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Being Healthy Is a Revolutionary Act
Guide to Detox
Demystifying Detox
Everything you need to know to
lose toxins without losing your
mind. 1-4
Detox Done Right
Separate the hype from the reality and safely enjoy the benefits
of a cleaner body. 5-8
The UltraSimple Slim Down
Good health is a life-enhancing
journey. Healthy living begins
with our own thoughts,
assumptions and beliefs. 9-12
Day-to-Day Detox
Simple steps to keep your body
running clean. 13-15
Fast Track Liver Detox
A healthy liver is neede to flush
out unwelcome toxins. Learn
how to keep this
overachieving organ in shape.
Guide to Detox, Article 1 of 5
Detoxing is all the rage these days. But what’s
the right way to approach it? Here’s everything you need to know to lose your toxins
without losing your mind.
By Jane Alexander
ifteen years ago, when I first wrote
about detoxing, everybody laughed
and said I was mad. Nowadays people think you’re mad if you’re not detoxing.
Everywhere you turn, books and magazines are touting the “latest” or “best”
detox. The drugstore shelves are heaving
with products promising to squeeze out
every kind of toxin, while spas have a barrage of treatments purporting to cleanse
and rebalance your entire system.
There is no doubt we live in a toxic
world, so a growing awareness of the issues and a desire to embrace a healthier
lifestyle are certainly beneficial. But you
have to wonder why detoxing, in particular, is so popular. My feeling is that
it’s mainly about control. We live in an
increasingly frightening world over which
it seems we have little or no real influence.
We may feel we can’t get rid of terrorism,
or job insecurity or an uncertain economy,
but that we can take control of the “nasties” within our own bodies.
Also, in a world where confusion and
information overload reign supreme, there
is a real psychological yearning for clarity
and purity. We can see this in the desire
for minimal design and for cleaner homes,
as well as in the embracing of mind-body
disciplines such as yoga, tai chi and meditation. But I sometimes wonder if we’re
beginning to lose sight of the real value
and purpose of detox beneath all the
increasing layers of commercial greed and
wishful thinking.
Detox Mania
I’m not the only one to wave the red
flag. Naturopath Roger Newman Turner,
ND, DO, BAc, author of Naturopathic
Medicine: Treating the Whole Person
(HeALL, 2000), has been lecturing and
broadcasting internationally on naturopathy and detoxing for more than 40 years.
He strongly believes that the detoxification fad has gotten out of hand. “We’re
seeing a good many distortions of the
principles behind it,” says Turner. Suzanne
Duckett, author of Spa Directory (Carlton,
2002), agrees: “There’s detoxing and then
there’s ‘detoxing.’ For instance, some spas
offer serious cleansing programs while
others will just wrap you up in bandages
and throw in a bit of algae. Basically
they’re making a fast buck.”
We’re definitely witnessing the rise of
what I term “detox lite”: treatments and
supplements that promise to detox you
without demanding any work on your part.
Sorry, but all the wrapping and massage
in the world won’t detox you on their own.
You can’t expect a cleansing supplement, however pricey or fancy, to take the
thought and effort out of true detoxing.
Herbs and micronutrients can help the
process, but if you’re trying to detox while
continuing to load your body with the
wrong food – or too much food – you’re
simply wasting your time and money.
Even if you’ve committed to doing
a serious detox, the choices can still be
overwhelming. Should you go for contrast
hydrotherapy or colonics? Fasting or liver
flush? Should you eat just vegetables, just
rice, or add in lean protein? It’s tempting
to forget the entire detox idea altogether.
“People are always looking for an easy
way,” says Carol L. Roberts, MD, of the
American Holistic Medical Association
(AHMA), noting that very few people do
the research and are diligent enough to
complete a formal detox program. “However, the concept of detoxing is still valid,”
she asserts, “and even an inadequate
effort in the right direction may be better
than no effort at all.”
So don’t throw out the baby with the
proverbial bathwater. Detoxing is worth
doing – you just need to sort the helpful
from the hype.
Working the System
Despite detoxing’s popularity, there is as
yet little scientific evidence for its benefits.
So nobody can claim with total confidence
that detoxing can cure you of any particular disease or improve your health. Yet the
anecdotal evidence for detoxing is g
Guide to Detox, Article 1 of 5
abundant, and naturopathy – which has
advocated detoxing for more than 100
years – bases its entire philosophy on the
need to detoxify the body. “There is growing awareness in the medical community
of the role of toxins in many chronic illnesses,” says Roberts. “The science is definitely there but not widely used yet.”
A good detox works on all the major
players in your body’s detoxification
system: liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, intestines
and lymphatic system. Detoxing can, in
some cases, improve quite serious medical
conditions, according to nutritional therapist Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the United
Kingdom and author of The Optimum
Nutrition Bible (Crossing Press, 1999).
“The liver is key,” he says, “and just about
any allergic, inflammatory or metabolic
disorder may involve or create suboptimum liver function. This might include
eczema, asthma, chronic fatigue, chronic
infections, inflammatory bowel disorders,
multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and
hormone imbalances.”
It’s also not uncommon to notice huge
shifts in mood when you detox. These
can be positive, or initially difficult. “Any
changes we make on a physical level are
likely to have an impact on our emotions
and minds as well,” says psychologist and
nutritionist Dawn Hamilton, PhD, coauthor
of Super Energy Detox: 21-Day Plan With
60 Allergy-Free Recipes (HarperCollins,
2002). “While we are cleansing the physical body, we can also experience an ‘emotional detox,’ meaning that old emotions
come to the surface to be released.”
Because detoxing involves cutting out
alcohol and caffeine, you may also notice
your energy levels balance out and your
mind become clearer and more focused.
Sleep often improves, as well: Many people find relief from even chronic insomnia
during a detox.
Food intolerance is another issue.
A good detox follows the path of an
elimination diet (used to diagnose food
sensitivities and intolerances). If you have
undiagnosed food intolerance, you could
well notice huge health benefits. In fact, as
a result of detoxing, many people report
having beaten or seen dramatic improvements in conditions such as asthma and
eczema; headaches and migraines; hay
fever and sinusitis; PMS; and palpitations
and chest pains. On a mental level, food
intolerance can cause depression, forgetfulness and confusion as well as irritability, aggression and hyperactivity. If you
suspect you have food intolerance, it could
be worth detoxing under the supervision
of a professional so you can reintroduce
suspect foods following your detox to determine which are causing you problems.
Although detoxing should not be confused with a weight-loss diet, many people
do experience some loss of excess weight.
Although quantities of food are not usually limited on detox, the major causes of
weight gain – excesses of refined carbohydrate, sugar, saturated fat and alcohol –
are limited in most detox regimens. Detox
also can help reeducate your taste buds
and eating habits, making it easier to later
stick to a healthy weight-loss plan.
But detox is no magic bullet. If you
have a serious health condition, detoxing
won’t cure it. It might help, but you will
need to seek professional advice and have
realistic expectations. Many people expect
detox to miraculously change their lives –
but it can’t. Only you can make that kind
of shift. Still, a detox may get you started
down the right path.
Pick a Program
There are a variety of detox programs
and protocols from which to choose. On
the whole, though, there are two major
approaches: fasting (and variations thereof) and limited detox diets. Fasting is the
original and perhaps most stringent detox.
Fasts can last anywhere from 12 hours to
seven days, and in their purest form, only
water is taken.
“The physiological changes during
fasting involve a wide range of metabolic
factors, including levels of amino acids,
hormones and minerals,” says Turner, who
believes that periodic fasting can be useful for conditions like asthma, sinusitis and
However, he points out, you should
check with your physician before, during
and after fasting. (Fasting is not advisable for those with neurological disorders,
cancer or hyperthyroidism.)Limited fasts
can include just drinking fruit or vegetable
juices. Mono-diets (in which your diet is
temporarily restricted to one particular
food) also come under the banner of limited fasts. “Both of these have the effect
of saturating the system with the particular nutrients of which the food is composed,” says Turner. Other variations of
limited fasts include the “grape cure” (red
grapes and juice only), which is said to be
effective for high blood pressure and fluid
retention, and the rice diet (boiled rice
plus some fruit), which is sometimes used
by naturopaths in cases of cardiovascular
disorders or obesity.
Mono-diets should not be confused
with fad diets like the “grapefruit diet”
or the “cabbage soup diet” that promise
quick weight loss. Although you will temporarily lose some weight if you undergo
a water fast, mono-diet or limited fast,
extended fasts and mono-diets are not a
safe, or even effective, way to lose weight.
The majority of modern detox experts
often avoid restricted fasts and opt instead
for various limited detox diets, which are
ideal for most people who want an effective, safe and easy-to-follow detox. “This
type of regimen uses a low-toxin diet plus
plenty of the key nutrients needed to
speed up the body’s ability to detoxify,”
explains Holford. In limited detox diets,
you eliminate the foods and drinks that
cause the most stress to the body’s detox
systems, and then replace them with foods
that are either neutral or that actively help
All detox experts agree that this
involves cutting out alcohol, caffeine, dairy,
sugar, saturated fat, salt and processed
food. Beyond this point, though, the naturopaths and nutritional therapists diverge,
especially when it comes to animal protein.
“In my view, there is no place for animal protein in any detoxification regimen,”
says Turner. “It just makes additional work
for the liver and kidneys.” But Holford
disagrees and advocates some animal protein because “your liver needs amino acids
(from protein) for detoxing.”
The consensus? It’s really up to you. If
you have serious health issues, though, or
if you want more guidance, it would be
worth putting yourself in the hands of a
well-qualified naturopathic doctor. He or
she might suggest a stringent form of detox, such as fasting or mono-dieting, but it
would be carried out under supervision –
either as an in-patient at a clinic or with g
Guide to Detox, Article 1 of 5
regular physician contact.
