If you are feeling lethargic or just not up to par, and are struggling with other problems such as acne, chronic pain, heartburn and other digestive issues, it may be time to try a body detox. Even if you’re simply overweight and/or addicted to eating the wrong types of food, a detox can go a long way to helping you get on the right track.
Body detox plans have been around for a long time. In order to properly detox, no matter what type you choose to try, the important thing is to be mindful of what goes into your body. As well as that, take the time to get rest, meditate and/or pray, and incorporate slow and careful movements into your life such as yoga, Pilates or non-competitive walking or swimming.
When you detox your body by feeding it high nutrient-dense food, or even eliminating all food for a period of time, you help your body heal itself. Controlling exactly what you put into your body will help to rest your organs, stimulate the liver, promote elimination, improve circulation, and refuel the body with high nutrition. Here is what a detox can do:
- Increases Energy – If you want to bring back your energy, a detox may be in order. Improving the amount of vitamins you can get through your digestive system can have an amazing effect on your energy.
- Rids Body of Waste – When you detox, it gives digestion a break and enables your body to rid itself of extra waste that may be causing bloating or other problems. If you experience a lot of issues with elimination, a detox can help cure those problems.
- Boosts Weight Loss – Most people lose at least a few pounds during a detox, and a good detox can kick-start any weight loss diet. The main reason is that during a detox you usually eat fewer calories, salt, and other things that can cause bloating. It also helps you with the mental blocks that losing weight can bring up.
- Helps Increase Immunity – Anytime you can get more nutrients into your body in the form of natural substances, you will turn your immune system on stronger than ever. Most people who practice regular body detoxes are more aware of nutrition and proper vitamin intake than the general population.
- Mends Skin Problems – Skin problems can be caused by a whole host of toxins in food and in the environment. Slowing down digestion needs is a great way to redirect the natural healing properties in your body toward repairing problem skin.
- Encourages Healthy Changes – When you’re having trouble saying no to things you know aren’t healthy; like that double bacon burger, for instance. Detoxing the body can help you get over those cravings fast. And once you’re over those cravings you can start eating healthier.
- Improves Mental Clarity – You’d be surprised at how the additives in your food can affect your mind. If you feel a cloud is covering your brain function, you can lift it with a good detox. Some people claim that a good detox makes them a lot smarter and helps them figure out tough problems.
- Brings Life Back to Hair – Your hair needs nutrients that help make it look healthy. People who eat well and avoid chemicals can make their hair look amazing in just 90 days. Even water fasting, which eliminates chemicals and can often rid people of skin issues, can help improve the hair.
These benefits are sure to make you want to do a detox of some kind as soon as possible. And, the benefits listed really are only the tip of the iceberg. The reason is that each person is an individual with issues that no one else has. You may experience completely different benefits from detoxing the body than someone else.
Luckily there are many forms of detox that you can do to get the type of benefit that you need. But, let's first look in more detail at how you can tell that you need a detox.
Deciding Whether or Not You Need a Detox
Choosing to go on a detoxing adventure totally depends where you are in your own mind and whether you’re ready to do it or not. But if you are experiencing any of the following issues, you should highly consider trying a detox. There are different types of detoxes that we’ll go over later, but ask yourself if you have any of these problems.
- Fatigue – You don’t feel energetic and you get tired out fast, even when you’re trying to have fun. You have to drink a lot of coffee or energy drinks to get through your day. It really is not normal to have to drink caffeinated beverages to get through the day.
- Constipation – Poor elimination is a really good sign you need a detox. Most people need to move their bowels a minimum of once a day. If you’re not, you are probably experiencing tummy discomfort and maybe even severe constipation issues.
- Skin Issues – Rashes, acne, itchy skin, dry skin, dandruff and other problems with your skin can be a sign of deeper issues. Plus, they are not comfortable and can even be embarrassing. Doing a detox can help immensely with these problems and even cure a lot of them.
- Allergies – Many people suffer from all kinds of allergies and sometimes they don’t even know what is causing it. If you have stomach discomfort, heartburn, rashes and other issues that you can’t identify, it can be due to allergies. A detox can help you identify what is causing the allergy.
