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09 Sep, 2021

3 Detox Myths Debunked

Being healthy is simply something that everyone should have access to. And when we say access, we mean that they are empowered with the knowledge and understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and how to go about living it. Here, for the novice and seasoned detoxers alike, we've busted some of the most common detox myths out there.

Health

Over the years we have been flooded with a host of different extreme diets and fads. ‘The Grapefruit Diet’ took the forefront in the 70s, followed by ‘The Cookie Diet (!?)’, which had a resurgence 10 years ago led by reality TV stars, then there’s Atkins… the list goes on. And lest we forget Beyonce’s hyped cayenne pepper-lemon juice-maple syrup-water diet or Victoria Beckham’s infamous prawn and strawberry-only diet.

Detoxing, however, is a practice that has been used for thousands of years for good health. Approached in the right way, the benefits of detoxing can be transformative - to your health, yes, but to your overall wellbeing and outlook too.

With so much misguided information out there, we thought we’d debunk the top 3 myths associated with detoxing.

Myth no. 1 - the word detox

First of all, it is important to debunk the main myth in the word ‘detox’ itself.

To detoxify means to rid the body of certain toxins. Fundamentally, the body has its own in-built detoxification system, fully equipped with its own elaborate way of ridding the body of toxins and unwanted chemicals. But unfortunately we live in a polluted world, surrounded by chemicals. We consume them, we breathe them in, we put them on our skin, we sleep in them. The food we eat is more and more processed and is manufactured to be within an inch of recognition, and the stresses of modern life are playing havoc with our health. We are all dealing with so much more toxicity than ever before.

Yes, our bodies will naturally try to get rid of these toxins, but they are working overtime to process these chemicals and sometimes they need a little help. So it makes sense that the more we can do to reduce the amount of toxins that enter our body the better.

That’s why at Detox Kitchen we cook all of our food from scratch, using fresh, whole ingredients, and avoid inflammatory foods such as wheat, dairy and refined sugar.

Myth no. 2 - a detox involves a liquid-only diet.

Juice cleanses have steadily risen in popularity over the years, and are often turned to as a quick fix for weight loss. However pressed juices are stripped of fibre and are also deficient in essential protein sources and healthy fats. Without adequate protein and calorie intake, your body may switch to breaking down muscle for energy, which over time, can actually slow down your metabolism.

There are lots of benefits to drinking fresh juices; the nutrient dense liquids are a great way to ensure you are getting certain vitamins and minerals throughout the day. However, we like to see them as an addition to your diet, rather than the only part! That’s why our meal plans come with freshly pressed juices alongside nutrient-dense meals.

There is a case for liquid-only days, to give your system the chance to rest and reset, but we’d advise you just do one day (as frequently as suits you best, and no more than once per week), punctuating an otherwise healthy diet. And if you are following a liquid-only day, it doesn’t just have to be juices. You can have quite a substantial smoothie with blended oats, as well as broths and soups. But the fact they are all blended/liquid-based helps your gut to rest.

Myth no. 3 - Detoxing is a punishing ordeal.

Detoxes have had a bad rap for being linked to crash-dieting - and certainly a poorly managed crash diet is dangerous and ill-advised. When people turn to extreme diets for quick results or to punish themselves for over-indulgence, not only is this dangerous, but it likely will not lead to long term results.

However, by following a well-managed detox meal plan, which leaves out heavily processed foods, but fills your plate with an abundance of delicious and nutrient-rich foods that work with your body (not against it), your body will ultimately feel more satisfied and balanced. You will also be able to fine-tune your bodily signals, aka body intelligence, acting upon actual intuition and hunger signals rather than emotional hunger.

That said - when we follow a detox diet, our bodies essentially go through withdrawal from inflammatory foods such as sugar, caffeine, wheat and dairy. Getting rid of these toxins is a lot of work, and your body works its socks off to rid itself of them. And when it’s busy ridding itself of toxins, it is normal to feel a bit run down and experience side-effects such as low energy levels and headaches.

If you do experience these side-effects - know that they will pass! After a day or two your body adjusts, and in fact, after day three you might find that you have a sudden burst of energy. This is because you start to burn stored fat instead of glucose resulting in your blood sugar and hormone levels beginning to stabilise. In turn, we find ourselves sleeping better, and waking up feeling brighter and more energised.

Look at it this way, the side-effects are temporary (with the positive longer-term gains far outweighing them), and they’re also a signifier that the detox is doing what it's supposed to be doing!

Above and beyond what we’re eating, detoxes allow us the opportunity to turn inwards and really listen to our body. The more we attune to our body’s physical, mental and emotional relationship to food, the more we are likely to feel re-energised and therefore motivated to incorporate small, positive changes adopted from a detox into our every day diet and lifestyle.

So listen to your body - give it some much needed love and TLC and you may find yourself holding onto those results and benefits of the detox for a lot longer than expected!

It is also important to ease in and out of a detox plan, so that it is not such a shock to your system. Start by just reducing your sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake ahead of a detox. Then try and keep this up after the detox ends, as well as focusing on cooking from scratch as much as possible, with whole foods, healthy fats, lean protein and a wide variety of colourful fruit and veg.

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Want to try one of our nutritionist-approved Meal Plans? Named "the best diet delivery service in London" by The Evening Standard, we'll deliver all the food and drink you need for the day each morning of your plan. Browse Meal Plans here.