Diet. It’s a scary word, bringing forth all sorts of images and feelings… the hunger, the guilt after you sneak that chocolate bar. Pictures of burgers, chips and cookies race through your mind. And that feeling of deprivation! No. You can’t have those things. Those things are bad.
But let’s just put all the negative emotions and attachments to one side for a minute. Because although your mind may be feeling a bit dubious about this seeming ‘deprivation’, it’s really just a trick, a facade. The fact is you may be deprived already. Not of candy or chocolate, but of nutrients. Vitamins. Minerals. The good stuff. Instead of viewing a diet as a form of torture, let’s try and see it in a new, positive light. Nourishment should be a happy process! Imagine your body is parched, your cells depleted. A diet should be like a bath for these cells, quenching their thirst. Shower your body in the good stuff. It will thank you.
Enter the Detox diet. In the last article of this series, we discussed what detoxification really means. Now we need to look at how we can help our bodies to do it as efficiently as possible, and our diet is one of the most important. A Detox diet is one that tries to minimise the re-intoxication process of our daily lives. Life is toxic by nature, in the sense that the natural processes of life create toxic wastes. Breathing creates CO2, exercise creates lactic acid, eating generates mucus, plaque and faeces etc. These are just other expressions of the Yin & Yang movement of life itself, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s natural. But we need to move those toxins along, and our bodies are working hard to eliminate toxins as quickly as possible. CO2, lactic acid, mucus, plaque are all trying to make there way out of the body. So our aim with this diet is to provide every part of our selves, all the organs, bones, blood etc with more of the nutrients that will help the natural detoxification process, and less of the stuff that won’t.
There are two different variations of the detox diet. The one we will discuss today is a diet you can adopt into your everyday life, that will nourish and sustain you forever. Next week we will look at a more rigorous alkalisation of the system, that is really only suitable periodically, as a complete detoxification of the body or prior to fasting.
Detox diet No.1
So this diet is one that you can start right now. Today! And you can keep doing it for a long as you like. Ideally these nutritional choices and habits can become a part of your daily life. However, we are not saying you can’t eat other things too! Your diet is personal to you, and you need to enjoy it. That’s so important. See this diet as a foundation you can build upon to promote vitality and longevity for a happy, healthy life.
Foods to Include:
- fresh or frozen fruits
- unsweetened, natural juice (not concentrated)
- dried fruit – unsweetened, in limited amounts, such as cranberries, dates, raisins, goji berries
- Most vegetables are good. But vegetables thought to be particularly good detox foods include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets, and dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and swiss chard
- sea vegetables, including kelp, nori sheets, wakame
- note: some people are sensitive to the nightshade family of vegetables, which includes tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, and potatoes, and you may wish to avoid them
Grains and Starches
- rice, especially brown rice
- wild rice
- oats (preferably those labeled ‘gluten free’. Actually all oats are naturally gluten free, but many are contaminated during milling and packaging, as a lot of factories also produce other grains containing gluten.)
- whole grains are preferred, but products made from the above may be allowed, such as brown rice pasta, pure buckwheat noodles, rice crackers, and bread
Beans and Legumes
- split yellow and green peas
- adzuki beans
Nuts and Seeds
- sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds, hemp nuts
- coconut, especially young coconuts
- nut butters made with the above ingredients
Choose unsalted, raw nuts and seeds.
- cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
- hemp oil
- flax oil
- chia oil
- almond oil
- avocado oil
- coconut oil
- safflower, sesame, and sunflower oils in limited amounts (due to omega-6 fatty acids)
- “milks” made from allowed foods, such as rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk
- coconut milk – except canned coconut milk. (canned products contain toxins from the metals and should be avoided if possible)
- herbal teas
- ·green tea
- lemon water
- unsweetened juice made from allowed fruits and vegetables
- mineral or seltzer water – in limited amounts
- brown rice syrup
- real maple syrup
- raw honey
- black strap molasses
- apple cider vinegar
- miso – small amounts
- black olives
- lemons and limes
- fresh and dried herbs and spices
- cacao powder and cacao nibs
- carob powder
- sea salt
- wheat-free tamari – in limited amounts
Animal Protein (note that all animal protein will create acid waste/toxins in the stomach due to the highly acidic digestive fluids needed to break them down)
If you decide to include it, I would recommend then to eat:
- organic turkey
- organic chicken, preferably pastured
- wild, cold-water fish, such as Alaskan salmon
- wild game, such as venison, buffalo, ostrich
Or you can make a broth out of those meats and drink it. This way, you will get the nutrients of the meat without having to secrete the acidic digestive fluids needed to break the protein down.
Foods to Exclude:
- Dairy and eggs: all
- Butter and mayonnaise: all
- Grains: wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye
- Fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, corn, creamed vegetables, tomatoes during the pre-fast.
- Animal protein: pork, beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, shellfish
- Vegetable protein: soybean products (soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, textured vegetable protein),
- Nuts and seeds: peanuts and peanut butter
- Oils: shortening, processed oils, salad dressings, and spreads
- Drinks: alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and soft drinks
- Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice
- Condiments: chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, barbecue sauce, teriyaki
Things to Watch For:
- Corn starch is often present in baking powder, beverages, and processed foods.
- Vinegar in ketchup, mayonnaise, and some mustard usually comes from wheat or corn.
- Breads advertised as gluten-free still might contain oats, spelt, kamut, or rye.
- Many amaranth and millet flake cereals contain oat or corn.
- Multi-grain rice cakes are not just rice. Be sure to purchase plain rice cakes.
Things to do daily:
- Drink a minimum of 2 liters of alkaline water per day (so stick to spring or filtered water)
- Take the time to chew food well.
- Walk 20 minutes after each meals or gently bounce the body to aid digestion.
This is a sample menu for a day:
- 1/2 lemon squeezed into a glass of warm, purified water. This will cleanse the liver and flush the digestive system. A great start to the day.
- Green smoothie
Snack (see below)
- Chickpeas tossed in turmeric or curry powder
- Salad with choice of vegetables, such as arugula, cucumbers, onions, steamed beets.
Snack (see below)
- Portobello mushroom cap, brushed with olive oil and baked or lightly sauteed
- Steamed kale sprinkled with pine nuts and tossed in lemon juice and olive oil
- Brown rice or quinoa
- Raw almonds
- Apple or pear, sliced, with 1 tablespoon nut butter (not peanut)
- Carrot, celery and/or cucumber sticks with hummus
- Gluten-free rice crackers, unsalted, with guacamole
- gluten- and wheat-free crackers
- Smoothie made with allowed ingredients
- Juice (predominantly vegetables)
- Kale chips
Obviously these are just a few ideas, feel free to experiment and create your own recipes. Play with your food! As we mentioned before, your diet is personal. You are unique, and your diet can be too. See eating as an opportunity to get in touch with your body, not just physically, but emotionally. How do you feel after you eat certain foods? Once you open up the pathways of communication between your self and your body, and you start listening to what it has to say, you will find far it easier to make the healthier choices needed to keep you feeling tiptop.
Detox programs (from 3-14 days) are available at Wandering Dao all year round.