As mentioned in my previous post, Detoxification and Cleansing Part 1 – The Truth, a true detoxification program is one that contains a permanent lifestyle change including ample amounts and variety of real whole food such as vegetables, meats, fish, fruits, nuts and seeds, while also avoiding as many toxins as possible. Below you will find a list of foods to avoid and foods to include to ensure you escape unnecessary food related toxins as well as provide your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs for optimal detoxification function.
Food to Eat
- Vegetables of all shapes and sizes including roots/tubers: Quality vegetables are chock-full of many of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and prebiotics required by your body for detoxification and immune function (part of detox process). Choose as much color and variety as you can to optimize your intake of these nutrients. Use hunger as your intake limit.
- Whole Fruit: Same as the above. Be sure to mainly eat whole fruits as juices and dried fruits are very concentrated forms of fructose with much of the vitamin, mineral, and fiber content removed. 2-4 servings are sufficient.
- Wild Fish: Choosing ONLY wild fish will ensure it is full of quality proteins, Omega 3 fat, and antioxidants, all required for strong immune and detoxification function.
- Meats (Organic, Free Range, Grass-fed): Choosing organic, free range meats will ensure they are full of quality proteins, essential fats, antioxidants, and retinol (preformed Vitamin A), all required for optimal detoxification and immune function.
- Nuts and Seeds: Also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Make sure to choose unflavored, raw or dry roasted options since most products are roasted in industrial oils.
- Well-cooked/fermented beans and legumes: Beans and legumes contain lectins and proteins that can cause digestive distress and related health concerns; it is not essential to eat them; however, if you enjoy beans and legumes it is best to sprout/ferment and cook them well to destroy antinutrients.
- Dark Chocolate: At least 75% cacao to get the powerful antioxidant benefits of cacao without the negative effects of added sugars.
Food to AVOID
- Processed Foods/Food Additives: Many ingredients such as glucose, fructose, colorants, flavorings, emulsifiers, organic solvents, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles found in modern processed foods can cause a wide range of toxicity issues such as allergy, autoimmune disease, DNA damage, inflammation, leaky gut, cancer, hormone dysfunction, etc. It is easiest to avoid ALL food additives, but 12 of the worst can be found HERE.
- Added Sugar/Refined Carbohydrates: Excess sugar intake, particularly high fructose syrups, is toxic and can cause inflammation, oxidative stress, obesity, metabolic syndrome, accelerated aging, cancer, etc.
- Industrial Seed Oil: Excess Omega 6 intake is linked to increased systemic inflammation, and a vast range of chronic diseases. Furthermore, this type of fat is unstable in the presence of heat, increasing the likelihood of disease causing free radical ingestion.
- Gluten: Believe it or not, this protein is a toxin produced by certain grains as a protective mechanism from predators (because plants don’t have teeth and fists) and while still somewhat controversial in modern medicine, there is continued growing evidence that gluten consumption is linked to a host of chronic and acute conditions in both celiac and non-celiacs.
- Grains: The notion that whole grains are good for health comes mainly from epidemiological studies. However, individuals who consume more whole grains tend to participate in many other healthy activities, skewing study results. For instance, anti-inflammatory benefits of whole grain consumption are not seen in results of clinical intervention trials and some evidence indicates they may have a negative effect on gut and immune function. Additionally, a higher intake of whole grains increases the overall dietary carbohydrate content and is connected to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and low grade systemic inflammation. Furthermore, excess insoluble fiber (high amount in whole grains) can bind to vitamins and mineral from other foods and prevent absorption.
Organic vs. Conventional Food
Thousands of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are used in conventional farming of produce across the world. These chemicals are toxic for humans, and may cause a number of conditions such as cancer, hormonal disruption, inflammation, allergy, DNA damage, etc. Furthermore, these same products fed to our livestock and can have similar impacts on their well-being, leading to not only the consumption of these chemicals from produce itself, but also via bio-accumulation in our livestock, simply causing us to eat less healthy animals. Not only will eating organic food limit exposure to these toxins, studies have shown that, in general, organic produce has higher nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) than conventional products.
Considerations for Amount of Food
Fortunately, because your body needs sufficient vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, fat, and carbohydrate to properly perform detoxification functions, there will be no restriction on the amount of food intake as part of the above permanent diet change. Feel free to eat to satisfaction as long as the foods fit with the above guidelines.
The next few posts in this series will focus on avoiding toxin exposure from personal care products, home cleaning products, and drinking water.
*Remember, the more compliant you are with the above, the quicker your body will detoxify itself and the only downside is that this is also a lifelong sustainable diet for optimal health.*
**Alcohol: Doing all of the above in the presence of reasonable alcohol consumption is better than not complying with the above; however, ZERO alcohol consumption is always the healthiest choice and will simply lead to more efficient detoxification and health. None of the above will combat chronic excessive alcohol consumption!**