Now that the holidays are behind us, many people are trying to get back to regular diets, and perhaps even shedding some pounds and detoxing after the more indulgent eating of the festive season.
Cleansing diets are designed to detoxify the body. Some persons utilize them to jumpstart a weight loss program, while others simply like knowing they are free of everyday toxins.
Advocates of cleansing diets state that air and water pollution, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and cigarette smoke build within the body and cause a myriad of health problems. Weight gain, dull skin and energy loss are particularly attributed to those toxins.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., of the Mayo Clinic states that the body’s kidneys, liver and lymphatic system are adept at detoxifying the system. A safe cleansing diet, however, can ignite one’s desire to begin a new healthy eating regimen. For others, they simply reduce their exposure to harmful food chemicals that include pesticides, additives and fertilizers.
Pros and Cons of Cleansing Diets
As more than one cleansing diet exists, health professionals are concerned with the efficacy they collectively pose. Some cleanses tout supplements that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, while others advocate near-starvation states that deprive the body of essential nutrients. Drastic weight loss that occurs with such regimens will result in the weight returning, and often times in even greater amount.
Safe cleansing diets involve enough calories to sustain daily activity. Keri Glassman, R.D., CBS news contributor, recommends a cleansing regimen that eliminates meat, alcohol, caffeine and most dairy products. Water, whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables should be emphasized. If such a regimen is followed for three days, Glassman continues, healthful benefits will likely be seen. According to Dr. Ronald Stram, some of those benefits are as follows:
- Reduced stress on the digestive system
- Increased regularity of bodily functions
- Elimination of foods saturated in sugars, refined flours and fat
- Increased awareness of one’s diet and how to incorporate permanent changes
Healthy Cleansing Plan
The following menu is an example of a safe cleansing diet. It provides adequate nutrition, covers all basic food groups and involves variety so one feels satisfied after each meal.
- Breakfast: fresh fruit, raw nuts or oatmeal.
- Lunch: greens sautéed in olive oil with chick peas or baked salmon. An orange or apple is ideal for dessert.
- Dinner: large green salad that includes leafy green like arugula, watercress, romaine or spinach. Raw vegetables of choice should also be included with a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil. Baked chicken or lentils with brown rice and steamed artichokes are another option.
- Snacks: sliced vegetables or a sweet potato with homemade salsa, fresh fruit or raw nuts and seeds.
Safe Cleansing Options
The following cleansing diet is intended to improve liver function. It comes recommended by Glassman and is an eight-week program. No dairy is allowed, but poultry and fish are. Water should be consumed at 8 to 12 glasses per day. Juicing is a viable part of this diet, and foods should be mixed every day to offer total nutrition that is well-balanced.
- Leafy green vegetables that supply vitamin K
- Beans, carob and walnuts that supply arginine
- Fresh fruits and green drinks like wheatgrass and barley-grass juice that supply antioxidants
- Onions, garlic, brown rice, kelp and Brazil nuts that offer selenium
- Flaxseed, green leafy vegetables and avocado that all supply essential fatty acids
Another safe cleansing diet is as follows. This is a five-day plan that also permits starches, poultry and fish. The key with this plan is to ease into a healthier lifestyle without taxing the system.
- Day 1: remove all unhealthy foods and drinks. This includes pre-packaged or boxed items, soda, coffee and other unhealthy items. Anything with additives, flavoring, oils, sugars and sweeteners should be eliminated.
- Day 2: once all of the processed foods are removed, begin adding fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to a daily diet. Salads, smoothies and purees are welcome. Potatoes, rice and quinoa are also allowed in small quantities. Poultry or fish should be enjoyed at dinner when cooked in a healthy manner (not fried).
- Day 3: increase water intake and continue the diet. Look to new ways that fruits and vegetables can be incorporated.
- Day 4: begin drinking freshly-squeezed juices that combine fruits and vegetables. A modern juicer is beneficial for this step.
- Day 5: review any health changes to determine the benefits of this diet. For example, energy may be increased, or sleep may be deeper and more refreshing.
- ^ Safe and Natural Cleansing Diets (www.hellolife.net)
- ^ http://www.livestrong.com/article/216174-a-safe-cleansing-diet/ (www.livestrong.com)
- ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/23/earlyshow/health/main4036502.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody (www.cbsnews.com)
- ^ http://www.colonhealthadvice.com/5-day-detox-diet.html (www.colonhealthadvice.com)