One of the things I like about doing a detox is that I get a reminder to wait for the feeling of hunger before eating. That’s the simplest detox diet plan – just making sure you feel hungry, and then not eating too much.
You also want to reduce the incoming toxins, and probably simplify your diet, but the main idea is to get reacquainted with actual hunger.
If you feel like this is too easy, or a cheater detox, think about the definition of detoxification: dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce the intake of toxins while improving elimination. More intense detox diet plans or fasts might seem more effective, but the most effective strategy is the one that you can follow through with and see results.
Not only should fasting be done with supervision and care (to be discussed in future posts), if you aren’t able to stick to it you won’t get the results.
When you feel the real grumble of hunger in your stomach, it means that it has cleared things out and is ready for more work. Without waiting for the hunger cue, you’re likely living with a continual excess of food.
By waiting to feel hungry before eating, your reduce that excess food and allow your body time for a mini-detox before your next meal. You don’t need to starve yourself, or spend a lot of time sitting around with your stomach rumbling, just wait to eat until you actually feel hungry.
Start your day by having water with a squeeze of lemon or grapefruit and ginger. Ginger can have a bite, and I usually sweeten it a bit. The citrus and the ginger both stimulate your digestive system to produce the enzymes, bile and stomach acid you need to process your breakfast.
Once you feel (or hear) the grumble, have a light breakfast. Fruit or whole grains – made with lots of water – are great choices. You can have a small snack mid-morning if you get the grumble, but don’t eat if you aren’t hungry. Try having some beans or another protein food for lunch, along with lots of fresh vegetables.
Again, let your stomach get to the grumbling stage before eating again. If that’s mid-afternoon, try a snack of fruit and a tablespoon of nuts, or vegetable sticks and a bean dip. If that’s not until dinner, wait it out. Remember, this is a detox.
For dinner, have a starch-based meal – whole grains or steam a starchy vegetable like sweet potato or squash – along with some non-starchy vegetables (steamed or raw). Eat only enough to fill you up, but don’t overdo it.
Try to make it a goal to have absolutely nothing except water or herbal tea after 8pm. The reason is that your liver, the main organ responsible for clearing toxins from your body, is most active between 1 and 3am. If there’s anything left in your digestive system, your liver won’t be able to work at its peak performance level.
Continue this process for at least 3 days, or until you feel the benefits you’re looking for. If you properly balance your meals, this is one of the few detox strategies that can be healthy long term. Try to re-train your brain to associate the stomach rumble and feelings of real hunger with the positive aspects of proper digestion.
If you want recipes and a plan to follow, try my cleansing meal plan.