Monday, June 4, 2012

DETOX 04: Elimination diet..

Hello hello! I am so happy about the positive feedback on my little detox series. You guys really are great and it is such an inspiration to know so many of you are willing to make positive & healthy changes to your lives! Well done!! xx

Quite a few of you have sent me questions about how to find a good programme and, just in general, how to go about an effective detox. I must confess that the more detoxing journeys I embark on the more I wish to adjust my lifestyle to be clean all the time. I am already eating a 90% certified organic diet rich in nutrients, with focus on lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. However I am starting to feel an urge to phasing out things like sugar, meat, and dairy full stop. Though these are very tasty (most of the time) I really don't feel all that great after eating them. Also, as I learn more about the serious and long term damage they do to my body the more I wish to eliminate them permanently.

But that's me, and you may feel differently. In fact it is very important to remember that we are all different - we lead different lifestyles, have different body types, different needs and sensitivities. What feels like the perfect balance for my body, may leave you feeling either unchallenged or overwhelmed. A 'raw food enthusiast' may feel completely at ease embarking on a two week juice fast, whereas a 'meat & dairy lover' most probably needs to take a softer approach to start. Detoxing therefore needs to be tailored and it is important that you bear this in mind along the way.

For the benefit of this post though I will base my advice on what I deem is 'an average person'. To me this means someone who enjoys everything in moderation, and who is reasonably conscious of the most common pitfalls of an every-day diet. He/she would at times enjoy alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, and may even smoke the occasional cigarette but is by no means a heavy user of any of these substances. For such a person I would recommend starting off by doing a so called 'elimination diet'.

An elimination diet aims to remove substances that have an adverse effect on the body and thus allowing the bodily organs to rest and recharge. It's not really a formal 'detox' but shares many of the positive benefits of a full cleanse (only not to their full extent). This kind of regime is a very common and sensible starting point for a full detox and a great way to prepare the body for the next phase. I find that a well managed elimination diet gives great results in physical appearance, bodily functions, and instils a general sense of well-being. And the best part is that it can be achieved within the reams of your day-to-day life!

Elimination diets are especially handy following times of indulgence (e.g. Christmas, Easter etc), during times of stress, after prolonged illness, or after a course of prescription or non prescription drugs. It is also a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle and/or prepare for a formal detox or permanent food change. The programme most commonly runs between two to eight weeks, however it is very likely that you wish to continue longer due to the positive results in the way you look and feel.

If it's your very first time and you want to try this, simply remove as many of the following substances from your diet over two weeks.
1. Caffeine
2. Sugar (and sweeteners)
3. Bread, pasta, refined cereal and white rice
4. Dairy (with the exception of raw natural yogurt)
5. Red meat
6. Salt (except for good quality sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt)
7. Alcohol
8. Small goods and processed foods
9. All soft drinks incl. commercial fruit juice, cordial, lemonade etc.
10. Needless to say, if you are a smoker, user of snuff, or other recreational drugs you aim to eliminate these too. 
Don't go 'cold turkey' as this can really mess you about , instead cut down slowly over the first week until you go 'clean' the second week..

Before you start hyper-ventilating over what you can't have, sit yourself down and instill in your mind the reason you are embarking on this journey in the first place. Write them down and pin it to your bathroom mirror, fridge door, bedside table etc.
Decide to focus on what you CAN have rather than what you CAN'T have, because really there are so many foods and drinks you can enjoy during an elimination diet. And you should, because this is not a weight loss programme or one where you constantly have to be on your toes about how much you eat. The good news is that you can indulge freely in a whole raft of great foods and you won't go hungry at all. That to me is important as I am an avid believer that life should be enjoyable!

The key is to take away what harms and/or hinders your body from feeling and looking its very best. By taking them away you will become tangibly aware of the negative effect these daily pollutants have on your health, even if they taste good and make you feel good at the time you eat them. 
Of course there may be some side effects in the first few days such as head- and joint- aches, loose stools, flue like symptoms, irritability, skin rashes, and tiredness. But try to see these as a sign that the process is working. As a general rule, the worse you feel the more you need this cleanse. So hang on in there and know how great you will feel, look and be in only a matter of days!