If you want to detox on your own – and
you don’t have serious health problems
and are not on medication or pregnant –
I’d strongly recommend you try the following seven-day gentler limited detox diet.
This form of detoxification is ideal because
you can maintain energy levels and are
less likely to suffer other common detox
side effects such as headaches and nausea.
It’s worth noting that any limited detox
diet should not last beyond four weeks, as
avoiding certain foods entirely may set up
Jane Alexander is a U.K.-based journalist and author of many books on natural
health and holistic living, including The
Detox Plan for Body, Mind and Spirit
(Charles Tuttle Company, 1998) and The
Detox Kit (Hay House). Visit her website at
7 Day Detox Plan
BEGIN YOUR DETOX ON THE WEEKEND and, if possible, ensure you don’t have too many work or social commitments in the
week ahead. Purchase and prepare all the foods and supplements you need in advance. Warn friends and family you will be detoxing so you don’t have sudden and unwanted temptations.
For the following program, you can eat whichever way suits you­— three solid meals a day or smaller snacks. Just stick to the permitted foods
and try to buy organic. Nonorganic food is often laden with pesticides, hormones and fertilizer residues, which can create toxicity in the body.
Eat in Abundance
Organic Fruit – fresh apricots, berries, kiwi, lemons, papaya,
peaches, mango, grapes and melons. These fruits are alkalizing plus they are naturally high in antioxidants and the amino
acid glutathione. (Glutathione conjugates with toxins in plasma
before being converted into mercapturic acid, which can then
be excreted via the kidneys.) In addition, all berries act as potent
blood purifiers. Strawberries also play a role in helping to cleanse
the lungs; they contain elagic acid, which reduces the effect of
the carcinogen PAH, which is found in tobacco smoke. Melons
(particularly honeydew and cantaloupe) are packed with minerals,
antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which support the liver and
balance the metabolism. Watermelon acts as a diuretic and has
a strongly alkalizing effect on the body. But avoid grapefruit and
grapefruit juice, which contain a compound called naringenin that
can significantly inhibit liver enzymes involved in detoxification.
Organic Vegetables – artichokes, beets, all leafy green vegetables, carrots, capsicums, cauliflower, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet
potato, watercress, bean sprouts and broccoli. All these vegetables are alkalizing and high in antioxidants, essential minerals
and dietary fiber. In addition, artichokes contain plant compounds
known as caffeoylquinic acids, which increase the flow of bile and
help to digest fats. Beets contain betaine, which promotes the
regeneration of liver cells and the flow of bile. Betaine also has a
beneficial effect on fat metabolism. Broccoli and other brassicas
(cabbage, kale, etc.) support the liver’s detoxification enzymes.
Eat in Moderation
The following foods make detoxing easier by providing extra
energy and important amino acids.
GRAINS – organic brown rice, millet and quinoa. No more than
two portions a day.
OILY FISH – wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna. It’s fine to eat
after the first three days, but then no more than one portion a day.
NUTS AND SEEDS – one handful a day of raw, organic, unsalted
nuts and seeds. Choose from almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, pecans,
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds.
(Avoid if allergic.)
OILS – use a little organic extra virgin olive oil for cooking in
place of butter or margarine. Use cold-pressed seed oils for
POTATOES AND BANANAS – both foods quickly raise blood
glucose levels. Try to limit to one portion every other day.
Drink Up
Water is vital because it helps to flush waste through your system.
Drink at least eight large glasses of filtered, bottled or spring
water daily. Sip it slowly through the day rather than drinking with
meals (which can dilute digestive juices).
If you enjoy hot beverages try herb teas and dandelion “coffee.”
Both are alternatives to caffeine and can actively help detoxing.
For example, dandelion is a natural diuretic and an overall tonic
for the liver and digestive tract.
Don’t Even Think About It
Avoid the following:
• All wheat products
• Meat, eggs and dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, cream)
• Salt and any foods containing it
• All processed and fast food
• Sugar (cakes, candy, cookies, etc.) and artificial sweeteners
(aspartame, saccharin, etc.)
• Foods containing additives and preservatives
• Hydrogenated fats
• Alcohol and caffeine (this includes tea and sodas)
Guide to Detox, Article 1 of 5
Supplements and Herbs
Many detox experts believe you can enhance the detox process by taking nutritional supplements and herbs. The detox mechanisms of
the body all require nutrients to perform their work, and while you get many from diet alone, supplementation ensures optimum levels.
Consider the following supplements (after first checking with your physician):
COMPLEX – supports the liver and digestive system, ensuring
optimum levels of micronutrients.
1,000 MG VITAMIN C (once a day) – a powerful antioxidant,
which supports the whole body, especially the liver. It also helps
to decrease headaches and nausea.
1,000 MG MSM (once a day) – MSM is a form of sulfur, which
supports the liver, digestive tract and skin. It’s a natural antiinflammatory and also has a mild laxative effect.
that includes selenium, anthocyanidins, glutathione, lipoic acid
and CoQ10. Antioxidants are vital to the detox process as they
help “mop up” free-radical toxic waste. For instance, glutathione
and selenium are crucial in creating and sustaining one of the
body’s key detox enzymes, which helps detox car-exhaust fumes,
carcinogens, toxic metals and alcohol. Lipoic acid is a fatty acid
that acts as a potent free-radical scavenger and liver support.
ALOE VERA JUICE – 1 tablespoon at breakfast and dinner. Aloe
vera boosts the cleansing powers of the digestive tract.
You don’t have to refrain from all exercise while detoxing, but
you need to avoid strenuous activities. Instead, opt for more
gentle movements, such as walking at least 15 minutes a day or
doing yoga or tai chi. Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and
sunshine may feel especially good, but avoid getting overly cold
or getting too much sun. Be gentle with your body so that it can
devote the majority of its resources to healing and cleansing itself.
Finally, examine your overall toxic load. Other factors that compromise proper liver function include cigarette smoke, recreational and medicinal drugs, dioxins, organophosphate fertilizers, paint
fumes, exhaust fumes and barbecued meat. Consider how you
might reduce your exposure to these factors in your life.
This detox plan does take commitment and a liberal dose of willpower, but it really does work. Stick with it and within a week you
should notice a huge difference. You will have more energy and
should be feeling brighter and clearer in both body and mind.
Ultimately, as you’ll no doubt learn through firsthand experience,
a good detox is not about self-denial or self-indulgence. It’s not
about downing pills or wrapping oneself in seaweed. It’s simply
about creating a blueprint for healthy, sustainable living.
Do You Need To Detox?
Naturopaths say there are several signs that your body’s natural detox ability is being compromised. If it takes more than two hours for
the stimulating effects of tea or coffee to wear off and/or it interferes with your sleep, then your liver is not degrading toxic molecules
effectively. The same is true if you are highly sensitive to smells, such as perfume or chemical fumes. If you tend to feel queasy after
drinking alcohol or taking painkillers, it’s possible the second phase of detoxification (in which the liver combines toxins with carrier
molecules) is impaired. The following are common signs of imbalance within your body’s detox system:
SLUGGISH LYMPHATIC SYSTEM: frequent colds and flu; tiredness; puffiness; dark circles under eyes; cellulite
OVERSTRETCHED SKIN: cellulite, congested blotchy skin,
blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, rashes
OVERLOADED LIVER: bloating, nausea, indigestion, furred tongue
TOXIC INTESTINES: constipation, gas, headaches
CONGESTED LUNGS: congestion, runny nose, constant sneezing, clogged sinuses
If you suffer from two or three symptoms, you could probably
benefit from a gentle detox. If you have the majority of them, you
should consult a medical or naturopathic physician.
STRESSED KIDNEYS: dark-colored, cloudy, scanty or strongsmelling urine; pain while urinating
Guide to Detox, Article 2 of 5
Detox Done
The craze for fasting and cleansing has
produced some fantastic claims, and some
decidedly mixed results. Here’s how to
separate the hype from the reality – and
safely enjoy the benefits of a cleaner,
happier body.
By Courtney Helgoe
ear after year, the debate about
the merits and dangers of detoxing
rages on. Conventional medical professionals argue that the body’s
impressive elimination system is all it needs
to detoxify itself. Progressive and integrative health professionals argue that our
bodies are overloaded with gunk, and that
sensible detox programs offer an effective
way of lightening our toxic burdens.
Both camps have a point.
It’s true that the body has a robust
detoxification system built right in: The liver
snags environmental toxins that circulate in
the blood, the kidneys flush out digestive
byproducts like uric acid and mineral buildup, and the lungs filter the air we breathe
and expel the junky bits through exhalation
and coughing. The skin eliminates toxins
through sweat (and, in a pinch, blemishes),
while the intestines host huge colonies of
bacteria that neutralize toxic substances
before evicting food wastes.
But it’s also true that our bodies aren’t
always up to the detoxification challenges
we modern humans throw their way, and
that they tend to respond better to early,
preventive care than to late, dramatic
Conventional medicine typically deals
with toxicity issues only when the body’s
own systems are at risk of totally shutting
down: Dialysis machines are employed
to replace the filtering action of failed
kidneys; chelation therapies are used to
remove impurities from poisoned blood.
Conventional docs tend to write off the
types of detox programs relatively healthy
people embrace as both unnecessary and
potentially dangerous.
Holistic health practitioners, meanwhile, point out that long before our
organs show signs of failing, they show
signs of overload and stress. Given the
unprecedented number of environmental
and food-related toxins we all encounter
on a daily basis, they argue, strengthening and supporting the body’s natural
detoxification systems makes good common sense. It’s an effective way to protect
and improve overall health and vitality,
and may even help the body resolve
longstanding health problems. Done right,
they say, a good detox program can be a
boon to our well-being.
So where does that leave us, the mostly
healthy but semi-toxic masses? Most likely,
somewhere in the middle — eager to dump
unwanted toxins, but ambivalent about
which detox programs are safe and healthy,
and which might do more harm than good.
