Over the next four weeks, I’ll continue to share a modified version of my detox plan outlined in my book, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, with Care2.com. If you missed, last week’s article, it’s not to late to start detoxing. Click here to view Week 1-Get the Junk Out. The next four weeks include:
Week 2-Kidney and Intestinal Cleanse
Week 4-Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse
Week 5-Cleansing Your Blood, Lungs, and Skin
While it isn’t necessary to do all five weeks in order, it tends to provide the best results. You can continue a particular phase longer than a week, or just choose the phases that you want to do. As I mentioned last week, don’t detox if you’re diabetic, pregnant or lactating. And, always consult your physician before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before adding any herbs to your health plan.
The New Year, New You Detox
- Drink plenty of purified water (at least eight to ten cups per day). This is essential throughout the program because it helps to flush out the many toxins that will be stirred up and eliminated from fat stores and organs in your body. Drinking adequate water will provide the necessary fluid for your body to push toxins out of your lymphatic system (more on this important system next week) through the creation of lymph fluid. It also helps flush out your kidneys, which also require adequate water to function properly. Start your day with 2 cups of pure water with the juice of half a lemon to balance your body chemistry. Drink no more than ½ cup of water with meals otherwise you will dilute your body’s digestive enzymes, which can weaken digestion and overall health over time. Drink water throughout the day, ½ hour before or 1 hour after meals.
- After drinking your morning lemon water, wait 10-20 minutes (take your shower) before having a large fruit breakfast. Eat fruit all morning. The enzymes, fiber, and nutrients put your body on the fast track to cleansing.
- Eat plenty of vegetables on this program, preferably raw, steamed, or lightly sauteed. The enzymes, fiber, water content, vitamins, minerals, and high-quality protein that fruits and vegetables provide will help ensure that your nutritional needs are met, particularly since the detox mechanisms in your body have specific requirements. Make bright and colorful vegetables the focal point of meals and snacks and eat as many veggies as you’d like until you feel full-you shouldn’t feel hungry on my detox plan or you’re doing it incorrectly. Limit your consumption of white potatoes however.
- Start lunch and dinner with a large green salad since they are full of enzymes to help your body with digestion of your meals, instead of depleting your body’s owns supplies. Also, leafy greens are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll (the green colour in plants that also helps cleanse your blood), and many phytochemicals.
- Eat a small healthy snack every two to three hours to stabilize blood sugar. Wild blood sugar fluctuations can deplete your energy, cause your body to gain weight, or depress your immune system. Snacking throughout the day will help stabilize your blood sugar and your energy levels. My faves are almonds or celery sticks with almond butter.
Targeting the Kidneys and Intestines
This week, we’re focusing on the kidneys and intestines (both large and small intestines). They are the front-line detox systems that are important to have in great shape before cleansing deeper. Overgrowth of yeasts and bacteria are frequently present in the bowels and need to be purged first. Your kidneys perform many valuable functions: they strive to maintain fluid and sodium balances, regulate other minerals in your body, excrete toxins in the urine, regulate blood pressure through hormone production, and more. As for your intestines: you’ve heard the adage, “you are what you eat” but really “you are what you eat and absorb” and your intestines are the main nutrient absorption stations in your body. Without a clean intestinal tract, you’ll absorb toxic build-up directly into your blood stream. The intestines also produce beneficial bacteria needed for good overall health, vitamin B12 necessary for many functions and energy, and enzymes essential to digestion.
- During this week only, replace 2 cups of water with a water-unsweetened cranberry juice mixture in a ratio of about 5 parts water to 1 part cranberry juice. If that is too tart, try 1 part cranberry juice mixed with 2 parts pure, unsweetened apple juice and 2-3 parts water.
- Try to eat 1-2 organic apples per day during this week.
- Drink 3 cups of my herbal kidney detox tea, which includes: 2 parts dandelion, 2 parts buchu, and 1 part peppermint leaves. Mix the dry herbs in a glass container for the week. To make the tea: put one teaspoon of the dried herbal mixture in a tea ball or strainer. Pour 1 cup boiling water over it and infuse for ten minutes before drinking. Avoid the tea if you are diabetic. Can’t find buchu? Just eliminate that one. Or, take dandelion leaf in capsules this week. Or consult chapter 8 in The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan for other herbal alternatives, exercises, and acupressure to boost your kidney and intestinal cleansing efforts.
Next week I’ll share the lymph-pain connection and how cleansing the lymphatic system helps flush out fat deposits and cellulite.
Adapted with permission of the author from the book, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. (Wiley, 2006).