How to Detox (the Whole Body) — in 30 days

How to Detox (the Whole Body) | Eat Life Whole

How-To's

Stephanie Kanoeola Megumi Wong

I just completed a 30-day detox. And boy was it frickin eye-opening, enlightening, and a true experience that has taught me so much about myself. Before you ask me “how to detox,” let me define what a detox is AND what mine was all about.

What is a detox?

Simply put, detox (short for detoxification) is the process of neutralizing or eliminating toxins from the body. It DOES NOT MEAN juice cleanse, or starvation diet, or drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper (like we tend to think of). A detox is where YOU choose to go through a process to rid your body of TOXINS that are harmful to your bodily functions. When you think of a detox this way, you can really open up your mind to understand TOXINS in a whole, new light.

 

Why did I go on a detox?

I made a choice (recommended by my doctor – Dr. Thalia) to get my shit together. Here’s what it was all about:

I work lots and carry stress in my belly. While some people get tight shoulders, I get a blown-up “air baby” bloated stomach, that doesn’t feel so awesome. It impacts how I feel, my energy, productivity, and bottom line, EVERYTHING else. So, Dr. Thalia ran some blood work and stool samples on me (ew I know, but it was really insightful). Then she suggested a very clear elimination diet (similar to the foods you can eat during the Cleanse Week #2 in our Eat Real Essentials ebook). The goal was to remove foods that may possibly be irritating my digestive tract and slowly add certain foods back in to see how my body reacts.

What did my detox consist of?
Essentially, these were the food requirements:

No Thank You Yes Please
no dairy yes to loads of veggies
no sugar yes to leafy greens
no starchy veggies/wheat/grain yes to fresh lemon juice
no mushrooms yes to organic meat/poultry
no alcohol yes to wild salmon
no caffeine yes to EVOO and coconut oil
no chocolate yes to wild/brown rice
no fruit (dried or fresh) yes to herbal tea
no eggs yes to pumpkin and sunflower seeds
no almonds yes to flax and chia seeds
no processed meat yes to seaweed
no tofu yes to raw sauerkraut + kombucha

How to Detox - "No" Foods
How to Detox - "Yes" Foods

But wait, there’s more to this detox

When I got home, I thought about stress and how there’s so much more that would actually make this DETOX worthwhile – and address the root of some things that impact my stress response. In 30 days, could I address the toxicity of things that drain my:

  1. TIME (to improve my productivity and effectiveness);
  2. SLEEP (to improve my energy and hormones); and
  3. ENVIRONMENT (to improve the space and people that surround me)?

Absolutely. So in addition to the food stuff, I chose to look at the WHOLE ME and see where else I can remove TOXINS from my world. Here’s what I did:

  • limited social media time (and kept it under 5 min a day, if any at all)
  • said yes to early morning risings and early sleep times
  • spoke UP instead of holding back
  • asked hard questions (no matter the outcome)
  • said NO to projects that don’t align with my goals
  • integrated some form of meditation daily
  • said no to email checking in bed
  • wrote weekly success lists
  • created time to further define my purpose in career and life
  • said yes to doing spontaneous fun things
  • practiced 10-minute house clean up sessions throughout the week
  • went on longer walks
  • committed to a stronger yoga practice
  • wrote in bullets (vs paragraphs :) ) to save time

How to Detox

 

So, what was my experience like?
Here are 20 thoughts I had during the detox:

  • This is not going to be that bad.
  • Crap. I want chocolate.
  • I want an apple.
  • I really want an apple.
  • Don’t eat an apple. It’s for the best.
  • We’re all really blessed to eat apples whenever we want.
  • Shit. It’s a shame. We go and buy whatever we want from the stores (thinking we need it) and there are people that don’t have that luxury to just “get up” and buy whatever food they want.
  • People are hungry in this world.
  • You are not that hungry. Nor am I.
  • Don’t you open Facebook right now. It’s a time suck.
  • My stomach is really feeling so much better.
  • Go to bed now, so that  you can wake up early. SHUT DOWN NOW. Really!
  • I could eat this over and over, it’s sooo good (sautéed kale, squeeze of lemon, olive oil, sprinkle of ground pumpkin seeds, kraut, sprouts, avocado, and wild rice).
  • Let’s try brushing your teeth when you want an apple.
  • God, I really sleep so much better on nights that I workout. Why do I keep putting work before this?
  • Can I just have a bite of that cookie? Will that be ok? Probably not. I’m doing it anyway.
  • I really love this book I’m reading. It’s all about purpose.
  • I don’t need to eat as much as I think I do.
  • I’m stressed and need something to eat, even though I’m not hungry. Hmmm. A sign.
  • I think I’m so much stronger in yoga now.

