Many foods do not belong in your detox regimen as they interfere with the body’s natural cleansing processes and ultimately, your wellness.
It is important to know which these are, both to avoid them during your cleansing process and to lessen the work your organs need to do as you proceed.
Enhance* your detox by avoiding the following foods:
1. Red Meats and Toxic Proteins
According to the groundbreaking book, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, red meats are particularly challenging for the body, whether you are detoxing or not. This is largely due to how animals are fed, raised, medicated and treated.
Convenience foods and cured lunchmeats are even more toxic to your health. Nitrites and nitrates, that are usually found in these foods, are used for conserving foods to last long, preserve color and hinder the growth of bacterias.
However, both chemicals are associated with cancer. These are definitely not recommended on a detox.
Roast your own organic poultry and lean, grass fed red meats in replacement of quick lunches, deli meats and after school snacks.
Also try protein rich vegetarian spreads like hummus, avocado slices and natural seed and nut butter options, as your bread toppings.
Eat vegetarian or vegan options for several of your weekday meals.
2. Hydrogenated Oils, Trans Fats
An indisputable fact is that before 1920, coronary heart disease was rare in North America. “Clogged arteries were a medical rarity,” according to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. Today, heart disease is the #1 killer.
Part of the reason is the dramatic increase* in North American consumption of processed vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening, and refined oils.
Such engineered fats, containing hydrogenated oils and trans fats, are higher in unhealthy saturated fats and are “unknown” ingredients that place a heavy toxic burden on the body.
Engineered oils are made through altering the molecular structure of the base oil, using chemicals, heat, and metals, with a goal of making the oils more shelf-stable.
The engineered fats harm the normally fluid outer cell wall, introducing an element of plasticity. As a result, the cell cannot function in a normal way, moving nutrients in and waste out.
Cells ultimately become injured and lose* their function.
As a result, ingestion of trans-unsaturated fatty acids, heart disease risks are increased by 25% or more. Also, it is believed that trans-unsaturated fatty acids can cause issues with our immunity and can lead to infections throughout the body.
Eat more natural, plant-based fats including expeller extracted and cold pressed plant oils. Exchange man made fats for coconut oil, which is delicious on sprouted grain bread toast.
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is healthy for the heart and the blood. Eat avocados, which are rich in natural fats.
Peanuts are a legume crop that appears to be an ideal solution to those wishing to pursue a plant based diet because they are rich in protein. But there is a dangerous caveat.
Peanuts are often contaminated with a fungus-produced toxin called aflatoxin (AF). AF has been implicated in causing liver cancer.
According to T. Colin Campbell, who authored The China Study, aflatoxin “is said to be the most potent chemical carcinogen ever discovered.”
The fungus places an enormous burden on all systems in the body. Furthermore, nut fragments and those nuts that don’t make the grade for eating of the hand, are most often used for making peanut butter.
There are the most rancid because their many open surfaces are exposed to oxygen. When rancid nuts and oils come into contact with cells in the body, they initiate an inflammatory process, often implicated in disease.
These are the main reasons peanuts are not recommended for a detoxification regimen.
Try toasting chickpeas as a crunchy peanut alternative. Or you can make hummus, which I call the “other peanut butter.
Seed butter, sunflower seed, are also a clean option.
As with peanuts, corn is not recommended on a detoxification regimen.
Yet the average American eats 98 pounds of corn every year, mostly from corn-based ingredients in processed foods, along with another whopping 42 pounds of corn syrup.
Today’s corn is among the most genetically modified foods we consume. It is a tremendous task for the body to digest it.
This “Frankencorn” also contains powerfully concentrated sugars that spike your blood sugar while turning off your metabolism and causing weight gain.
Furthermore, corn, as in most other grains, is often contaminated with mycotoxins, of which aflatoxin is one. Mycotoxins have various acute and chronic effects on humans and animals, another reason red meats are not recommended on a detox.
Cows, pigs, chickens and often salmon, eat corn. The mycotoxins are then transferred into the flesh of those animals, and then into you.
Some of the negative effects of mycotoxins include death, a weakened immune system, and allergies. Lifestyle factors contribute to the intensity of these effects. If the diet is poor, one is more susceptible.
Mycotoxins are also not readily broken down during digestion, so they remain in the food chain in meat and dairy products. This means they linger from the plant to the animal and then to you.
Avoid corn during your detox. Exchange it with nuts, quinoa, brown rice, beans or hummus.
Use natural seed and nut oils like grape-seed and avocado oil, instead of corn or canola oil. Always make sure to select oils bottled in opaque or dark, glass containers.
5. Refined And Alternative Sugars
While the population was busy avoiding natural fats, as mentioned in point #2, the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased by 60%. This is a huge jump when you consider that the first engineered food only appeared in North America in 1944.
That food was Corn Flakes.
Never has the population been sicker, more overweight and more plagued with mental disorders as a result.
Refined sugars can be blamed for much of these conditions and has recently been implicated in a long list of disease states including anorexia, heart disease, diabetes Type II and III, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, shortened lifespan, depression, behavioral problems, bone loss and dental decay. (source, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)
In nature, sugars and carbohydrates provide energy in combination with a host of nutrients including minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. I suspect this list is longer since whole foods have a magic* all their own.
Refined carbohydrates, however, are destructive to life because they contain no (that is zero, none) body building qualities.
When we eat these refined and alternative sugars, the body is challenged to process them. The body must use up its’ own supply of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, stealing it from organs and the skeletal system, weakening them. Vitamin B, a micronutrient often present in plant based foods, is removed during the refining process, but the body cannot break down carbohydrates without it! Sugar is a thief.
