Let’s level up. Most detoxes or cleanses are simply semi-starvation diets. Detoxification might become a nice “bonus,” but be honest: your friend and maybe even you are starving yourself – I mean, detoxifying – to get a coveted body before beach season arrives.
You’ll probably initially lose weight – note I said weight, not fat – but your metabolism will soon come to a grinding halt to compensate. During the process, you’ll become a miserable, starving mess.
The dirty little secret is most juices and cleanses are high-sugar impact and provide little if any nutrients. Even worse, most of these poorly designed, overpriced plans lack protein. Without the amino acids that protein supplies, your body can’t effectively complete phase 2 detoxification (the phase that actually excretes toxic substances) and your body could actually become more toxic.
Don’t make those mistakes that break down muscle, stall your metabolism, and leave you cranky and craving the hot donuts your coworker brought in. With these seven strategies, you can effectively detoxify (and yes, attain fast, lasting fat loss) without starvation, misery, sugar crashes, and other obstacles traditional cleanses often create.
Clean, lean protein. Studies show optimal protein at every meal stabilizes blood sugar levels and suppresses hunger. Your body breaks protein down into the amino acids that your liver demands for phase 2 detoxification. Grass-fed beef, cold-water wild fish, and free-range poultry make ideal protein choices. If you don’t have food intolerance, organic or pasture-raised eggs are also perfect. And protein shakes make an easy, convenient way to get high-quality protein.
- Sulfur-containing foods. Besides coming loaded with fiber and nutrients, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage as well as onions and garlic provide sulfur to boost detoxification. If you don’t have food intolerances, pasture-raised or organic eggs also make a great source of this mineral. Steam some organic broccoli with onions and garlic in a little ghee or coconut oil for a delicious, nutrient-dense side dish.
Greens. Enjoy loads of preferably organic leafy greens. If you’re not overly fond of eating gargantuan salads, you can sneak kale or other leafy greens into your protein shake. Think beyond lettuce greens here. Cilantro, a natural heavy metal chelator, provides your meals major flavor. If meeting your veggie quota becomes a challenge, Green Balance can help.
Fiber. If you’re not eliminating, you’re not detoxifying! Lentils and other legumes, low-roasted or dehydrated nuts and seeds, berries, and avocados are among the many plant-based foods loaded with fiber. Not getting 50 grams of fiber from food every day? Add a scoop of Extra Fiber into your protein shake.
- Water. Among its numerous benefits, drinking optimal amounts of filtered water supports good elimination and your metabolic machinery. I recommend keeping a canteen nearby and sipping throughout the day, ideally aiming for about half your body weight in ounces of water. The only time I don’t want you drinking is during meals, when liquid can dilute the stomach enzymes that break down protein. Otherwise, drink up! Antioxidant-rich organic green tea and no-sugar-added, electrolyte-rich coconut water also make excellent detoxification beverages.
Sleep. A study in the journal Science found a novel way your brain detoxifies. Researchers found this detoxifying system increases during sleep, and that your brain cells actually shrink during sleep to increase detoxification. Especially when you detoxify, aim for at least 7 but preferably 9 hours every night. About an hour before bed, turn off electronics, unwind with chamomile tea and a hot bath, and use calming natural sleep supplements when necessary.
Burst training. My friend Dr. Josh Axe says that, among its many benefits, cardio stimulates your lymphatic system to increase detoxification. The problem is, long-distance cardio can increase your stress hormone cortisol and knock your other hormones out of balance. Burst training provides the best of both worlds: Time-efficient exercise that blasts fat, aids detoxification, and helps reduce stress in just minutes a day. I combine burst training with weight resistance for the most effective, efficient exercise in just 15 minutes, three times a week
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