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Redefining Detox: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Starting Your Next Cleanse

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October 12, 2016

Let's take a moment to redefine what it means to "detox." The internet can be a scary place, and there are several published, varying opinions about the merits of different detox programs, whether they're effective, and whether there's even a point in detoxing at all.

Rest assured, resetting your system is absolutely beneficial when done mindfully and in a healthy way. "Detox" does not have to mean a crash diet or quick-fix maple syrup and cayenne weight-loss concoction. We now know that these types of major, restrictive changes are neither healthy nor sustainable. Our bodies are amazing—the liver, kidneys, and colon are pretty darn good at doing their jobs. That said, sometimes even the most well-oiled machines need a tune up every once in a while.

In a healthy detox, the goal is to support your natural elimination systems; it's not a compensation plan for overindulgence. It's about changing what you put into your body—in order to shift energetically—so you feel your best. If you're new to detoxing and could use a primer, or if you just want more information on how to do it in a healthy and sustainable way, you're in luck.

We've compiled a master list of questions and answers, so you don't have to ask them.

When should you detox?

A detox can be helpful if you're feeling a little "off." Maybe you want to lift brain fog, reduce sugar cravings, or improve energy levels. The change in seasons (cited in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda as a good time to ground and return to whole foods) is also a great time to embark on a detox—to reset your body by supporting it with pure, nourishing meals.

How do you pick the right detox for you?

It all depends on your lifestyle. A juice cleanse might be realistic if you don't work full time or have kids, but for most of us, a substantial detox with real, whole foods is more doable.

Look for programs that fit with your lifestyle, utilize supplements, and encourage whole foods. Pro tip: We recommend getting your nutrients from organic veggies and fruits as often as possible, especially for foods that fall into the "dirty dozen."

What should you look for in a detox?

In short, look for a detox program that takes a holistic approach, like ALOHA's 14-Day Program. It's organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and includes plant-based protein, teas, and supplements. Make sure your detox also includes rituals like dry brushing to help support the elimination process or a cup of tea in the evening to unwind.

Additionally, the right detox should provide enough guidelines to get you excited about trying new recipes but shouldn't make you obsess about food. After all, having to open up a book every time you head out for lunch is no fun. While you're detoxing, we recommend eating clean by removing common allergens: gluten, dairy, and added sugar, and ensuring that protein sources are as clean as possible. Our top pick is plant-based, but you can also incorporate organic, grass-fed, hormone free, and/or sustainably raised cuts. Eating food that's as unprocessed as possible is key.

We're all about detoxes that are easy-to-follow and affordable. There's no need to shell out upward of $500 for magic supplements or meal delivery services. ALOHA’s 14-Day Program is reasonably priced and easy to integrate into your daily life—it includes some great healthy tips and clean, organic recipes that are designed to make this process as energizing and simple as possible.

And last but not least, find ingredients that naturally support your body's elimination and healing processes while you detox. Some of our favorites include:

  • Lion's mane mushroom has been shown to have positive effects1 on cognitive thinking.
  • Turmeric is packed with powerful anti-inflammatory compounds like curcumin, which has been shown to promote natural liver detoxification and healing.
  • Magnesium2 supplements are increasingly important, as magnesium deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, heart disease, migraine headaches, and diabetes.
  • Pea protein helps regulate blood sugar and supports muscle recovery3, without relying on animal products.
  • Nettles (especially in tea) are helpful in supporting the body's response to allergens.

What should you be wary of?

Be wary of programs that would require extreme change in your lifestyle and require a very specific set of guidelines and rules about when to eat. It's not realistic for some of us who work, frequently socialize, and can't perfectly monitor every meal's content.

You also want to take extra care to be as gentle and supportive with your body as possible during a cleanse. Colonics are often recommended during cleanses, but they can cause electrolyte imbalances, among other side effects so proceed under the supervision of a doctor. And always, always listen to your body!

What are the benefits of a full-body detox?

And finally, we get to the good stuff! If we're being honest, the effects of a detox vary from person to person. Meaning there's no one way to determine how a cleanse will affect you before you do it. Once you get over the uncomfortable withdrawal hump (whether your vice is caffeine, alcohol, or sugar), detoxing for an extended time frame can lead to increased energy, improved digestion, clearer skin, and an enhanced sense of well-being. And of course, detoxing is a great way to jump-start your way to an all-around healthier lifestyle!

Finally, when it comes to post-detox, you'll want to keep the positive effects going. You can do this by slowly integrating the tips and recipes you used during detox into your normal routine.

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