In my last post, I explained The Need to Detox.
“The root cause of physical, emotional and mental imbalances is the clogging of our cells, tissues, organs and pathways due to the residue left behind in the body after decades of an unfit diet-lifestyle. While there are myriad different names for modern diseases in medical literature, there is really just one core cause of all these imbalances: clogging of the cells and pathways due to the accumulation of inappropriate matter left behind. There is also one solution: the removal of that matter. This is the true meaning of detoxification.” ~ Natalia Rose, Detox For Women
So, how to begin the journey to a cleaner body and higher level of health? To restore the body’s natural alkaline pH and rid the body of built-up toxic waste we need to balance out the number of acidic foods we are ingesting and flood the body with rich sources of natural hydration and alkalinity.
Step 1: cut the crap
We need to start eating real ‘human foods’. Most of what you find in a supermarket I would not classify as proper ‘human’ food that is fit for consumption. Sound shocking? It kinda is. Once upon a time, we excited on raw, organic fruits, vegetable, nuts and seeds.
This does not mean that you have to exist solely on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (if you don’t want to!). If you were coming from a background of mainstream modern eating, your body would literally go into shock from all the waste that these clean foods would be stirring up, which would put an enormous strain on your elimination organs that would be trying to do away with just too much waste all in one go. Plus, I doubt that many people would stick with it for long or in fact even begin the detoxification process, if this were the prescribed diet.
I like to think that to start the detoxification process, and to begin cleaning up your diet, it’s really just about going one small step above what you are doing now. For someone living on a diet high in very dense processed, packaged foods, this might mean simply incorporating a few more fruits and vegetables and starting to replace the processed foods with higher quality options. On the other hand, for someone on a whole foods vegan diet, this might mean eating simpler combinations of foods, buying exclusively organic produce and perhaps taking a ‘raw-till-dinner’ approach. By no means is what I described in the first example a lesser step than in the second. Each of these steps will yield great results for the individual based upon their dietary background. It is ultimately about considering where you are at now, and how you might transition towards a higher quality diet.
This being said, there are a few foods that I would recommend all people avoid completely, no matter what their dietary background. These include:
- artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, etc (this includes almost all produced that are labeled ‘diet’ or ‘low-carb’)
- white sugar and all other refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar and maltodextrin
- white flour and corn starch (including white flour products such as cakes, breads and pasta)
- pasteurized cow’s milk products (one of the most acidic, mucus-forming foods we can eat. For more information, see my post on why we should ditch the (cow’s) dairy)
- all artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and unnatural additives of any kind (if you can’t pronounce it, and you don’t know what it is, it doesn’t belong in your body!). These items are foreign to the body and we absolutely cannot break them down.
- hydrogenated oils such as corn oil, blended vegetable oil and shortenings
Step 2: follow a detox-supporting diet
So, what is there left to eat?! Well, fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) and their juices are the richest sources of alkalinity and organic hydration available to us. These foods will literally alkalize and hydrate the built up toxic mucoid matter that is caked in the body and pull it into the body’s eliminative channels for removal (that is, through the colon, the kidney and bladder, the skin and the lungs).
Therefore, a cleansing diet will be based largely upon fresh fruits and vegetables and their juices. While a strict raw diet of fruits and vegetables would be the most cleansing option, it is not actually the optimal when we take into account the copious amounts of waste in our bodies (and 99% of the western population suffer from internal toxic matter). This kind of extreme approach would stir up so much waste that the body’s eliminative organs would be completely overwhelmed and fail to remove the toxins from the body. Remember, a cleanse is the combination of two elements: it is important to stir up this toxic waste matter and alkalize the body, yet it is equally, if not more, important to remove this waste.
To ease into the detoxification process (and to sustain it for life) it’s important to round out your diet of fresh produce with high quality foods that are relatively easy to digest and will not interfere with the cleansing process or add to the built-up toxic waste matter in the body. Below are some great transitional foods that are higher quality versions of mainstream favourites, and will leave less waste residue in the body. I refer to them transitional foods, as they are not purely alkalizing and perfect foods for the human body, yet these high-quality foods can most definitely be included in a healthy diet for the long term.
(Note: I cannot stress enough to not be concerned about the calorie-count of these high quality foods. As explained here, it is not the calorie count of a food that matters, it is the way our body will biochemically respond to the food, be able to break it down, and its ability to leave minimal waste matter in the body. Remember, weight gain is the way that the body reacts to stored toxic matter in the body, as the body insulates its vital organs against the waste left by acidic foods regardless of their calorie count.)
An easy switch to make for anyone is to swap mainstream white or wheat breads forsprouted grain bread products. Sprouted spelt, kamut and rye are all great high quality grain options and taste wonderful in place of regular processed bread. The sprouting process starts to assimilate the grains and makes them easier to digest.
(Note: don’t buy wheat bread thinking you’re far better off than when you were eating white…it’s really just the lesser of two evils and still heavily processed and hard to digest)
If you’re a cheese or yoghurt lover, goat’s and sheep’s milk products are easier for us to assimilate and digest as they do not contain high amount of casein (see my post here). Raw goat’s products are best, as they contain living enzymes to help facilitate digestion in the body, however soft pasteurized goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses and yoghurts are also fairly benign in terms of leaving acidic waste residue in the body.
Whole grains are far superior to white rice, we all know that. However there are grains that are far less acid-forming than others (with millet being the only true alkalizing grain). Quinoa, kamut, amaranth and buckwheat are all high-quality choices. You can also find pastas and baked goods substitutes that are made from these grains.
Animal flesh is very difficult for the body to assimilate, however if you enjoy animal products such as chicken, fish eggs etc, it is important to buy wild and organic fish andfree-range, organic chicken and eggs. Nowadays, these animals are injected with copious amounts of hormones and antibiotics, and you don’t want to be ingesting these.
To drink, a green smoothie, fresh raw vegetable juice (with a little fruit if you like), or water mixed with fresh lemon and a little raw honey or stevia, are all great sweet and delicious drinks than are wonderful sources of alkalinity and will support the detoxification process, and are countless times better for you than a commercial soft drink. I think it goes without saying that your good old H2O is also a highly viable option!
Real organic butter (gasp!!) instead of margarine (butter does not contain the protein casein, that is found in other cow’s milk products and which is incredibly hard to digest). Margarine is literally one biochemical step away from being plastic – eek! If you’ve already made this switch, avocado is an even better option and is highly nutritious and alkaline in the body.
Instead of using mainstream table salt, switch to Celtic or Himalayan sea salt (regular table salt is de-natured sodium chloride which will leach water and other precious minerals from the body and will also promote dehydration of the cells). Celtic sea salt is greyish in colour, not white, and is a natural alternative to table salt that is full of trace minerals and a good source of organic iodine.
For cooking, replace olive oil (which is fine for using in salads or uncooked dishes) and other oils with real organic butter, or extra virgin coconut oil. Butter and coconut oil are both stable at high temperatures and don’t become toxic to the body when cooked.
And who doesn’t love a bit of sweet in their lives? In place of refined sugars, try using raw, unheated honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia (a naturally sweet plant extract), which you will find easily satisfy those sweet cravings without being toxic, acidic and highly addictive.
The detoxification diet can actually be wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable with these transitional foods in your life. When used in combination with alkaline-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as their juices, this kind of eating will naturally induce the gentle detoxification process, and start working to get rid of the toxic junk and excess weight that the body is holding.
Next up… Part 3: Taking out the trash…