Ask a conventionally trained MD with
an integrative, holistic or functional medicine background what he or she thinks
about detox, and you’ll probably get a
fairly balanced answer.
“Clearly, a healthy human body can
handle certain levels of toxins,” says Elson
M. Haas, MD, director of the Preventive
Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael,
Calif. “The concern we have is with excess
intake of toxins or excess production of
toxins or a reduction in the elimination
process.” Such toxin-eliminating problems, Haas argues, are at the root of
many chronic health complaints — from
headaches and foggy thinking to digestive
problems and excess weight.
Mark Hyman, MD, medical director of
the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass.,
and author of UltraMetabolism (Scribner,
2006), agrees. He explains that under our
current cultural conditions, our physical
systems simply can’t keep up. “Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle exposes us to
an increasingly complex (and deteriorating) environment, so that our detoxification systems must work overtime just
to process the toxins we encounter in
everyday life,” he says. “Many of us have
exceeded our capacity for cleansing.”
In short, our impressive elimination
systems need supplementary help in tough
times. But what should that help really look
and feel like? And how do we separate the
health from the hype? g
Guide to Detox, Article 2 of 5
Beware of the Quick Fix
When the pop star Beyoncé Knowles
lost 20 pounds in two weeks for a movie
role in 2006, the Internet came alive
with detox talk. Apparently Knowles had
lost the weight using a lemon-water fast
called “Master Cleanse,” and suddenly
the cleanse was being widely promoted
to people looking to quickly drop excess
But most health professionals advise
against using such programs for weight
loss, noting that they are both ineffective
and potentially counterproductive.
Both Haas and Hyman suggest avoiding all extreme detox programs, including
fasts, unless under a doctor’s care. Instead,
they recommend more moderate, wholefood-based detox programs — often
supported by carefully selected nutritional
supplements — which they say are safer,
more beneficial and less likely to negatively affect metabolism and cause subsequent
weight gain.
Conducted over a period of days,
weeks or even months, such programs
result in more significant improvements
in health and vitality, and they also tend
to help people adjust their eating habits
more permanently, resulting in the kind of
sustainable weight loss most of us are after
in the first place.
And yet it’s the quick-fix detox
methods that seem to garner the most
attention and excitement. Spas and salons
offer ionic footbaths that turn the water
varying colors as they supposedly suck
toxins through the feet. Detoxifying body
wraps offer to shrink off inches. Pricey
cleansing kits with overnight promises sell
like hotcakes.
Promises of speedy weight loss, in particular, make detox programs almost irresistible to body-conscious consumers. But
the notion of detoxing and fasting purely
for weight loss is a relatively new phenomenon and, according to most health
experts, not an especially healthy one.
“If we look at fasting throughout history, we see that people have always fasted
for the purpose of overall well-being and
having insight into something deeper,”
says Marc David, founder of the Institute
for the Psychology of Eating in Boulder,
Colo. “There are no historical references
to fasting so as to look better in a bikini.”
David emphasizes the importance
of taking a larger view when it comes
to detoxing the body: A truly healthy
detox process is about gaining physical
and emotional vitality, he says, not losing
pounds, achieving an unrealistic state
of hygienic purity or finding an instant
miracle cure for a chronic condition.
All the hype and overpromising associated with detoxing today creates a polarizing set of assumptions: Either detoxing
is going to save your life, or all detox
programs are snake oil. But these extreme
views rarely tell the whole story.
Yes, any program that promises an
instant fix is probably bunk, but healthy,
effective detox plans abound, and some
of them can make a real and noticeable
difference in how you look and feel. You
can tell them by the amount of patience
and realistic effort they require, and by
their intention to heal the body, not just
shrink it.
Who Should Detox?
We can all benefit from some level of
detox in today’s toxic environments, says
Beverly Yates, who directs the Naturopathic Family Health Clinic in Mill Valley,
Calif. But not everyone is a candidate for
elimination-oriented programs.
Yates carefully examines prospective detox patients for signs of deficiency, like pale,
puffy skin or discolored eyes. If a patient is
too depleted, she will recommend nutrient
supplements and fiber before starting a
more intensive, unsupervised cleanse.
Unfortunately, those of us who are
too depleted to start cleansing programs
right away are usually the ones who need
them the most. Haas and Yates agree that
if your system is congested from years of
overexposure to toxins, whether it’s from
eating processed or allergenic foods, or
experiencing chronic stress or carrying accumulated pounds from emotional eating,
a supervised cleanse might be in order.
This involves meeting with a naturopathic doctor or other trained nutrition
professionals once or twice weekly, who
can make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition, hydration and support while your
body goes through the ups and downs of
the healing process.
Yates also suggests supervision for anyone who suffers from digestive diseases,
like colitis or diverticulitis, since insoluble
fiber supplements can aggravate these
conditions. It’s also a good idea to seek
support if you have a history of eating disorders that might give fasting or detoxing
an unhealthy emotional charge.
But for most of us, unsupervised mild
detox programs and even daily rituals offer
a range of benefits.
If you experience chronic headaches,
low energy, bloating and skin outbreaks,
for instance, it’s possible that your body
is not processing toxins efficiently — in
which case there are a variety of healthy
detox approaches that can be helpful.
These range from mild interventions,
like adjusting your diet to include more
nutrient- and fiber-rich whole foods and
eliminating all things processed, to more
intense ones, like briefly fasting with juice
or broth.
The right approach for you will depend
on the current state of your health, your
time availability, and the problem you want
to solve. “The key to proper treatment is to
individualize your program,” says Haas.
The right approach also includes
developing a healthy mindset. “Your
biggest aid in detoxing is clear intent and
commitment,” says Jane Alexander, author
of Holistic Therapy File (Carlton, 2008).
This allows you to be guided by healthy
intentions rather than driven by fear or a
compulsive deprivation.
If weight loss is your only motivation,
and you jump into the latest fast being
used by Hollywood stars getting ready for
their Oscar gowns, your program is likely
to backfire.
“Fasting is generally too temporary an
approach for overweight dieters and may
even generate a feasting reaction coming
off the fast,” says Haas.
Weight loss can indeed be a side effect
of clearing the body’s “organs of elimination,” he explains, since the body will store
toxins in fat to protect vital organs when
it can’t eliminate them effectively. But if
weight loss is to be maintained (Beyoncé
gained her weight back immediately after
filming), making an overall lifestyle change
is the healthy and effective answer. “A
better solution would be a more gradual
change of diet that will replace old dietary
habits and food choices with new ones,”
Haas says. g
Guide to Detox, Article 2 of 5
The Detox Process
Experts call the total amount of toxins
stored in the body at a given time our
toxic “body burden.” They note that when
our total body burden passes a certain
point, organs of elimination slow way
down, kind of like your water filter when
you haven’t changed it for a while.
Most detox programs work by replenishing necessary nutrients and removing
stored toxins that are gumming up the
works, which can have a variety of sources.
“A toxin is basically any substance that
creates irritating and/or harmful effects in
the body . . . stressing our biochemical or
organ functions,” says Haas. These include
airborne pollutants like diesel fumes, synthetic household cleaners, and inflammatory food substances like refined sugar and
caffeine, as well as common food allergens
like gluten and dairy products. Elimination
diets can be quite helpful, as in taking a
couple of weeks’ break from sugar, caffeine, alcohol, wheat and dairy products.
But it’s not just what you take out of
your diet that counts, it’s also what you
put in. Take fiber, for example. “Previous
generations of Americans ate 20 to 30
grams of fiber a day,” explains Ann Louise
Gittleman, PhD, award-winning diet and
detox professional and author of The Fast
Track Detox Diet (Broadway Books, 2005).
“Our current average has dropped to less
than 12. So the food we eat can sit in our
colon for weeks.”
All detox programs work to clear out
this gunk and replenish these organs.
Off-the-shelf detox kits usually contain
some combination of fiber (soluble and
insoluble) with a chelating substance like
bentonite clay, to absorb heavy metals.
Yates will sometimes recommend a
high-quality detox kit to people who might
be too busy or overwhelmed to measure
out their own daily doses of clay and fiber.
(If you have the time, these ingredients are
available in bulk at a much lower cost.)
Gittleman recommends an 11-day program, with a seven-day period of nonallergenic whole foods, followed by a one-day
juice fast and a three-day recovery with
replenishing probiotic foods.
Hyman instructs patients to follow a
program that eliminates allergenic foods
and includes supplements, Epsom salts
baths and yoga to help their bodies detox,
but the length and frequency of the program varies according to a person’s needs.
All experts agree that some preparation — whether
restoring nutrients,
building up organ capacity, or weaning the
body from refined foods — is important
before starting a cleanse.
The same applies to post-detox reentry:
To seal the benefits of a cleanse, you need
to return to regular eating slowly and deliberately, so your body has time to adjust.
Experts also agree that certain side
effects are likely to accompany any detox
process, both because the flood of toxins
being released into the bloodstream
can produce nausea, headaches and low
energy, and because ceasing the intake of
substances like coffee and sugar can lead
to physical withdrawal.
Symptoms ranging from fatigue, headaches and irritability to potent breath,
body odor and skin eruptions are all “signs
that the detox process is working,” says
Alex Jamieson, author of The Great American Detox Diet (Rodale, 2005). These will
usually disappear after the first few days of
cleansing, as the release of toxins reaches
an apex, and the body’s toxic burden starts
to dissipate.
