Weight loss is usually a good thing. And no matter what method you choose to accomplish that goal, for many of us, it’s a necessary priority on our road to good health. But before you start on that weight loss program,* you should know that you may be doing more damage than good if you’re not concentrating on how to safely detox your body — and you may even be putting yourself at risk for cancer.
Toxic Fruit & Veggies
Most weight loss programs encourage eating more produce, which is a good thing! The problem is that not all produce is created equal. Fruits and vegetables that are not USDA organic can be high in pesticides, such as the Dirty Dozen list from EWG, which lists the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest and worst pesticides. You may even be sabotaging your diet by eating them! Pesticides in your bloodstream may actually cause obesity. According to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2013, scientists have discovered that pesticides, as well as other organic pollutants like BPA from cans and nonstick coatings, are stored in fat cells and in turn, make it harder to lose weight due to the inflammation the cells experience. These pollutants and pesticides can not only damage your cells, they are also known to cause problems with thyroid, reproductive and liver functions — further derailing your journey good health.
Toxic Weight Loss
According to MedPage Today, the process of weight loss then releases these toxins back into the body. A study by the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) led by Duk-Hee Lee, MD, Ph.D., found that “compared with participants who reported large weight gains over the previous decade, those claiming large losses had serum levels of the six pollutants that were about 50% higher.” This means that all the toxins you consumed prior to today are stored in your fat and when you lose large quantities of weight, they’re flushed BACK into your system, causing potential health problems. Where once upon a time it was safe to replace whatever you were eating with produce, today’s high pesticide levels, toxic containers, and unsafe cookware make it a dangerous gamble.
Fad Diets Can Harm Your Health as Well
While seemingly healthy foods can harm you as soon as you start, finding a diet that is safe to implement is a challenge as well. Both low-fat diets like Atkins and low carb diets such as Paleo can contribute to health problems when not implemented properly. A low-fat diet has shown to increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol, while a low carb, high protein diet can have a risk of inflammation and poor gut health. The problem with such diets is not so much the intention as the fact that it is quite easy to get out of balance when you get into the “diet” mindset. For example, on the Paleo diet, if you are eating a lot of high cholesterol foods and few vegetables, you are putting yourself at risk for illness.
With all these factors threatening your health, you may be tempted to keep on those extra pounds — but we all know that is a health risk as well. Is there a way to lose weight that has a lower risk?
A Safer Way to Lose Weight and Safely Detox Your Body
For starters, a few simple pointers will get you in the right direction. These simple steps will help you safely detox your body to lose weight.
Only Eat Organic Produce
Eating more produce is a good start when trying to safely detox, but to do it safely, buy organic only. There’s a reason organic produce costs more than regular produce: it’s free of pesticides. Not only that, but organic produce has a higher nutrient level than non-organic produce, according to a 2011 study from Newcastle University. So you are not only eating safer and giving yourself a better chance at losing weight by switching to organic produce, you are also getting more nutritional value for your calories!
In addition to eating organic, you can make a few other changes over time to get your eating in order and safely detox. Making these changes can go a long way to removing toxins from your body and getting you on the road to improved weight loss:
- Eat GMO-free. This will help remove even more toxins from your body and help you lose weight.
- Eat local. Find a grass-fed butcher, pastured eggs, and pastured chickens. Look into a local CSA market for your produce. If you know where your food comes from, you can trust that nothing scary has happened along the way.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar helps you gain weight in the middle and makes it hard to lose. Significantly lowering your sugar intake sugar is great for your health and your body. Switch to natural sweeteners with a low glycemic index, like Swerve Sweetener. Also eliminate diet products that contain aspartame, saccharin or other artificial sweeteners. These may be linked to cancer.
- Reduce or limit your intake of packaged food. Preservatives, dyes and other chemicals are toxic for your health, and will in no way help you detox safely (or at all). Try to increase your intake of fresh and home cooked meals. If this is challenging, I recommend cooking one more meal per week for a few weeks. Or try cooking a few meals in bulk on the weekend and freezing, then serving them throughout the week.
- Switch to GMO-free, organic oils rather than vegetable or canola oil, both of which are derived from corn or soy and contain GMOs if not organic.
- Eliminate nonstick cookware. When these surfaces are overheated, they can put toxins into your food, many of which are carcinogenic. Try using cast iron instead.
- Avoid plastics and BPA-laden containers and cans. These pollutants too will be in your food, so eat fresh or find canned brands that are BPA-free.
Eat in Balance
Our bodies need healthy fats, lots of water, antioxidants, nutrients, protein, fiber and more. Eating them out of balance on a fad diet for the long term will throw your systems out of balance and can harm your health. Make a long term plan to change the way you eat without denying yourself flavor, but by switching to cleaner food options and increasing your water intake. Go back to basics: meals should contain small amounts of protein, lots of vegetables and some fruits with lots of water.
Safely Detox Your Body to Lose Weight
Now that you have some ideas on how to eat clean, what about the toxins that are in your body right now? It’s a great idea to detox those poisons — and it may help you lose weight.
- Try a Natural Tea Cleanse. Herbal teas have been known to remove toxins from the body. There are a variety of options available, from milk thistle, which supports the liver, to brands that create special blends just for detox. I recommend inquiring at your local trusted health food store to find the best fit for your diet. Remember to select tea leaves so you can fresh brew it and to make sure it’s caffeine-free. (Green tea, for example, is wonderful but has caffeine, which you want to eliminate during a detox.)
- Need more ideas? Conscious Life News has a list of 25 best ways to detox heavy metals, pesticides and pollutants, many of which are simple as drinking purified water or adding flax to your diet.
I hope this guide helps you on your journey to a better, healthier new you!
*It’s important to check with your doctor before starting any weight loss plan or diet for detox. If you are pregnant or nursing, you will most likely not be able to do a detox cleanse.