5 Essential Detox Foods to Lose Weight in a Healthy Way
When I picture myself detoxing, I've always pictured myself in one of several scenarios:
1. I'm walking through hell (which, in my imagination, is actually a dark place made of ice - I don't know) shivering with sunken eyes, dark circles under those eyes, and my skin hanging off my bones. I'm hungry and no one will feed me.
2. Screaming at my kitchen cabinets at the top of my lungs between sips of some kind of nasty brown-green drink while alienating every one I love, saying obscene things with my nasty breath blowing out of my mouth in green smoke like a straight-up dragon.
3. Crawling from room to room in my house, looking for crumbs and eventually finding a crumb from a cookie from some other long-ago time in my life and then having to fight a mouse for it. Then a friend calls, and I tell her that no, I can't go out because I'm "simply too weak and forlorn. The mouse won."
These are the scenes I've created in my head of a detox I would do some day. I would bravely endure it. I would do it for the love of my health. I would go through it. I would fast like a saint, burn myself at the stake.
I can't function without food. That's all there is to it.
Drama, drama, mama.
I knew I had to do a detox last year because I had a line of pigment over my lip. I'm very healthy (most of the time) as you might guess, but it wasn't junk food that made me look like I had a permanent mustache that only worsened the paler I got throughout the winter (beautiful, I know). It was the hormones from breastfeeding my son. These hormones had come together, joined forces to create a dark line over my lip, which, along with my saggy breasts, would cement my appearance of my looking much older than I am.
"NO!" I said to the mirror. "You must leave! You cannot make me look like a man! You mean little hormones trying to both make my life wonderful and horrible at the same time. You need to get out of here, bitches!"
So the answer, I knew as a nutritionist, was to detox. When I was done enriching my child with the liquid gold that flowed out of nips, I made a plan.
I can't go without food. Did I say that?
But I could lessen the amount of food I eat. I could design my meals so that I know what to eat. I know how to make it okay. I can lose weight with food. I personally lost 5 pounds in one week on the plan I devised (lose weight with foods), and with a little more smart eating, I am about to banish that naughty black line (well, both of them) forever. It is very faint now. Thanks to my plan which incorporates...
The 5 Most Essential Foods for Detoxing Healthily:
Monounsaturated fats: oleic acid is the fatty acid abundant in olive oil. The fact of its high fat content helps you to feel full, while also reducing the inflammation. Fat helps other fat-soluble vitamins to be absorbed which also happen to be in avocados:
A,K and E: two of those (A and E) are important antioxidants for skin and eye health and overall immune system functioning.
And other vitamins like Bs, C and plenty of water for those water-soluble vitamins too.
High amount of fiber: Fiber feeds the good flora in your intestines which creates a myriad of health benefits from there (healthy digestion is a healthy life, no matter what). Fiber always helps the heart and regulates the digestive system, which is so very important for a detox. Detox should always center around regulating and improving the function of the gut.
High amount of potassium: That's right. More than a banana. So eating an avocado could reduce any cause of CVD, especially high blood pressure. Potassium is also needed for something called the sodium-potassium pump which helps to expel wastes from your cells. It's also an important electrolyte, molecules that carry an electric charge, important for nerve and heart functioning.
They actually have a good amount of protein for a fruit, which will be necessary for this detox and most detoxes ban meat (as they should, sorry but they should. Meat slows the digestive system. It does. Sorry.).
Gluten-free grain: We are going to have to eat grains, and grains are not bad. I repeat they are not bad. Gluten is just a protein that has been overdone. We have relied too heavily on the grains that have gluten. And many of us have become inflamed by the presence of gluten. And yes, gluten actually does irritate the lining of the gut. Yes, it does cause inflammation for many of us. So let's go with grains that are gluten-free. (It's actually a seed, but for all intents and purposes, and because everyone thinks it's a grain - we'll call it a grain here).
PROTEIN CENTRAL: We will be searching out foods that have plenty of protein but speed the digestive system along since I'm getting off the meats (good for the wallet too). Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning quinoa has not only the complete list of the 20 amino acids, but it also has those 10 essential amino acids that the body can't produce on its own. This is because of the germ that constitutes 60% of the "grain."
Should we just start counting the abundance of nutrients in quinoa now?
High insoluble fiber content: You're going to hear this a lot. But as I said earlier, this provides a food for the important flora in your intestines. These flora do everything from acts as soldiers in the immune system, standing guard against the bad bacteria taking over, to manufacturing important vitamins. This insoluble fiber will also help us stay satiated while eating a little bit less than we might be used to.
It's even got a little bit of ALA, an Omega-3 fatty acid that is wonderful for your health from the very structure and detox of your cells to the healthy functioning of the heart to the structure of the brain.
3. Nuts and seeds: Not just for the birds and squirrels.
The thing to know here is that nuts and seeds (especially seeds) house everything you need macronutrient-wise and micronutrient-wise too. These little babies have carbs (big time FIBER), protein (contain essential amino acids) and fats (monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated). And none of the bad kind. The different types of fats vary: you can get ALA from walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia, etc. Omega-3 baby.
They always have important micro-nutrients too:
Vitamin E: antioxidant
Iron: oxygenate your blood
Magnesium: everything in the body
Calcium: together with magnesium = good teeth and bones, among other things
Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds have a high amount of calcium
Selenium: antioxidant important for thyroid health (which regulates metabolism and will be important to maintain during a detox when food amount is less
Because of the fiber content, nuts and seeds are able to regulate blood sugar, which is really important during a detox when crankiness can hit an all-time high. Plus, as I've drilled into your head by now, they are important for the gut!
I have this overhanging fear from my vegan days, and it has to do with protein. Protein is a must. Obviously. You can't ignore it. So we're not going to. Not at all. We've got eggs. Eggs have 6 grams of high quality protein! One egg + a legume somewhere else in the day, and you're good! You've had your protein. And think of all the things you can do with an egg. The possibilities are endless! Plus, with all this protein, you are going to feel very satiated and full, plus the blood sugar control.
If you're cutting out meat, think of all you can get from the egg that you used to get from the meat:
Well, a lot of Bs like choline, biotin
Don't forget the antioxidants available to you like selenium
Zinc: super-important for the immune system
Iodine: another thyroid-balancing food
5. Coconut oil:
Is it true that this saturated fat (solid at room temp) can burn your fat and help you lose weight? Grow with the times: all the cool kids know what coconut oil has to offer. Put it in as much stuff as possible and here's why: medium-chain fatty acids can't be stored by the body so it's immediately used for energy, and this has a thermogenic effect, burning fat! It makes sense because I always feel so energized after I eat something with coconut oil in it.
Coco oil has all kind of acids: lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid - all these have antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid is made in the body into something called monolaurin which stands up against all kinds of viruses and bacteria. When we're talking boosting health, clearing the gut, and maintaining a brilliant immune system in the midst of a detox.
Plus, with the high fat content, you are going to feel very full and have lots of energy.
Put that coconut oil in as much stuff as possible and watch your body and face love it!
Comment below if you have any suggestions, experiences, thought or questions! Ever done a detox? Tell us about it!
Related: What are joyful foods?
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