Day-by-Day Detox
A targeted cleanse is likely to produce at
least some upset in your usual routine,
especially when you first start out, so it
might not be your best choice if you’re
short on time and energy. Still, you don’t
need to stop everything to offer more support to your body’s detoxifying efforts. You
can also receive appreciable benefits from
these daily detox habits:
• Drink more water. One of the easiest
things you can do to support the healthy
elimination of toxins is to drink plenty of
water. “Our kidneys are fantastic waste
removers,” says Jamieson. “They get rid of
the waste products from protein metabolism — uric acid, urea and lactic acid —
but they need lots of water to accomplish
this.” Because we excrete 10 cups of water
a day just by sweating, urinating and
breathing, she recommends consuming no
fewer than 10 glasses of water daily.
• Eat your (organic) vegetables. Adequate fiber and phytonutrients play a key
role in supporting the body’s detoxification processes, and a steady supply of
organic veggies will give you both. Hyman
recommends that his patients eliminate
refined and allergenic foods, sticking with
a primarily whole-food diet.
Jamieson points out that a vegetarian
diet based on organic whole foods has
multiple detox advantages: It adds fiber,
it reduces your exposure to toxins, and it’s
easy. “When you switch to a diet based
on vegetable proteins, you automatically
consume fewer antibiotics, saturated fats,
nitrates and hormones,” she says. “The
switch allows your body to calm down,
clean out and bulk up on healing nutrients,
antioxidants and phytonutrients.” The
“fast-track” detox diet Gittleman recommends does include some lean animal protein, but she recommends sticking strictly
to pasture-raised meats, dairy products
and eggs to avoid antibiotic and hormone
• Skin brushing and saunas. Our bodies
lose a significant amount of toxins through
the skin, and both skin brushing and saunas can help amplify this process. Yates is
a huge advocate of skin brushing; she tells
her patients that it’s something they can
do to detox every day. The only equipment
you need is a skin brush — a long brush
with coarse bristles and a long handle
(available at most natural food stores).
Brushing helps remove toxins from the surface of the skin as well as improve blood
and lymph circulation. “Always brush from
outward extremities toward the heart,” she
says, which helps move the lymph fluid in
the right direction and supports vascular
valve function.
Saunas are also a terrific way to ship
toxins out through the skin. For a true detoxifying effect, spend about 30 minutes
in moderate heat — around 145 degrees.
Most gym saunas are set between 180
and 195 degrees, so if the room is especially hot, shorten your stay.
• Probiotics. When they are working
well, the bacteria in your colon neutralize and remove toxins from the body, so
you want to give them plenty of support.
Live-culture yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea
and probiotic supplements are all easy
ways to keep your fighting flora thriving
and happy.
• Garlic and cilantro. Wisconsin-based
nutritionist Karen Hurd recommends a daily dose of garlic as an easy way to re- g
Guide to Detox, Article 2 of 5
move heavy metals from the body. “Heavy
metals are very attracted to the chemical
compounds in garlic,” she explains, noting
that they will actually unbind from soft
tissue to bind with the sulfur present in
garlic. She recommends raw garlic if your
stomach can tolerate it and you’re seeking
more rapid detox effects, but a daily ritual
of a clove or two of sautéed garlic also
works well to keep your system clear of
heavy metals.
Studies have also shown the herb cilantro to help remove mercury and to have
general antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Breathe deep. Deep breathing activates
the parasympathetic nervous system and
helps us calm down (reducing a buildup of
adrenal stress hormones), as well as releasing a significant load of toxins through exhalation. If we’re stressed, we tend to breathe
more shallowly, and this prevents the usual
release of toxins through the breath.
A magic cure it is not, but as a practical
support for the body’s own intelligence and
healing systems, a good detox program is
hard to beat. If you keep the big picture in
mind — detoxing for vitality rather than
control and purity — you’ll be on the right
track to a healthier, happier body.
Courtney Helgoe is an Experience Life
senior editor.
Detox Decoder
The following detox strategies have generated a lot of talk, but do they work? Here’s what some experts have to say.
• Epsom salts and baking soda baths. Mark Hyman, MD, and
Beverly Yates, ND, both recommend hot Epsom salt baths to their
patients as a gentle, effective detox method during a cleanse or
anytime. Epsom salts contain a generous amount of magnesium,
a calming mineral that can be absorbed through the skin, and hot
water produces a gentle sweat that lets toxins out. Yates says that
releasing toxins through the skin can “give kidneys a break.” Adding baking soda helps prevent dry skin.
• Detox footbaths. Soaking the feet always feels good, but ionic
footbaths that purportedly remove toxins through the feet (and
turn the water brown) have no scientific support. Some critics
argue that the only reason the water turns brown is because the
ionic charge has a corrosive effect on the salt in the water. Detox
foot pads held over steam show dark stains similar to those that
have been plastered to feet, suggesting that heat and moisture,
not toxin-drawing powers, are responsible for the results.
• Master Cleanse. Created in 1941 by Stanley Burroughs, an
early raw-food advocate, the Master Cleanse involves a 10-day
fast using water mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne
pepper. Elson M. Haas, MD, of the Preventive Medical Center of
Marin in San Rafael, Calif., does recommend this to some of his
patients as a “spring cleanse,” especially if they are experiencing
congestion related to overconsumption of processed foods, but
he supervises them carefully throughout the fast. “Medical supervision is important for anyone in poor health or without fasting
experience,” he says. He doesn’t recommend Master Cleanse for
weight loss, however. For excess weight, he recommends longterm dietary shifts to avoid an unhealthy boomerang.
• Colon cleanses. Yates will sometimes suggest over-the-counter
kits for people who are new to detox and feel more comfortable
having measured ingredients and instructions. Still, most coloncleansing kits contain fairly simple combinations of bentonite clay
and fiber (along with herbs that help speed elimination), and you
can buy these ingredients in bulk (or packaged à la carte) at any
natural food store for much less money than the typical kit. And
remember: Kits sold on TV are a risky financial bet, since they often rope you into “memberships” with monthly deliveries — and
monthly charges to your credit card that can be hard to cancel.
• Colonics. Colonics are essentially professional enemas; they
involve working with a health professional who uses water and
herbal combinations to cleanse the colon. According to some
experts, colonics can be effective at clearing out stored waste,
but they are generally unnecessary and may prove risky for some
people. They can disturb the normal pressure of fluids in the colon, upset the balance of intestinal bacteria, and possibly encourage an unhealthy, obsessive mindset in some individuals.
Guide to Detox, Article 3 of 5
Dr. Mark Hyman shares the seven-day
program he uses to help thousands improve
their health, drop unwanted pounds and
transform their eating habits for good.
By Mark Hyman, MD
n a world where quick-fix diet schemes
abound, you’d be wise to look at any
seven-day weight-loss plan with a
healthy dose of skepticism. So let me clarify
right from the beginning that while the
plan outlined below may very well help you
lose a few pounds, it is not designed solely
— or even primarily — for weight loss.
My main purpose in developing this
program was to help you conduct an
experiment with your own body. It’s an
experiment that will help you observe how
much better you can begin looking and
feeling simply by eating a whole-foods
diet over the course of a single week.
Follow the program for seven days and
you will likely experience reduced inflammation and toxicity, resulting in a noticeable slimming down of your face and
body. But the other positive side effects
— better sleep, more energy, improved
skin, decreased joint pain, enhanced elimination, fewer chronic discomforts — are
likely to be even more profound.
It’s rewards like these that I’m hoping
will convince you to transfer what you’ve
learned to a lifelong eating plan — one
that will help you achieve and maintain not
just your ideal weight, but also an optimal
level of vitality, with relative ease.
One thing I’ve learned in 15 years of
treating diseases and health conditions of
all kinds is that, very often, the things that
make people sick are the same things that
make them fat. When underlying health
problems like inflammation and toxicity are
resolved, excess weight simply drops away.
Another thing I’ve learned from working with thousands of chronically overweight and ill patients is that once people
discover how terrific they can feel just by
eating properly, they often remain motivated to change their habits for good.
This plan can help you experience in
one week the power you have to harm
or to heal your body, the power that the
wrong foods have to create sickness, and
the power that the right foods have to
promote weight loss and health. (Those
who are on multiple medications should
consult their physicians before going on
the program.)
As you will see, the weight you lose on
this eating plan will be a simple byproduct
of the energy and vitality you gain. So, let’s
get started.
One week before you start the program,
prepare your body for all the goodness
to come by shedding habits that interfere
with your metabolism. Eliminating items
from your diet in a systematic way may
keep you from experiencing potential
withdrawal symptoms and jump-start the
process to weight loss and vital health.
Over the course of the preparation
week, you should eliminate these items
from your diet entirely. Remember, in some
cases they are hidden in places you may
not expect. Be as vigilant as you can about
reading labels and making sure the foods
you eat do not contain the following:
• Caffeine (except from green tea)
• Processed and refined carbohydrates
and sugar
• High-fructose corn syrup
• Hydrogenated (trans) fats
• Alcohol
• Also avoid processed, packaged, junk or
fast foods.
Once you’ve completed your preparatory week, you’re ready to embark on the
7-Day UltraSimple Slimdown plan. Use
the recipes on the following pages to prepare the UltraShake and UltraBroth called
for in each day’s meal plan, and use the
Avoid and Enjoy lists to create balanced
for yourself.
Set aside some extra time each day to
prepare any foods and beverages you’ll
need to take with you to work or other
activities. Make UltraShakes shortly before
consuming. The recipe for UltraBroth can
be made in advance and refrigerated. You
should make enough broth to last you the
entire week.
Also, if you experience low energy
during the first day or two, take the time
to rest and nurture yourself. Get extra
sleep, take a nap or get a massage, so
your body is recovering and healing. g
Guide to Detox, Article 3 of 5
The 7-Day UltraSimple Slimdown
Here are the foods you will include in your recommended meals over the course of the 7-Day UltraSimple program:
• Filtered water (six to eight glasses per day)
• Fresh vegetable broth (3 to 4 cups a day)
• Fish, especially small, nonpredatory species such as sardines, herring, wild salmon, black cod or sable fish,
sole, and cod
• Legumes (e.g., kidney beans, black beans, white beans, etc.)
