Detoxify Naturally with a Raw Foods Diet
Detoxification need not be an extreme and radical process involving fasting or harsh colon cleansing remedies. A simple detoxification diet using a raw foods diet allows you to rid the body of toxins while supplying a complete, clean source of nutrition. Detoxifying the body using a raw food diet works in two ways; by reducing incoming toxins and increasing incoming nutrients. Let’s review both detoxification pathways.
Reducing Incoming Toxins
By definition a raw foods diet will eliminate ALL cooked food toxins. The 5 major cooked food toxins are :
- Acrylamide – formed mainly by carbs (especially potatoes) at high heat
- AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) – cooking fats and animal proteins
- Heterocyclic Amines – from cooking muscle meats
- Nitrosamines – caused by heating the preservatives? nitrites and nitrates
- Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – caused by incomplete combustion of carbon containing fuels like gas, wood, oil and coal.
Detailed descriptions of each of these can be found in the article Cooked Food Toxins: Reducing Exposure to Heat Induced Carcinogens. The important thing to note in terms of detoxification is that by sticking to a cleanse or diet in which your foods are not cooked, you have zero exposure to cooked food toxins with the minor exception of internally formed AGEs that can form when there is excess glucose in the bloodstream.
The raw food diet also eliminates all of the following reactive foods which tend to cause sensitivities, acidity, allergic reactions, and/or inflammatory reactions in the body.
- Processed Sugars: all processed sugars and sweeteners including high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars
- Refined Flours: all processed refined flours including white and wheat flour
- Hydrogenated Oils: including partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats
- Dyes: chemical colorings of any kind
- Meat: even lean meats
- Dairy: milk and milk products from cows, sheep, goats are all excluded
- Eggs: no eggs or products made with eggs are included
- Coffee: highly acidic, and pesticide-rich
When you eat these foods, and the cooked food toxins above, the body goes into “defensive mode.” While in defense mode it will employ coping methods that have their own ugly side effects such as, holding onto fats (especially around the stomach, thighs and bottom), increasing cholesterol, excreting through the skin (rash, acne, eczema, etc.) or mucous membranes (phlegm, allergies, asthma, etc.), mood and energy disturbances. Without daily exposure to these high-sensitivity foods you eliminate the body’s need to react and neutralize these foods, thereby allowing the body to cleanse itself and heal. Once your symptoms are gone, you can start reintroducing these foods one at a time, waiting 3-5 days after each introduction to gauge your body’s reaction to each one. Foods which cause a reaction can be eliminated permanently.
Three major categories of nutrients are increased on a raw foods diet
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Phytonutrients and Antioxidants
Due to the significance of each category, all are individually described below.
Vitamins and Minerals
Both vitamins and minerals are abundantly available to and readily absorbed by the body when you follow a raw food menu plan, but for different reasons. You get access to more vitamins because less of them are broken down or removed by heating processes. Keep in mind that there are two types of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. Generally, water soluble vitamins, for example the powerful antioxidant Vitamin C, are more heat sensitive. While minerals are more stable and not generally destroyed by heat, they can be lost during cooking. This generally occurs because minerals are lost from the food and released into the fluids on which they are cooked. In the case of soup or sauce, where you eat the cook fluids you get the minerals. However, if you boil foods and discard the water in which they are cooked, you loose the mineral content.
Another factor is the increased volume of vitamin and mineral dense foods on a raw food diet compared to the Standard American Diet. Processed foods are replaced with whole foods that contain excessively more vitamins and alkalizing minerals in their naturally occurring states. Even processed foods like bread, which are required to add back vitamins and minerals that are lost in processing, generally do so with synthetic versions which are neither as beneficial or as bio-available. A raw menu plan might replace bread with a lettuce wrap or raw crackers made from nuts and seeds, either would be more nutrient dense than conventional bread.
Phytonutrients and Antioxidants
“Phyto” is Latin for plants, so phytonutrients are simply the nutrients that come from plants. Examples include carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopen, or flavonoids. Antioxidants reduce damaging free radicals in the body. Both are beneficial in prevention of disease and maintenance of overall health. In general, both are sensitive to heat and can be destroyed or inactivated by cooking.
While some studies show increased concentration of phytonutrients in cooked versus raw foods, this can be clearly attributed to water loss. For example it has long been claimed that cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw tomatoes. When the fluid is reduced out of the tomatoes by boiling them down, they will clearly be a more concentrated source. An even higher concentration could be achieved by dehydration, which if done at low temperatures, would also keep the enzymes intact (see below for a description of why this may have beneficial implications). A wise raw foodist would opt for sun dried tomatoes in olive oil rather than water because fats increase the bioavailability of lycopene.
Enzymes are catalysts, the movers and shakers that make bio-chemical reactions possible. If enzymes are heated above 118? they break down and no longer function. The idea promoted by the raw food community is that food entering the body with enzymes intact, comes equipped with the required catalysts to break down the food, making less work for our bodies during digestion. Some propose that the less enzymes the body has to re-route for the purpose of digestion, the more enzymes it has to keep the body in proper working order. Raw food diets only include foods that are not heated above that 118? threshold, thereby keeping the maximum enzymes intact and ready for use in digestion.
By decreasing or eliminating your exposure to the five major cooked food toxins your body gets a major vacation from cleaning these hazardous formations. This reprieve from exposure to dangerous elements means more time to remove stored toxins from the body. By increasing your intake of beneficial nutrients you supply the body with a clean source of fuel and healthy building blocks for the building new and repair of existing tissue. It is important to keep in mind that when the body has the chance to “clean house” by removing stored acids, toxins, and chemicals, you may experience side effects. To make the most of your raw food detox be sure to support your body at the very least by incorporating the following into your daily ritual:
- Drink Lots of Water – to flush toxins out
- Dry Brush – to stimulate the immune system
- Drink a Detox & Immunity Tea – to aid in detoxification and boost the immune system
- Contrast Hydro Therapy (hot & cold rinse) – stimulates immune function
- Exercise- to move lymph through your body
- Sweat – if you don’t sweat when you exercise, use a sauna or steam bath
A complete description of each of these processes and more can be found in an article titled Detoxification: Top Ten Ways to Support Detox on a Raw Foods Diet.
Take a tour of this weight loss detox program and you’ll see that this 14 day course is guided by your raw food video chef, Joy Houston and includes hundreds of video tutorials, menu plan, shopping lists, and recipes as well as comprehensive training videos and education on the science behind raw food nutrition. If you are ready for a weight loss detox diet that works, tastes great, and involves eating delicious foods and no starvation then this is the weight loss detox for you.
What will you look like in your Rocking Body?