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Detox shouldn’t mean diarrhea

Atlanta-based Gigi Stewart is a science-backed Southern Belle with B.S. and M.A. degrees, including a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience with specialties in chronic inflammatory pain and natural products research.

Gigi’s unique fact-based...

What a detox diet should do is allow your body time to recover from the additives, chemicals and difficult-to-digest ingredients you consume.

The term "detox," short for "detoxify" or "detoxification," is haphazardly tossed around the internet leaving confusion in its wake.

Most detox diets consist of a series of smoothies or green drinks promised to be the elixir you need to drop unwanted pounds, cleanse your liver, blood and kidneys in one fell swoop and give you so much energy you’ll be outrunning your toddler in no time.

Other detox plans have you fasting, some are fruit-only detox diets and others frown upon fruit and insist only non-starchy veggies will do the trick.

The truth is, the average so-called detox plan is likely to leave you feeling weak and weary, lethargic and lackadaisical and depending upon the particular variety of cleansing curative you choose, it may even send you trotting to the toilet too frequently.

A detox program shouldn't do any of these.

What a detox diet should do is allow your body time to recover from the additives, chemicals and difficult-to-digest ingredients you consume. Taking a break from processed foods, sugar and simple carbohydrates and replacing those foods with whole foods that are nutritionally dense is what provides this opportunity for cleansing, not starvation or an all-liquid diet.

So the next time someone suggests a detox or cleanse is just what you need to restore your health (or lose weight, fight diabetes, lower cholesterol, etc.) ask them exactly what they think a detox diet is. Their answer may surprise you.

As for the diarrhea, that is not a sign of an "effective cleanse," it is a sign that something inside is not functioning properly and may warrant a visit to your doctor.

If you're looking to reclaim your health and really set yourself squarely on the path to wellness, design your lifestyle to be one that reflects this.

Start by consuming a diet of lean proteins (plant or animal based), plenty of in-season fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (like coconut oil, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds and cold-water fish). Limit (or, ideally, eliminate) processed foods and added refined sugars from your diet and keep alcohol consumption in check.

Also be sure you're getting a bit of physical activity each day, adequate sleep each night and taking time to breathe.

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