• Lean white-meat chicken breasts (preferably organic)
• Fresh or frozen noncitrus fruits, ideally berries only (preferably
• Fresh vegetables (preferably organic)
• Brown rice
• Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and
pumpkin seeds)
• Ground flaxseeds (preferably organic)
• Lemons (preferably organic)
During this program, you will avoid the following foods. The list is simply to remind you of the toxic and inflammatory foods that most
of us consume daily. Some of the fruits and vegetables, and even eggs and meat, listed here may not be a problem for some of you,
but the only way to find out is to stop all of them for one week and listen to what your body tells you.
• Sugar (including honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup,
• Gluten (see for a comprehensive list of glutencontaining foods)
• Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol
• Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, etc.
• Beef, pork, lamb or any other meat (except organic poultry)
• Natural sweeteners like stevia (although this might be fine in
the long run, in the short run it stimulates sweet cravings and
will sabotage your efforts)
• Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers)
• Refined oils and hydrogenated fats
• Caffeine (sodas, coffee, tea — except for green tea)
• Stimulants (these include decongestants, diet pills, ephedra, ma
huang and yerba mate)
• Citrus fruits and juices (except lemon juice)
• All flour products
• Yeast (baker’s and brewer’s, fermented foods like vinegar)
• Processed foods or food additives (fast food; junk food; any foods
that come in a box, package, can, or that are commercially
prepared using chemicals, preservatives and other unnatural
ingredients to make them shelf-stable)
• Dairy products (milk, butter, yogurt, cheese)
Your UltraSimple Meal Plan
By steering clear of foods on the Avoid list and combining the foods in the Enjoy list with the UltraBroth and UltraShake recipes
that follow, you will nourish your body and keep your metabolism humming over the course of the seven-day program. You should
not feel physically hungry, and by taking the recommended UltraBaths, you will both assist your body in expelling toxins and help
Breakfast (7 a.m.–9 a.m.)
Morning Snack (10 a.m.–11 a.m.)
Afternoon Snack (2 p.m.–3 p.m.)
• Lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon) and hot
• 1 cup UltraBroth (recipe next page)
• 1 cup UltraBroth
• Another UltraShake (if you are hungry)
• UltraShake (if you are hungry)
• 1 cup of decaf or caffeinated green tea
steeped in hot water for five minutes. (You
may also have the green tea later in the
day. Limit your intake to 2 cups a day.)
Lunch (12 p.m.–1 p.m.)
Dinner (5 p.m.–7 p.m.)
• 2 cups or more of steamed or lightly
sautéed veggies (you should eat enough
to feel gently satisfied)
• 4 to 6 ounces of fish or chicken breasts
cooked with olive oil and lemon juice or
4 to 6 ounces of tofu or legumes (if using
canned, rinse them well)
• UltraShake (recipe next page)
• If no bowel movement by 10 a.m., take two
herbal laxative tablets (you can take two
senna or cascara tablets to ensure you
have a bowel movement).
• 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
• 1/2 cup fruit or berries for dessert (either
here or at dinner, not both, and only
one or two times during the seven-day
• 2 cups or more of steamed or lightly sautéed veggies (eat enough to feel gently
• UltraShake (optional)
• 1 cup UltraBroth
• 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Guide to Detox, Article 3 of 5
The UltraBroth Recipe
Our modern diet is an acid-producing diet — including sugar, excess animal protein and processed foods — that creates a toxic
cellular environment that can contribute to many diseases. This broth, filled with many healing nutrients, is a simple way to detoxify
and alkalinize your body. (For those who can’t make the broth, you can substitute low-sodium, organic vegetable broth from Pacific
For every 3 quarts of water, add:
• 1/2 cup of cabbage, cut into large cubes
• 1 large chopped onion
• 4 1/2-inch knob of ginger, sliced
• 2 sliced carrots
• 2 cloves of whole garlic
• 1 cup of daikon or white radish root and tops, cut into large cubes
(ideal, but optional)
• Sea salt to taste
• 1 cup of winter squash, cut into large cubes
• If available, you can add 1 cup of fresh or dried shiitake or maitake
• 1 cup of root vegetables, cut into large cubes: turnips, parsnips
and rutabagas for sweetness
Add all the ingredients at once and place on a low boil for approximately one hour. Simply continue to simmer to taste.
• 2 cups of chopped greens: kale, parsley, beet greens, collard
greens, chard, dandelion, cilantro or other greens
Cool, strain out the cooked vegetables and discard them. Store resulting broth in a large, tightly sealed glass container in the fridge.
• 2 celery stalks, cut into large cubes
Before consuming, heat gently. Drink at least 3 to 4 cups a day.
• 1/2 cup of seaweed: nori, dulse, wakame, kelp or kombu
Makes approximately 8 cups or 2 quarts.
The UltraShake Recipe
This shake provides essential protein for detoxification, omega-3 fatty acids from flax oil, fiber for healthy digestion, increased
elimination from flaxseeds, and antioxidants and phytonutrients from the berries and fruit. This shake is the easiest to make and
digest; for two more versions, see my book The UltraSimple Diet. Also, for alternative snack options, enjoy raw veggies and humBlend together:
• Ice (made from filtered water), if desired
• 2 scoops of rice protein powder (the average is 2 scoops, but you
should follow the directions for the serving sizes of the product
you pick)
• 6 to 8 ounces of filtered water to desired consistency
• 1 tablespoon organic combination flax and borage oil
Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of nut butter (almond, macadamia,
pecan) or ¼ cup nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans or any
combination of these, soaked overnight.
• 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
• 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh noncitrus organic fruit, such as cherries,
blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, pears or bananas
The UltraBath
The UltraBath is a key component of the program. It provides many powerful benefits in one easy, 20-minute solution every day.
(Take a bath just before bed every night.)
• Add 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda and 10 drops
of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.
For extra-powerful detoxification, wrap yourself in towels immediately after the bath, get into bed under the covers and sweat
more for 20 minutes, then remove the towels and go to sleep. You
can go directly to sleep without rinsing off after the bath.
How to Deal With Detox Downsides
You may experience some common symptoms during the first few
days of the program: bad breath; achy, flulike feelings; fatigue;
headaches; cravings; irritability; constipation. Don’t worry — it’s
a good sign that your body is eliminating toxins. Constipation,
however, should be addressed aggressively to ensure a successful
program. For more on how to deal with constipation, see the Web
Extra! at
Guide to Detox, Article 3 of 5
Next Steps
When the program is over, you can (and
should) continue many of the healthy
habits you have learned. At this point, you
can either transition into a maintenance
version of the program (more details can
be found in my book), or you can end the
program and gradually reintegrate foods
back into your diet. The biggest gift of the
program is identifying which foods you
are sensitive, intolerant or allergic to, and
which you can enjoy safely. For step-bystep guidance on what to introduce back
into your diet and when, please see chapter 16 of my book. Otherwise, strive to
introduce eliminated foods one at a time
and for a couple of days at a stretch. For
example, include dairy twice a day for a
few days before you reintroduce other potential allergens like gluten, eggs or nuts.
Otherwise it will be impossible to know
which foods are giving you trouble.
Mark Hyman, MD, is the medical director
and founder of The UltraWellness Center in
Lenox, Mass. Dr. Hyman also is editor of the
peer-reviewed journal Alternative Therapies and a leading expert in functional
medicine. This article was adapted, by
permission, from his book The UltraSimple
Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and
Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Days,
published by Gallery Books, an imprint of
Simon & Schuster, Inc., NY. Copyright ©
2009 by Mark Hyman, MD. You can download a free sneak preview of the book at
Guide to Detox, Article 4 of 5
Because our bodies are exposed to a
constant barrage of harmful toxins, the
best detoxification regimen is a daily one.
Here are some simple steps to keep your
body running clean.
By Erin Peterson
"Yuck.” Faced with the fact that each
of us is continually being exposed to all
sorts of toxins — in the air we breathe,
the water we drink, the food we eat and
the products we use every day — is there
really any other reaction to have?
Well, fortunately, yes. Because while
“yuck” is certainly an understandable
response, it’s not going to help these bodies of ours shovel out from the mess. And
while they’ve been brilliantly designed to
eliminate a wide variety of harmful elements, when our built-in detox systems get
bogged down and start falling behind on
their work, the results can be ugly — and
eventually, even deadly.
That’s why the best approach to supporting your body’s natural detox systems
is an ongoing one. By taking a few simple,
daily steps, you can help scrub each of
your body’s major elimination systems and
enable them to function more efficiently.
This empowers your body’s immune and
repair systems to do the work they were
meant to do: keeping you healthy, vital
and resilient, even in the face of unpredictable challenges.
We’re not talking about monk-like
obedience to an extreme diet or a faddish
cleansing routine. Rather, we’re talking
about gradual, sustainable lifestyle shifts
that promote detoxification from the
inside out. Here’s your guide to supporting
each of your body’s six major elimination
systems (kidneys, lungs, liver, bowels and
intestines, lymphatic system, and skin), plus
some insights into what causes toxins to
accumulate, and the toxicity signals each
system may send when it’s getting behind
in its work.
• Functions: The kidneys control the
amount of water, acidity and minerals in
the blood. They filter waste and toxins
from the blood and play an important role
in regulating blood pressure. They also
help deliver oxygen to all the body’s cells.
• Toxic signals: infrequent urination;
dark or cloudy urination; frequent urinarytract infections.
Contributing factors: dehydration; high
cholesterol; a diet high in sodium, low in
fiber, and high in refined flours and sugars.
