I decided to go on a detox, something I haven't done for years! I've never believed in 'dieting' to lose weight, but this detox plan has the added bonus that you definitely will lose some weight! I lost 5 kgs over 9 days when I did it. But it's really not about weight loss! The drawback to using this as a weight loss tool is that you're losing weight very fast, which means it's going to be difficult to keep it off. If you finish the detox and just go back to your old diet, then you will put the weight back on immediately. So you have to follow it up with careful, portioned and healthy eating for 3-4 weeks afterwards to consolidate the weight you've lost. You may put 1-2kg back on, but that is still a net loss of 3-4kg lost which is pretty good for just 9 days of detoxing and then a couple of weeks of sensible eating.
This detox that I have put together is based on a 7 day detox from a book called Total Wellbeing. You can do this as a 9 day detox, or as an 18 day detox (by spending 2 days instead of 1 on every stage of the detox). The thing that I really love about this detox, is that it rewards you for completing each day by allowing you to add new things each day - so when I'm finished on day 2, I'm genuinely excited that tomorrow I get to eat tomato and avocado and carrot sticks! It also gets easier as you go along, rather than harder, because you add more foods in and you have more variety to choose from when planning your meals.
Overall, I have to say I recommend this detox immensely! It always gives me energy, makes me more positive and happy, flattens my belly a bit and really makes my digestion run smoothly! I recommend doing it it Spring, Summer or early Autumn though - as you'll find it easier to eat less and also because there is so much lovely fruit around.
The 9 Day Detox Plan
Day 1 - Fasting
Drink plenty of water all day to flush out your system. Ideally, just stick to water (you can add a squeeze of lemon juice), but if you find that too hard you can drink freshly squeezed juices and herbal teas (not green tea - herbal only). If you go for juices, they must be fresh (not out of a bottle). You can do this at home or buy from places which make the juice for you on the spot - if you're buying from a juice franchise though, make sure they don't add any syrup or any fruits that have been stored in syrup (such as berries).
Day 2 - Add Raw Fruit
Make this day fun and exciting by buying lots of special fruits - I bought melons, peaches, pears, nectarines, blackberries, mangos, figs and passion fruits and I was so happy I never even wanted to eat anything other than fruit! Fresh fruit only, no tinned fruit. Make sure you continue to drink lots of water. The total wellbeing book states that apples, pineapple, grapes, mango and watermelon are particularly good for detoxifying your body. If you want special treat - check out these triple melon ice blocks I made.
Day 3 - Add Raw Veggies
Hurray for salads! Make a big salad and use fresh lemon, orange or lime juice for dressing - you can also add more flavour by using fresh herbs such as parley, basil and coriander. One of my favourite thing to have at this stage is a big bowl of guacamole for lunch - just take an avocado and mash it up with the juice of about 1/2 a lime then eat it with carrot, celery and cucumber sticks.
Day 4 - Add Cook Veggies/Fruit
Now you can cook your veggies up and you can also add spices to flavour - so you have lots of options. Soups are a great option as are salads with a cooked element -like beetroot salad, and if you like, you can dessert on some stewed fruit. Try and avoid tinned fruits and vegetables - go for the fresh ones! If you do buy tins, check the back of the tin and make sure there is no salt or sugar or additives. The total wellbeing book states that leeks, beetroot, globe artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes are especially good for detoxing.
Day 5 - Add Brown Rice
Add a small amount of brown rice to your soups, veggies or salads. Try and keep it in fairly small portions, about 1/3 cup cooked brown rice with your meal.
Day 6 - Add Beans and Lentils
Avoid eating the beans and lentils at the same time as the brown rice, as this can slow your digestion down. try and leave 3-4 hours between them.
Day 7 - Add Nuts and Seeds
Add unsalted nut and seeds in as snacks, or salad toppers. At this stage you can also add unhulled tahini (only if it's 100% sesame seeds), which makes a great salad dressing. Check out the spectacular salad I made for dinner at this stage of the detox.
Day 8 - Add Whole Grains
But avoid wheat! Choose from rye, buckwheat, barley and oats. As with the rice, keep the portion sizes small, limit them to about 1/3 cup per meal.
Day 9 - Add Fish (if you are a vegetarian or vegan, add unfried tofu)
Post detox diet:
If you can handle it, it is ideal to stay on the day 9 stage (or similar) for a couple of weeks after detoxing to consolidate any weight loss and strengthen your digestion. If you reintroduce other food groups, try and introduce them at least a day apart. If you introduce them too quickly, you increase the liklihood of digestive problems and regaining any weight lost. Try and avoid introducing wheat, refined sugars and dairy if you can and avoid any processed foods - anything with additives, colouring, flavouring and added sugar.
¬ You'll probably notice a bit of a lag in energy around days 2-4, this is because you've cut out processed sugar, caffeine and other stimulants as well as chemical food additives. Your body will have a small stage of withdrawal. Push through this and you'll come out a day or two later with so much more energy than you had when you were downing the sugary treats and all that coffee.
¬ Don't forget that the things listed are the only things you can eat - this means you can't add oils to salad dressing or use oil in cooking (of you're cooking onions to start a soup or veggie dish - just use 1/3 cup water, it works just as well). This also means you can't use any powdered or store bought vegetable stock, so make your soups flavourful by slow cooking for a long time or if you're in a hurry load it up with spices and flavourful lentils!
¬ This detox may not be appropriate for you. If you are pregnant, fasting is not advised - so if you want to do this detox then start it from day 3 and listen to your body! If you have a medical condition which might be affected by this detox, talk to your doctor beforehand to determine if it is suitable for you.
Doing exercise is recommended while on this detox, it'll help burn fat, improve your sleep and give you more energy. On the fasting day, however, take it a bit easy. You don't need to exercise at all on this day, but if you want to, stick to brisk walking and light weights only and always listen to your body - if you're feeling a bit faint or dizzy stop straight away and just rest. When I did it, by day 2 I was back on my normal weights program and I didn't have any problems with it. But I can't stress enough that everyone is different and you should always listen to your body when deciding what exercise to do, if you're unsure consult a personal trainer or just take it slow and build your way up.
If you have any questions, feel free to send them my way. A quick disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist, nor have I undergone any rigorous testing of this detox program. I'm just writing to you from my own experience!
Happy Detoxing! Drop me a comment to let me know how you went with it!