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WELL-BEING

5 Things You Thought You Knew About Detoxing

Detox doesn’t mean deprivation

5 Things You Thought You Knew About Detoxing

Many of us have fallen victim to diet culture’s version of cleansing, whether that’s looked like a week off sugar, a three-day juice cleanse, or even an extreme fasting retreat.

By Tessa Kauppila

Sep 20, 2017

Yet, detoxing is widely misunderstood—and should be about so much more than removing certain foods from your system for a few days. At its best, detoxing can actually mobilize and excrete toxic buildup from your system, and purposefully rebuild and support your body’s natural cleansing systems and processes. (Our Level II: Detox is expertly designed with essential nutrients to do just that—and with truly lasting and powerful effects.)

To root ourselves in science and understand the deep biocomplexity of a true ‘detox,’ let’s shed outdated beliefs about detoxing and debunk some of the most common myths with our in-house nutritionist Colleen Coffey, MS, RDN, LDN.

Detox Myth 1: Detox = Liquids-Only Diet

Detoxing occurs from deep within, ridding your body of harmful toxins and inflammation throughout your system, and helping train your mind and body to make healthier decisions moving forward. Yet, when you opt for a liquids-only diet, you starve and deprive your body instead of fueling with the nutrients essential to restoring your body’s ability to heal and repair. 

Here’s why: When we go on a low-calorie, low-nutrient/nutrient-void cleanse, such as a liquids-only cleanse, we are typically stripping food of fiber and many of its nutrients, which adds stress to the body. On these typical cleanses, people might lose (water) weight and feel lighter at first and for a short while, but after just a few days biology takes over. Your metabolism—via your thyroid—responds to the lack of energy input and slows down its burn rate, causing stubborn extra pounds; your hormones respond to your body’s high-stress state, cueing your hunger hormones to signal more; and you may experience digestive discomfort as your not fueling the microbiome or supporting adequate stomach acid.

Detox Myth 2: If You're Not Starving, You're Not Detoxing

One of the most common things we hear from our Level II: Detox clients is that their satiation took them by surprise, especially in comparison to other cleanses they've tried. On our Level II: Detox, it’s normal to be satisfied. Remember: If you fuel your body with the right things, it shouldn’t kick into starvation/hunger mode.

When detoxing properly—consuming whole, plant-rich, balanced meals; eliminating excessive inflammatory refined sugars and oil; incorporating detox-supporting nutrients; and fueling your body with gut-nourishing fiber-rich ingredients—you probably won’t experience pangs of hunger. Use your detox as an opportunity to listen to your body, acknowledging the difference between actual physical hunger and midday cravings.

Detox Myth 3: Cut the Fat + You'll Shed Fat

Fat gets a bad wrap, but it’s essential to a blissful, energized, functioning body, and is what keeps us feeling satisfied and energized. Healthy fatty acids (like those derived from avocado, cold-pressed olive oil, nuts, and seeds) are one of our bodies’ most basic building blocks—from our cell walls to our brains to our skin. Fat’s also an essential conduit for absorbing a variety of nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Speaking of fat, ketogenic (or keto) diets have ebbed and flowed in popularity in recent years. Keto involves forcing the body into a metabolic state in which it uses stored fat for energy instead of glucose, its preferred energy source. To do this, carbs and sugars are reduced, while real, clean, high-fat foods remain on the menu. This resets your metabolism to burn stored fat moving forward. While there is some controversy as to whether the keto diet is sustainable over time, our Level II: borrows some keto principles in order to reset your metabolism and help the body burn existing fat.

When we mobilize our fat stores and burn them for energy, we are also mobilizing toxins that have been stored within the body for years. (This is why our Level II: Detox includes daily Probiotic Coconut Kefirs and nightly Medicinal Broth with MCT oil. These high-quality fats are what help sustain your energy, keep you satisfied, mobilize toxins, and recharge your metabolic state.)

Detox Myth 4: Detoxing is a Quick-Fix Before Big Events

A lot of people come to our Level II: Detox to prepare for special occasions—be that weddings, reunions, holidays—and we get it. We understand wanting to show up energized, radiant, mentally clear, and feeling your absolute best. Yet, it’s important to understand that it’s more than just a “quick-fix.”

If we use a detox as a temporary strategy instead of a long-term tactic for optimal health, then we’re defeating the larger purpose of it: self-love. By partaking in this intense yet effective health journey, you’re looking inward, listening closely to your body, and appreciating it for everything it does for you. It’s an opportunity to give your body what it needs to regenerate and heal—and if you treat it as a temporary fix to your problems, then you won’t receive the full benefits.

In a world full of crash-diets and get-thin-quick strategies, a real, nourishing, science-backed detox like Level II is in a category of its own, and we recommend doing it three to four times a year. What to do the rest of the time? Eat clean (and, of course, play dirty).

Detox Myth 5: Detoxing = Low Energy + Cranky + Tired 24/7

We’re not going to lie—you will likely be a little tired and possibly a little cranky on any detox or elimination diet, particularly in your first few days. It takes a lot for your body to effectively rid itself of toxins and inflammation, and we like to equate it to a really tough workout.

But, what you won't be is exhausted for the entire week. In fact, you might find (as many clients do) that you have a sudden burst of energy halfway through the program. At this point, your body starts burning stored fat instead of glucose, your blood sugar and hormone levels stabilize, your gut recalibrates, and toxic buildup is mobilized and excreted—and you’ll find that you sleep sounder and wake up brighter and more energized every day. Plus, post-detox, your energy will continue to soar as your body benefits from the past five days of unbridled nourishment and self-love.

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