Alexandra Jamieson, author of "The Great American Detox Diet," (Compare Prices) had the ultimate detox challenge after her boyfriend, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, made a documentary called "Super Size Me." He ate nothing but McDonald's fast food for 30 days, gaining 25 pounds. He developed quickly serious health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, headaches, mood swings, and liver problems.
To help Morgan detox once filming was over, Alex, a holistic health counselor and natural foods chef, developed an eight-week program for detoxing at home. These are her recommendations:
- Drink eight to ten glasses of water (preferably filtered) every day. This flushes your system and replaces the water your body loses day just through respiration and elimination.
- Stop eating sugar and refined carbohydrates like white flour. They lack nutritional value and give you a sugar "high" that leaves you hungry and craving more sugar. Explore substitutes like agave nectar.
- Break the caffeine habit. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant to your central nervous system. Like sugar, it sends the body on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. It can also interfere with healthy sleep.
- Get healthy fats into your diet. Essential fatty acids can be found in unrefined flax seed oils and walnuts. Avoid unhealthy saturated fats (Big Mac!) and hydrogenated fats, often found in processed foods like crackers.
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive and intestinal tract.
- Stop overdosing on protein. Eat less dairy and meat, especially factory-farmed products loaded with hormones and antibiotics. Focus on tasty, non-animal sources of protein.
- Reduce your exposure to toxins by reevaluating the products you use at home. Green your beauty routine, green your kitchen, and green your cleaning supplies.
Commit to a "detox lifestyle." Choose healing foods and practice mindful eating. Help your body detox with saunas, steam, colonics, skin brushing, epsom salt baths, and massage. Learn how to lower stress through meditation, visualization, relationship-building, short and long-term goal-setting, yoga and laughter.