Your best friend just bought a one-week detox kit from Whole Foods, your sister raves about this lemon-juice-and-pepper cleanse, and your mom swears by a “colonic purging” she gets at her neighborhood spa.
Break the news to them gently. They’re all doing potentially irreversible damage with these programs that are heavy in price but weak on science.
Here’s the deal. The Master Cleanse and similar cleanses are almost entirely sugar and provide little if any nutrients. Even worse, they lack protein. Without protein, your body can’t effectively detox.
I’ll spare you the technical biochemistry, but understand the two phases of detoxification and you’ll see how people throw away money and their health on these store-bought and homemade concoctions.
Your liver is detox ground zero. Everything that detoxes goes through your liver in two phases. During the first phase, your liver converts fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble substances. In phase 2, your liver excretes these toxins via urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids.
Here’s the take home. If you don’t have protein, your liver can’t perform that second phase. That means highly toxic metabolites hang around and wreak havoc in your body.
Let’s ‘fess up here: you’re not cleansing or detoxing to rid yourself from toxins, but for fast fat loss. You want to burn 10 pounds by this weekend for your hot date. You’ll probably lose weight on these super low-calorie, near-starvation diets. But most of that weight loss comes not from fat, but water and lean muscle tissue. You’re literally wasting your body away.
Now that you know, you want to choose a smart plan that includes plenty of protein and nutrients to help your body effectively detox.
You’ll begin by dumping the processed foods, gluten, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine. (If you’re a monster without a morning venti Starbucks, gradually taper off the coffee.)
So what should you eat while you’re detoxing?
Clean, lean organic protein. Have four to six ounces of grass-fed beef, cold-water wild fish, chicken or turkey at each meal. Protein shakes make the perfect meal replacement. I use The Virgin Diet All-in-One Shake with So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk as well as chia and flax seeds.
Sulfur-containing foods. Broccoli, cabbage, and onions all provide sulfur to boost phase 2 detoxification.
Go green. Enjoy loads of preferably organic leafy greens. If you’re not meeting your veggie quota, have an organic green drink. And add some cilantro, which is a natural heavy metal chelator, into your meals. And sneak some kale into The Virgin Diet Shake. (You won’t taste it!)
Fiber. If you’re not eliminating, you’re not detoxifying! Legumes, raw nuts and seeds, berries, apples, and lentils come packed with fiber. Always buy organic if you can. If you’re not getting 50 grams of fiber from food, add a scoop of Medibulk into your smoothie.
Water. Pure spring water in-between meals supports good elimination. I also like antioxidant-rich organic green tea and coconut water to supply your body electrolytes.
I’ve got added detox support in my store, including Detox Nutrient Packets. I also want to mention my Virgin Diet All-in-One Shakes are loaded with liver-boosting nutrients and antioxidants to support every day detoxification.
© 2012 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies. She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Her latest book, New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, is out now. Learn more at www.thevirgindiet.com.
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