I know that the thought of having to live without coffee or chocolate for more than a short while can be so confronting that you don't even want to try..! But really, you can do this! All you need to do is to stay focused and determined, and you will be surprised by how easy it is to establish new habits. 
Also, please try not to become overly enthusiastic and dive in the deep end by doing a rigid programme the very first time (I speak from experience here!!). Instead start with an elimination diet, set realistic goals, and take it slow. Go one week at a time and focus on the long term. It won't take that long before you find clean, nutritional, and yummy alternatives to your daily food staples and habits. Remember that Rome wasn't built in one day!!

PLANNING ahead is the key to success and I urge you to go through your pantry, fridge and freezer and remove ALL temptations before you start. Because as you can understand, there will be times you will want to cheat and if it is there you'll eat it..! Even things you may not normally be drawn to may seem tempting, so be brutal and take away anything that falls within the list of foods/drinks to avoid!

The next step is to stock up on the foods you CAN eat. Think about maximizing nutrition and make it easy for yourself to find things to eat at a short notice. This might mean making frozen smoothie icypoles, preparing your own musli mix, roasting nuts, filling a bowl with washed & ready-to eat seasonal fruits, keeping a jug with freshly squeezed juice in the fridge, cutting vegetable sticks, making guacamole to dip them in etc etc. Become your own best friend and make this journey as smooth, enjoyable and kind as possible. By preparing meal and snack plans you eliminate the pressure to think on your feet, which at the beginning can be a challenge. Rest assured that it gets easier by the day, and in week two you'll be right on track .

Last but not least, ensure you keep a PBA-free bottle of filtered water with you at all times so that you stay hydrated and refreshed. Drinking water is essential during a cleanse so get yourself a Brita filter jug and fill your fridge with yummy fruited and flavoured water. Also stock your pantry with a wardrobe of herbal teas that can replace your morning and evening hot drinks. There are plenty teas that have wonderful properties that will help your body. Some of my favourites are dandelion, camomile, fennel, cinnamon, mint and green tea. Visit your local health food store and ask for assistance when building your very own tea cupboard.

As for the foods that you CAN eat. Though there are plenty  of great alternatives I would recommend you go to HERE to find a good and straight forward eating guide. It's part of a detox programme issued by GNC, and one that I have used successfully many times. As I have mentioned before, I am not sponsored by these guys I just happen to like them. The booklet refers to the programme as a 'detox' but as you are allowed to take some animal proteins I think it falls more within a restricted or elimination diet. But terminology aside, this programme is effective, well balanced and easy to follow whilst also achieving great results.

The two key objectives of the programme is to a) eliminate toxins, and b) restore the body on a cellular level. You will no longer eat just to feel full. Instead you will eat to nourish yourself in the best way possible. When this happens your body will be happy, and will start to transform. Not only will it unfold a wonderful & healthy glow, but also a rush of life energy and an inner feeling of peaceful wellness!

Good luck everyone and please let me know how you go!

xx Charlotta xx


Lilla Blanka said...

Tack fina Charlotta för ett otroligt inspirerande inlägg!

Jag känner mig väldigt sugen på att göra en detox, även om jag inser att flera av punkterna på saker man skall undvika avstår jag redan idag från.

Önskar dig en riktigt fin vecka!

Anci said...

Tack för all information och alla inspirerande bilder ! Jag känner verkligen för att äta annat och jag har under det senaste året blivit vegetarian.
Det är bra att du skriver att alla är olika för så är det ju.


lila braga said...

Hello My dear friend!
Such long time since I have heard from you and so nice to find you around again!
You are truly my inspiration girl,what a fabulous series about detoxing you wrote .
Funny that I come here and find you are about what I'm doing right now: detoxing...And Gosh it's hard!
Had to do it cos I'm crossing the borders from Vegan to Raw vegan and have to clean my system to get there safely.
I think that been a raw vegan is the best choice I could have ever do in my life,I do already feel and look years younger,but the future rewards are numerous to mention a few: great health,great memory,cure chronic problems,etc...
Any way,tks for the series,read them all!

Fifi Flowers said...

I need to do something I like this!

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