Recapping full details of an intense 30-day detox in one blog post is not going to happen, however you should be able to get the gist that it’s an adventure, with waves of confronting thoughts to leave you empowered to make NEW choices. My one and only goal was to make an ACTIVE effort to clear my body of toxins (food and non-food related) in order to improve my quality of life and my output. As you can see, it opened many doors of opportunity and I can honestly say that I feel so much more in-tune with my body. In fact, I can see how repeating this at different times of the year can become immensely helpful.

What were the outcomes of my detox?

To sum it up, I’ll share a few outcomes that really capture the growth that I’ve experienced over the past 30 days. For some of you, it may mean nothing. For others, I’m sure you’ll be celebrating right along with me.

Here are 5 outcomes related to FOOD that I’m quite proud of:

  1. My stomach is not as annoyingly bloated after meals. (Not completely better yet, but getting there)
  2. I haven’t bought a bar of dark chocolate for 30 days, which was my “stress-food” of choice (and thus saved at least $15 dollars :) ).
  3. My energy is so much more consistent.
  4. I thoroughly enjoy breakfast without eggs.
  5. I don’t have sugar cravings like I used to (odd but true). I just don’t need it.

Here are 5 outcomes related to my WHOLE BODY that I’m quite proud of:

  1. I’ve saved HOURS removing social media checking during the day (3-5 minute increments do add up).
  2. I started and completed a whole book! (huge for me)
  3. I’m clearer about my FOCUS goals (weekly, monthly and beyond)
  4. I’ve chosen to surround myself with pretty amazing people and as a result have some exciting things in motion (no room for negative energy there)
  5. I feel the benefits of meditation (and miss it when I don’t)

 

How YOU can detox (the whole body)

So, are you ready for a detox? Remember, it just means YOU making a CHOICE to eliminate toxins to improve how your body functions (mind, body, and/or spirit). Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Identify the toxins. Start by asking ask yourself, “what toxic things (food, habits, drugs, or even people) do you need to remove from your day-to-day, such that by removing them, your life will feel so much cleaner?”

  2. If you want to focus on toxins related to food, start by eating real. Food is healing. Our Eat Real Essentials ebook will help you understand this in GREAT detail, inclusive of an elimination cleanse week (very similar to the foods I eliminated). You can easily repeat this for as long as you’d like.

  3. Write down (in list form) what you want to remove. Is it dairy, sugar, wine, Facebook time, negative self criticism, candy, soda? Success starts with clarity – so write it down.

  4. Get prepared. Whatever you need to do to successfully remove these toxins, be sure to prepare for that. It starts by throwing things out in the cupboard, stocking up on foods you can eat, telling your family/friends (especially those that live with you) so they can be supportive. The beginning of our 21-day Eat Real Challenge in the eBook gives you a very clear list to help you with this.

  5. Pick a date. And just start (because you are worth it). If you have a “blooper” day, don’t stress it. Just keep plugging along.

 

And lastly, I’ll leave you with a secret. Two of my favorite morning pick-me-ups are a cleansing green smoothie (in our book) and a cozy mug of hot water with lemon:

Ingredients

1 ½ cups boiled water
Juice from ½ lemon
A mug that brings you joy

Steps

  1. Wake up and drink this before the house awakes, in peace and quiet.
  2. Be ready for an amazing day. The world needs you!

 

Eat Real EssentialsEat Real Essentials - Available Now!

If you like this recipe, checkout more nutritious and healthy living tips in our Eat Real Essentials eBook, enhanced and interactive for the iPad or in a digital-friendly PDF. It’s filled with inspirational stories, grocery shopping and pantry stocking tips, a 3-week meal plan with a whole foods detox, and over 100 RECIPES designed just for the busy person! Check it out here.

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Thanks for reading! My name is Stephanie Wong and I am a certified holistic health & nutrition coach, home-grown natural food cook, lover of all things ginger, and a strong believer that strength is beauty. [read more...]

