There are varying degrees of intensity when doing a detox. You can choose how thorough you’d like yours to be, of course, since making it personal to you is the best way to get positive results. There are, however, certain things that must be given up, in order for you to actually cleanse, instead of just incorporating positive things into your regimen.

Whatever you will commit to is going to be the most effective detox program for you, so be realistic and decide what you are comfortable with.

Here are some basics on what to cut out and why.

Meat and dairy

A detox is immensely effective because it eases the burden eating three to five meals a day takes on your system. Digestion is the most energy intensive process, and takes the body’s focus and resources away from doing other important tasks such as critical maintenance and repair on cells, organs, blood, and tissues.

Digesting animal products is intensely demanding on our systems. Animal protein is very acidic, meaning that when we eat it our body pulls nutrients like calcium, antioxidants, and electrolytes from the bones and tissues to balance the acidity from the outside. As all of this happens, it puts a large toll on our organs, accelerates the aging process, and slows down our metabolism. Additionally, if they’ve been factory raised there’s likely traces of antibiotics and hormones in their products. Nothing that you want to body into your body, especially during a cleanse! Meat and dairy are certainly enjoyable, but during your detox should be completely cut out in order to maximize results and to ease the burden on your system.


Kind of a no-brainer here, but alcohol is a depressant and will interfere with your body’s natural cleansing and healing process. It’s also a surefire way to ingest sugar and wheat in some form, so commit to cutting it out and you’ll feel strong and well.


Sugar (and all of its varying forms and substitutes) is the underlying cause of a massive amount of sickness and disease on our planet. When we eat sugar, our bodies basically go into shock, flooding the system with the hormone insulin in order to properly manage and dispose of the sugar. It causes a great deal of inflammation in our bodies, which contributes to anything from mild fatigue to cancer. Because it’s in so much we don’t consider like bread, drinks, yogurt, and other seemingly harmless items, we consume it all day long.

Make a conscious effort to cut out sugar during your detox. This will require you to read labels and to find alternatives to things you usually enjoy. Even if things say ’sugar-free’, they still may contain an artificial sweetener like aspartame or sucralose. Studies show these alternatives to be toxic and as harmful and potentially more harmful than real sugar.

In terms of fruit, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that when avoiding sugar, fruit should be included in that category. However, fruit is full of fiber, antioxidants, electrolytes, and micronutrients. Because it’s whole and unprocessed, fruit does not put your body into shock the way refined sugar and sugar alternatives does, and it is an incredible source of nutrients. It’s quickly and easily digested, helps reduce sugar cravings, and is great to snack on, especially during a detox. Feel free to enjoy as much as you want during this time.


Caffeine is an interesting topic. Studies have shown it to be high in antioxidants with the ability to support heart health and act as an anti-depressant and aid in focus. Some can’t start the day without caffeine, while others feel jittery just from the smell.

During a detox, it’s important to get rid of it because it gives your body a chance to relax and reset. Because caffeine is a stimulant, taken too much over time it can disrupt the creation and flow of natural stimulants, and interfere with the healthy functioning of our thyroids. Also, coffee has the highest rate of pesticide use of all crops in the world. Unless you’re having organic, drinking it everyday pollutes your system with pesticides that can upset all kinds of rhythms in your body. Drop it during your detox. If you drink it every day for energy, try gently weaning yourself off, and using hot water with lemon in the mornings as an alternative to activate your natural energy.

Bread & other allergens

The demand for bread and wheat products has resulted in a massive upsurge in genetically modified grains that grow quickly but wreak havoc in our stomachs. Cutting out gluten and other allergens will give your system a break from difficult to digest ingredients and likely clear up annoying symptoms like bad skin, lethargy, head aches, and sleep issues. Other allergens include shellfish, nuts, eggs, soy and corn. Reducing allergens as much as possible lets your body reset and strengthen itself from within.

Bottom line:

If it comes from the ground, is whole and unprocessed, go for it. Nutrients come from soil and sunlight, and if your food is produced with these two things, you’re sure to be nourished and thrive from it.

For more shopping and cooking tips and to join our detox challenge with Philosophie, click here for details!

Photo by Carli Jean

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