Spring is a time of renewal and regrowth. We come out of the long hibernation of winter eager to start fresh and get active. Many of us are also trying to escape the residual guilt of a few too many indulgences over the holidays. While you’re giving your home a thorough spring cleaning, why not also cleanse your body with a detox diet?
Contrary to popular belief, detox diets can be more than simple fasting or juice cleanses. They’re a great way to clean up your nutrition, purge harmful toxins and inflammatory substances from your body, and even lose weight. While a detox diet can be more restrictive than many people are accustomed to, remembering a few of these simple points can help you keep your focus and make it through.
Forgive and Move On
It’s no secret that cutting out the foods that you love can be hard. You may have a dire moment of weakness where your mental resolve utterly breaks down. So you ate a cookie or you had a slice of pizza…or both! It’s not the end of the world. Just don’t let one lapse in judgment turn into an utter binge-fest.
According to researchers, dieters who associate indulgences with feelings of guilt are much less successful at losing weight compared to those who see it as a celebration. Food guilt can lead some people to feel totally out of control and ultimately give up on their weight loss goals. So take it easy on yourself. Don’t use it as an excuse to continue bad behavior. Forgive yourself, and move on towards your ultimate destination.
It’s About Eating Right, Not Necessarily Less
In order to see dramatic weight loss, some calorie restriction may be necessary. However, you might be shocked to find out that simply eating clean, healthy whole foods results in a natural calorie reduction. For instance, rather than eating a heavy, calorie-laden cheeseburger with all the toppings, you can instead eat a beef patty over some leafy greens topped with plenty of vegetables. Instead of having fries on the side, try some steamed broccoli with a pinch of salt and some garlic. Simply making these swaps can save you nearly 500 calories in one meal.
Focus on eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains (if you can), and legumes. These foods provide many natural antioxidants that activate the enzymes in your liver to purge your body of harmful substances. Leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as blueberries and cranberries, are especially rich in natural antioxidants.
Avoid processed foods that are pumped full of artificial flavorings, dyes, and sugars. Aside from containing a lot of unnecessary calories, they can be potentially harmful to your body. You don’t want to eat any of the toxins that you’re trying to get rid of. Steer clear of fried food and items containing ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.
Additionally, part of a detox diet is eliminating natural foods that could possibly be causing havoc on your body. For example, it’s been shown that some people have evolved with the ability to digest grains and wheat, while others have not. To weed out which foods are hindering your performance in daily life, it’s necessary to eliminate all the potential offenders. After some time passes, they can be slowly reintroduced, one-by-one. These troublesome foods can include artificial sweeteners, caffeine, dairy, eggs, corn, alcohol, peanuts, soy red meat, sugar, and white flour as well as gluten.
Think About How You Feel
Completely eliminating foods that you’ve grown accustomed to enjoying is rough. The cravings for excess sugar, salt, or fat can be powerful. Avoid giving them too much attention, and focus instead on how you feel without all these inflammatory substances in your system. Once your body is able to purge its toxins and resume normal function, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel, both mentally and physically. Your thinking will be clearer and your focus will be sharper. Your body itself will feel lighter and healthier.
Facing a Monday morning without coffee may, at first, be a daunting prospect. However, you’ll come to realize that you have plenty of energy to make it through the day without the need for added supplementation. Free of the things that were harming it, your body will be able to draw nutrients and energy from the foods you’re eating, leaving you energized and revitalized.
What’s more – you’ll actually be able to taste your food again. Processed foods are absolutely bloated with added salt, sugar, and fat. Eventually, your taste buds numb to these flavors, which is why most people can’t stomach something as plain as a salad with only light olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, or a carrot with no Ranch dip.
However, a detox diet eliminates these artificially flavored foods from your diet, giving your taste buds a chance to recover and regain their abilities. Suddenly, miraculously, you can actually taste your food again. You can taste the sweetness of a tomato or the peppery flavor of arugula. You won’t need candy because a perfectly ripened strawberry is plenty sweet enough!
Now’s the Perfect Time for a Detox Diet
While humans are not a hibernating species, we do tend to mimic some hibernation behaviors in the winter. We’re less active, we spend less time outside, and many of us have a habit of overindulging ourselves at some point between Thanksgiving and Easter. Starting a detox diet under the supervision of a functional medicine doctor is the perfect way to rejuvenate and revitalize your health for spring. You can purge those toxins and start being a healthier, happier, and more active version of yourself.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker, and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.” She can make you slim, sharp, sexy and supercharged. She is an expert in anti-aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, medical nutrition, supplements, and executive health. Dr. Maita was the medical director for 3 Fortune 100 companies and has a private practice specializing in Functional, Integrative, Personalized and Anti-Aging Medicine in Summit and Basking Ridge, NJ. She educates virtually at www.vibranceforlife.com. She is also an advisory team member for Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life on WOR radio, the #1 talk radio station in the NY Metropolitan area. If you’re ready to start your detox diet, reach out to your local office today!