Detox Made Safe and Simple

By Mark Hyman, MD Chairman, Institute for Functional Medicine Founder and Medical Director, The UltraWellness Center Author of The Blood Sugar SolutionEliminate harmful toxins, restore your system and reset your body with this 3-day detox cleanse.

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How long should you stay on a cleanse? 

Typical cleanses that harness our body’s natural processes for filtering and removing waste tend to be gentle and can therefore be tolerated for longer periods of time than more extreme protocols. A safe cleanse is one which doesn’t make you starve yourself or take fancy pills, potions or expensive drinks. 

Safety means allowing the body to do what it wants to do naturally, with a little assistance from some guided healthy eating, appropriate supplements and relevant lifestyle modifications. I usually have my patients do a cleanse for 7 days to 6 weeks, or even longer, depending on their particular needs. You should work with a trained medical provider to help you determine what length of time is right for you.

How can you prepare for a cleanse?

Like we would plan for any big trip to a new destination, we need to prepare, plan and set out some main goals for our journey. And by the way, as in all travels, it’s always a good idea to leave some room for the serendipitous excursions to occur. When handled properly, they can be the best part of a trip! So how can we plan for a safe and simple detoxification protocol?

Take some basic measurements before you begin so that you can track your progress as you go through your program. For example, if weight loss is your goal, measure your waist, hips and weight. If, migraines are an issue, determine the duration, intensity and frequency they currently plague you. Keep a journal, which will help you in more ways than one. 

  • Make lists! Organize your pantry, toss out the junk, gather recipes, sketch out weekly menus, make shopping lists for healthy foods you will be eating and formulate a cooking schedule to ensure you allot time to prepare your food for the week.
  • Use journaling as a way to “cleanse” your inner world and relieve yourself of mental and emotional stress.
  • Gather any supplements you need that have been advised for you to take by your medical provider.
  • Think about the kind of exercise that will best complement your end goal and plan for it in your schedule.
  • Detoxification requires you to slow down. Make sure you fit time for deep relaxation into your plan.

  • Often, unsavory side effects appear in the initial phase of a cleanse. Two side effects to look for and keep track of in your journal are:

  • Constipation: Move those bowels! Drink plenty of purified water. Try warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. Often, taking 300 mg of magnesium citrate is helpful, too. Or, try an epsom salt bath.
  • Food allergies or sensitivities: These can be obvious or obscure. But chances are, as your body lets go of toxic waste, it will be easier to recognize a hidden reaction to gluten, dairy, soy or any of the other common food allergies.
Dr. Mark Hyman

Article written by Dr. Mark Hyman
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