The phrase “detox diet weight loss” causes plenty of eye rolls among consumers and health professionals alike — with good reason.
Many celebrities and popular bloggers promote detox diets for weight loss that are ineffective and often unsafe. What many people don’t realize is that a detox diet, however you prefer to define it, doesn’t have to involve only juicing, smoothies, tea, or soup.
In this article we’ll explain what a traditional detox diet for weight loss is, and show you how a much healthier and safer detox diet can still help you feel better without all that tea and cabbage soup. Don’t worry — there’s plenty of solid and delicious food still on the menu.
Detox Diet Review
When you think of a detox diet for weight loss, what comes to mind? Probably a picture of a kitchen counter covered in fruits and vegetables, cutting boards, and blenders of all shapes and sizes. Juicing is just one of many types of “detoxes.” While the concept is mostly reserved for substance abuse rehabilitation purposes, the dieting community at some point adopted it as a concept along the same lines: ridding your body and your mind of things you don’t need.
There are dozens of different versions of a detox diet out there, and sometimes the phrase “detox” can mean different things. Detox diets for weight loss are sometimes called cleanses — the general concept is the same. The idea is to eat or drink a combination of fluids and/or certain foods to “clean out” your body of waste and toxins, eliminate your temptation for “bad” or harmful foods, and, in many cases, refill it with only healthy foods.
Not everyone who embarks on a detox diet does so for the exact same reasons, though weight loss and “hitting the reset button” are common end goals. Many people will do a diet detox before beginning a brand new diet to give themselves a “fresh start.” Others use it to “clean up” after straying from a previous diet or having one too many cheat days.
The methods people tend to use as part of a detox diet or diet cleanse vary significantly, from relatively harmless to borderline dangerous. Questionable products like detox teas and laxatives are among the most damaging, both of which can have long-term health consequences if used inappropriately. Some detox diets involve soups or special smoothies. Others are more of a “clean eating” cleanse, and involve completely cutting out all junk foods to rid your body of the “junk” they supposedly leave behind.
Many popular diets have a sort of detox component woven into them already. Many juice cleanses are technically detox diets, even though they involve juicing fruits and vegetables, which can be expensive. Diets like the cabbage soup diet and diverticulosis diet also encourage eating mostly one type of food to lose weight and “reset” your system.
While the concept behind a traditional detox diet is grossly misinformed, not all detox diets for weight loss are dangerous or even bad for you. Some of these diets simply involve eating a balanced diet free of large amounts of processed foods and are just called detox diets or cleanses simply for marketing purposes. This is why you should always look at a diet in detail before you start it — or before you judge it by its name.
For the purposes of this article, we are going to use Shape Magazine’s one-day detox plan as a very loose basis for what we are going to cover here. You will find a variety of rules and suggestions for diet detoxes or cleanses out there, so we’ve pulled suggestions from a number of diet concepts to create a diet detox menu and plan for you.
Detox Diet Plan Basics and Rules
It’s very easy to try to focus only on detoxing your body of toxins and waste from food and forget about all the other ways you can detox your day. The single day detox diet plan we’re discussing in this article involves food, sure. But there are also other components to a lifestyle shift you might want to try … like fitness, and de-stressing … and sleep!
Though it’s really not recommended to engage in intense exercise while on a detox or cleanse, a simple walk, 30 minutes of yoga, or even a light jog can start your day off on the right track. Sometimes it can be tempting to eat large amounts of food in the morning or drink too much coffee because you are looking for something to “wake you up.” Light exercise has more energizing power than you think — just don’t overdo it.
On a one day detox diet for weight loss, it is generally recommended that you at least start your day off with a smoothie of some kind. You can actually pack plenty of nutrition into a portable 16 ounce smoothie if you choose a variety of ingredients. If you want, you can even add a scoop of protein powder to your detox diet menu to give yourself an extra morning boost.
Keep lunch easy by preparing a salad full of protein. Whether you top your dark leafy greens with chicken, cheese, vegetables, nuts, or a combination of textures and flavors is up to you. If you are going to use a salad dressing, choose something light, like a balsamic vinaigrette.
Your dinner detox diet menu should include about three ounces of lean protein (such as beef, chicken, fish, or a plant based protein) as well as a serving or two of vegetables. You can also include a healthy source of whole grains if you are not gluten free, such as brown rice or cooked quinoa.
Even if you’re aiming for detox diet weight loss, you should eat high protein and high fiber snacks between meals when you are hungry. A detox should not have to be about depriving yourself of nutrition — as long as you are feeding your hungry belly with foods that are good for you, as well as foods that will keep you feeling full. Healthy foods high in protein and fiber include nuts and seeds, hard boiled eggs, vegetable chips, and fruit with nut butter.
The detox diet menu also includes a healthy serving of relaxation. Stress, fatigue and exhaustion can cause you to overeat, and the most common foods we eat too much of are often heavily processed junk foods our bodies don’t need. If you are going to detox your body from junk food, also detox from things that trigger stress. Obviously you can’t detox from school or work (unless it’s a weekend), but you should take every opportunity you have to slow down and do something relaxing today, like spending time outdoors or doing something creative.
Interestingly enough, many detox diet plans also include “detoxing” in other ways, such as making sure you are getting enough sleep. Detox diets for weight loss should always involve catching extra Z’s. Sleep has been associated with preventing weight gain, reducing stress and anxiety, and stabilizing your mood. Not getting enough sleep can even make you more likely to overeat the next day, so it is important that you make sure the quality of the sleep you do get is also the best it can be.
Though a technology detox isn’t part of a diet plan, experts do recommend that you “fast” from tech at least an hour before you go to sleep. In that final hour of your day, you should do something relaxing — whether that’s taking a long hot bath, reading a book, or listening to your favorite music. Put your phone down and turn your computer off. You might find that you will start to get sleepy a lot faster — which is a good thing.
Possibly the most important thing to remember about any detox diet is that you should try to avoid simply “going back to normal” once it’s over. Consider your detox before and after, you want there to be a noticeable difference. Not in just your weight but how you feel and how you view food. A detox, in the traditional sense, does nothing for you if you just start filling your body up with garbage right after you finish cleaning it out. Try to learn from your experience. Don’t just shop for “healthy food” for one day — buy it for the whole week. You will see how to lose 5 pounds in a week and how your body adjusts to eating more nutritious foods and fewer processed junk foods. Who knows — you might feel much better knowing you never have to go on another “detox” again.
Now that we’ve gone over everything you’re going to be doing during your one-day detox diet for weight loss — including the types of food you are going to eat — let’s go over your ideal meal plan for the day.
If you’re looking for stricter diet – check out the military diet!
Menu and Meal Planning
Following a one day detox diet menu is simple. You will eat many of the foods you are already used to, even snacks. The only difference is that you will replace typical snack foods, like crackers, potato chips, and desserts, with healthier alternatives.
- Green tea
- A fruit smoothie made with strawberries, banana, and spinach
- Water or green tea
- Large salad with spinach or kale, grilled chicken, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh cheese
- Chickpea burger with onions, avocado, lettuce, cheese, tomato
- Steamed asparagus
- Brown or wild rice
- Greek yogurt with blueberries
- Apple slices with any kind of nut butter
- Green juice made from fruits and vegetables (homemade is best)
Grocery Shopping List
- Fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, avocado
- Vegetables, such as asparagus, spinach, lettuce, kale, onions
- Protein, such as chickpeas, nuts, seeds, chicken, beef, eggs
- Grains, such as brown rice, quinoa
- Dairy such as limited amounts of cheese, Greek yogurt
- Green tea or drinks like fit tea include herbal remedies for appetite suppression