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Friday, January 10, 2014

Lean, Healthy & Gorgeous: A Complete Plan to Detox Intelligently

Detoxifying in a toxic world
“Detoxing is such B.S.” he smugly said across the table, and I suddenly realized why I didn’t like this guy my friend was dating. Among his know-it-all assertions throughout dinner, this one took the cake.
My friend was discussing a recent cleanse she’d read about in Cosmo. Her date didn’t approve, nor did he have anything clever to add to the conversation, hence his quick dismissal. I wanted to ask him why he felt this way, but I already knew his answer.
Eventually my friend dumped this jerk (she complained he was too controlling; gee, who would have thought!?). The thing is, he’s not alone in his opinion about detoxing.
Most get a bad rep because, as I discussed last week, they’re essentially overpriced, sugar-water, potential
starvation diets. They provide very few nutrients that aid detoxification and they can wreck your metabolism.
While most commercial cleanses and detoxes are a joke among healthcare professionals, detoxification itself is not: Take a biochemistry course and you’ll learn it’s a very real process your cells do constantly.
Why You Need a Professional Detox
We live in an incredibly toxic world, and your liver especially bears the brunt of eliminating those harmful toxins. Sometimes that process becomes overwhelming and toxins accumulate, disrupting hormones, creating fatigue and other havoc, and stalling fat loss.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Service’s National Toxicology Program, over 80,000 chemicals are registered for use today in the US, with about 2,000 new ones being introduced yearly. Most have not been studied for adverse health effects
Researchers link exposure to these toxins, which lurk everywhere from laundry detergent to food, with numerous problems including endocrine disruption, neurological problems, reproductive effects, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Scary stuff.
So you want to detox, but do it correctly. When I talk about detoxification here, I mean a doctor-designed, intelligently designed protocol that delivers nutrients your body demands to detoxify. A professional detox is safe, effective, and doesn’t require starvation or other misery. Many of my esteemed colleagues – medical doctors and other healthcare professionals – use this same detoxification protocol with amazing results.
Listen, detoxification isn’t a miracle. It’s not going to suddenly eliminate your risk for disease or make you 10 years younger. What it can do is provide your body the tools it requires to reduce toxins to help you look and feel better, lose fat, and reduce your risk for disease.
Let’s be clear. Detoxing is work. You don’t have to starve yourself or drink some weird maple-syrup concoction, but you will have to sacrifice some of your favorite things, at least temporarily.
You might also feel lousy the first few days of detoxing. Fatigue, brain fog, running to the bathroom constantly to pee, and irritability are common the first few days. Fair warning. Stick it out and you’ll reap benefits including better skin, clearer thinking, fewer cravings, and yes, fat loss and a leaner, toner physique.
 How Often Should I Detox?
Keeping in mind that your cells detoxify constantly, you’ll want to consistently eat clean, organic, whole foods rich in detox-aiding nutrients.
Just like you give your apartment a good cleaning when the seasons change, a few times a year you should consider a more rigorous detox. Mid-summer and mid-winter are my favorite times to detoxify.
The process needn’t be complicated, though visiting a holistic practitioner or nutritionist can always help if any issues come up. You don’t need to, though, and I’ve laid out all the basics here.
Getting Started
You’ll want to begin with the right nutrients. Make it easy on yourself. Find a professional-quality detox-nutrients packet that contains detoxifying nutrients like milk thistle and lipoic acid.
My favorite is Detox Nutrient Packets from Thorne Research, which combine detoxifying nutrients in an efficacious, highly absorbable formula. These no-brainer packets make getting everything you need in one easy, grab-and-go packet.
I also like MediClear Chocolate SGS for detoxification. It provides high-quality, low allergenic potential vegan protein with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other detox nutrients in a great-tasting chocolate-flavored powder.
What Should I Eliminate When I Detoxify?
Let’s get this out of the way first. When you detoxify, you need to ditch these things. You’ll survive: We’re only talking a few weeks here.
1.      Caffeine. If you’re a monster without your morning dark roast, have one cup of organic before your workout (more on that in a minute) and swap to organic green tea afterwards. If you can completely give up coffee, more power to you!
2.     Alcohol. Yes, even red wine. If you can’t get through three weeks without alcohol, you might have a problem there.
3.     Gluten, dairy, and soy. These highly reactive foods can increase inflammation and your toxic burden. Exceptions might be unsweetened Greek yogurt or goat’s milk foods (goat cheese, for instance), but that’s up to you.
4.     Processed foods. Most foods with a barcode, unpronounceable ingredients, or dubious healthy claims like “low fat” or “zero trans fat!” fall into this category.
5.     High-sugar foods. Duh.
6.     Artificial sweeteners. Stevia and xylitol are fine. Anything in a pretty blue, yellow, or pink packet is not.
7.     Bad fats. Those include damaged fats (eggs at the buffet table, I’m looking at you), trans fats, and pro-inflammatory fats like vegetable oil.
8.     Anything crispy, crunchy, or deep-fried. Again, duh.
9.     Conventionally grown food. Eating a pesticide-ridden apple will only add to your toxin burden, something you most definitely don’t want while you’re detoxing. So will farm-raised fish and grain-fed beef.

