detox diet
Diet & Nutrition

Detoxing Your Body (and Your Diet)

Over the holidays, you’ve probably eaten everything from candied yams to chocolate Santas. No wonder you’re feeling bloated.

The good news is that despite holiday indulgence, most people gain only a pound. The bad news is that most of them never take it off.  And when you consider that this pattern often repeats itself year after year, there’s no denying that you’re looking at a substantial increase in poundage.

Small wonder, then, that people turn to detox diets to take off the weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, a typical detox diet (also known as a cleanse) begins with a period of fasting. That’s followed up with a diet or raw vegetables, fruits and water. Some detox diets also advocate colonics and colon cleansing (enemas).

Before you begin a cleanse, though, it’s best to consider it carefully. Ask your primary care physician if it is right for you. Your doctor can also help you determine how long a cleanse should be. Some cleanses last just three days, while others are longer. Dr. Alejandro Junger, who created the popular Clean program, has a 21-day cleanse.

In preparing for your detox, gradually wean yourself off caffeine and refined sugar so you’re not faced with a sudden cut-off at the beginning of the program. Experts also suggest that you get rid of any junk food you have. Consider keeping a journal before you begin; write about what you hope to get from the program. You can also journal during the cleanse itself, noting if you are adhering to it or have any difficulties, whether mental or physical. If you find yourself experiencing weakness, be sure to talk to your doctor. Throughout the process, be sure to keep well hydrated.

Once you’re through with your cleanse, you can begin eating less restrictive items such as lean meat. Many people use the end of a cleanse to start eating a healthier diet.

The most controversial aspect of a cleanse is a colonic, also known as a colon cleansing or colon irrigation. It is very similar to an enema, except that much larger amounts of water are introduced through the rectum. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water could be as much as 16 gallons.

It’s no surprise that, as Mayo says, there are side effects such as cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. The procedure also carries more serious risks such as bowel perforation and infection.

If you decide to have a colon cleanse, Mayo recommends that you talk to your doctor first and that you ask your colon-care practitioner if he or she uses disposable equipment.

And if you want to have the simplest detox diet possible, Mayo recommends simply eliminating high fat foods and foods with refined sugar.  You’ll probably find yourself feeling better soon.

But whether you undergo a detox diet or just eliminate food that are bad for you, and stick to your new healthy eating habits throughout the year, chances are you won’t have to worry about holiday weight gain anymore!