Detox Diet Plans – How Long They Should Be

Detox Diet Plans – How Long They Should Be
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Sometimes during a detox diet plan, I get intense cravings for certain ‘treat’ foods. like chocolate. If I let the cleanse go long enough, they usually go away.

That’s good, because binging on junk food after a cleanse is a really bad idea. Not only is it bad to go for the junk food, but your body has just been in detox mode and usually reacts worse than usual to an input of junk.

How Long to Detox

The length of a detox diet plan is debatable – some people say you need a long time, but even a few days can bring results. Weekends, or whenever you have 2-3 days away from work, are a great time to detox, since you will hopefully avoid some sources of stress.

If you have the time, a week to transition in and out of a detox is a great time frame. Take 1-2 days of simplified eating, 3-4 days of detoxing with super-simple eating and herbal supports, 1-2 days of simple eating again, then continue on to a healthy balanced diet for maintenance.

Transition back

Detoxifying, whether through and extreme or simple detox diet plan, is temporary and is not usually a healthy way to eat in the long term.

The exception to that rule would be the ‘wait until you’re hungry’, or maybe the simplified diet – depending on how much social stress it subjects you to. Being an outcast from your family and friends, no matter how healthy your diet is, isn’t my idea of true health.

The benefits from a detox will only bring lasting change if you maintain a healthy, non-toxic diet in the long term. From a simple detox diet plan, the transition just involves slowly incorporating healthy, whole foods back into your diet in appropriate ratios.

From a juice or water fast, the transition needs to be very gradual, and should be stretched over about half the number of days you spent fasting. Start with raw or cooked low-starch vegetables, sauerkraut and/or a probiotic supplement, and lemon & ginger to stimulate digestion.

It’s really important after a fast to chew foods very well. You may want to add some laxative foods (cherries, prunes, grapes) to get your colon system moving. Fruits should be eaten alone throughout the transition.

On the second day of transition, you can add rice or millet that is well-cooked with lots of water. From there, move on to re-introduce other veggies and grains slowly.

The last foods to add back should be the nuts, seeds and legumes. If you eat animal foods, wait until the end of your transition period to incorporate small amounts occasionally. That’s actually a very appropriate long-term strategy for animal foods, as well, if you eat them.

The basics of a healthy diet long-term are to:

  • Eat organic foods, grown in healthy soil
  • Drink filtered water
  • Rotate foods – get variety, don’t give in to cravings all the time
  • Eat natural, seasonal and local whole foods
  • Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds (and optionally small amounts of dairy, fish, poultry or eggs)
  • Cook in iron, stainless steel, glass or porcelain
  • Avoid red meat, sugar, caffeine (chocolate, coffee, tea, sodas), drugs, alcohol, nicotine, salt, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, processed foods, refined grains, and refined oils.

Aiming for a healthy diet, along with regular exercise and activity, long term with periodic cleansing phases through the use of a detox diet plan (and supervised fasting if you like) is a really effective way to maintain balance and keep all of your body’s systems invigorated.

Phil and I have the goal to grow more and more of our own food. Even starting with sprouts on your windowsill is great. I’d like to get more into preserving foods so that we can eat quality home-grown foods through the winter.


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