Happy Thursday everyone! I don’t know about you, but every day I try to be thankful for something. And lately, I’ve been soooo thankful for the great weather we’ve been having. Almost nothing is better than being able to drive around with the windows down!
Another great quality about spring is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. I LOVE going to Farmers’ Markets and seeing what’s in stock each week (stay tuned for a post about Farmers’ Markets soon!).
A lot of my clients and even business contacts ask about detoxes in the spring and wonder if they should try a detox diet. That’s why today I’m going to give you my personal opinion (emphasis on the personal) about detox diets and whether or not they’re right for you. I’ve also got two great detox diet salads that you should definitely make and enjoy regardless of whether or not you choose to detox.
What IS a Detox?
This is a question I get from clients ALL THE TIME. They especially start asking in the spring because they’re trying to get in shape for summer.
From my understanding, a detox diet is a short-term diet one follows in attempt to rid the body of toxins that have built up over time. Usually these diets promote eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices. Depending on the detox diet you follow, some plans advocate for organic whole-grains, nuts, and seeds. The items I see frowned upon most in these plans are processed foods, red meat, dairy products, and (lately) wheat/gluten.
A detox diet can be as short as three days, although some plans advocate for three to four weeks of detoxing to truly reap the benefits. Ultimately, a lot of these details depend on what kind of detox diet you choose to follow.
Is My Detox Diet Safe?
This is another question I get from a bunch of clients. Sure, they’re eager to lose weight and gain energy. But they also don’t want to damage their bodies and do something that would potentially harm them.
I would say on the whole, a detox diet can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle. There are just a few questions you need to ask about yourself and the plan you choose:
- Why Am I Detoxing? Is it to lose weight? Gain energy? Because you’re friend is doing it too? Whatever your reason, make sure you’re detoxing for yourself. Some people use a detox diet to not just rid themselves of toxins physically, but also purge themselves of emotional or psychological baggage that’s been bothering them. Write out your reasons for detoxing before starting your detox diet.
- Which Plan Am I Following? It seems like every health guru and dietitian has their own version of detoxing. Whether you choose a whole foods detox, a smoothie detox, or a juice detox, do some research to figure out the pros and cons of each. Advocates of juice detox diets, for instance, may talk about how you’ll lose more weight on their plan. But if you’re not used to eating healthy, a juice fast might be really difficult for you to stick with both physically and emotionally.
- How Long Am I Going to Detox? Some detox plans are designed for three to five days. Others advocate for 21+days. If this is your first detox, I would say to start small and stick to somewhere in the one week window. Remember, you can always plan another detox a few months later. Starting gradually is key for a successful detox. Also keep in mind detoxing for too long can yield some negative results like chronic fatigue, low blood pressure, and slow metabolism. Keep all of these risks in mind before you detox.
- Do I Have Any Physical Ailments That Would Put Me At Risk? I know the whole point of a detox diet is to ‘get healthy.’ But if you suffer from a serious medical ailment like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, it’s best to get the OK from your doctor before starting a detox diet. If possible, have a medical professional monitor you while you’re detoxing. Periodic visits and/or blood work can help you and your doctor figure out if a detox diet is good for you.
- Am I Going to Stick to This? If you’re the kind of person that’s always on-the-go or don’t have time for a ton of meal-prep, think about how willing and committed you’ll be for your detox. Maybe instead of a juicing detox, you opt for a whole foods detox that incorporates a lot of raw fruits and veggies. I know some people who actually take off work to fully detox both physically and mentally. Whether you’re concern is budget, time, or some other factor, write out these concerns and evaluate how they’re going to impact your detox diet.
Is Detoxing for You?
If you’re still on the fence about detoxing, keep these ideas in mind:
- A detox WON’T cure you of all illnesses. If you’re looking to a detox for a quick fix, then I have some bad news for you. Don’t think you can eat like crap for 50 weeks out of the year and then reverse all of your poor food choices with a week of detoxing. In theory, if you’re eating healthy all the time, you shouldn’t really need to detox. A healthy diet that incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables should eliminate the need for major detoxes.
- You can’t detox forever. I have a few friends who I feel are always on some sort of detox plan. Realize that detoxing is a SHORT TERM process and you shouldn’t detox for too long. Following a detox diet for too long can lead to all sorts of health problems. Make sure you don’t go overboard with your detox diet.
- The jury’s still out about ‘toxins.’ The medical community has stated that the ‘toxins theory’ holds no medical basis in biology. But with all the pesticides and chemicals in our food these days, I can’t help but beg to differ. This isn’t to say that detoxing is a hoax or one of the best things you can do for your body, but rather that for every person in the medical community that supports detoxing, you’ll surely find people who are against it.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to detoxing. Ultimately it’s about doing what’s right for you. Listen to your body, do your research, and consult the help of a professional.
Hope everyone enjoys today’s recipes! Even if you’re not embarking upon a detox diet, these salads are still perfect for spring!