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Detox

How To Detox Safely At Home and The Spa

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Detox and Juice Fast

Juice fasting is a good way to detox, but don't use sugary juices like apple juice.

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Detox is in, "diets" are out. Detox and juice cleanses are one way celebrities get ready for a "big events." Stars like Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow have talked openly about detoxing at spas and at home. But is detoxing safe? What about medical doctors who say that there is no such thing as a detox because the body naturally detoxes itself?

In part, it's a philosophical difference between East and West. There's a strong tradition of fasting for spiritual purposes in the East, and even in the West (think about Jesus going into the desert for 40 days. He didn't pack a cooler!) In general, the spa world is more open to Eastern ideas and traditional or "folk" medicine like Ayurveda. People open to detox are more likely to believe in alternative or complementary medicine and their own personal experience. There doesn't have to be a definite article in a medical journal in order to believe something works.

The Idea Behind Detox

The idea behind detox or juice fasting is to give the body's digestive system a rest and to eat simple foods for anywhere from one to 21 days, depending on the program. This is different from a "diet" where you might eat the same foods you usually eat, like steak and salad, just in smaller quantities and counting calories to lose weight.

Although it's true that our bodies are designed to detoxify naturally through organs like the liver, kidney and digestive system, detox advocates say these organs are overburdened because of the large amounts of harmful chemicals in the modern environment. These include things we have some control over, like our choice in food and what we put on our skin, and some we don't, like the air we breathe. Preservatives, smoking, and household cleaning products are all sources of contaminants.

What A Detox Can Do

A healthy detox or juice fasting program can work quickly to flush toxins that have accumulated in the body, according to detox advocates like Debra Koerner, executive director of the Destination Spa Group, a group of 24 spas that offer an all-inclusive healthy spa experience. Destination spas are one of the safest places to detox, says Koerner. "Destination Spas have doctors, nutritionists and trainers on staff to walk people through every facet of a safe, effective and successful detox."

The benefits of detoxification, Koerner said, include weight loss, improved sleep, increased energy, improvement in cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and decreased hormonal symptoms seen with menopausal women.

But you don't have to make a trip to a detox spa to start the process. “Personally, I like fasting one day a week," says Yvonne Nienstadt, nutritionist at Rancho La Puerta. I use herb teas and vegetable potassium broth. Short fasts of one-three days will not harm essential tissues (lean muscle) and they use up the food still in the gut from the day before.”

Detox is also about making small lifestyle and diet enhancements. Koerner suggested you start by trying raw fruit and greens smoothies two times daily, for a week, and see how you feel. Toss in ¾ fruit and ¼ greens into you blender, add water and blend. You can also add whey protein to the smoothie.

To detox slowly, pick a habit to change, such as eliminating coffee, eating more organic food, especially green salads, vegetables and fresh fruit, and greening your beauty routine. When you're stabilized with one, move on to another one. Try to change two to four habits a year.

Tips For a Healthy Home Detox

  • Start to eliminate foods that have the highest inflammatory or allergenic potential, including dairy, gluten-containing foods such as wheat, rye, barley, soy, and refined foods, red meat,shellfish, caffeine and alcohol.

  • Eat plenty of fiber including brown rice and organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Include fresh juices (both fruit and vegetable) and water to help with the flushing process.

  • Detox twice per year, when the seasons change in the spring and fall.

  • Add spa treatments such as dry brushing to rid the body of old dead cells. Hydrotherapy is very beneficial for detoxifying, as are body wraps.

  • Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration. Try to use sweat-inducing facilities one-two times weekly to assist the body in eliminating fat and water soluble toxins at home.

  • Exercise is very important, and another way to sweat.

  • Conduct an inventory of your supplement intake and add detox-supporting vitamins, minerals and herbs.

  • Find out more about detox programs led by members of the Destination Spa Group by visiting the website or phoning 888-772-4363.

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