“Be completely honest,” I said, looking my friend squarely in the eye. “You’re doing this ridiculous challenge for fast fat loss.”
Despite my disapproval, my friend persisted with a coworker-orchestrated three-week juice cleanse contest. Detoxification was this group’s modus operandi, yet their $100-cash award to whoever lost the most weight suggested they had other goals in mind.
Detoxification becomes a clever pretext to do the Master Cleanse, juice detoxes, or other plans. Fess up: Detoxification might be a nice “bonus,” but you’re doing a low-calorie, semi-starvation diet—I mean cleanse—to get that coveted beach body before beach season’s over.
While you’ll probably initially lose weight—note I said weight, not fat—your metabolism will soon come to a grinding halt to compensate, and you’ll become a miserable, starving mess during the process.
Let’s say you are doing one of those plans to detoxify. You’re still out of luck, since most juices and cleanses are almost entirely sugar that provide little if any nutrients.
Even worse, most of these poorly designed, overpriced plans lack protein. Without the amino acids that protein supplies, your body can’t effectively complete phase 2 detoxification (the phase that actually excretes toxic substances) and your body could actually become more toxic. No kidding.
While you might approach detoxification as a once-a-year spring-cleaning, your cells constantly detoxify. Providing your body a steady supply of these seven essentials can help your cells detox efficiently and boost fat loss.
1. Clean, lean protein. Studies show optimal protein at every meal stabilizes blood sugar levels and suppresses your hunger hormone, ghrelin. You’re far less likely to overeat protein, thanks to a signaling hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which tells your brain you’re full. Your body breaks protein down into the amino acids that your liver demands for phase 2 detoxification. Grass-fed beef, cold-water wild fish, and free-range poultry make ideal protein choices. If you don’t have food intolerances, organic or pasture-raised eggs are also perfect. And protein shakes with my All-in-One Powder make an easy, convenient way to get high-quality protein.
2. Sulfur-containing foods. Among their zillion other benefits, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage, as well as onions and garlic, provide sulfur to boost detoxification. If you don’t have food intolerances, pasture-raised or organic eggs also make a great source of this mineral. Steam some organic broccoli with onions and garlic in a little ghee or coconut oil for a delicious, nutrient-dense side dish.
3. Greens. Enjoy loads of preferably organic leafy greens. If you’re not overly fond of eating gargantuan salads, you can sneak kale or other leafy greens into your protein shake. Green Balance also provides an easy way to meet your veggie quota. Think beyond lettuce greens here. Cilantro, a natural heavy metal chelator, provides your meals major flavor.
4. Fiber. If you’re not eliminating, you’re not detoxifying! Lentils and other legumes, low-roasted or dehydrated nuts and seeds, berries, and avocados are among the many plant-based foods loaded with fiber. If you’re not getting 50 grams of fiber from food every day, add a scoop of Extra Fiber into your protein shake.
5. Water. Among its numerous benefits, drinking optimal amounts of filtered water supports good elimination and your metabolic machinery. I recommend keeping a canteen nearby and sipping throughout the day, ideally aiming for about half your body weight in ounces of water. The only time I don’t want you drinking is during meals, when liquid can dilute the stomach enzymes that break down protein. Otherwise, drink up! Antioxidant-rich organic green tea and no-sugar-added, electrolyte-rich coconut water also make excellent detoxification beverages.
6. Sleep. A study last year in the journal Science found a novel way your brain detoxifies. Researchers found this detoxifying system increases during sleep, and that your brain cells actually shrink during sleep to increase detoxification. Cool, huh? Especially when you’re detoxifying, aim for at least seven, but preferably up to nine, hours every night. About an hour before bed, turn off electronics, unwind with chamomile tea and a hot bath, and use calming natural sleep supplements when necessary.
7. Burst training. My friend Dr. Josh Axe says that, among its many benefits, cardio stimulates your lymphatic system to increase detoxification. The problem is, long-distance cardio can increase your stress hormone cortisol and knock your other hormones out of balance. Burst training provides the best of both worlds: Time-efficient exercise that blasts fat, aids detoxification, and helps reduce stress in just minutes a day. I combine burst training with weight resistance for the most effective, efficient exercise in just 15 minutes, three times a week.