• Daily detox: Experts agree that hydration is the key to helping out your kidneys. “Kidneys need a lot of good healthy
fluid — lots of water especially — for them
to function properly,” says Alex Jamieson,
author of The Great American Detox Diet
(Rodale, 2006). While individual needs
may vary, the Institute of Medicine, an independent research organization offering
evidence-based advice to policymakers,
health professionals and the public, recommends between 90 and 125 ounces of
water each day. Other healthy beverages
include diluted fruit juices and herbal tea.
Avoid undoing all your good work by loading up on chemicals that leach water from
your body, such as caffeine and alcohol.
You can ease the stress on your kidneys
by adopting healthy habits that lower
your blood pressure, such as getting some
exercise each day and limiting your sodium
intake — this is especially helpful for those
who have sodium-sensitive high blood
pressure. (For more on sodium intake and
cooking with high-quality salts, see “Salt”
in the January/February 2008 archives.)
Because high levels of LDL cholesterol
can affect kidney function, you’ll want
to emphasize healthy foods that can
help reduce those levels (walnuts and
almonds, tuna and salmon) — plus eat
lots of brightly colored fruits and veggies,
which help fight the inflammation that can
drive up LDL. You’ll also want to reduce
your intake of unhealthy fats. That means
going easy on the bacon and sausage, as
well as many premade baked goods and
snacks that often contain both trans and
saturated fats. (For more on good and bad
fats, see “Fat Chance” in the January/February 2006 archives.) g
Guide to Detox, Article 4 of 5
• Functions: The liver is the body’s
hazmat specialist, removing all sorts of
toxins from the blood. It also regulates
blood-sugar levels, stores nutrients and
serves as a garbage disposal for old red
blood cells.
• Toxic signals: bloating, nausea, indigestion, a tongue with a white or yellowish
hue, yellowed eye whites.
Contributing factors: too much alcohol;
too much unhealthy saturated or trans
fat; overuse of prescription and overthe-counter medications; environmental
exposure to heavy metals.
• Daily detox: The liver is one of the
body’s most powerful detoxifiers. It functions best when you eat more veggies,
fewer processed foods, and less unhealthy
fat, and when you keep your alcohol, sugar
and caffeine intake low.
The liver thrives in an alkaline environment. Most vegetables have an alkalizing
effect on the body, as do lemons and limes
— an easy addition to your next glass of
water. Refined sugars, flours, meats and
dairy all have an acidifying effect. (For
more on acid-alkaline balance, see “The
pH Factor” in the March 2007 archives.)
An excessive intake of unhealthy fats
(particularly trans fats), sugars or alcohol
can also bog down the liver, causing it to
develop fatty deposits and become inefficient. Also limit your caffeine consumption.
Its stimulating effect sets off a cascade of
bodily reactions that can stress the liver
and depress metabolism.
Finally, take a pass on most white foods:
white bread, white rice and white flour, all
of which send blood sugar
spiking and the liver into overdrive.
Instead emphasize liver scrubbers like
cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower,
broccoli); leafy greens; sulfur-rich foods
(garlic, onion, radish); and artichokes,
beets, asparagus and celery. For more tips,
see “Fast Track Liver Detox” in the May
2005 archives.
Bowels and Intestines
• Functions: Bowels and intestines absorb nutrients and moisture into the body
and eliminate waste.
• Toxic signals: constipation, diarrhea,
bloating and gas; chronic skin problems;
bad breath.
• Contributing factors: a low-fiber
diet; lots of processed or overly fatty and
rich foods; pesticide residues; stress; delayed-onset food allergies or intolerances.
• Daily detox: Avoid any foods to
which you might be sensitive (typical
culprits are gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs
and tree nuts). Add fiber to your diet by
eating foods such as pears, berries, figs,
lentils, black beans and Brussels sprouts.
Eat slowly: Fiber can be challenging for
your body to digest in large quantities
— especially if it’s been gulped down or
not chewed thoroughly. Help out your
digestive juices by chewing food to a liquid
texture before you swallow; or try a digestive enzyme supplement.
Jamieson suggests taking probiotics,
friendly bacteria that assist with digestion. Plain yogurt and kefir also are good
sources of friendly bacteria. (For more on
probiotics, see “Good Bacteria Welcome”
in the July/August 2007 archives.)
Constipation can be both a sign and a
cause of toxicity. When you suffer chronic
constipation, you run the risk of the toxins
in your waste being reabsorbed into your
body, rather than passing quickly through.
Talk about “yuck!”
To help alleviate constipation, Jane
Alexander, author of Holistic Therapy File
(Carlton Publishing Group, 2008), recommends (in addition to consuming more
water, fruit and veggies) a yoga position
called the Cobra Pose. Lie face down on
the floor and put your hands beneath your
shoulders. Aim to straighten your arms
and arch your back as far as is comfortable
(don’t strain). Look up or straight ahead.
Hold the position for as long as is comfortable, and then return to the floor.
• Functions: The lungs bring oxygen from the air to our bloodstream and
release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream back into the air. They also filter
out tiny blood clots formed in the veins.
• Toxic signals: runny nose, clogged
sinuses, frequent sneezing and coughing;
trouble breathing or getting enough air.
• Contributing factors: cigarette
smoke; traffic fumes; certain prescription
drugs; recycled indoor air that often includes formaldehyde and volatile organic
compounds; mold or mildew.
• Daily detox: You’ve heard it before,
and you’ll hear it again: If you smoke, quit.
Also, consider cutting back on dairy products, which can be mucus-forming, and
add a bit of ginger to your diet. “Ginger
is a lung tonic,” says Alexander. “Add the
fresh root to cooking or a tea.”
Clear clogged nasal passages with a
neti pot filled with water and noniodized
salt, which you pour into one nostril while
you breathe through your mouth (the water irrigates your nasal passage and comes
out of your other nostril).
When you’re cleaning around the
house, read the labels on household
products and be sure you follow their
guidelines, especially when the products
recommend working in well-ventilated
areas. Better yet, make your own cleaning
products from nontoxic household ingredients. If you suspect that household mold
or mildew might be a problem, take steps
to eliminate it from your environment.
Get some vigorous exercise each day.
Choose an activity that gets your heart
beating and makes your breathing heavier.
This will help move out the toxins that
settle in your lung tissues.
Lymphatic System
• Functions: The lymphatic system
includes organs that are crucial in preventing infection, because they help clear our
bodies of waste and foreign cells.
• Toxic signals: exhaustion, puffiness,
frequent illness and swollen nodes.
• Contributing factors: a poor diet
with few fruits and veggies; a sedentary
lifestyle; toxic elements from pesticides
and body-care products.
• Daily detox: The slow-moving fluids
of the lymphatic system can be stimulated
through exercise, says Jamieson. Anything
that gets your body moving — whether
it’s walking, cycling or lap swimming — will
increase the flow of your lymphatic fluid.
Another circulation booster is specialized lymphatic massage, in which practitioners use a light, brisk touch to promote
lymph-fluid movement.
Incorporate immunity-boosting foods
into your diet, such as carrots, red peppers, cantaloupe and green leafy vegetables. Flavor your foods with cayenne
pepper and horseradish, which also help
circulate lymphatic fluids. g
Guide to Detox, Article 4 of 5
Try to avoid aluminum-based antiperspirants if you can, says Max Tomlinson, a
naturopath and author of Clean Up Your
Diet: The Pure Food Program to Cleanse,
Energize and Revitalize (Duncan Baird,
2007). “Antiperspirants block a major
system of elimination,” he says. “If you’re
not sweating, you’re not eliminating.”
Not prone to sweating in the first
place? Try saunas and steam rooms, both
of which stimulate sweating and lymphatic
• Functions: The body’s largest organ,
skin provides a barrier to the external
environment, regulates body temperature,
and helps moderate blood flow. It also
excretes some toxins.
• Toxic signals: rashes, acne, clogged
pores, flaking.
• Contributing factors: toxic, proinflammatory diet; irritating personalcare or laundry products; pesticides and
industrial residues on clothing; dead-skin
buildup; overloaded, toxic organs.
• Daily detox: Toxins are both absorbed and eliminated through the skin.
So always read product-ingredient labels
closely: Legislation for health-and-beauty
products claiming to be “natural” or
“organic” is practically nonexistent. Ditto
with household products. Choose those
without added fragrances, perfumes or
dyes, and avoid potentially toxic additives
such as parabens, phthalates, petroleum products and sodium lauryl/laureth
sulfates. Switch to nonirritating, nonfragranced laundry products.
To remove dead skin cells that can
clog pores and block elimination through
the skin, brush your body firmly for a few
minutes before you shower with a skin
brush made of soft, natural fibers. Skin
brushing also helps stimulate oil-secreting
glands that help moisturize skin. If you
prefer baths to showers, try adding a cup
of baking soda and a cup of Epsom salts to
the tub — both are detoxifying.
Vigorous activity is another way to
detox your skin. “It’s important to exercise
and sweat,” says Elson Haas, MD, coauthor
of The New Detox Diet: The Complete
Guide for Lifelong Vitality With Recipes,
Menus and Detox Plans (Celestial Arts,
2004). “A sauna or steam room can help,
too — anything that opens pores helps us
sweat out some toxins.”
Finally, consider wearing clothes made
of organic cotton, hemp or linen. Our skin
absorbs the elements it touches — and
the residual pesticides in many fabrics are
no exception. (Visit www.organicexchange.
com to locate stores that carry natural,
organic clothing.)
Take a few daily, modest steps to ease
the toxic burden on your body, the experts
suggest, and you’re likely to reap large and
unexpected dividends. “People typically
feel far more energetic and clear-headed
once their natural detoxification systems
have a chance to catch up,” says Alexander. “It’s also not unusual to see clearer
skin and an increase in metabolism.”
And don’t be surprised if a lot of small,
nagging health problems seem to clear up
on their own. “I think detoxification is one
of the key aspects of preventive medicine,”
says Haas.
A safe, affordable, preventive health
solution that helps our whole body function better? Nothing the least bit yucky
about that.
