As we round the corner on this holiday season, many of us reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we’d like to accomplish in the new year. This is the perfect opportunity to clean up our diet and kickstart a new workout routine for many people, especially if the holiday season tends to be somewhat indulgent with all those cocktail parties and sweet treats seemingly everywhere.
Another big reason people choose to detox is the possibility of a drug test in the future. Maybe it’s for a new job that you’ve applied for. Or, perhaps you’re an athlete that cannot imbibe during the on-season. Whatever the reason, detoxing through diet and exercise is the best way to support your body’s ability to release toxins naturally.
To be the most successful, adjusting your diet is the number one factor in how well your body will rest and cleanse itself. If you are worried about how to pass a drug test, read on to learn about what foods to avoid when detoxing and how you can still eat a diet full of tasty meals during your cleanse.
Detoxing and Diet
If our bodies are machines, then our digestive system is the engine. Also known as the second brain, the gut is genuinely our health and vitality powerhouse. Without a strong digestive system, we cannot break down foods and adequately assimilate the nutrients that we need to survive. Unfortunately, however, we often don’t give our gut enough credit for all it does.
While the gut (small and large intestines) is doing the bulk of moving waste through our body, the liver, kidneys, lungs, and even our skin work full time to cleanse and detox our bodies continually. Everything that we consume, whether it be something we eat, drink, smoke, or put onto our skin, will pass through these systems where our body decides what to keep and what to purge.
You probably already know that not all fuel we consume works equally inside our body. For example, french fries will not provide the same nutrition as a leafy green salad, despite being crispy and delicious. Who doesn’t love a salty fried potato? But, there is little nutritional value to be found, and the oils used to fry those potatoes are likely giving your liver a hard time.
This is why it’s so important to modify your regular diet to a cleaner, leaner, more nutrient-dense protocol while detoxing. With a bit of adjustment, you are giving yourself the best odds at cleansing your system and resetting your metabolism and digestive system.
Foods to Avoid Before a Drug Test
Some foods and beverages are more challenging to process than others, which is why it’s crucial to know which foods to avoid when detoxing. Keep in mind that when quitting these items cold turkey, it’s normal to experience some withdrawal symptoms, often referred to as a healing crisis. When your body is in overdrive to detox from toxins, some uncomfortable side effects may occur. Stick with it! While it might not feel like it, these symptoms typically indicate that your detox diet is working.
Arguably the most obvious toxin to avoid during detox is alcohol. Alcohol is a non-nutrient and provides zero nutritional value to your body. It is also incredibly toxic for your liver and reduces the levels of zinc and magnesium, which are potent detoxifying minerals.
Caffeine is a stimulant that not only offers a jolt of energy but stimulates your central nervous system and your digestive tract. Caffeine causes your digestive tract to pulsate by stimulating peristalsis, which is the opposite of the desired effects of “rest and digest” during detox. Additionally, caffeine (especially from coffee) interferes with your liver’s ability to detoxify normally.
Dairy is acidic and slows down the body’s ability to detoxify, especially if the dairy products are not organic and come from cows treated with hormones like Bovine somatotropin (bST). Even organic, hormone-free dairy products can cause the body to create more mucus, which lines the gut and slows down waste removal.
Opting for a vegetarian diet while detoxing can bring a host of benefits. Meat can take up to two days to digest, meaning it sits in your intestines and clogs up bowels. It’s a myth that we need to get our protein from meat and fish, and there are plenty of ways to get adequate amounts of protein during a cleanse. Opt for lentils, beans, and protein-rich vegetables like asparagus and Brussel sprouts.
Processed food is anything that has been altered during its production. Not all processed foods are unhealthy, but many of them contain large amounts of preservatives like sugar, fat, and salt. This includes cereals, pastries, lunch meats, baked goods and pastries, tinned vegetables, and all types of candy, chips, and some crackers.
Sugar can be the hardest thing to kick on a detox diet. It’s addictive and found in many foods, beverages, and condiments. Sugar fights the good bacteria in the gut and feeds fungi like candida, both of which lead to slower detox times. Since sugar is so tricky, be sure to read all labels of any packaged foods you buy during a detox. You might be surprised to find just how much sugar is hiding in foods like granola, salad dressing, or instant oatmeal.
While people with celiacs disease must avoid gluten-containing foods all of the time, even those without this sensitivity can benefit from taking a break. Gluten is an inflammatory food, affecting not only your bowels but your joints as well. Gluten causes indigestion, bloating, and reduces nutrient absorption in your gut. All of which delay the removal of waste product from your intestinal tract.
Foods to Eat During a Cleanse
This list of foods to avoid might have you wondering what you’ll be able to eat during your detox. When preparing your grocery list, think simply. Foods that are alive and healthy should make up most of your diet. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables that you can pair with beans, gluten-free grains, nuts, and seeds.
Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas will support your kidneys’ ability to flush out toxins and keep your gut hydrated so they can eliminate adequately. Adding exercise to your routine will further support your metabolism and help your body detox. Red light therapy, using a sauna or steam room, and other therapies like acupuncture and reflexology also offer therapeutic benefits in addition to promoting detoxification.
As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” These are powerful words to live by daily, but even more important during a cleanse. Regardless of how long you intend to follow your protocol, approaching a detox period can be intimidating. With the right mindset and commitment to your goal, you’ll be thanking yourself at the finish line, and your body will, too.
The benefits of a cleanse can be small, like dropping a few pounds or noticing clearer skin. They can also be significant, like less brain fog and decreased joint pain. Even if your goal is to pass a drug test, you will ultimately reap many rewards from a cleansing diet. Whatever your reason for a cleanse, we hope this list of foods to avoid when detoxing will empower you to start the new year feeling your best.