Summary: As you start your detox diet, you may not immediately feel energetic and renewed. Instead, you may experience discomfort. Fortunately, this is curable. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the Wikipedia I have prepared for you! (The featured image is attributed to Alex Bellink. The blog image is the work by Surian Soosay. )
Let’s imagine this: you are on a detox diet. You eat cleaner, allow space for more “intimacy” with more green vegetables and fresh fruits, and cannot wait until the moment when the promise of a detox diet plan comes true very soon: renewed energy, better immunity, healthier circulation, radiant skin, improved mental clarity and …you name it. Then what happens next? You experience breakouts, rashes, fatigue, bloating and foggy brain. You start second guessing: “What? The fairy-tale like narration turns out to be only a beautiful mistake? Why is the co-called detox diet so toxic?”
If you do feel that way, believe me, I was in your shoes. Those were my questions as I started the first week of my Detox Diet Plan (well, I didn’t have the “foggy brain” symptom). It was when reality “betrays” expectations that I felt some massive actions need to take place – to seek the truth behind the “toxic” detox meal plan, hence the birth of this mini Wikipedia site for “Detox Symptoms”.
Hola, Amigo! Welcome to the Wikipedia.
What are the other common names other than “Detox Symptoms”?
Healing reactions, cleansing reactions, healing crises, Herxheimer reactions, detox crisis
Why do we have detox symptoms?
Toxins are encased in mucous that ideally would be released later out of the body. This does not happen all the time because of our unhealthy diet routines. Instead, they are stored in fat cells if not expelled in time. A detox diet triggers the dumping of these toxins into circulatory system or the shift in toxin carriers.
Your liver, Head of the “Detox Department” within your body, cannot handle all the toxins suddenly released and becomes overwhelmed. The same situation applies to other innate pathways (Directors of the “Detox Department” are: colon, kidneys, lymphatics, lungs and skin). They are not able to deal with the overloaded impurities –another reason to trigger your discomfort.
Furthermore, in some occasions, our diet change may cause threat to pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria or yeasts that survive due to our old diet routine. For example, candida may die off because of the reduction of sugar intake. Such die-off toxins will also be released into the bloodstream –the third source that contributes to detox symptoms.
What are they?
Before you begin the following paragraph, be sure to understand it is not that you will experience all these symptoms all at once. So, do not get petrified. The good thing about knowing all these symptoms before hand is you know how to deal with them mentally and physically, which I will explain later. With that said, symptoms you will commonly find are.
Nausea, body aches, nasal or sinus congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, skin rashes, flu-like symptoms, vomiting, insomnia, skin eruptions, headache, fainting or dizziness, unique body pungency, foggy brain, hunger pain, flatulence, fatigue , acne, digestive problems (such as constipation and bloating), weight loss (toxins are released from fat cells), irritability, stomach pains, bad taste in mouth
How to avoid the symptoms or minimize their impact?
Fortunately, symptoms can be avoided or alleviated if handled properly. If you haven’t started a detox program, lucky you! To be fully prepared, be sure to check out the tips below to avoid symptoms as best as you can; if you are already in the middle of a detox diet plan (like me), worry not. There are still so many ways we can utilize to help us release toxins. Below are some examples I collected (I am also interested in trying them out, too).
Before the detox diet
- Alkaline the body
- Consider an elimination diet (gradually introducing raw foods instead of going from Traditional American Diet to 100% raw food diet) up to two weeks before a more intense detox
During the detox diet:
- Combine raw foods with cooked grains/veggies to allow your body to adjust to high fiber and quick exit raw foods and slow down the process, so that you could release toxins slowly and reduce the detox symptoms
- Consume protein and healthy fats
- Hydrate your body (you should urinate once an hour and it should be clear)
- Eat more liver- and kidney-friendly foods: broccoli, onion, artichoke, apple, garlic, cauliflower, kale and beets
- Make extra digestive lubrication – 2 tablespoons of olive oil at night before bed (or lemon and olive oil drink)
- Drink vegetable juices
- Have alkaline diets
- Consider enemas or colon hydrotherapy/colonics
- Take salt baths/foot bath (Epsom salts are great ingredients)
- Rest and relax
- Castor oil packs over the liver
- Go to a sauna
- Dry brushing
- Stay away from pharmaceutical medicines, as you may reintroduce toxins back to your body
- Get regular exercises (Stretching, gentle jogging, swimming, cycling, walking or rebounding, not over-exercising)
- Deep breathe: Tony Robbins, a well-respected self-help author and motivational speaker, suggests using the ratio of 1-4-2 to practice deep breathing. For example, you could inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 16 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
- Practice patience: take it slow and honor yourself with time
Information is collected from Linda Zurich (an independent researcher and herbalist), Anthony Robbins (an American self-help author and motivational speaker), Nathalie Lussier (a popular raw food blogger), Isaac Eliaz (a respected author, product formulator, researcher, lecturer and clinical practitioner), popular health websites like Gaiam Life, Mind Body Green, Energise For Life and Have A Namaste.
The One Thing
Before closing, I would like to carve out a little space to repeat the one thing I have already mentioned above. It is important and is worth mentioning twice: PATIENCE. The body’s ability to adjust to new diet routine takes time; its ability to process toxins is limited; the ability to deal with symptoms, should they happen, also takes time. When we become more generous with our body and give it more time to improve, we will find detox symptoms are actually not yet the end of the world. This is why I am liking detox: not only am I able to become healthier physically, but I have the opportunity to develop a peaceful state of mind. And, I am sure you can do that, too!
How to cultivate patience? There are some “tricks” that I have found helpful for me:
- Remember that symptoms will not stay forever. Symptoms are signs that your body cannot handle toxicity all at once. But the body is still working hard on removing them, which means they will disappear some day.
- Envision a beautiful you. Think about how energized you will feel after symptoms are gone. Imagine how people comment on how you look renewed afterwards. These can be magic pills for you to tolerate the discomfort you experience only temporarily.
- Breathe. What can I say more about this? Just breathe slowly, deeply and peacefully.