Erin Peterson is a Minneapolis-based
freelance writer.
Top Detox Tips
Each of the body’s systems responds to specific detox boosters, but there are some general ways to promote gradual,
whole-body detox:
1. Avoid the white stuff. Refined sugar and flour wreak havoc on
your energy levels and tax your body’s major systems — especially
your kidneys and liver. For detox-friendly snacks, stick with fruits,
vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
2. Beware of bad fats. Unhealthy fats place huge stress on most
of the body’s systems — especially the liver, which gets sluggish
when exposed to too much unhealthy saturated fat or trans fat.
Stick to the healthy fats, such as those found in fish, nuts and
3. Hydrate. Keeping an ample supply of water flowing through
your body each day is essential to supporting your body’s natural
detox-flushing abilities. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your
glass to get an extra detoxifying boost — these fruits promote an
alkaline environment in the body that, in turn, supports your detox efforts. Stay away from regular and diet sodas, and go easy on
any drinks containing high levels of caffeine or other stimulants.
4. Keep a (truly) clean house. Many household products, including paint, varnish, sealants, cleansers and air fresheners contain
volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause everything
from headaches and nausea to liver and kidney damage. Look for
products that are VOC-free. (For more on how to avoid toxins,
see “Start Seeing Toxins” in the May 2007 archives at
5. Be picky about your health-and-body products. Many of
the lotions, creams, shampoos and other body-care products we
use regularly contain toxic additives. Always read ingredient lists
carefully, and don’t be seduced by a claim of “organic” or “natural.” Visit for current info.
6. Stave off stress. Stress is the enemy of a toxin-free body.
When we experience stress, a cascade of hormonal reactions
takes place in the body, taxing most of our systems and producing a variety of toxic byproducts. Take your de-stressing seriously: Figure out what activities or pursuits help you relax (yoga?
meditation? walks? massage?) and build them into your schedule
frequently and consistently.
Guide to Detox, Article 5 of 5
Fast Track
Liver Detox
Whether you’re trying to drop unwanted
pounds or flush out unwelcome toxins, you
need a healthy liver to make it happen. Here’s
how to keep this overachieving organ in optimal shape.
By Ann Louise Gittleman
fter more than two decades working as a nutritionist specializing in
weight loss and detoxification, I am
still completely in awe of the liver. As far as
I’m concerned, this amazing organ, nestled
away in the right side of the abdomen, has
more than earned its name, which derives
from an Old English word for “life.”
Your liver is your largest internal organ,
and it’s responsible for an astonishing
variety of life-sustaining and health-promoting tasks — including those that make
healthy weight loss and weight management possible. Integral to countless
metabolic processes, the liver supports the
digestive system, controls blood sugar and
regulates fat storage. It stores and mobilizes energy, and produces more proteins
than any other organ in the body.
One of your liver’s most important
functions, though — and the one most
crucial to your weight loss — is chemically
breaking down everything that enters your
body, from the healthiest bite of organic
food to the poisonous pesticides that
may linger on your salad; from the purest
filtered water to a glass of wine; from your
daily vitamin supplement to your blood
pressure medication.
It’s your liver’s job to distinguish between the nutrients you need to absorb
and the dangerous or unnecessary substances that must be filtered out of your
bloodstream. But when the liver is clogged
and overwhelmed with toxins, it can’t do a
very effective job of processing nutrients
and fats. The upshot: The more toxic your
body becomes, the more difficulty you’ll
have losing weight and keeping it off.
The Low-Carb Diet Problem
Ironically, many of the low-carb diets that
people adopt only make matters worse.
By encouraging us to eat a lot of meat
(much of which is laden with toxins) and
discouraging us from eating enough fiberrich, water-dense fruits and vegetables,
such diets can slow elimination. By loading
us up with so many proteins that our
stomachs can’t produce enough acid to
digest them all, these diets also can inhibit
proper digestion, overloading our livers
and intestines with a stream of nasty, internally produced poisons such as indican,
ammonia, cadaverine and histide.
Fortunately, the liver, in its infinite wisdom, produces bile, a crucial substance for
detoxifying our bodies. Bile lubricates our
intestines and works with fiber to prevent
constipation. Bile is also where the liver
dumps all the drugs, heavy metals, xenoestrogens, excess sex hormones from birth
control pills and hormone replacement
therapy, medications, pesticides, industrial
chemicals, and other toxins, so they can
eventually be eliminated from the body.
One of bile’s other main duties is to
help our bodies break down the fats we
need and to assimilate fat-soluble vitamins.
Without bile, we couldn’t convert betacarotene into vitamin A, nor could we use
calcium. But when our bile becomes overly
congested with the toxins it’s trying to
filter out, it simply can’t function properly.
It becomes thick, viscous and highly inefficient in breaking down fats. The result:
You are more likely to gain weight and to
have greater difficulty losing it.
Cleansing the liver helps it produce
better, more efficient bile. That helps your
body flush toxins and break down fat more
effectively. It also makes more energygiving nutrients available to your body and
reduces strain on your digestive and immune systems. Your elimination improves,
and your colon is relieved of unnecessary
burdens. The net effect: You look and feel
better, and it becomes far easier for you to
achieve and maintain your ideal weight.
The Fast Track: A ThreeStage Process
Ready to give your liver a healthy boost
— and give your entire system a thorough
cleaning? My Fast Track Detox program
is a proven, highly effective detox and
weight-loss system that offers a simple,
safe and effective way to drop excess
pounds; to clear out toxic gunk; and to
improve your health and vitality. Described
in detail in my book, The Fast Track Detox
Diet (Broadway, 2006), this program is, g
Guide to Detox, Article 5 of 5
in reality, less a diet than a multipart
program for healthy living. It has been
carefully tested in a clinical setting.
Although the fasting part of the detox
plan is just a single day (making it very
safe), the complete process calls for both
a seven-day preparation and a three-day
follow-up phase designed to properly
prepare your system for the one-day livercleansing juice fast and then help extend
and compound your healthy results.
This three-part detox process can
dramatically improve the state of your
liver and colon and help cleanse tissue
throughout your body — all while eliminating bloating, improving your energy
and assisting you in dropping unwanted
weight. Best of all, unlike water fasting and
long-term juice fasting, this program is
safe and gentle enough for you to employ
anytime you are feeling loaded down and
sluggish and in need of more vitality. I
personally do Fast Track Detox fasts three
or four times a year, usually around the fall
and spring equinoxes, and whenever I feel
myself to be on overload.
The Fast Track Detox program is simple
to work into your normal life: You spend a
full week on the Seven-Day Prequel, eating the liver-loving foods that your body’s
major detox organ needs. You’ll also load
up on colon-caring foods to help your
colon purge the toxins and waste from
your body.
Next, you’ll spend one day following a
special juice fast designed to flush impurities and stored wastes from your system.
Then, you’ll seal in the results with a
Three-Day Sequel that includes additional
liver and colon support along with special
natural-food sources of probiotics —
fermented foods that support the friendly
bacteria your system needs to synthesize
vitamins and promote immune function.
Many people experience significant
and immediate weight loss on this program, but the net benefits for energy and
long-term health are every bit as dramatic.
So, whether you are looking to slim down
or just lighten your toxic load, give the
Fast Track Detox a try. You’ll be amazed at
what your liver can accomplish with just a
little help.
Seven-Day Prequel
Before you begin the detoxifying One-Day
Juice Fast, it’s essential that you prepare
your body by strengthening your liver and
colon for the work ahead. If you don’t do
this, you might end up more bloated, constipated and “toxic” than you were before.
You may also inadvertently put the brakes
on desired weight loss.
Fasting can be dangerous if it’s not
done properly. Why? Fasting releases
toxins that were previously lodged in
your fat cells and shuttles them into your
bloodstream for filtration and transport
through your body’s elimination channels. But without prior liver and colon
support to help these toxins clear from
your system, the poisons may simply get
relocated within the body, settling into any
number of sensitive organs and making
you feel tired, anxious, headachy and more
fatigued than when you started.
So if you want to avoid feeling unnecessarily lousy and if you want to maximize
weight loss, follow the six steps described
below — in addition to your regular diet
— for seven days before you embark on
the liver-flushing One-Day Juice Fast:
1. Each day, for seven days, choose at
least one serving from each group of the
following liver-loving foods:
• Crucifers, such as cabbage, cauliflower,
Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccoli sprouts
• Green, leafy vegetables and herbs, like
parsley, kale, watercress, chard, cilantro,
beet greens, collards, escarole, dandelion
greens and mustard greens
• Citrus, like oranges, lemons and limes
(avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice,
which contain a compound called naringen that can interfere with the livercleansing process)
• Sulfur-rich foods, like garlic, onions, eggs
and daikon radish
• Liver healers, such as artichoke, asparagus, beets, celery, dandelion-root tea,
whey and nutritional yeast flakes
2. Each day, choose at least two of the
following colon-caring foods: powdered
psyllium husks, milled or ground flaxseeds,
carrots, apples, pears, or berries.
3. Each day, drink half your body weight in
ounces of filtered or purified water.
4. Each day, make sure you have at least
two servings (the size of the palm of your
hand) of protein in the form of lean beef,
lamb, skinless chicken, turkey or fish, or,
if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, at least 2
tablespoons a day of a high-quality bluegreen algae or a spirulina source (available
in natural foods and health stores).
5. Each day, make sure you have 1 to 2
tablespoons of oil in the form of olive oil
or flaxseed oil.
(For specific serving sizes on all of the
above, along with more detailed guidance,
see The Fast Track Detox Diet.)
