Last week, I wrote about the 4 reasons why a detox is NOT for you. This week, I’ll explore the reverse on why a detox could be for you. First, let’s define what a detox is.
According to the Oxford English dictionary:
What Is A Detox
Essentially, as long as you’re ridding the body of toxic or unhealthy substances, you’re “detoxing”, hence the reason why there are sooooo many levels of how far you can take a “detox”. Do you refrain from eating altogether (total fast), or do you include some juicing/ herbs/ supplements to include SOME nutrients while you’re fasting, or do you eat some foods but exclude others (eg. exclude meat/ grains/ sugar/ coffee/ processed foods/ alcohol)...?
The list of how far you can drill down in that detox is endless, but ultimately you can create the kind of detox you need depending on what your final health goal is.
Here are 6 reasons why you might consider going on a gentler form of a detox:
1. You’re Often Bloated/ Gassy/ Don’t Poop Regularly
It all comes back to the gut, and gut function. If you’ve got any kind of digestive issues such as often feeling bloated or gassy after meals, or even if you’re not pooping at least 2 - 3 times a day - this is an indication that something’s up with your gut function. Either you’re eating things that don’t agree with you, are feeding the bad bacteria and upsetting the gut flora balance, or not eating enough of the things that help support and nourish your good gut bugs, immune system and intestinal wall lining.
As mentioned in the previous post, a more hardcore fast with little or no food isn’t recommended in this case, but you might want to consider a detox that removes any of your potential trigger foods and adds the foods that help nourish your gut function.
2. Eliminate The Junk From Your Diet
Let’s face it: anything that comes from a box or packet is generally processed/ preserved/ full of chemicals or E numbers/ high in sugar, salt, or trans fats. Read that last sentence again. Is that the stuff you want inside you? Nothing about all those ingredients sounds appealing nor nourishing.
Any kind of detox you go on should be removing any and all processed foods, which automatically eliminates the junk from your diet. Your body will reap the benefits from having less of those unhealthy, toxic substances inside it!
3. Improve Energy Levels
Many of us deal with some form of fatigue in today’s busy world. What we’re eating, drinking and how we’re living often doesn’t help this exhaustion. There may be trigger foods you’re eating that either spike your blood-sugar levels now that lead to energy crashes later, or that may be causing some form of food sensitivity or low-grade inflammation your body has to deal with.
This can lead to a general feeling of tiredness if your systems are overloaded with trying to deal with the excess build-up of circulating broken-down hormones, toxins, and other cell waste they can’t excrete fast enough. A very gentle detox (no fasting!) that limits any additional unhealthy substances entering this cycle can help your body clear up the backlog. It’s like pressing the reset button, and can lead to improved energy levels.
4. Lose Weight
As a side benefit to cleaning up your diet - you might lose a little weight. Bearing in mind losing weight shouldn’t be the main goal of a detox, as this could lead to unhealthy behaviours around food restrictions and weight-loss. One of the reasons you put on weight is when there are excess toxins circulating around and your body can’t excrete them fast enough - it has to store them somewhere and it stores them in your fat cells. An excess toxin overload may lead to excess fat gain. 
Needless to say, the simple act of clearing out the processed junk foods is not only a detox for the body, it also stops the weight gain!
5. Create Awareness Of What You Eat Affecting How You Feel
Any good detox should involve some level of “mindful reflection”. Give yourself a moment to step back and reflect:
Why are you doing a detox in the first place?
How have you been living/ eating/ drinking that makes you feel like you need to hit the reset button?
How did you feel before the detox/ How do you feel after the detox?
After the detox, are there particular foods/ drinks that start to make you feel bad again?
This self-reflection helps you understand which foods might be affecting the way you feel, whether or not they agree with you, and might even lead to some profound insights about your behaviour and relationship with food.
6. Create Healthier Habits
Going through any detox involves some kind food and lifestyle change. Very often, this might seem difficult and challenging at first - and that’s totally understandable since you’re changing up your daily routines. However, once you start to get into the swing of things with the new habits you create, the growing awareness with what you eat affecting how you feel, and ultimately when you start looking and feeling better physically, you might decide to incorporate some of the healthier habits you picked up from the detox into your daily life.
There’s a saying that it takes approximately 3 weeks to break an old habit, 6 weeks to create a new habit, and 36 weeks till the new habit becomes automatic (like brushing your teeth). It’s a super broad strokes theory, but basically - change doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes a detox is helpful in giving you a first glimpse into what an alternative healthier existence could feel like. It’s much easier to create healthier habits from here, once you’ve experienced the physical benefits.
Get Healthy with 7 Days of Green Smoothies!
You don’t need to rely on a detox only to help you create healthier habits.
Get help starting a new healthy habit by getting my 7-Days of Green Smoothies Checklist (also at the bottom of this page). Add one green smoothie to your daily routine. It automatically increases your daily veggie count. And no, it’s not green smoothies all day only for 7 days - you get to eat and live as you usually do, just add a green smoothie once a day to your daily routine. Easy!
If you liked this, you might also like these other resources:
Get 5 monthly tips on fitness and mindfulness - find easy ways to incorporate healthy living into your daily routine.
Download your “7 days of green smoothies” checklist (tips, recipes, shopping list).
Next week, I’ll continue with my final post in this detox series on “What kind of detox should I do?”, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, you might also be interested in these previous blog posts:
La Merrill M, Emond C, Kim MJ, et al (2013). Toxicological Function of Adipose Tissue: Focus on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569688/
Clear J. (2014). How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science). Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html