Lessening the body’s intake of sugar greatly reduces* the burden on your organs of blood sugar handling – the pancreas, adrenals, and liver.
Avoid refined, processed and alternative sugars. I proclaim Ground Zero on sugar consumption in my own diet, but the WHO (World Health Organization) suggests 6 grams per day.
Always opt for whole fruits, grains, and vegetables.
6. Refined Grains And Grain Products
In much the same way that refined sugars are dangerous to health, so too, refined grains and their by-products destroy health.
Refining strips away the best the plant has to offer. Vital nutrients including vitamins E and B, minerals, fiber, both soluble and insoluble, and the complex array of nutrients whole food offers, are stripped away, leaving a deadly missile in its place.
Refined flour may have been “fortified” at an additional cost to the consumer (that’s you) but the irony, grain already contains those “fortifications” in a far more natural state. The synthetic versions often used to fortify flour are dangerous. For example, excess iron, often added to fortified flour, can cause tissue damage. Also, when Vitamins B1 and B2 are added to grains, nutrients that were already there, without B6, numerous imbalances result in the remaining B vitamins.
Let’s not forget that most grains have also been subjected to liberal doses of pesticides and other sprays meant to control vermin and pests. GMO grain may already contain Round Up, a carcinogenic pesticide since many GMO seeds are now “RoundUp ready.” Note that Round Up is kept under lock and key wherever it is sold!!
Always use whole grains and before consuming them, soak overnight as traditional peoples have done.
Properly preparing grains by soaking, fermenting and/or sprouting ensures better digestion, greater nutritional profile and far less health issues.
7. Dairy And Dairy Byproducts
Dairy is a complex nutritional subject, often polarizing people to completely avoid it or to be radical about being able to drink raw milk. Whatever your position, when doing a detox, dairy is always on the “foods to avoid list.”
The reason is simply that it is the leading cause of allergies in North America. And the reactions are not just to lactose in the milk, but the hormones and pesticides used to feed the cow that makes the milk.
A thorough cleansing, lasting as long as four weeks, can alleviate many of these symptoms. Don’t forget that dairy products include milk but also the many foods made from milk; yogurt, kefir, ice cream, cheese and sometimes packaged foods.
Eliminate* dairy from your diet for a minimum of 1 week but more if necessary (I prefer a 4 week cleanse) and choose substitutes like plant based milk, yogurt, and kefir.
NB. Think twice about the cream or creamer in your coffee. Often milk products are used to make these.
8. Nightshade Plants
Eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and potatoes are members of the nightshade family, a group of plants that contain as many as 2000 species.
Often when people choose to do a detox, they have some awareness that nightshade plants cause issues like joint pain, for them. It is important to remove* these from your diet for the duration of your detox.
If you don’t digest these foods well and already have food sensitivities, allergies, IBS, Crohn’s disease or leaky gut, nightshades may be the cause. Early warning signs of intolerance include joint pain after meals, digestive upset, reddening skin and inflammatory response.
Try switching nightshade options to the following:
- sweet potatoes
- white and black pepper instead of red pepper
- blueberries, grapes, oranges, melon
Many will not be pleased to learn that a detox will require them to give up their coffee habit. Coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides and chemicals because of its’ growing habits.
Normally coffee grows in the shade in the rain forest. Farmers want to increase* production, however, so they cut down vast acres of rainforest and spray the beans heavily and consistently to increase* crop yield. Neither of these is a win for the planet.
Right from the start, unless you are buying organic beans, not grown in the rainforest, your morning Joe will contain toxins.
Coffee also contains the stimulant known as caffeine. We drink coffee because we like the buzz. We want to feel “up” when we feel down and low in energy. As we continually “up” ourselves with coffee, the adrenals become more and more exhausted with the effort.
Over time, caffeine will also exhaust the liver, the main detoxification organ in the body.
The idea behind doing a detox is to lessen the burden on your organs, most particularly the liver. Caffeine is processed in the liver, along with pharmaceuticals, birth control pills, and other drugs.
Removing* coffee from your diet, for the duration of the detox, will help you achieve a deeper, more effective result and give your liver a break.
Look for organic, certified shade-grown coffee grown in more natural circumstances where spraying may not be occurring. Also, make sure to purchase coffees that do not destroy the rainforest.
Try Dandy Blend as a plant based coffee alternative.
Alcohol is really just another form of sugar, and we have already covered how important it is to give your organs of blood sugar handling a rest by avoiding processed foods and sugars. Alcohol can go on the list of “what not to eat” foods during a detox.
Alcohol quickly moves through your body, particularly while you are detoxing, because we tend to eat fewer calories during the process. This means that alcohol will enter the brain more quickly than if the food was present, interrupting brain function.
It makes sense to avoid drinking wine, and other alcohol, during a detox, as you are trying to remove* toxins from your body.
Reduce* alcohol consumption by committing to drinking at least 3 Litres of water per day. Exchange alcoholic beverages for sparkling or flat water.
The Final Verdict
Whether you choose to do a short detox or a proper, longer term cleanse lasting four weeks or longer, it is helpful to know that the foods on this list are to be avoided.
The goal of a detox is to clean up the cells and tissues so that they can function better and return you to optimal health. Eating clean, or eating whole, nutrient dense, well sourced, properly prepared foods will assist with the detox process.
Avoiding the foods listed here will ensure the best possible results for your detox.
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com