Have you ever thought about the possibility of maintaining a healthy weight while still eating delicious foods?
Diet culture has made us believe that skinny means healthier and that restricting is the only way to detox our bodies.
But this guide will prove the opposite.
You will learn more about intuitive eating and gentle nutrition as a long-term method to sustain the natural detoxification process, instead of following a short-term restrictive diet that will eventually lead to binging, or even health issues. This guide will focus on the importance of finding natural ways to detox your body.
Before we get into the actual to-do’s, it’s important to mention that we’re addressing this guide to:
- people who are willing to embrace a long-term healthy lifestyle, rather than a 3-days detox based on low-calorie diets
- people who want to learn more about their bodies and the relationship between food and their wellbeing.
Bonus Material: If you’re thinking of committing to a natural full body cleanse, I recommend you read this first.
Conscious Intuitive Eating 3-Steps Strategy
This strategy is a mix between the concept of intuitive eating and eating consciously, also called gentle nutrition.
That means, you get to choose when to eat and what to eat according to your cravings and hunger, BUT you’re also focusing on nutrition.
Why is this the key to natural detoxing?
- It’s a long-term solution. Low calorie diets usually don’t last for long because they leave you feeling unsatisfied, tired and hungry. Eventually, you end up binging and gaining the weight back. However, by focusing on gentle nutrition you sustain the body’s natural detoxing process.
- You learn more about your body, so you discover what foods make you feel good. Naturally, healthy ingredients contain higher levels of proteins, fiber, and vitamins which give us more energy and help us feel recharged. Gentle nutrition means that you’re eating a veggie burger because it feels good for your body, not because you’re scared of having it any other way.
- It focuses on balance. Our everyday activities are the ones that outline our lifestyle. That means, eating a pizza once won’t kill you. The same goes for drinking one green smoothie in order to detox. This won’t have any effect if you usually indulge in unhealthy eating.
In order to emphasize the benefits of conscious intuitive eating even more, let’s have a look at two of the most famous restrictive diets and why they end up making more damage than good:
The Dangers of Intermittent Fasting
According to Harvard, Intermittent Fasting refers to sticking to a restrictive diet on certain days of the week and at certain hours. That will decrease your appetite eventually. However, after weeks of restricting, you might feel the need to actually eat more than usual.
It can also have psychological effects. By indulging in intermittent fasting you’re more prone to developing food anxiety. As Saniha H. Makhzoumi, Ph.D. says for self.com, when you’re following a strict diet, if you somehow break the eating pattern you might feel guilty and feel like you’ve failed the process.
The endless circle of yo-yo dieting
Yo-Yo is more of an effect of on and off dieting. It means restricting for a limited amount of time until you lose weight and gaining weight again when returning to your usual eating patterns. This puts a lot of pressure on the body, and according to the Newsroom Heart Organisation, it increases risk of heart disease, especially in women.
In order to see positive results, eating clean should be a habit, not part of a short-term diet. Making healthy food choices should come from a place of acceptance and desire, it shouldn’t be a form of restriction.
Now that we’ve pointed out the benefits of gentle nutrition, this is how to begin your long-term full body cleanse:
Step 1: Decide what nutrition means to you
Step 2: Start reading the labels
Step 3: Pay attention to your everyday habits
Every step provides a different stage in the process of embracing conscious intuitive eating:
- Listening: You will learn how to listen to your body and that nutrition is different for everybody.
- Tracking: This step is all about knowing the ingredients that go with your food choices. It’s important not to pay attention to the so-called “healthy foods”, which are actually full of harmful ingredients.
- Mixing: At this point you will not focus only on nutrition, but also on the importance of sustaining the detoxification process. You do this by paying attention to other everyday habits, like getting enough sleep, working out, or keeping stress under control.
If you want to start your full body cleanse but you don’t know where to start, check out these detox-friendly recipes.
Step 1: Decide What Nutrition Means to You
One core value of conscious intuitive eating is that it’s supposed to nourish your body, according to your needs, your health and your lifestyle. That means, nutrition is unique to each person. So, it’s important to decide what it means to you. According to your perspective, you can make a plan on how to detox your body from toxins.
For example, if you:
- usually go out to eat —one step you can take towards a healthier lifestyle is to eat more homemade foods. That way, you can constantly be aware of the ingredients you’re using.
- are always busy with work — a solution could be food prepping and adding more nutrient-rich foods into your diet.
- are working out regularly — you might need a higher calorie intake than someone sitting at a desk all day, but the food quality is more important than quantity in this case.
As you can see, nutrition is such a complex concept and every change matters. This is the part when listening to your body is key. One way to do this is by getting familiar with food journaling.
How to get started with food journaling when you’re focusing on nutrition?
