamed veggies and fruits. And remember, eating healthy is not a diet; it’s a way of life. Try to find its balance and implement what works for you. Each body is different, so there is no right or wrong answer, just as there is no right or wrong diet. Eliminate what you know you can live without and listen to the inner voice telling you to stop snacking on the things you know your body can’t digest. Next time, the cleanse will be easier. Promise!
This article was first published for Latina Magazine in Mar 13, 2014.