- Infections – If you often get colds, low-grade infections, and have unexplained illnesses, a detox should help you eliminate some of these problems. The right type of detox will improve your immune system.
- Under-Eye Puffiness or Circles – Sometimes issues show up under your eyes in the form of puffy dark circles. It’s not always due to lack of sleep; sometimes it’s due to other health issues.
- Unexplained Bloating – If you get bloated often when you eat or even when you don’t eat, and the doctor hasn’t given you any confirmed diagnosis, a detox might be something that works for you to improve this situation.
- Menstrual Problems – Irregular periods, too heavy periods, painful periods, and other issues can sometimes be caused by the things that are in your diet, especially dairy products. Eliminating dairy and sometimes trying an even more restrictive detox can do wonders for these issues.
- Mental Problems – If you have trouble remembering things, feel anxious, nervous, confused or just out of sorts, a proper detox can help you improve these issues. It can be surprising how much toxins that are in everyday products can affect your mental clarity.
- Just Want to Improve Health – Even if you don’t notice anything specific, doing a full body detox can still help you see and feel improvements in your health, mental clarity and life.
A detox can help jump-start a healthy new lifestyle if you want to start eating better and doing things more healthily. It can also help eliminate issues, rid your body of toxins and make you feel better overall.
How to Start a Detox
The first step to starting a detox is to identify the reasons why you want to do it. Once you know why, you need to choose between different types of detoxes. Each type of detox addresses different issues in regard to your health.
This is the hardest type of fast to accomplish. You need to be careful about doing this type of fast longer than two or three days. You can even water fast under supervision at certain centers such as True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California.
The way a water fast works is that it stops all digestion so that your body can focus on other aspects of healing itself. The benefits can seem miraculous, and many people report amazing results.
Water fasting allows your body time to heal and rid itself of all the toxins you put into it through ingestion. If you do it yourself, it’s also free, since good filtered water costs nothing more than the price of the filter which you likely already have. But, you need to be very careful and pay close attention to how you feel throughout the experience.
If you have skin problems, digestion problems or issues with food addictions, then you may want to try water fasting. People have even seen a complete reversal of skin conditions like psoriasis through water fasting.
Here are some other considerations.
- Medications – If you are on medication, it may not be safe for you to do a water fast. You should always check with your doctor first. This is especially true of any medications that require you to eat food. You may be able to do a modified water fast under your doctor’s care where you eat something light like a piece of fruit or lightly steamed veggie with your medication.
- Plan Your Water Fast – Take the time to plan exactly when you’ll do your water fast, keeping in mind that you’ll need to be able to rest. You don’t want to water fast when you have a lot of extra physical activity to do or a big deadline at work. Try to plan your water fast during a time when you don’t have anything stressful planned.
- Do Not Do Enemas – During a water fast, colon cleanses aren’t necessary because you aren’t eating anything. They will only serve to dehydrate you and make you feel sick. You’re already likely to feel weak; don’t add to it. Many professionals don’t believe that colon cleanses are helpful any more anyway.
- Understand the Side Effects – Many people experience dizziness, headaches, and nausea when they do a water fast. Usually symptoms start on the third day. Of course, you will experience hunger too, but you can always try to tell yourself that this is a temporary condition because the moment the fast is over you’ll be able to eat again. If any of these become extreme, go ahead and end your fast by eating something like rice cereal, oat meal or even baby food. These items don’t have contaminants that will make you feel worse, and will be gentle on your system.
- Get a Lot of Rest – During your water fast, plan to discontinue any harsh physical activity and spend your time resting, sleeping, reading, and thinking. Don’t overexert yourself in any way. Do try to continue sleeping at night, and taking a short nap during the day. Water fasting is all about taking care of your mental and emotional needs while your body heals itself.
- Drink Eight to Ten Glasses of Water Each Day – Drinking filtered tap water is your best choice when water fasting. You don’t need anything fancy or to buy any type of bottled water. The best thing to do is to drink the normal amount of water you should drink each day. If you are obese you can add a couple extra glasses.
