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Detox diet


Lots of people hear about detoxing from reading about celebrities like Beyoncé (she reportedly favors a raw vegan diet), Gwyneth (who has her own 7-Day Detox Diet), and Demi Moore (a one-time fan of the Master Cleanse). The term “detox diet” gets thrown around a lot, but people don’t always have the full picture of what a detox diet actually involves. If you tell friends and family that you’re starting a detox diet, they might think you’re just trying to drop pounds (and fast) by starving yourself, depriving yourself of vital nutrients, or abusing laxatives. That’s because there are so many different versions of detox plans, and not all of them are safe or effective. Legit detox plans are, in fact, not just aimed at helping you lose weight…there’s a lot more to them than that. Broadly defined, they’re designed to help eliminate toxins that build up in your body, like pesticides, plastics, and heavy metals. Many plans involve a period of fasting or a strict dietary on-boarding period, followed by a less restrictive (and easier to live with) maintenance phase. These “metabolic” detox programs help the body’s own cleansing system work more efficiently, clearing stored toxins through the liver, kidneys, skin, and GI tract using diet and supplements and sometimes enemas, chelation, or saunas. Other forms of self-care are also important—such as sleep, gentle exercise, and meditation or other relaxation techniques. These plans may be recommended by your healthcare team. Celebs often use detox diets to help get ready for award season, but that’s not why we’re talking about them. These diets can be an important tool to help people with invisible illnesses manage toxicity-related symptoms from things like infection and heavy metals. Detox diets are not one-size-fits-all, and they don’t have to be extreme—though they often require some changes in your lifestyle. There are many versions, and most include dietary supplements to support your body’s detox pathways. These might include B vitamins, zinc, and selenium; amino acids like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and glutathione; herbs such as milk thistle and dandelion root; probiotics; and chelating and binding agents, like cilantro, garlic, citrus pectin, and activated charcoal. Whether or not you’re managing a chronic illness, periodic metabolic detoxing—preferably with the help of an integrative nutritionist or other practitioner—can be a win for your body and quality of life. We’re all exposed to toxins every day, so if you’re curious, it’s worth exploring! Important note: The foods and beverages to eat and skip on any detox diet are specific to that plan, but the lists below constitute the basic guidelines.

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