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To Detox or Not Detox - That is the Question?

During the months of January and February, and then again in the Spring, getting ready for bathing suit weather, I find my patients talking about following some sort of detox eating plan. Yes, there are important detox procedures, such as in alcoholism treatment, but when it comes to eating our bodies rely on our very own organs, like our liver and kidneys, to automatically detox our body simply through normal processes.

Detox eating plans

Detox eating plans often have you eliminate certain foods or food groups, and a carefully scripted plan will have you bring them back into your eating plan at a later date. As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I’m not a fan of eliminating healthy food choices. But I am a fan of including more healthy food options all the time. And I am a fan of taking some time and attention to focusing on what kinds of food you tend to be eating.

So, if we want to stick to the term “detox” then let’s agree that detoxing our bodies is not necessary but detoxing our diet may have some real benefits. The truth is that one reason detox diets or other carefully scripted fad diets can actually work is that they laser-focus your attention on what you eat. It’s called mindful eating, and you can actually practice mindful eating every day on your own. Your healthy and mindful eating habits don’t have to have a catchy name.

How to detox eating habits for better type 2 diabetes management

Here’s a simple plan to “detox” your eating habits over one month. I’m asking that you try each goal for a full week (a couple of weeks of doing each goal is even better) in order to build a habit. Here is a plan to get you on track:

Week 1 - three meals a day

Consume three meals a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. If you skip meals, it may set you up to be hungrier and take you off the healthy eating track.

Week 2 - lean protein with each meal

Include a lean source of protein with each meal. A serving of lean protein consists of 3 ounces of lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork, 3/4 cup tempeh, 3 ounces fish, 3 ounces cheese, or 2-3 eggs.

Week 3 - vegetables

Include at least one serving of vegetables with lunch and dinner. Make a goal that you will eat two servings of vegetables before the end of this third week. One serving of vegetables equals ½ cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw vegetables.

Week 4 - whole grains

Choose whole grains with at least 2.5 grams of fiber per serving. Examples of foods in this category are: ½ cup bran, ½ cup bulgur, 3 cups popped popcorn or ½ cup quinoa.

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