5 steps to a Successful Detoxification Diet

If you’ve been over indulging you may have heard a detoxification diet (or detox) could be a away to get back in balance.  I thought we might explore detox diets a little more closely by discussing what a detox or cleanse diet is, what it claims to do, and what you can expect to gain from it.

What is a detox diet

A detox diet generally means that you consume only fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies for a set period of time.  This can be from 2 days to 3 weeks.  There are many, many variations of the detox diet so we need to consider what our body needs before we decide how long we should detox for.  Some have nutritional support in vitamin and mineral tablets, some have added fibre.  Some are purely food based.  All are short term, or should be.

What does a successful detox claim to do

Often we hear that detox diets will ‘remove toxins’.  Sounds wonderful doesn’t it but designers of detox diets are not in agreement on which toxin is removed, or how.  I haven’t actually found researching the type of toxin that will be cleansed – or the effectiveness of this claim.   They might also claim to improve your energy levels,  rid you of disease,  help you lose weight and reset your metabolism.  Sign me up!  However, all that glitters is not gold.

On a personal level if I were doing a detox I’d go for 3-5 days maximum.  I’d be thinking of removing from my diet all the artificial and liver loading things like caffeine, alcohol, dairy, estrogenic foods (soy, eggs for example), processed foods, lowering salt and sugar levels in what I consume.  This would make digestion really easy as these are known to be liver loaders and it is highly beneficial to reduce the load on your liver!  Removing toxins ?  I’m just not sure what this means.  The other health claims should also be clarified.  My rather cynical view is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Great health comes from healthy living and a few days .  

What you can expect to gain from a successful detox

I think it’s fair to say you can expect to feel hungry on a detox diet.  I’d like to clarify that I don’t actually have a problem with people feeling hungry, in fact with my weight loss clients I actively promote ‘driving with the orange fuel light on (an analogy to explain the car won’t run out of fuel if you drive it with the orange light on – and nor will your body).  Intermittent fasting also has a large body of research behind it to support it’s inclusion in any nutrition plan.  The health benefits of intermittent fasting are very valuable.  Hunger will happen on a detox diet.  Without slow release carbohydrates in the body and without protein you will feel hungry – these are our satiety macro-nutrients.   You might lose weight (but that is most likely cellular dehydration despite the water you consume) It is unlikely to be body fat loss.  Digestion will ease – you should not be feeling constipated – more likely the opposite.  How long you go on the detox will determine future energy levels.  If you are doing a fruit and veg detox for a few weeks you may become nutritionally deficient.  In my opinion 3-5 days is adequate and beneficial, providing it leads to the next stage – sustainable and healthy eating without processed food!!

There’s a bit to consider when undertaking a detox diet.  I’d like you to understand that it does not replace sensible eating.  Use it as a reset.  Use it as a first step to improving digestion and fill your body with nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.  Here’s my top 5 tips to help you succeed at your detox diet:

1)  select the detox diet of your choice about 2 weeks before you are ready to start

2)  check out all the recipes, do you like the food?  If not choose another

3)  get off caffeine, alcohol, sugar a week before you start

4)  create a shopping list a few days before you start

5) have a dedicated afternoon to make or prepare any foods you can in advance

Don’t start this at times when you know eating and drinking are going to be a little weird – like Christmas time or when you are travelling overseas.  Select the ‘when’ at a time you know you can achieve it.

There is nothing magical about a detox diet, but by eliminating some of the digestive irritants like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt and processed food you’ll be well on the way to a sustainable healthy eating plan.

This is the strategy I use for my Eating for Energy and Zing “light” program.  If you’d like to commit to three weeks of laser-focused attention, with ongoing support for six this program is for you!  Start with a detox, focus on your food, apply the basic mindset hacks covered in the 7 Day Free Reset Program.


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 Jo Cordell-Cooper is an award winning Women’s personal trainer.  In her business Jo CC Holistic PT she offers personal training, stress management strategies, online nutrtion, preparation for hiking workouts, and adventure travel to multi-day hikes, locally and overseas.  Jo is a mindfulness coach.  She is based in Geilston Bay, just east of Hobart, but you can work with her online too.  Join us on facebook in my free group Holistic Hiker for more healthy lifestyle tips and tricks.