Comments...

  1. Peter says:

    This is awesome Stephanie. (I found your blog randomly online btw)
    I personally fast once a week for 24 hours.

    Here’s my feedback:

    Here are 5 outcomes related to FOOD that I’m quite proud of:
    My stomach is not as annoyingly bloated after meals. – PH – Do you add inorganic salt to your meals?

    I haven’t bought a bar of dark chocolate for 30 days, which was my “stress-food” of choice (and thus saved at least $15 dollars :) ). – PH – Awesome! Chocolate is a pleasure food but the caffeine can be a little strong for some people.

    My energy is so much more consistent. – PH – A diet on whole raw food does that yes.

    I thoroughly enjoy breakfast without eggs. – PH – Do you need breakfast? I feel I have most of my energy in the beginning of the day so I only eat lunch and dinner.

    I don’t have sugar cravings like I used to (odd but true). I just don’t need it. – PH – Raw food ftw.

    • stephanie says:

      Love this Peter! Thanks for sharing. It’s crazy when we actually take the time out to PAY ATTENTION to what we eat and when we eat, magic happens. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!! Your notes on breakfast AND sugar cravings are spot-on. Keep on keepin on!

  2. Runnu Sinha says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    I really liked your detox plan but I have a question, why do you say no to fruits? Please respond. Thanks for the answer in advance :)

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Runnu — For me personally, I was eliminating fruit for 30 days (doctor’s orders), but it’s NOT necessary for everyone. I particularly needed to consume as little sugar as possible to get my gut bacteria back in order, and then slowly introduce it again. The reason being, is that certain yeasts and organisms (that were making my belly bloat) feed and grow off of sugars. One way to reduce the growth, is to “starve” the bacteria from a key nutrient that it uses to grow — SUGAR! I love fruit and missed it dearly (as I’m sure you read), but it was TEMPORARY. It opened up my mind to so much and definitely filled me up with gratitude about the small stuff in life that we often take for granted — like going to the grocery store and buying whatever we want, when others have so little. A true, humbling experience.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    How insightful and interesting! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have been very interested in doing a detox as well, but I don’t know where to start. It’s also a bit hard when your family that doesn’t feel the same way and buying for two separate meal plans simply isn’t in our budget.
    Regardless, I appreciate and applaud your effort! Can’t imagine how difficult it must’ve been. I am glad to see your efforts paid off.
    Are the recipes on your blog of meals you ate during your detox?

    • stephanie says:

      Thanks for the push and support Elizabeth. That 30-day detox period REALLY opened my eyes to a lot. I learned A TON in the few short days. I ate simple, meaning, I didn’t cook every day and ate a lot of leftovers. I went for the “easy bowls” and many of the recipes I ate are on the site (lots of leafy greens) and some were in our eBook. My advice is that when you go on any kind of “cleanse” (mind+body+spirit), try to keep it simple. I try to do a “reset” like this a few times a year…when my body craves it!

  4. Julie Bakerville says:

    Hi
    Found you randomly while searching for making a “healthier version” of
    Fleur de Sel caramel recipe. And there you are!
    As for detoxing I like to eat light on fruits/a.m. Veggies and salads Arugala and other field Spring mixes. Plus home grown herbs like Oregano, Thyme and Tarragon… Eat Salmon and Tombo tuna when I need protein or happy farm/cage free no hormones Chix. No white flour products and really watch the Gluten overall. Coffee yes, wine yes but moderation… I take a full B-100 complex and vit. E with Selenium by Solaray and various other food based Nutriceuticals/supplements
    Drink more water than normal which is a lot…
    I take a Super-food based Magnesium Calcium mineral supplement by Rainbow Light in the evening around 8:30pm drink my Tea of “Sleepy Time Extra” by Celestial Seasonings (double bag it ) and a Kava tea sometimes. Whatever I happen to have on hand that is calming sleep inducing. Also add Peppermint tea by Celestial Seasonings as this is good for digestion and overall intestinal health.
    Do not have puffy stomach but know what it is as I was diagnosed years ago with IBS which I have not suffered from in years because of the way I eat and manage my life “habits”.

