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4 weekend detox diets that won't torture you

Tracy E. Hopkins is an accomplished writer, blogger and editor living in New York City. She has expertise covering travel, fashion, health and entertainment.

Safe and realistic detox diets you can try on your day off

Is there a "right way" to detox? Though most doctors consider detox diets to be unnecessary and often unsafe, you still can't get the Internet to break up with the detox diet.

Whether you're hell-bent on flushing harmful toxins from your body or just want a quick pick-me-up, there are a few standout cleanses that do not involve total starvation or drinking a magic potion (Master Cleanse, we're looking at you). While a doctor's care is recommended when starting any new diet program, we picked four different regimens you can try over the weekend and judge for yourself.

Marilyn Diamond, author of the seminal detox diet guide Fit for Life, says the most successful detox is one that provides plenty of nutrients. “Your body cannot achieve balance or maintain health without them,” says Diamond. “So make detox a time to cleanse [and] build. Make it so enjoyable and effective you look forward to it, not dread it.”

1. A balanced diet detox

In her latest book, Young for Life (April 2013), Diamond outlines a simple detox diet.

“You need four meals a day,” she says. They can be in any order, but she recommends you start with a whole grapefruit, peeled and sliced. “This will fill you up, cleanse the liver and gall bladder, and signal to the colon to start moving,”

About 90 minutes later, eat a Waldorf salad with chopped apples, chopped walnuts or pecans, celery and raisins, and toss in some blueberries, with a dressing made with one tablespoon almond butter, fresh lemon juice, and a little cinnamon and ground ginger thinned to a syrup with four tablespoons of water.

Meal three consists of a Southwest blended salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, celery and spinach topped with a puree of yogurt, salsa and chopped avocado.

For dinner, have a fish fillet sauteed in butter (you need fat-soluble vitamins and omegas) with a chopped baby green salad made with chunks of mango, sliced strawberries or papaya, and avocado dressed with lime, olive oil and a dash of cayenne pepper.

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Diamond recommends drinking peppermint green tea throughout the day to promote fat loss and gut health. Supplements that support the Young for Life diet are vitamins D and B-complex in the morning to keep your mood boosted and preserve muscle mass, and vitamins C and E throughout the day for their natural and powerful detox properties.

2. A probiotic detox

Anna Luque, nutritionist and author of The Yogurt Diet, explains that to get the body back in balance, it’s important to know how the body gets out of balance in the first place.

“There are various causes and they don’t happen from one day to the next. This is a slow process encouraged by processed foods, antibiotics, chlorinated water and stress,” she explains. “All systems in the body are constantly at work, which causes deterioration, so they need to be replenished with nutrients that are found in wholesome foods in order to regenerate and keep working optimally.”

To restore balance, Luque suggests you eliminate all foods that may be harmful to the body, causing inflammation. They include processed foods, wheat, sugar, vinegar and pasteurized milk. Instead, include foods that replenish the systems in the body, specifically the gastrointestinal tract. This means consuming plenty of yogurt, which should not be categorized with other dairy products such as pasteurized milk.

“The most important characteristic of yogurt is that it’s full of probiotic bacteria, which is imperative for proper digestion and ultimate health,” she observes.

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Luque recommends eating four to five ounces of whole-milk Greek yogurt with live probiotic bacteria three times a day, before or after a balanced meal or as a snack.

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