Lately, we’ve had a lot of questions regarding detoxing the body. Should you? If so, why? And how? Are detoxes just a waste of money and time? Worse, could they potentially harm you?
The fact of the matter is that if you have a healthy liver, you’re already “detoxing” all day long. In a basically healthy person, the liver is a workhorse and will continuously break down fats for energy and filter the body of items it doesn’t need.
On the other hand, if your goal is to heal a fatty liver condition, several issues may come into play. One is that, depending upon how long you’ve had NAFLD and what stage your condition is, the liver may already be more stressed than it should be. Another is the possibility of a weight issue, as a percentage of NAFLD patients are overweight.
For these reasons, you may be considering a healthful detox. If you’d like to give your body (including your healing liver) a break, a detox, if done correctly, can lighten the body’s load for several days and allow you to recharge, while getting nutrients into your body rather than the overprocessed, sugary, salty foods that are typical of the standard American diet.
Get Your Doctor’s Thumbs-Up
IMPORTANT: Before embarking on this or any other change in eating/drinking habits, even if temporarily, get your doctor’s okay. We DO NOT recommend a nutritional detoxification program to ANYONE who has not been assessed by his/her physician for general health, specific health issues, consideration of a current medication regimen, and potential food allergies or intolerances.
We’re not saying that to cover ourselves, or because it’s the standard thing to say. We’re saying it because we mean it. Even nutrition should not be played around with if there’s the possibility of an extenuating health circumstance. Don’t skip this step – see your doctor. If she approves your plan (provide as many details as you can), then go ahead and proceed with the program.
Partial Rather Than Full Fast
Often, a full (water/juice only) fast is recommended by detox “gurus.” Again, even in a healthy body, this can be a shock. Since your aim is to give the body a rest from processed foods (and from a significant amount of solid food in general) and to not shock it, it may be better to start out with a partial fast.
A partial fast will generally involve water, juices made fresh from vegetables and a limited quantity of fruits if desired, teas (plain/herbal) if you like them, plus either one or both of the two golden foods: apples and carrots. These two foods have a wonderful variety of nutrients, can be juiced or eaten whole, provide fiber, and are for MOST people very hypo-reactive (you’re unlikely to have a negative reaction to them, if you conform to the general population).
Since you’re limiting solid/whole foods, don’t go crazy on these two foods. Have juice (make your own with a juicer – don’t buy it canned or bottled; don’t add anything to the juice unless, if you want, water) plus one to four apples a day and one to three carrots the first day. Then for the next two days, increase the solids by one piece of either food. Do not exceed three days for your fast unless directed by your physician.
Some people only “detox” for one day. See how you feel. If you’re dizzy/lightheaded, can’t concentrate at work, feel shaky, depressed, anxious or experience diarrhea, end your fast.
What Results Should You See?
It’s difficult to qualify and quantify exactly what results you can expect from a detox fast, since everyone fasts differently, is in a different condition of health and will fast for a different period of time.
However, you should see a temporary water weight drop of a few pounds, may experience relief from constipation or bloating, and if you’ve been unknowingly having reactions to certain foods, this issue could emerge too. (For instance, if you have an undiagnosed dairy intolerance, you may suddenly realize you’re not experiencing symptoms.)
If you experience relief from negative symptoms of unknown cause, jot the information down to tell your doctor about, then with your doctor’s approval, add one food group back in at a time to see if one is the culprit. The most common food allergies and intolerances involve wheat, dairy, nuts, soy, corn, fish and shellfish.
Ending the Detox
When reintroducing foods to your diet (besides the apples, carrots and fresh juices), go slowly. Eat small portions. After a restricted amount of food for one to three days, your stomach isn’t ready for a deluge of food. You may also want to start with blander, non-sensitizing foods, such as rice, broths, veggies and fruits. If you feel well and can tolerate them, add in grains and dairy (obviously provided you already have these in your diet and have no sensitivities to them).
Have a detox story to share with us? We’d love to hear your experiences with detoxing. Contact us and let us know how you detoxed and what results you experienced.