6. Avoid the following “detox detractors”:
• Excess dietary fats, especially trans fats
and fried foods
• Any form of sugar, including honey and
maple syrup
• Artificial sweeteners Refined carbohydrates, including white rice and products
made from white flour Gluten, found in g
Fast Track Detox Kit
While you can assemble everything you need to detox from your local natural market, I’ve found that many of my clients want or
need a little extra help. So I put together a kit of detox helpers, all of which I personally hand-selected for their quality, purity and
efficacy. The Fast Detox Diet Kit includes a 30-day supply of the following supplements:
• Super-GI Cleanse, a fiber supplement that contains five sources
of both soluble and insoluble fibers (rice bran, oat, apple pectin, psyllium and flax) to support elimination
• Flora-Key, a probiotic formula teeming with beneficial bacteria, such as acidophilus and bifudus, that can help restore gut
• Liver-Lovin’ Formula, a blend of artichoke, chlorophyll, and the
amino acid taurine to help heal and cleanse the liver
Guide to Detox, Article 5 of 5
wheat, rye, barley and all their related
products, such as packaged cereals, macaroni and cheese, pizza dough, pasta, tortillas, pancake or waffle mixes, and cookies.
• Gluten also appears in many “low-carb”
products, vegetable proteins, some soy
sauces and distilled vinegars
• Soy protein isolates, found in many protein energy bars and processed soy foods
• Alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and
caffeine (coffee, energy drinks, etc.)
One-Day Juice Fast
The One-Day Juice Fast portion of the
Fast Track Detox is designed to flush
impurities from your liver and other cellular tissues while supporting your general
health and energy.
While I do not advocate water fasts,
or even long-term juice fasts, decades
of professional clinical experience and
research have convinced me that healthy,
short-term juice fasting — the kind supported by adequate nutritional preparation for the liver and sufficient fiber for the
colon — is probably the best-kept secret
around for good health, long-term weight
loss and an overall feeling of well-being.
By reducing the amount of work your
digestive system has to do, you free up
a great deal of energy for healing and
regeneration. And while you will be limiting your caloric intake for one day, it is not
an extended enough period to suppress
your metabolism or set off a starvation
response. In fact, every ingredient of the
One-Day Juice Detox has been specially
chosen to stave off hunger, balance your
blood sugar, rev up your metabolism, and
keep you feeling fit, energized and trim
throughout your fasting day.
Here’s the basic protocol you should
follow for your One-Day Juice Fast, and
some idea of what you might experience
during the detox process. (Keep in mind
that the effects and results will vary from
person to person.)
Before you conduct your One-Day Juice
Fast, make sure you have completed the
Seven-Day Prequel. Then, follow this fourstep program:
1. Prepare the Miracle Juice (for complete
recipe and preparation instructions, see
my book The Fast Track Detox Diet):
• Cranberry water: unsweetened cranberry juice or unsweetened cranberry juice
concentrate diluted with filtered water (be
sure to use 100 percent pure, unsweetened cranberry juice that has no sugar,
corn syrup or other juices added)
• Ground cinnamon
• Ground ginger
• Ground nutmega
• Freshly squeezed orange juice
• Freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Stevia (a sweet-tasting herb that is
widely available at natural foods stores) to
1. Bring cranberry water to a light boil;
reduce heat to low.
2. Place cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
into a tea ball; add to the cranberry water.
(For a tangier juice, add the spices directly
to the liquid.)
3. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes; cool to room
4. Stir in the orange and lemon juices. Add
stevia at this time, if desired.
5. Alternate drinking 1 cup (8 ounces)
of filtered water and 1 cup (8 ounces) of
Miracle Juice during the day. Drink at least
72 ounces of filtered water throughout the
day, in addition to the Miracle Juice. Make
sure you drink at least a cup of liquid —
either the Miracle Juice or water — every
hour. Begin the protocol when you wake
up in the morning. You don’t have to begin at a specific time, but be sure to have
eight glasses of Miracle Juice in addition
to the 72 ounces of water by day’s end.
6. Upon rising and at the end of the day,
take one serving of a colon-caring supplement, chosen from among the following:
• Powdered psyllium husks (1 to 2 teaspoons mixed in 8 ounces of water or
Miracle Juice)
• Ground or milled flaxseeds (2 to 3 tablespoons mixed in 10 to 12 ounces of water
or 8 ounces Miracle Juice)
7. Engage in only light exercise — such
as a 20-minute walk, mellow yoga or 10
minutes on an elliptical machine.
Seven-Day Prequel
Before you begin the detoxifying One-Day
Juice Fast, it’s essential that you prepare
your body by strengthening your liver and
colon for the work ahead. If you don’t do
this, you might end up more bloated, constipated and “toxic” than you were before.
You may also inadvertently put the brakes
on desired weight loss.
Fasting can be dangerous if it’s not
done properly. Why? Fasting releases
toxins that were previously lodged in
your fat cells and shuttles them into your
bloodstream for filtration and transport
through your body’s elimination channels. But without prior liver and colon
support to help these toxins clear from
your system, the poisons may simply get
relocated within the body, settling into any
number of sensitive organs and making
you feel tired, anxious, headachy and more
fatigued than when you started.
So if you want to avoid feeling unnecessarily lousy and if you want to maximize
weight loss, follow the six steps described g
Not So Fast!
There are some times when you should not fast:
• If you are pregnant, nursing, malnourished, or recovering from
an illness or injury
• If you are more than 10 pounds underweight or prone to eating
• If you have cardiac arrhythmia, type 1 diabetes, congestive
heart failure, ulcers, or liver or kidney disease
Also, consult your physician prior to fasting if you are diabetic,
hypoglycemic or prone to migraines, or are taking regular medications, including antidepressants, blood pressure medications
and birth control pills.
• If you are struggling with mental illness (including anxiety, clinical depression, bipolar disorder)
Guide to Detox, Article 5 of 5
below — in addition to your regular diet
— for seven days before you embark on
the liver-flushing One-Day Juice Fast:
One-Day Juice Fast: The
Three-Day Sequel
Following your One-Day Juice Fast, it’s essential that you follow this sequel program
for three days straight. Otherwise, your
reentry into normal eating may leave you
feeling bloated, constipated and more
toxic than before.
Fasting without follow-up support
means that toxins released into your
bloodstream during the fast may remain
in your system, making you feel tired,
anxious, headachy and fatigued. Skipping the Three-Day Sequel also sets you
up to regain lost weight. So support your
body’s natural detox process and seal in
the results of your One-Day Juice Fast by
following these simple steps:
1. Each day, choose at least one of the
following probiotic food sources to restore
“friendly bacteria”:
• Sauerkraut (1/2 cup). You can either
make your own or buy an organic, raw
variety. Most store-bought sauerkraut
is processed with heat, which kills the
naturally occurring enzymes and microflora, so check the label carefully.
• Yogurt (1 cup). Whole-milk yogurt is fine
(you can choose low-fat if you prefer),
but look for plain, unsweetened yogurt
with a label that reads “live, active
2. Before each meal, take one or more
tablets of hydrochloric acid in a formula
that contains at least 500 to 540 milligrams of betaine hydrochloride with at
least 100 to 150 milligrams of pepsin, and
at least 50 milligrams of ox bile extract
(such formulas are widely available at most
health and nutrition stores and at many
natural groceries).
3. In addition to the above, observe
the steps of the Seven-Day Prequel.
Where to Go From Here
Once you’ve completed the Fast Track
Detox as outlined here, I suggest that you
ease back into normal eating by choosing
nutritious, cooked foods that are easy to
digest. Pay attention to the positive, dramatic impact that supporting your body’s
natural detoxification systems can have on
your overall health and well-being. Follow
these basic detox suggestions, and I trust
that you will feel lighter, happier and more
excited about your body’s healthy potential than you have in years.
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is
the award-winning author of more than
30 books, including The New York Times
bestsellers Before the Change: Taking
Charge of Your Perimenopause (Harper
San Francisco, 1999) and The Fat Flush
Plan (McGraw-Hill, 2002). This article was
adapted with permission from The Fast
Track Detox Diet (Broadway, 2006). More
Fast Track Detox Shopping List
In addition to a selection of proteins, fruits and veggies you enjoy, you’ll need the following:
Liver healers:
Liver-loving foods (your choices in each of the following categories):
• Artichoke, asparagus, beets, celery, dandelion-root tea, whey
and nutritional yeast flakes
• Crucifers: cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccoli sprouts
Probiotic-rich foods:
• Green, leafy vegetables and herbs: parsley, kale, watercress,
chard, cilantro, beet greens, collards, escarole, dandelion
greens and mustard greens
• Sauerkraut and/or unsweetened yogurt
Herbs and spices:
• Ground cinnamon
• Ground ginger and nutmeg
• Stevia (powder or extract)
• Filtered or purified water
• Unsweetened cranberry juice
• Citrus fruits: oranges, lemons and limes (no grapefruit)
• Sulfur-rich foods: garlic, onions, eggs and daikon radish
Supplements and nutritionals:
• Powdered psyllium husks and/or ground flaxseeds
• Olive oil or flaxseed oil
• Hydrochloric acid with betaine hydrochloride, pepsin and ox
bile extract
Adjustment Phase
For most of my clients, detoxing is generally an extremely positive
experience. But for some, particularly those who feel dependent
on caffeinated drinks, the initial experience can be somewhat
uncomfortable. Although many participants in our trials reported
increased energy, mental clarity and improved well-being, some
did experience other symptoms, including headaches, fatigue,
irritability, foggy thinking and mild depression.
The explanation is simple: As you burn stored body fat for fuel,
the oil-soluble toxins you’ve stored in your fat are released,
sometimes causing distress as they recirculate through the system.
If you’ve been diligent about following the Seven-Day Prequel,
you may not experience any symptoms. But if you do feel tired,
grouchy or headachy, don’t lose heart. Drink more water, give
yourself some downtime, and realize that these symptoms are an
indication that both the fast and the detox process are working.
As these toxins clear your system, you’ll soon feel much better.