Want to boost the metabolism, lose weight, remove harmful toxins, improve skin health, sleep better, boost energy and improve mood?
You may be familiar with the practice of "detox" in terms of sticking to a diet for 24-72+ hours in order to rid the body of unhealthy toxins and to help with weight loss (as the primary reasons for abiding to a detox diet of your choice). Because we live in a society of quick fixes and if it is too good to be true, we will try it, keeping the body from obtaining important nutrients is not only damaging for fitness/performance but comes with risks for dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and even colon damage. Thankfully, I don't receive many emails from athletes regarding the need to "detox" (athletes don't like to be hungry) but I still receive emails from active individuals wanting to know my thoughts on going on a "detox" diet because they struggle with weight loss or they suffer from GI distress during training. Thankfully I can help others feel better and reach personal goals without riding the body of key nutrients. It just takes a little tweaking and lots of communication.
First question is "why are you detoxing?"
Perhaps there is something in your body that is keeping you from achieving your fitness or body composition goals, from sleeping well, from having good energy and from feeling great. Perhaps it was a vacation, a stressful day or many months of not keeping with a healthy lifestyle. Whatever the case, there's no reason to even consider a temporary diet to "detox" the diet for the body has its own amazing, extraordinary detoxification system. That is - if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.
Here's a little bit about your amazing machine that you live in for the rest of your life:
(Taken from The Wellness Advisor Spring/Summer '13)
We do cleanse ourselves from the inside out: cells die and are removed from our body naturally. Waste products carried in our blood are filtered or excreted at certain points along the circulatory system. Carbon dioxide exits through the lungs; other waste is pulled out or converted in our liver and kidneys As you know, our bladder and bowels excrete visible waste. In fact, the lining of our gastrointestinal tract turns over every few days. So, our bodies are doing their part to remove the old and rebuild healthy tissue. By restricting calories to less than your basal metabolic rate requirements you run the risk of slowing down your metabolism AND increasing the loss of lean muscle tissue.
As I mentioned above, if you take care of your body, your body will do a great job of taking care of you so long as you are willing to make good food and lifestyle choices. The key is you have to start with good behaviors and work your way to better behaviors in order to learn the best behaviors for your personal needs.
Although I don't always agree with Dr. Oz (I guess it depends what product/supplement/diet book/food trend he is promoting for the episode), here is a little more regarding detoxing from his website.
- The Liver: Your first line of defense against toxins is your liver, which acts like a filter in preventing toxic substances contained in foods from passing into your blood stream.
- The Colon: This organ has bacteria that produce both healthy and unhealthy chemicals. You want to keep your colon flowing regularly since its main role is to flush out toxic chemicals before they can do you any harm.
- The Kidneys: Like clockwork, the kidneys are constantly filtering your blood and getting rid of toxins in the form of urine.
I don't know about you but when I eat food that makes me feel good, my body is in good health (this is not limited to fruits and veggies - if I want something and eat it, I feel good about it no matter the food). So if you are always eating “detoxifying” foods your body has an increased chance of running smoothly. The body isn't perfect so don't expect it to be. But the idea is that you don't have to be perfect either.
-Fruits and veggies are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. There's no better way to give your body antioxidants to boost the immune system.
-Water is free and good for you and needed daily.
-Fiber (found in its whole form such as in whole grains, whole wheat, fruits and veggies) helps maintain a healthy digestive tract and support bowel regulatory.
-Fried foods, fatty foods and a high animal protein diet require a lot of stomach acid to aid in digestion and can overwhelm the stomach. You may not feel it now, but it may catch up to you down the road.
If you need help figuring out the best diet for you, don't hesitate to contact a professional to help you out. If you are an athlete, the body is under a lot of stress during activity and certainly, food will be difficult to consume at certain times and the diet may need tweaking. But this doesn't mean that you need to restrict food or struggle with digestive issues just because you are active and want to achieve your performance, fitness or body composition goals.
No need to detox, cleanse or diet. Eat real food most of the time and develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. Spend less time researching about the "right" way to eat and learn the best way for your body based on a whole-food approach. Eat well most of the time and you don't have to worry about the rest of the time. Consider what you do daily instead of those occasional days when it is perfectly fine to indulge a little and feel great about it.
Here is a delicious eggplant "lasagna" that should make you feel great after eating it - I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!! Enjoy!
1 large eggplant (sliced into 1/2 inch slices - remove ends)
Mushrooms - ~6 large baby portabello mushrooms
Lentils ~1 cup prepared
Couscous (or grain/starch of your choice) - ~1 cup
Onions - 1 small, chopped
Tofu - 1/2 container, firm (or your choice of protein)
Spinach - ~1/2 bag
Seasoning - onion, garlic, red pepper, oregano, basil, pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly cover bottom of casserole dish (rectangle) w/ a little olive oil (I used a capful or two).
2. Slice eggplant and place 1 layer on bottom of dish without overlapping (~8 slices).
3. Sprinkle handful of lentils, crumbled tofu (in your hands) and couscous over eggplant.
4. Crumble (or chop) mushrooms over the lentil/couscous later and then add chopped onions. (save a little for topping at the end)
6. Season with a little of each spice to your liking on top (I go heavy on the spices and herbs - yum!)