How To Detox: How-To Guide for a Safe Detox
How you detox is critically important. You can do more harm than good if you approach a detox program without a plan and some preparation. The first step in knowing how to detox safely and effectively is understanding the basic essentials of detoxing.
There are 3 essential components to an effective detox program:
This step-by-step overview will put you on the right path to getting the most out of your detox program whether it's a weekend detox juice fast or a 2-week detox diet of raw fruits and vegetables or a lemon detox cleanse (our favorite) of short or long duration.
How to Detox: The Essentials
1. Reduce incoming toxins
- A body detox should begin with the elimination or reduction of known toxins in your diet and environment.
- Prior to your detox program, eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Eliminate or reduce the worst offenders (smoking, processed foods, artificial foods and beverages, fried foods, fast food, trans fats, etc).
- Read labels! Many products advertised as healthy or natural contain ingredients that are neither. If you can't pronounce a word on a product label, best to pass on it.
- Clean up your diet before your detox. This will reduce unpleasant detox side effects. The cleaner your diet before your detox, the fewer unpleasant side effects you are likely to have.
2. Eliminate toxins
- This is the removal of toxins stored deep in your body.
- How you detox — the detox method you choose — will make or break your detox program's effectiveness and severity of side effects.
- A deep, cleansing detox will require some herbal assistance (see herbs for detox) and a detox diet or liquid detox method such as the well-known Master Cleanse, also called the lemon detox diet, made with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne.
- We can't emphasize enough to be gentle with these detoxification methods, especially if you are using an herbal detox kit that has purgatives and laxatives.
- We personally like the lemon detox drink over herbal kits. If you are using an herbal kit, your side effects will probably be greater.
- Drink lots and lots of water to reduce unpleasant side effects.
- You will benefit from a colonic before and after your detox cleanse, whatever method you undertake.
3. Support the side effects
- During your detox cleanse, pay attention to the side effects (headache, withdrawal, cravings, irritability, rashes, etc).
- It's helpful to keep a detox journal, especially for longer detox programs or if you detox several times a year, where you keep track of your daily intake of herbs, supplements, juices, etc as well as your side effects and daily activities. The goal of a detox journal is to look for patterns that might shine a light on what triggers and alleviates certain side effects.
- If you are having side effects, increase your water intake, especially if your detox program is fiber-rich.
- Support this detoxification period with rest and lots of water (a gallon a day of pure unsweetened water) and good sleep.
- Include detox therapies such as light exercise, saunas for sweating, fresh air, funny movies and friends to keep your spirits up.
- Supplement your detox program with proteins like spirulina or chlorella as well as anti-oxidants, pro-biotics and other supplements. See detox supplements.
How to Detox: The Specifics
1. Choose the right detox program
- If you're detoxing for the first time, read up on the basics. (see how to detox)
- Is weight loss motivating your decision to detox? (see detox diet weight loss)
- Do you want more energy or to combat fatigue with a detox program? (see how to have more energy)
- Do you need to detox from a particular toxin? (see detoxing toxins)
2. Prepare for your detox program
In the days prior to starting a detox program:
- clean up your diet (see foods for detoxification)
- reduce coffee intake and drink more water
- stock up on herbs and supplements (see detox herbs and detox supplements)
- schedule a massage or colonic
- un-schedule non-essential activities to give yourself more down time
3. If you're doing a juice detox cleanse:
Before starting a vegetable or fruit juice detox program:
- read our fasting basics
- plan your juice menu (see our complete list of vegetable juices and their healing properties)
- to treat specific ailments, consult this list of illnesses and juice treatments
- buy organic vegetables and fruits whenever you can (see this list of top foods to buy organic)
- learn how to break a fast
4. If you're doing a lemon detox cleanse:
Before starting a lemon detox cleansing program:
- read our lemon detox guidelines for how to reduce side effects and tips for success
- want to make a day's supply? (see lemon detox gallon recipe)
5. Enhance your detox program with nutritional and therapeutic support
Get the most out of your detox program by including detox therapies and detox-supporting vitamins, minerals and herbs.