With the flurry of (possibly) still active New Year’s resolutions, odds are someone you know is yapping about the “detox” they’re on. From juice cleanses, to brown rice diets, to elaborate colonic procedures, people think they can remove unhealthy toxins from the body as a way to kickstart better health.
For the most part, the idea that you can eat, drink, or endure something that’s going to “detoxify” you is a myth. While a nutrient-rich diet and lots of water can provide an assist, it’s your liver and kidneys that do the job of eliminating toxins from your body.
Other than that, the only way to aid your detoxification is to stop putting toxins in your body. And that means eliminating certain things from your diet.
Got to give it up
The first obvious toxin is alcohol, whether you drink to “intoxication” or not. Although socially acceptable and touted as healthy in moderation, alcohol is among the top five most addictive substances in the world, and has been ranked as the most damaging drug as well.
Next up are processed foods. If you read labels like my wife makes me, you know there are some fairly complicated synthetic chemicals, dyes, and other less-than-wholesome ingredients in packaged substances that are marketed as food.
And then there are things that may be toxic to you in particular, in the form of food allergies. If you’re feeling vaguely bad all the time, you can subtract things from your diet such as dairy, for example, and see what happens. Keep in mind, though, that half of US adults who think they have a food allergy actually don’t.
It’s not that complicated
Some people choose to go on more elaborate food subtraction schemes. For example, this writer vowed to eliminate the following for two weeks:
Off limits were dairy, eggs, peanuts, lunch meats, vegetable oils, soy, coffee, black tea, soda, alcohol, sugar, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and fruit juice.
Instead, she ate:
On the menu were most veggies, fruit, organic chicken, turkey, and pork, grass-fed beef, wild seafood, olive oil, nuts, legumes, rice, potatoes, oatmeal, almond milk, green tea, spices, herbs, and more.
Some of the things she eliminated (like coffee and eggs) don’t make sense for the long term, unless a true allergy exists. Just the thought of giving up those two things makes me weepy.
Otherwise, is this a “detox,” or just a sensible approach to eating that should persist? I think you know the answer.