What Should I Eat When I Detoxify?
For everything I mention below, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying the highest quality: Organic produce, barnyard or organic eggs, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and wild-caught fish. Yes, these are more expensive, but especially crucial when you’re detoxifying.
1.        Lean protein. Sulfur-rich eggs from your farmers market are a smart choice. High-quality animal protein is tops: grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and game, and free-range poultry. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to get high-protein plant foods like quinoa and legumes as well as supplement with MediClear SGS Chocolate.
2.        Healthy fats. Avocado, nuts and seeds, wild-caught seafood, and coconut and olive oils are my favorite healthy fats that help your body detoxify.
3.        High-fiber foods. Fiber binds toxins and helps eliminate them. Avocado, legumes, berries, nuts and seeds, and green veggies are among your best higher-fiber foods. Incorporate them liberally, and also consider adding a fiber-blend supplement powder.
4.        Cruciferous and leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach provide antioxidants and fiber, while broccoli and other cruciferous veggies are loaded with detox-boosting sulfur.          
5.        Drink up. Not alcohol, silly; flush those toxins out with plenty of filtered water.

Pulling It All Together
When I’m detoxing, I’ll substitute a fast, super-easy protein shake for one or two meals a day. I blend MediClear with organic frozen berries, raw kale, freshly ground flax seed, and unsweetened coconut milk for a high-power detoxifying breakfast or lunch.
Load up these shakes correctly and you’ll find they keep you full for hours. At the very least, have a shake for breakfast. If you must, you can do real food for lunch.
Your dinner plate should combine:
·       Clean animal protein – grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, wild-caught game or seafood, organic or barnyard eggs
·       Healthy fats – avocado, coconut or olive oil, nuts and seeds
·       Lots of leafy and cruciferous veggies
·       High-fiber starchy carbs – sweet potatoes, legumes, or quinoa are great choices
If you need to snack (optional), have one of the following:
·       Nuts and seeds
·       Hard-boiled eggs
·       Sliced avocado
·       Protein shake
Other Factors to Consider When You’re Detoxifying
Many detox booklets talk about getting in touch with your inner child or some such silliness. That isn’t my style, but I will say you might use this time to become better connected with your emotional, physiological, and psychological needs. How deeply you want to take that is up to you.
A few lifestyle issues absolutely worth mentioning when you detox include:
1.        Stress. No, you can’t eliminate it, but you’ll want to do everything possible to keep it in check while you’re detoxifying. If yoga or meditation isn’t your cup of tea, try deep breathing and a hot bath with Epsom salt.
2.       Sleep. At least eight hours every night will keep your metabolic and hormonal machinery running smoothly and help your liver detoxify efficiently. No excuses here.
3.       Working out. I know many practitioners suggest foregoing heavy workouts and doing yoga or more gentle exercises when you detox. It all depends. If you’re a heavy lifter or otherwise spend substantial time at the gym, you might want to reduce intensity or time working out but still hit the gym three or four times a week. Sweating helps drive toxins out of your body, so that’s one benefit of working out while detoxifying. Stay well hydrated, consider an electrolyte-replenishment formula or coconut water, and have a protein shake before and after your workout.

Probably everyone who reads this has attempted detoxification at some point. What was your experience? Did you find the first few days a challenge? Ultimately, did you feel you benefitted from your effort? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook fan page.
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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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