How to Do a Detoxification Diet

The purpose of a detoxification diet is detoxify all the organs of the body--the skin, lungs, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, small and large intestines and indirectly, the heart. Detoxification cleanses the body after a period of overeating, eating unfamiliar (and hard to digest) foods while traveling, or exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals. It is always important to consult with your physician before starting a detoxification diet. If you are given medical clearance, you can embark on this diet that entails eating whole fruits, vegetables, juices from the same, cooked whole grains and teas that contain herbs designed for cleansing--yellow dock, sasparilla, red clover, to name a few. Read on to learn more about how to do a detoxification diet.


Step 1

Begin by clearing your kitchen and home of all junk foods such as potato chips, donuts and other prepared foods that are high in corn syrup, refined sugar, salt, artificial colors and flavors. Shop at your local farmer’s market, health food store or local grocery store and stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice, brown basmati rice, quinoa, millet and whole oats). Be sure to buy several lemons for your morning detox drink.

Step 2

Buy organic produce whenever possible. If you are buying non-organic produce, avoid grapes, melons, apples, bananas, corn, and rice as these crops are often grown with heavy pesticides. If you buy non-organic produce, submerge the item in a diluted bleach bath to remove pesticides. In a large basin of filtered water, add 1 to 2 tsp. of Clorox bleach and soak the vegetable or fruit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly before using.

Step 3

Purchase the fruits and vegetables you find palatable. Pineapple and apples of all types are especially good as pineapples have bromelain to assist digestion and apples can be eaten with any vegetable and is generally digested easily. Buy fresh or dried herbs or harvest them from your home garden. Keep in mind that fennel seed assists digestion and peppermint leaves dried can be steeped as a digestive tea.

Step 4

Buy commercial detox teas and read their labels closely. Consuming detox teas is optional. If you have not consumed them before, consult your physician or nutritionist first. Do not exceed the recommended daily amount. If the teas include senna leaves or casara sagrada—these have a strong laxative effect and should not be over consumed. The teas should include slippery elm to ease any abdominal discomfort.

Step 5

Begin each morning with warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it to help move your bowels. Once this is achieved, eat fresh fruit. Later, eat cooked oats with apple juice and raisins or other whole grains. Allow food to digest. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks could be more fresh fruit, herbal or detox teas, or freshly extracted vegetable juices. Restrict high sugar fruits juices such as orange juice or dilute with water to a ratio of one part juice to one part water.

Step 6

Understand that lunch and dinner is an assortment of steamed vegetables and raw salads with unsaturated, vegetable oils such as flax seed or olive oil. Skip the commercial salad dressings that are heavy in salt, sugar, or artificial flavors and preservatives. Consume a small amount of cooked grains with these meals. Season foods with dried seaweed and/or sea salt with iodine. Maintain this detox diet for a day or a weekend, or longer, as supervised by a physician or nutritionist only. Do not skip meals.

Step 7

Break the detox diet by slowly adding animal and legume proteins such as eggs, fish, poultry, lean cuts of beef, yogurt, tofu, cooked legumes and sprouts. Do not break the detox diet with a pizza and beer. If possible, reduce any heavy athletic activity or work responsibilities during the detox diet.

Tips and Warnings

This detox diet is free of legume or animal proteins but if you experience dizziness add easy to digest proteins such as yogurt with live cultures or well-cooked legumes such as mung bean or small amounts of animal protein. Kitchari, an Indian dish made by cooking brown rice and mung bean together until soft is a common food eaten during a detox diet. See the link below to Elson Haas, M.D., in San Rafael, Calif. He has written seven books on detox diets and can be reached directly through his website for queries. Consult your physician or nutritionist if you have not undertaken a detoxification diet that limits legume and animal protein consumption for one to seven days. If you have any chronic diseases or are taking prescription medications, consult your physician. If you are pregnant or under the age of 21, consult your physician. If you have an eating disorder, also consult your doctor.

Things You'll Need

Assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, Whole grains, Lemons, Flax seed oil, Commercial detox teas (optional), Filtered, spring or mineral water, Dried seaweed , Sea salt with iodine

About this Author

Sava Tang Alcantara has been a writer and editor since 1988, working as a writer and editor for health publications such as Let's Live Magazine and Whole Life Times. Alcantara specializes in health and fitness and is a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. She does volunteer work regularly and has taught free public yoga classes in Santa Monica, Calif., since 2002.

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