According to Colleen Christensen, when you’re focusing on nutrition, rather than restricting, journaling becomes more about how you are feeling after eating certain foods, and less about the amount of calories you consume. This is specifically important when you’re just starting your intuitive eating journey.
There are certain foods that are known to be healthy, but they might not be good for everyone. For example, you might like plant-based milk for smoothies, or coffee, but when it comes to your morning bowl of oats, you’d much rather use regular milk. And that’s fine.
It’s important to write down all these feelings so you can have a clear perspective on your eating habits and preferences. You can take notes about:
- your mood after eating a certain food. You can ask yourself: are you feeling satisfied with your choice, or are you already thinking about the next meal?
- your physical state: did you have any reactions after eating a certain food, like pain, nausea, bloating?
After some time, you will observe how everything you choose to eat has some sort of impact on your body and on your general wellbeing. This is how you learn to make healthier choices without any restrictions, which is the core of natural detox diets.
You will be aware that healthier meals, rich in nutrients, protein and antioxidants, give you way more energy than eating fried, greasy foods and that healthy food is not actually boring.
Journaling can also help you discover the why’s behind your food choices, and this is key. When you’re focusing on gentle nutrition, it’s important to choose foods out of preference, not because of fear. You make choices according to what feels good for you, and what doesn’t.
For example, it’s great if you’re eating a nutritious salad, instead of some quick french fries, but only if your choice is based on preference, not because you’re scared of eating the fries.
On the other hand, if you’re stressed out and you feel like a chocolate cookie will make you feel better than a bowl of fruits, it’s fine to choose the cookie. After all, your mental health matters as much as your physical health.
This concept applies as well when it comes to foods that have become extremely popular. There is this common theme for people to start consuming certain foods not because they enjoy it, but because they felt like they had to.
One great example is avocado. As you can see in this chart, its consumption rate has grown significantly during the last decade, along with the popularity of Social Media. Avocado became a literal trend once influencers and celebrities started posting pictures of their avocado toast, which has become a statement for healthy food.
Avocado is nutritious, as it contains fibre, vitamins and healthy fats. However, you don’t need to eat it if you don’t enjoy it. It’s wrong to expect that Social Media should dictate our food choices.
[BONUS MATERIAL] Check out this quiz that will help you discover if you have any food rules in your meal plan.
Step 2: Start Reading The Labels
Reading the labels shouldn’t come as a form of restricting. On the contrary, this is another step to being informed and aware of what you’re eating. There are many fake-healthy foods on the market, those that are catalogued as foods that detox, but in reality they do more harm than good.
The problem with these products is that they have become popular because of their low-fat or high-protein properties. Many people end up choosing them only for their reputation. In reality, they are loaded with sugar.
The American Heart Association (AHA) advises women not to eat more than 24 grams of added sugar per day and men, not more than 36 grams. Unfortunately, we can easily exceed these quantities if we’re not reading the labels. By eating more sugar than necessary, not only are we filling our bodies with useless toxins, but we also put ourselves at risk of developing serious diseases, like diabetes.
As you can see, sugar can be found in a variety of products, and there are many foods you wouldn’t expect to be a problem.
Your daily bowl of cereals might seem harmless, but many times, that nicely-packed instant oatmeal can contain more sugar than you’d think. A healthier alternative could be buying simple rolled-oats, and making your own oatmeal at home, where you can use some fresh forest-fruit as a topping.
Store smoothies are another highly-marketed product which seems healthier than it really is. That’s because it usually contains a lot of sugar. Fruits are better when consumed fresh. They already contain fructose, so why add more sugar when it’s not necessary?
The takeaway? Sugar can be hidden in a lot of products you wouldn’t expect, so it’s better to read the label before purchasing. And, most importantly, everything homemade is a better alternative.
The low-fat products issue
Unfortunately, sugar is not the only hidden ingredient that can be harmful for our bodies. Low-fat products have become so popular in the last decade and, usually, Supermarkets have an entire aisle dedicated to these types of foods. They promise zero weight-gain even when it comes to sugary, processed foods, so you can enjoy them guilt-free.
But is low-fat the right solution for detoxification?
First of all, there’s a huge difference between healthy and bad fats. The good-types of fats are those found in different seeds, nuts, avocado, some fatty fish, or olive oil. They boost your metabolism, your immune system, and they help your body absorb certain vitamins better. Foods that detox don’t necessarily contain low-levels of fat.
However, bad fats do the opposite. They put your heart at risk by leading to clogged blood vessels, high cholesterol or triglycerides. They are also called trans fats and they can be found mostly in fatty, greasy foods, or a wide variety of snacks.