When you’re ready to break your fast, start with fruit. Then add veggies, followed by other items as you feel better. Use this opportunity to keep your food intake clean, avoiding processed foods such as chips and TV dinners. Now that your body is clean, don’t mess it up with chemicals in order to enjoy long-term results from your water fast.
Many practitioners call a juice fast a “juice feast” instead of a fast, because you’re still getting a lot of nutrients. In fact, you don’t want to limit how much fresh, naturally squeezed and pressed juice you drink. You should try to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of fresh juice each day, plus water. Aim to continue getting as many calories as you need to maintain your normal healthy weight.
A juice fast is good for people who need to lose weight, or to jump-start a healthier, more organic and natural eating plan. It is also good for people who have digestive issues, and even some very serious health problems. A good movie to watch about juice fasting is Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The star of the movie, Joe Cross, had many health issues that he reversed with a 90-day juice fast under doctor supervision.
Joe cured himself of many autoimmune illnesses with a long-term juice fast, as did a truck driver who was profiled in the movie. Since then, many more people have seen wonderful benefits from juice fasts, both long and short term. The great thing is that you really don’t suffer from hunger and as much deprivation during the juice fast in the same way as you might during a water fast.
Here's what you need for a juice fast.
- Buy a Juicer – There are numerous juicers you can choose from. The two main kinds are centrifuge and masticating. The masticating type is considered to be the best type because it gets the most juice out of your produce and works well with greens. But, don’t worry if you have the old-fashioned cheaper “Jack LaLanne” type juicer. That will work too.
- Plan Out Your Juice Fast – A juice fast is more expensive than a water fast and requires some planning in advance. You can expect to spend about 10 to 20 dollars a day while you’re on a juice fast. You’ll save money if you plan for your juices to be at least 75 percent vegetables rather than mostly fruit.
- Gather Juice Recipes – You will eventually know instinctively what tastes good together but for now you want to find some good juice recipes to start with. The internet is full of them; try choosing ones that are mostly veggies with a little bit of fruit for taste. The fewer recipes you use, the cheaper your fast will be, plus the easier it will be to make the juices.
- Make Juice Daily – Don’t make juices too far in advance if possible. The best time to drink the juice is within five or ten minutes of making it. If you cannot arrange this due to the time investment, you can buy some glass canning jars that you fill full with fresh juice and then put the lids on tightly and refrigerate up to three days.
- Set Goals and Standards – During the juice fast various things can occur, so it’s good to set some goals and also some standards that will help you know if you should stop or continue. If you want to lose weight, set a goal of losing that weight. However, if you are of a normal weight, set a limit to how much you should lose before you stop the juice feast. Some people do not lose weight if they manage to ingest enough calories, while others lose an enormous amount of weight. Be prepared for signs you should stop, such as your BMI becoming too low.
- Go Shopping – You’ll need to shop about every three days for the produce to conduct your juice fast. But, it won’t take long since you will only go to the produce area, or to your farmer’s market. Using the recipes you found, and knowing how much juice you need to make each day, buy the right quantity – if possible a little more in case you find yourself hungry.
- Don’t Go Hungry – On a juice fast, unlike water fasts, you will not feel as hungry most of the time. Yes, you’ll get hungry during normal meal times, but the good thing is that you can simply drink your juice. Every time you feel hungry, drink more juice. You may feel “mouth hunger” or the desire to chew on something, but you shouldn’t feel true stomach hunger as you are still getting all the nutrition and calories your body needs to function.
- Potential Side Effects – While you won’t have to go hungry, you will likely have side effects. Many people experience headaches around the second or third day of the fast. Just try to rest and drink more juice and water if this happens. Give yourself some down time, take a hot bath, meditate or do something for yourself that makes you feel better.
Juicing for even three days can give your body the break it needs, and break addictions that you want to get rid of. Some of you will find that if you continue beyond three days, you feel really good and think you can go on forever. Others may not enjoy it and feel like it isn’t paying off. If that’s the case, stop doing it; another type of detox might work better for you.