    Proper elimination in the a.m. is most important and the reason so many Americans suffer from all kinds of aliments. Not to mention our stress levels are through the ceiling!…
    Thanks for your blog. Will you be putting E-book into print as I am a reader of print pref.
    Julie B
    Anyways

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, tips, and suggestions! Right on with the STRESS – and couldn’t agree more that the a.m. elimination is VIP! We don’t have any plans to put our eBook in print right now, but we love print books too!

      thks again!
      steph

  5. Judy Sharnik says:

    Hello, everyone.
    I was just diagnosed with microscopic colitis. It’s not the same as any of the other forms of colitis and is rare. There seems to be a difference in each person as to what to eat but basically includes gluten free, dairy free, fiber free, sometimes egg free food. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, legume families are supposedly out, any vegetables when not made small or puréed is out, thus eliminating much on your healthy diet program. Even things with caffeine are supposed to be out but I still drink my favorite iced tea with lemon, no sugar added. I am just starting gluten free and am looking for ideas. I love dips. Does hummus work?
    I, too just stumbled on this but noticed foods that don’t work for me. Skipping cabbage might improve things for you since it does cause gas as do beans!
    Judy

    • stephanie says:

      Thanks for all of your energy Judy! Great tips and questions. As for hummus, it’s made from garbanzo beans (aka – chickpeas), so if you can’t have legumes, that wouldn’t be a great option. You can however probably make pestos (leafy green veggie based). Obviously you’d nix the parm. cheese, but olive oil, sea salt, and toasted walnuts would work with kale, basil, and lemon, right? Keep searching for dips that are veggie based (non cruciferous veggies of course). Oh and thanks for the cabbage tip. It def is a bloater :(

      Enjoy the yummy journey!
      -steph

  6. chanelle says:

    These are great ideas for detox. I love that you incorporate a whole life detox instead of just focusing on food. I also had an air baby for a long time. I finally got rid of it with some lifestyle changes- things like yoga and a cup of herbal tea every single morning… little things that have really helped.

    • stephanie says:

      Thanks so much for the sweet note. Don’t you love those “air babies.” Grrr. Thanks for all of your tips and I couldn’t agree more that the LIFESTYLE changes make a huge impact on our belly health.

  7. Julie says:

    I found this at 2:30 a.m. after 5 hours of restless sleep due to taking myself off of 2 drugs that had nasty side effects. The “withdrawal” symptom that woke me up is terrible itching. So I am off to my doc this morning to 1) get help with the itch. Probably Prednisone for just a few weeks or until the 2) detox I hope he will help me with. Interestingly, the detox diet you outline above is very much like a ketogenic diet,except for the added rice, which my doc put me on last year. He said to stay on it permanently, but I couldn’t do it. I believe that healing is one thing; doing that same thing life-long is depriving my life and body of God-given food designed to fill and delight–after I have found the foods I can’t handle.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Julie — I can relate to the late night searches for answers! Ya, know one of the things I’ve learned to accept, is that this whole “healthy lifestyle” is a daily journey with LOTS of learning lessons along the way. If I don’t put in the effort, I don’t see results (inside and out). I think your right about deprivation long term. It can take a toll on us in more ways than one. What helps for me, is focusing on what I can have; enjoying the treats along the way (and understanding that I might feel not-so-awesome right after); or experimenting in the kitchen to make alternatives that are both satisfying and “easy” on my insides. Definitely work with your doc. Keep inspiring folks with your story/journey (as you do me), and take big, deep breaths when it all feels so overwhelming. As I say to some of my boot camp students, “YOU GOT THIS.”

  8. Nita Sharda says:

    Okay, two things:
    1. I love the little mental math I have to do before I officially post a comment. Keeps me ON POINT!
    2. If the air baby belly decides to reappear, try a low FODMAP diet! It’s similar to the elimination diet you mention but perhaps a bit more complex, a bit of a learning curve but also scientifically based!

    Happy day,
    Nita!

  9. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.

    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.

    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

    • stephanie says:

      Hi Lilliana — Thanks so much for the sweet note. After so much research/reading material that I’ve “digested” over the years, it was definitely time to share the learnings in a way that at least I could understand :) So awesome that you found some of these posts fun, and entertaining too! START that blog girl! Ok only if you want, BUT life is short, so do it if it really is pulling at you. And send it our way so we can share it with others! Have a fab week. -steph

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