These low-fat products are the result of using altered oils instead of saturated fats. According to the BBC, hydrogenated fats can’t be considered healthier, as they are still dangerous for the heart. Moreover, they contain high levels of added sugar or carbs, in order to preserve the original taste. That means, just because a product is cataloged as “low-fat”, it doesn’t mean it’s healthier.
When you’re focusing on detox diets along with gentle nutrition, it’s fine to eat foods that nourish you. Even if your goal is to lose weight, don’t give into these ideas that everything that contains fats is harmful.
Of course, as everything else, healthy fats should be consumed with moderation because of their calorie-rich properties.
Step 3: Pay attention to your everyday habits
A full body cleanse is the result of our daily activities, not only of detox diets. So, if you’re wondering how to detox your body from toxins, pay attention to your everyday habits. It’s not enough to focus just on the foods you’re putting on your plate. Our sleeping schedule and workout routine can influence the ability of the body to remove toxins.
We should help our bodies get rid of all the accumulated toxins, by supporting the natural detoxification process. We can do this through sweating during a workout, drinking more water in order to help our kidneys flush toxins, or by making sure we keep a clean space, without harmful microorganisms.
Increase your water intake
Drinking more water is crucial to our health and wellbeing, and not only when it comes to detoxification. When you are dehydrated you can experience dangerous physical symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, and confusion.
Water plays an important role in maintaining your kidneys healthy and it helps them flush metabolic waste, which can result in weight loss. A study by PubMed Central proves that drinking water 30 minutes before a meal can have a great impact for people who want to lose weight. The study was conducted on overweight girls who had to drink 500 ml. of water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The science behind it is that drinking more water before a meal makes you feel full for a long period of time, so you won’t overindulge.
As nutrition can be an interesting experience, so is increasing your daily water intake. You can use a fancy bottle that can be refilled throughout the day, or you can add certain fruits into your water to add some flavor and some vitamins.
You can also add more high-water content foods into your diet, like cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon or strawberries. This way, not only will you stay well-hydrated throughout the day, but you will also fill your body with nutrients and antioxidants.
[BONUS MATERIAL] Try these infused water ideas to add more antioxidants along with your water intake.
Break a sweat several times a week
Working out comes with a lot of benefits, for your physical and mental health. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones, known as endorphins, that reduce anxiety and make you feel more confident and overall happy.
Moreover, studies have shown that our sweat helps us get rid of harmful toxins we’re exposed to everyday. Carcinogens, like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are way more concentrated in sweat, than in blood or urine. That means, sweating can help our bodies get rid of these harmful metals way more efficiently.
One popular myth that needs to be debunked is that high-impact workouts are always the solution. That’s not true. It’s important to commit to a workout routine that works for you, according to your health and your goals. Doing some low-impact cardio can also work wonders.
This also means that exercises might vary from day to day, as they can easily be influenced by your energy levels. One day you might feel really energized so you can commit to a full 30-minutes HIIT workout, while another day you might find it hard to even walk 15 minutes on a treadmill. Listening to your body is key.
We’re exposed to different types of toxins everyday, but we can take some small steps to reduce their impact. Plastic is one common issue, mostly because of its multi-usability. However, you should be aware of its harmful effects.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 90% of the most popular bottled water brands in the USA had tiny plastic particles in their water. Another issue is that plastic becomes dangerous if it’s exposed to heat. So, especially during summer, even if you buy a bottle of water directly from a freezer, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t exposed to heat beforehand.
One thing you can do is swap the plastic bottle for healthier alternatives. Drink from a glass at least when you’re at home or get a stainless steel cup for when you’re going out.
Aside from plastic you should also be aware of cleaning products and different chemicals found in your skincare products. Many of them might contain artificial fragrances and volatile organic compounds, which are extremely dangerous for the body. Not only can they irritate the eyes, skin and throat, but they are also carcinogens, according to the American Lung Association.
So, how to make sure you’re using the right products?
First of all, it’s important to carefully read the labels and to be aware of harmful chemicals like benzene, Perchloroethylene, Ammonia or Sodium Hydroxide. Then, it’s important to take precautions in order to protect your body from toxic substances when you are cleaning the house.
Wear cleaning gloves in order to avoid skin contact. Cleaning products can cause redness, irritations and dryness of skin. Keep your windows open to make sure the air is circulating. If you want to further reduce the amount of toxins you’re inhaling you can also wear a mask.
Tired of on-and-off dieting? Start your natural detox journey today
As we’ve described throughout this guide, detoxification is the result of a balanced plan that focuses on healthy choices for the long run, rather than quick detox diets.
Your health journey starts with you, so if you want to learn how to detox your body from toxins, a personalized plan is what will help you see long-term results.
If you want to have a professional meal plan according to your body type and needs, the best way to start is by discussing with a specialist.
Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle and book a consultation (hyperlink here with contact form) with one of our specialists.