Friday, February 20, 2015

Detoxification & Fat Loss for Bikini Season

As promised by the Fat To Fit Radio Show...

Detoxification & Fat Loss for Bikini Season

Why Most Detox Plans Are Bogus:
Detoxification happens in two phases. During phase one, a fat-soluble toxin becomes water-soluble. In phase 2, your body actually excretes that toxin via urine, sweat, and feces. Scientists debate a phase 3, but we'll leave it at two for right now.

Most commercial cleanses and detoxes are just sugar water. They don't provide the essential protein or nutrients your liver demands to effectively detoxify. Without sufficient dietary protein, your liver cannot perform phase 2 detoxification, where you actually excrete toxins. Like Los Angeles rush hour traffic, those toxins just pile up and create a serious metabolic traffic jam. 

Rather than living on sugar water -- I mean, juice cleanses -- or otherwise making dramatic dietary changes, I recommend that you add certain foods to help your body effectively detoxify. Paired with an intelligent detoxification plan, these five flavorful, versatile foods provide a serious nutrient boost to ditch toxins and maybe a few pounds along with them:

1. Lemons. I love my dark roast as much as the next gal, but the first thing I drink in the morning is half a lemon squeezed into a glass of warm filtered water. Lemon helps your body remove toxins and gives you a vitamin C immune boost. Lemon can also rev up your metabolism. One study found supplementing with lemon polyphenols and body fat.

2. Asparagus. A diuretic that helps cleanse your liver, specialists have utilized asparagus's anti-inflammatory properties for centuries to benefit numerous conditions including arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. One study showed asparagus extract protected liver cells against toxicity. (Researchers also found it might relieve hangover symptoms. Good to know!) Most asparagus is green, but also look for purple and white varieties. Don't discard the leaves. That study I mentioned showed they also have therapeutic value.

3. Cabbage. Like asparagus, this cruciferous veggie comes in several colors. Cabbage does double detox duty. Its diuretic properties help rid your body of excess liquid, carrying toxins along with it. Like other cruciferous veggies, cabbage is also sulfur-rich, helping your liver break down toxins so they can be more easily expelled. Researchers found among its numerous roles, sulfur -- the third most abundant mineral in your body -- helps "detoxify toxic compounds, free radicals and reactive oxygen species."

4. Avocado. You're constantly bombarded with synthetic toxins in water and food, including metals, pesticides, preservatives, and additives. Besides providing major flavor to salads, avocado offers glutathione, your master antioxidant that helps break down and expel those toxins. That same study I mentioned above showed decreased amounts of glutathione impairs your antioxidant defenses. Rich in high-quality monounsaturated fat, one cup of avocado also contains a whopping 10 grams of fiber. Among its roles, fiber binds and helps your body more readily excrete toxins.

5. Broccoli. Another cruciferous veggie, broccoli hooks up with liver enzymes to more readily expel toxins. Studies show sulforaphane in broccoli works as an indirect antioxidant because it activates several enzymes in phase 2 detoxification. Among its other benefits, broccoli can also help fight cancer. Broccoli makes a great snack dunked in hummus, and you can convert pretty much any veggie-phobic person by sautéing it with a little freshly pressed garlic and coconut oil.

One more cool bonus: Cabbage, asparagus, and avocado all land on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15," or the least contaminated produce choices. Nice to know, since the last thing you want to do while dispelling toxins is to get them in your food.

When you’re scrambling to slim down for swimsuit season, a crash course in cleansing seems a lot easier—not to mention sexier—than regular ole’ diet and exercise. After all, detox diets promise to help nix a few pounds, flush out toxins, give your digestive system a break, get rid of acne, boost energy, cure your coffee addiction—even improve your hair. But since when did fasting become such a cure-all?  Problem is, it’s not.

While there’s no one definition as to what constitutes a detox diet, nutritionists agree that they tend to be lower in calories; cut out refined sugars, packaged foods, sodium, alcohol, and anything cooked; and encourage lots of fruits, vegetables, water, and tea. Removing processed foods from your diet is good in and of itself, but take caution before you sign up for a detox in the name of slimming down and cleaning out your system.

Detoxes aren't weight loss plans. If you noticed some weight loss it is most likely water weight. If you do experience some lasting weight loss, it’s because your body went into starvation mode and broke down muscle mass for energy. When your body loses lean muscle mass, your metabolism slows, so you’re more likely to gain weight in the future.

So then, are all detox diets harmful? It depends. The worst plans feed you less than 900 calories a day, last more than a week, and rely on laxatives and enemas. And because detox diets are trendy and often extreme, they can be misused.

However, if you’re dead set on “cleansing” your diet, abide by the following rules to stay safe:

Pick a plan that’s no longer than 3 days, at least 1,000 calories, and calls for real fruits and veggies (as opposed to plans that deliver nutrients from supplements). While you're better off shooting for a 1,200- to 1,400-calorie diet, eating 1,000 calories a day for such a short time won't throw off your metabolism. Resist the urge to rush and repeat the experience. At most, you can do one of these cleanses four times a year, with 3 months in between each. Make sure you also have a post-detox plan. Cleansing itself won’t lead to permanent weight loss, but it can give a psychological jump-start to implementing a healthy diet. Continue to eliminate processed food and added sugar after your cleanse. Aim for 5 or 6 small meals a day, and focus on eating fruit, veggies, a serving or two of whole grains, healthy fat, and lean protein.

Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid

Foods to Include:

· Dairy substitutes: Rice and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk

· Non-gluten grains: brown rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, potato flour, quinoa, gluten-free oats

· Fruits and vegetables: unsweetened fresh or frozen whole fruits, water-packed canned fruits, diluted fruit juices and raw steamed, sauteed, juiced, or roasted vegetables

· Animal protein: fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken, and turkey

· Vegetable protein: split peas, lentils, and legumes

· Nuts and seeds: walnuts; sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds; hazelnuts; pecans; almonds; cashews; nut butters such as almond or tahini

· Oils: cold-pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut, canola, and pumpkin

· Drinks: filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, seltzer or mineral water

· Sweeteners: brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, fruit sweetener, and blackstrap molasses

· Condiments: vinegar; all spices, including salt, pepper, basil, carob, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric

Foods to Exclude:

· Dairy and eggs: all

· Butter and mayonnaise: all

· Grains: wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, triticale, most oats (oats are usually contaminated with gluten unless you can find a gluten-free brand)

· Fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, corn, creamed vegetables

· Animal protein: pork, beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, shellfish

· Vegetable protein: soybean products (soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, textured vegetable protein)

· Nuts and seeds: peanuts and peanut butter

· Oils: shortening, processed oils, salad dressings, and spreads

· Drinks: alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and soft drinks

· Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice

· Condiments: chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, barbecue sauce, teriyaki

Things to Watch For

· Corn starch is often present in baking powder, beverages, and processed foods.

· Vinegar in ketchup, mayonnaise, and some mustard usually comes from wheat or corn.

· Breads advertised as gluten-free still might contain coats, spelt, kamut, or rye.

· Many amaranth and millet flake cereals contain oat or corn.

· Many canned tunas contain textured vegetable protein, which is from soy; look for low-salt versions, which tend to be pure tuna, with no fillers.

· Multi-grain rice cakes are not just rice. Be sure to purchase plain rice cakes.

Virgin, JJ. "5 Fat-Loss Foods That Belong in Your Detox Plan." The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

"The Best and Worst Detox Diets." Fitbie. N.p., 06 May 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

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