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Do-It-Yourself Detox With Therapeutic Foods (Detox Part 2)

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Once you’ve listened to the symptoms your body is using to communicate to you that it needs some detoxification help, it’s time to change your diet to include foods that support this process.

The goal of a clinically directed detoxification plan is to provide nutritional support for specific pathways involved in the processing and elimination of toxins. This results in the reduction of symptoms and an increased sense of overall well-being. A boost in energy, clarity of mind, reduced pain and inflammation, better sleep and even weight loss are among the top improvements.

Is Your Body’s Natural Ability to Detox Being Supported?

Although, we should be focused on eating well all year long, it is especially important to focus 2-3 times a year on a good detox program where you eliminate the foods that cause havoc on the body to allow for healing and a healthy reboot.

There are two phases of detoxification that need to be supported and both phases of detox are dependent on specific nutrients to function optimally as you see in the chart below.

Follow These Guidelines for a Successful Do-It-Yourself Detox Plan:

Generally speaking, the best thing you can do to support detox is to consume a balanced whole-food diet including lots of colorful veggies and fruits (5:1 ratio), clean lean protein, and healthy fats while ditching the sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods.

Choose how long you will detox for: 2 weeks or 4 weeks? Be prepared mentally and in the kitchen before you begin. When doing your detox, place a strong emphasis on clean eating — reducing food contact with plastics and eating organic, pasture-raised and wild-caught whenever possible.

Try to Avoid these significant food triggers that are known to cause inflammation:

  • egg

  • gluten

  • dairy

  • soy

  • corn

  • peanuts

  • alcohol

  • PUFA oils (canola, grapeseed, corn, soybean, generic vegetable, cottonseed, sesame, peanut, margarine)

  • Caffeine

Additionally, a beneficial part of a detox plan is to build overall awareness of any personal food triggers outside of the ones listed above.

Supportive Nutrients and Where to Find Them:

1) Boost Your Protein! Protein is an essential nutritional cornerstone of detoxification. We cannot effectively detoxify without having the amino acids (building blocks of protein) to bind the transformed toxins in the liver to be carried out of the body. Include protein sources at every meal to support blood sugar balance and detoxification. Regular protein intake will also minimize hunger and cravings.

Therapeutic protein sources include:

  • Pasture-raised and grass-fed beef, buffalo, elk, lamb, venison and other wild game

  • Pasture-raised poultry: chicken, turkey, duck

  • Wild-caught / low mercury fish: anchovy, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon, sardines, caviar, scallops, cod, oyster, crab

  • Grass-fed bone broths

  • Spirulina (make sure it is organic)

  • Beans, lentils and hummus

  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters: flax seed, hemp seeds, chia, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin, tahini, sunflower, etc.

  • Dairy alternatives: coconut, hemp, flax, almond yogurt/milk/kefir

  • Clean protein powders – hemp, pea, rice, flax

2) Include Healthy Fats! They are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which are important for a healthy detox process. Omega 3s are especially important for inhibiting inflammation. Healthy fats also support the gallbladder and liver in bile production and release which support overall digestion and regularity.

Therapeutic fat sources include:

  • Coconut oil/flakes/yogurt/milk

  • Avocado, Guacamole and avocado oil

  • Grass-fed ghee

  • Wild seafood

  • Extra virgin olive oil and olives

  • Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butters (avoid peanuts and cashews)

3) Eat an Array of Colorful Fruits and Veggies! Eating the rainbow ensures that you are consuming tons of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants necessary for the detoxication process. This means green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, yellow bell pepper, blue blueberries, red strawberries, white onions, purple cabbage, etc. NOT a bag of skittles!

Vegetables are an important complement to protein as they provide necessary fiber for a healthy gut microbiome and regularity, but also phytonutrients for detoxification. The goal is to consume at least 8 to 10 servings every day to aid in liver detoxification and the elimination of toxins from the gut.

Therapeutic non-starchy vegetables are divided into five categories:

  • Brassicales (the cruciferous vegetables): provide healthy compounds to metabolize hormones in a balanced way.

Arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, radishes.

  • Detoxifying Leafy Greens: include a number of anti-inflammatory, bitter and therapeutic greens.

Bok choy, Swiss chard, cilantro, endive, escarole, greens: beet, collard, dandelion, kale, mustard, and turnip, parsley, radicchio.

  • Thiols: vegetables in the Allium family that provide nutrients like sulfur that help the liver detoxify better.

Chives, daikon radishes, garlic, leeks, onion, scallions, shallots.

  • Liver & Kidney Support: includes vegetables that help the liver produce healthy bile and the kidneys to excrete toxins more efficiently through the urine.

Artichokes, asparagus, beets, celery.

  • Other Non-Starchy Vegetables: provide fiber and foundational nutrition.

Bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, fermented veggies, green beans, jicama, mushrooms, okra, peppers, sea vegetables, snap peas/snow peas, spinach, squash, zucchini, tomato, watercress.

Therapeutic fruits include:

Phytonutrient-dense fruits can be helpful for detoxification because of the antioxidant protection they offer. It’s typically better to eat fruit with a little bit of protein or healthy fat to offset any potential blood sugar spikes.

Apple, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes (purple), grapefruit, mandarins, oranges, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and tangerines all support enzymatic detoxification process.

4) Boost B Vitamins Rich Foods! Not only are they essential for detox, but they also support energy production and mood.

  • Liver and other organ meats

  • Spirulina

  • Beef

  • Fish and shellfish

  • Poultry

  • Beans/lentils/hummus

  • Avocado

  • Mushrooms

  • Nuts/seeds

  • Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, Bok choy, Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, kale, Brussel sprouts, cabbage.

  • Sweet Potato

  • Quinoa

  • Banana

5) Probiotic and Prebiotic Rich Foods support a healthy microbiome which in turn supports detoxification, better absorption of nutrients and regularity.

  • Sauerkraut

  • Pickles fermented in salt

  • Kimchi

  • Pickled ginger

  • Unsweetened coconut yogurt/kefir

  • Lacto-fermented veggies and fruits (beets, carrots, green papaya, etc.)

Prebiotics are a type of fiber that act as food for bacteria to support proliferation of our good gut bacteria. Prebiotics can be found in many high-fiber foods and are essential for supporting a healthy gut. Prebiotics foods include:

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Leeks

  • Asparagus

  • Dandelion greens

  • Oats

  • Flaxseeds (ground)

  • Bananas

  • Apples

6) Boost Other Specific Nutrients with Antioxidant Properties and Detox Support:

  • Vitamin A - liver, fish/shellfish, ghee, sweet potato, collards, kale, spinach.

  • Vitamin C - bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, Brussel sprouts.

  • Vitamin E - salmon, sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, olive oil, Swiss chard, trout.

  • Selenium - Brazil nuts (only 2-4/day), sardines, spinach, lentils.

  • Copper - liver, oysters, salmon, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, turkey, spinach, asparagus, avocado.

  • Zinc - oysters, beef, crab, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, poultry.

  • Manganese - mussels, brown rice, chickpeas, spinach, squash, blueberries.

  • Magnesium - spinach, avocado, pumpkin seeds, dandelion greens, halibut, broccoli.

  • CoQ10 - organ meats, poultry, beef, olive oil, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts.

7) Include Therapeutic Herbs and Spices: