The other day, my best friend Neha told me that she wanted to go down two sizes before her birthday, which was less than a month away. All I could do at that time, was gawk at her, with my mouth full of pizza. See the irony? We were having diet talks over pizza. I had said it’s impossible! The most you can do is trim and fit yourself down a little bit. But going down two sizes?? A wise saying goes like this -“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day you're off it.” True, indeed. As expected, my friend was off diet before she could reach her third day, saying that she’s pretty happy with the little flab she has. Mind you, I second her.
What is a Detox Diet?
Detox Diets are basically the shorter versions of a full term diet plan. Most of the Detox diets promise that they will flush toxins out of your system. But do they really do what they promise to? As per experts, detox diets are risky, and there have been many instances, when they backfire. So, if you still want to go for it, you need to analyze each and every aspect of it really carefully. Whatever be the weight, staying healthy is the first and the most important factor.
Most detox diets are structured around the two Fs – fluids and fiber that step up your process of flushing out the toxins. While detoxification is a basic bodily function, irregular lifestyles and poor eating habits have done much to disturb this process.
What can you eat and what you can’t?
This is probably the most important question. If you are a foodie, like I am, this is probably the most difficult question too. Even a normal diet plan is tough for us, and this short term one, requires even tougher regimen. In case of detox, your food depends upon the specific detox diet that you might be following.
There are many types of detox diets. Some may require you to fast or just drink liquids. Some other types of detox diet plans may allow some foods, like fruits and vegetables. They are typically short term diets. Basically, they are not the kind of diets you could stick to, in the long run. They are used for detoxification meant for a specified period of time.
Some detox plans recommend herbs, pills, powders, enemas, and other forms of colon cleansing.
How will you feel and what will be the level of effort required on your part?
Loads of effort is required on your behalf to undergo detoxification. I will tell you why. A detox diet is generally meant for weight loss. Usually, you need weight loss only in two cases. One, if weight gain is a family tendency. It means that even if you consume the normal and healthy amount of calories, they will increase your weight. Two, if you are a foodie, and love to eat you will gain weight. According to me, these are the only two cases where you might need an emergency plan like going on a detox diet. There might be more, but as far as I know, as a normal layman, these are the ones.
In the former case, it is a bit less tough to go on a diet. Remember, I am saying less tough, and not easy, because detox plans are never easy. In fact, anything which gives results in a short time is not easy, as it will require you to double or triple your efforts. In the latter case, it is going to be a little tough, since you are the ones who love to eat. You'll be hungry and may feel weak. Whether or not a detox diet is safe depends on the plan and how long you stay on it.
What are the side effects?
As I said, it is not easy to go on a detox diet plan. A low-calorie, nutrient-poor diets have potential side effects like low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea.
You're going to go without a lot of the foods you usually eat. Detox diets are typically very rigid and involve eating the same few things over and over.
On the brighter side-
If the idea of detoxification appeals, you might try “clean” eating that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein- basically, whole foods without a lot of processing. That's good for you and more likely to give you results that last, especially if you make exercise a habit.
You will not be required to exercise, because, well, you will not have any energy left for it.
Hey, but don’t think that since it is all so scary, you should not go for it. I agree that detox sounds like one of those scary resolutions that you made on a drunken New Year’s Eve. But if done in a healthy manner, and with a tough resolution, it can initiate a healthy lifestyle.
Celebrity Detox Diets
Gwenyth Paltrow Detox Diet:
It is a heavy plant-based diet with very little meat. A combination of carrot and ginger salad, fruit-based smoothies, coconut water and a generous dose of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Also, almost every meal comes out of a blender. Dieters are encouraged to practice deep breathing and yoga.
This would only work if you resign yourself to the thought of not cooking, steaming, heating or baking anything for the next 12 weeks. In short term, this will give you supermodel skin, but if followed for an extended period, will lead to weakness and loss of muscle tone. So, modify it according to your body type, before plunging in.
Oprah Winfrey Detox Diet:
This detox plan involves a vegan diet and concentrates on wellness through self work, meditation, exercise and visualization. Beyond the spiritual lesson, there are some serious diet restrictions as well-no dairy, no caffeine, no meat, no alcohol, no sugar or gluten.
This is a comparatively healthier way than surviving just on juices. Although it offers the enticement of mental peace, still the denial factor is present.
Beyonce Knowles detox Diet:
It is also known as the Maple Syrup Diet. It is a ten-day routine that involves drinking only six to ten glasses of a special type of lemonade made up of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Also used famously by British supermodel Naomi Campbell. This is strictly a 10 day routine.
Detox Plans that you will love!
No matter how scary detox diets may sound, there is a flip side to the coin as well. If you are not hell bent on becoming painfully thin and instead just want to look the same svelte, toned down and healthy, there are healthy plans for you as well. These will not starve you and are healthy as well.
Mono Detox Diet:
This diet focuses on eating only one fruit for a duration of a week or whatever is decided by your dietician. Eating only one kind of fruit reduces the amount of work needed by the body for digestion. This way the body can concentrate on repairing its internal system. This is an easier alternative for those who worry about going without food for long periods. This is just one food type, but it is still food.
Raw Food Detox Diet:
The philosophy behind this diet is that food should be eaten in its most natural form i.e. in raw form. Avoid all cooked food that degrade nutrients and processed food containing additives. Eating foods in raw form preserves constituents, such as vitamins, fiber, organic forms of essential minerals and chlorophyll. It strengthens the immune system. Foods like poultry beef and eggs cannot be eaten raw and should be avoided completely. Instead, focus on fresh fruits, vegetables and good quality fish. Consume nuts to maintain protein levels and drink lots of water and juices to stay hydrated. This diet is easy on your digestive system because it consists of unprocessed food and it also cleanses your liver.
Juice Fast Detox Diet:
This diet involves consuming fresh juices from fruits and/or vegetables. They have to be freshly squeezed and not pre-packaged. The juices supply fresh enzymes that promote the cleansing process. An added side benefit with this diet is that it helps you shed the extra kilos with ease. It also strengthens the immune system while flushing out the toxins.
Just a few additional points to remember while following a detox diet:
- Ease into the diet and do not take a plunge. Let your body and system adjust to it gradually.
- It's important to remember that a detox diet should not strip you of essential nutrients. Eating light and eating healthy aren't mutually exclusive.
- When on a detox, avoid snacking but if you absolutely must, drink herbal tea instead of breaking out yet another batch of popcorn or unsalted nuts.
- Invest in a 30-minute meditation or yoga session to cleanse your mind of negative energy at least once every day. As part of your detox plan, work in a few relaxing massages as well.
- Take a day off from technology every week, preferably over the weekends
- Before your bath or shower, grab a loofah or natural-fibre brush and spend ten minutes moving it in a gentle circular motion. Go from toes to thighs, fingers to upper arms, belly to back. Avoid the face and décolletage. After bathing, massage in olive or coconut oil with a couple of drops of rosemary or sage oil to enhance circulation and detoxification.
If after reading all of the above pros and cons that I have compiled and listed down for you, if you still want to go for a detox diet, do not do it suddenly. Go slow and gradual. Give your body time to adjust to the new routine. Consult a nutritionist for a suitable plan. Remember, you are doing that to beautify your body and system, and not torture it.