- Sarah Turner For the AJC
The idea of cleansing your body from the inside out to kick-start an actual, sustainable weight loss plan seems ideal. And for good reason. When we're ready to commit to weight loss, we want an extra edge. For some, that's a good cleansing. With all the detox diets out there, it's hard to know what is legitimate and what is a hoax.
The truth is, our bodies detox naturally. Our liver and kidneys remove toxins from our bodies better than any three-day restrictive plan, and what they really need is the support of a good balanced diet. If you want to kick-start your weight loss plan, plan a whole foods approach.
"For a true, healthy detox, I recommend loading up on high-fiber, antioxidant-rich foods at every meal such as broccoli, leafy greens and berries," Nicole Morgan, a registered dietitian in Atlanta, said. "Make half of what you are eating these detoxifying whole foods either in the form of a meal, or a smoothie, and you will achieve a real foods detox."
Whole foods such as carrots, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and beets are proven to be detoxifying. Incorporate these into every meal for at least three days, and you'll give your body what it needs to jump-start health and weight loss.
"Detoxifying foods add in more nutrients and antioxidants to the body which can help strengthen metabolic processes," Morgan said. "These foods boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and get the body working better!"
While a three-day tea or juice plan seems interesting, you'll just find yourself sluggish, hungry and potentially hundreds of dollars out of pocket depending on which promotional detox product you purchase. Instead, fuel your body with a balanced diet that incorporates detoxifying, whole foods to put your weight loss plan into high gear, and you'll feel strong and energetic.
"Clients often want a quick fix, but the key is finding a detox or routine that you have motivation to follow," Morgan said. "I try to steer my clients towards whole food approaches, and not quick fad detox diets. This can be a little more challenging, but promotes lasting, long-term results of weight loss, reduced inflammation and improved energy."
To begin a whole foods detox, you'll want to do your weekly grocery shopping slightly different. Stay towards the outer edges of the grocery store, filling your cart with fruits, vegetables and lean meats. If you're new to making meals with these sorts of items, just keep it simple. Throw in some sort of broth and almond milk, and you're essentially prepared to make soups and smoothies.
"Homemade soups are the best detox foods while on a budget," Morgan said. "You can cook up a large batch of soup with leafy greens, lean protein and bone broth and be able to eat the recipe for a handful of meals. An added benefit is that these soups will be filling, lower calorie and healing for the body."
Next time you're looking for a good detox, consider a whole foods approach. Eating strictly whole foods for a period of time is likely to have better effects on your body than any fad detox diet out there, and for most, it's more sustainable.