Detoxing? Here’s how to overcome withdrawal symptoms
Today marks day 17 of a 30 day Anti-Inflammatory Detox + Intermittent Fasting program I created, and I have a ridiculous amount of energy – ask anyone around me! I first experienced the life-changing effects of detoxing and fasting back in April after months of feeling sick and tired but not knowing why, and around day 9 of 14 I felt completely brand new. Not only did I have sky-rocketing energy, I felt super happy and positive, was sleeping deeper than ever, my skin was much clearer, bloating was gone, the swelling from my running injuries was down, my appetite had been drastically reduced and I had lost weight. Sounds like a miracle right? Nature is the cure! That being said, it took hard work and the first few days are usually not so fun. Read on for the top things you need to abstain from while detoxing, and natural ways to beat the withdrawal symptoms.
For decades, bucket-loads of refined sugar has found its way into our cereals, salad dressings, desserts – even so-called “health foods”, but thankfully recent studies and wellness champions have lifted the veil on the sugar industry and the ways in which refined sugars are linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. While detoxing, it’s necessary to completely cut out all refined sugars to give your organs, your gut and your mind a cleanse from sugar’s effects. It will not be easy! To combat common symptoms like headaches and irritability, and to keep blood sugars stable, make sure you’re including lots of fresh fruit and natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, spacing out your intake throughout the day and being mindful of portions. A few days after starting your detox you should start to feel symptoms and cravings lessening, though some sugar addicts may struggle for a week to 10 days.
Try: Raw honey in your coffee, maple syrup in your morning oats, fresh watermelon (so perfect in summer) and frozen berries in your superfood smoothies.
If you’re like me, you know how good it can feel to bite into a soft burger bun or freshly baked muffin, and how bad it feels when you start to bloat, your blood sugar crashes, and despite the ensuing weight gain, all you can think about is having more! Ever notice how dessert is that much harder to resist when you’ve had a big bowl of pasta or other carb-heavy meal? That’s because carbs are sugar and the two are inextricably linked. We know now that refined carbs can contribute to everything from depression to diabetes, which is why I always feel lighter in body and mind when I’m detoxing. You know what’s really cool? Losing all carb cravings around day 5! (Tip: Do NOT look at food on Instagram, it’s a danger zone for causing cravings. Also, read Wheat Belly.)
Try: Zucchini spirals instead of pasta (get yourself a spiralizer, it’s life-changing!), lettuce wraps instead of buns or tortillas, cashew cacao pudding instead of chocolate cake.
One of the tricky things about detoxing is rejigging your social life to support your commitment to abstaining from certain foods and beverages. We often don’t even notice how much alcohol we consume in a week or how central it is to almost every social engagement. Having a drink(s) is also a common way people wind down after a long day, relax after a stressful situation, and even use to fall asleep. Detoxing from alcohol will have certain side effects – especially if you’re a heavy drinker – which can include headaches, anxiety, sweating, mood swings and more. However it will give your body a wonderful chance to cleanse the inner organs, primarily the liver, kidneys and heart. It’s also a nice time to be fully aware of the thoughts and emotions you’re feeling, even the really tough ones, so you can learn to work through them instead of ignoring them.
Try: Keep a large pitcher of my homemade turmeric elixir in your fridge to sip on instead of sipping on wine or a cocktail. Juice a few lemons and add to a pitcher of fresh water with 2 tablespoons of turmeric (buy Shot of Gold turmeric blends here) and some all-natural maple syrup. Keep an eco water bottle (like Swell) with you at all times and drink water as often as you can (at least 2-3 litres a day.)
A true detox is about more than just cutting out bad foods, it’s also about cutting out bad habits – like smoking. As we give our top five organs a chance to cleanse and rejuvenate while detoxing – liver, kidney, colon, skin and yup, lungs, it makes absolutely no sense to consciously fill our bodies with toxins. As anyone who has tried quitting before knows, it’s hard, but worth it.
Try: Deep breathing. Serious smokers will likely scoff at this recommendation but I encourage everyone to give five giant, mindful breaths a try the next time they’re craving a cigarette – or anything for that matter. Stopping to take a breath, not a puff, draws awareness back to your body and mind; it’s a powerful time to recognize how amazing fresh air feels in your lungs, how your shoulders relax and your brow unfurls.
RESTAURANTS & FAST FOOD
Not only are there numerous hidden oils, salts and sugars in foods that come from food trucks, cafes and restaurants, even some of the cleanest spots have hidden bacteria that can be harmful to your gut health and overall immunity. While your body is working hard to eliminate toxins and restore its gut flora, you don’t want to risk the chance of getting sick, especially while you’re dealing with the effects of withdrawal from sugar, carbs and alcohol. As you’ve probably heard, our gut health is directly related to how energetic and positive we can feel on a day-to-day basis. You may not feel a physical withdrawal from eating out (in fact you’ll feel much cleaner) but many report initially missing the ease and convenience of grabbing a cheap hot dog off the street during their lunch break or picking up something grab-and-go to eat at their desk. That’s why planning your grocery shopping and meal-prepping is so important to the success of your detox and to feeling full, nourished and happy!
Try: Eat lots of fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. Take a vegan probiotic daily. As always, at least 2 tablespoons of turmeric and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar each day while detoxing and ideally every day of your life! Bragg’s makes an amazing ACV “with the mother”, which means it’s got all the healthy bacteria still present in it.
Interested in learning more about my 14 Day Anti-Inflammatory Detox + Intermittent Fasting Guide? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @marissabronfman and I’ll send it to you! More than 140 people around the world have already received it and many are on their detoxing and fasting journey.