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Cheat Sheet

Detox Diets For Dummies

From Detox Diets For Dummies by Gerald Don Wootan, Matthew Brittain Phillips

To be truly healthy, you have to limit the amount of toxins entering your system and be proactive about detoxifying the harmful substances already in your body. By making smart food choices, improving your eating habits, boosting your health with dietary supplements, and exercising every day, you can decrease your toxicity and improve your health naturally.

Finding a Good Integrative Physician

If toxins are making you ill, you need to work with a doctor or other healthcare professional to get proper diagnosis and treatment. And if detoxification is a health priority for you — whether you’re sick or not — you need a doctor whose training goes beyond traditional medicine. The doctor you need will integrate ideas from traditional and alternative treatments to create the best treatment program for you. (Hence the term integrative physician.)

To locate a physician who is open to and familiar with detox dieting and the ideas behind detoxification, contact one these organizations:

  • American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM): Visit the Web site or call 1-800-532-3688 to tap into ACAM’s Physician Referral Service. You can search for a doctor by last name (if you already have someone in mind), by zip code, and/or by specialty.

  • International College of Integrative Medicine (ICIM): The ICIM Web site features a service called “Find a Practitioner.” You can search by state, zip code, and/or specialty. You can also e-mail ICIM to request information.

Smart Grocery Shopping for a Detox Diet

Grocery stores are designed to encourage maximum sales, not maximum health. In fact, grocery store layouts discourage healthy food choices – the kinds of choices required by a detox diet. The aisles in the center are full of processed foods; you often have to walk past a bakery to get to the produce; and the last items you see as you’re waiting in line to check out are candy bars and sodas.

To make the healthiest, least toxic food choices when you’re shopping for food, keep these tips in mind:

  • Stick to the perimeter of the store. Even though you have to pass the bakery on this route, you also find the produce, meat, and dairy sections there. The less time you spend in the aisles full of canned and boxed foods, the better.

  • Read all food labels, and don’t buy foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce.

  • Whenever possible, buy foods that are 100 percent organic.

  • Don’t buy any item that contains high fructose corn syrup.

  • Buy fish with the lowest mercury content. Avoid any farm-raised fish, and opt for wild Alaskan salmon whenever possible.

  • Pick out plenty of spices to liven up your dishes and increase the amount of antioxidants you include in your diet.

  • If you’re going to eat beef, make sure it’s grass-fed and 100 percent organic.

  • Don’t buy or eat any white foods except cauliflower and mushrooms.

Detox Diet Healthy Eating Habits

Making smart food choices is only half the battle when it comes to eating right. To make the most of your detox diet, be sure to adopt the following eating habits:

  • Eat slowly. Don’t multitask during your meals, and don’t eat in front of the television. Focus on the food in front of you, and take your time with it.

  • Chew your food thoroughly. Your mouth plays an essential role in digestion. The more you chew, the smaller the bites of food are when they enter your stomach and intestines, allowing your body to extract nutrients more effectively. Plus, chewing soaks the food in saliva, which is a super fluid that aids your body in many ways, including by decreasing the acidity of the food you’re eating and starting the digestion of starches.

  • Take a 15-minute rest after each meal. A rest isn’t always possible, of course, but you should strive to take this break whenever your schedule allows. Doing so helps you make sure your digestive system gets all the blood flow it needs to perform effectively. (Moving immediately after a meal forces your muscles to divert blood away from your digestive system.)

  • Don’t skip breakfast! You need the essential energy that healthy, non-toxic food provides. People who skip breakfast tend to overeat later in the day — and to make poor food choices.

  • Plan your meals ahead of time. If you don’t plan your meals, you may succumb to cravings and compromise your detox diet by eating processed foods or fast food.

  • Don’t drink beverages while eating. This suggestion sounds odd to many people, especially because we often hear that drinking water before, during, and after a meal can help you lose weight. But drinking too much during a meal dilutes your stomach acid, which means your stomach can’t properly digest food. To maximize your nutrient absorption and minimize digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and constipation, save your drinks for between meals.

Questions to Ask When Buying Dietary Supplements

All of us need to take vitamin, mineral, and other supplements to ensure good nutrition and to aid our bodies’ natural detoxification efforts. If you decide to purchase supplements, make sure you’re buying safe, effective varieties. Otherwise, you’re throwing your money away.

Here are some questions to ask when considering which supplements to purchase:

  • Are the products made in the United States? Standards for purity are generally higher in the United States than in many other countries. Stick with supplements made in the United States whenever possible.

  • Does the supplement company make its own products? Sometimes the company on the label is simply repackaging supplements that are made elsewhere. Buy from companies that make their own products.

  • Does the company have a research department? The answer you’re looking for is “yes.” You want to buy from a company that conducts thorough in-house research on its products and makes that research available to consumers.

  • Are the supplements made in a facility that follows Good Manufacturing Practice regulations (which are specified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)? If not, look elsewhere!

  • In a mineral product, is clay one of the ingredients? If so (which is often the case), don’t buy the product.

  • In a mineral product, are the minerals chelated? You want chelated minerals whenever you can get them.

  • Does the company test every batch of its supplements? Does it use an outside, independent lab for the tests? Can it provide you with the test results? You want a resounding “yes” to all three questions. When you find a company that answers “yes,” buy all your products from it.

  • In a calcium product, are you getting calcium hydroxylapatite, calcium citrate, or calcium carbonate? Hydroxylapatite is the best, citrate will do, and carbonate is not worth your money.

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