The Detoxification Program – Follow the Detox Meal Rules
The Detox recipes were designed by Jill Pettijohn, a nurse, raw foods chef, and cleansing expert. A valued friend and trusted colleague, Jill is passionate about guiding individuals to higher levels of health and has become famous for her juice cleanses, which she delivers to her clients’ doors in New York City. We have spent countless hours broadening our knowledge of cleansing and detoxification and between us we have guided many hundreds of people through detoxification programs. When I asked Jill to create a set of new recipes especially for this website, she more than met the challenge. Her forty-two recipes are not only delicious and simple for anyone to follow but also laser accurate in their supply of the key nutrients needed for detoxification.
- Eat and drink only food that is part of the Detox meals.
- Support your body’s detoxification process through simple methods and practices.
Every day you will have one solid meal and two drinks or “liquid meals,” a smoothie, a juice, or a soup. Plan to have the liquid meals for breakfast and dinner and the solid meal for lunch. Eating the food meal at night will be less effective, because the twelve-hour “fast” that your body will experience overnight will be most effective after a liquid dinner, as this frees up the most energy and extends the window of time for detoxification. However, if you have a business dinner or a social plan that can’t get rearranged, just have the solid meal for dinner that day, with the two smoothies, juices, or soups as breakfast and lunch. The next day, return to having your solid meal at lunchtime.
Remember the twelve-hour window: the detox signal is given approximately eight hours after your last meal, and requires at least four hours to function well. If you fill up your belly late at night and eat early again the next day, you are denying the body its full detox mode. It is better to go on a little fast each night as you sleep. This is why the ritual called breakfast exists. We are literally “breaking the fast” that occurred since the previous evening. (If you do nothing more in your life than start to eat lighter in the evening and leave twelve hours between dinner one night and breakfast the next day, you will find that you have more energy and improve your overall health.) During Detox you will be required to eat liquid meals for your dinner and then not eat again until breakfast, at least twelve hours later, to let the deep cleaning happen. If dinner is at 7 p.m., breakfast should be at 7 a.m. or later; if dinner is at 11 p.m., the next meal will be at 11 a.m.
You will be making all the liquid meals yourself. You have a total of twenty-one recipes to pick from: seven juices, seven smoothies, and seven blended soups. All these drinks use raw ingredients for maximum nutrition and enzyme content—even the soups, which are blended vegetable drinks that are not cooked (some can be warmed, however). If eating this way is a first for you, do not be nervous. These meals-in-a-cup are custom-designed to do the following:
- Provide the body with all the nutrients it needs.
- Deliver the nutrients in a fuel-injected way. Because they require less energy to break down, the ingredients in liquid meals can be absorbed into the bloodstream easily without much effort.
- Intelligently combine nutrients in each meal to shift your metabolism so that you feel less hungry.
To ensure that you get the right kind of nutrition in your one solid meal of the day, there are also twenty-one simple lunch recipes to choose from, some raw and some cooked: seven fish, seven meat (chicken and lamb), and seven vegetarian recipes.
You will decide which two liquid meals and which one food meal to have each day by mixing and matching the recipes as you like. The only rule is that you always follow the basic formula of two liquid meals and one solid meal per day, with the solid meal eaten at lunchtime.
You may snack in between as needed. Raw vegetables and some tart, fresh fruits such as blueberries and raspberries are best for this purpose because berries are low in sugar. A few raw almonds or brazil nuts are also good. You can even have an extra smoothie or juice if you feel extremely hungry (please read the section called “Dealing with Hunger”). Remember, however, that you want to avoid putting solid or liquid foods in your stomach late at night. If you want a snack after dinner, see if you can do without it and get through the night until the morning meal.
These liquid and solid meal recipes have been designed as a complete package. They will give you the full spectrum of nutrients you need for successful detoxification over the three weeks. This means that the more variety of recipes you include each week, the better. Your body will be consistently supplied with a wide array of nutrients, and you’ll be sure to get the benefits of certain recipes that are engineered to supercharge you with one or two key nutrients. Variation will also make the program more fun, and it will introduce you to new ingredients and flavors that are important components of a healthy diet over the long term.
No doubt about it, though, the program will have to fit into your busy life, and it is adaptable to your needs. The following suggestions will help you tailor the program to your own lifestyle, and get the most out of Detox.
- If your time is limited, or you prefer to keep things very simple, selecting a few liquid meals and a few food meals and rotating them throughout the week will still work well.
- You do not have to always use the Detox recipes for lunch. You can create a lunch from the same simple foods you’ve been eating on the Elimination Diet. This might include premade items from a supermarket or a restaurant meal. Keep in mind that one of the basic principles of Detox is to avoid exposure to chemicals, so be smart about where you buy your food and buy organic for everything you can afford. Remember that all lunches should comprise basic foods without sauces, commercial dressings, or toppings. (Use the Elimination Diet list of allowed condiments and spices, as well as olive oil and lemon juice, to flavor store-bought foods.) And look at the Detox recipes to guide your portion sizes. Eating a meal for lunch that is not one of the Detox recipes should not be seen as a free pass to supersize your plate.
- The fresher the foods you eat, the more potent their nutrients. However, you won’t lose out too much if you make your meals at night in order to take them to work the next day. You can also make a double portion of one liquid meal and use it for both breakfast and dinner. If you do this, keep everything in the fridge and use within two days. Juices should only be kept for one day. Note that all of the food meals can be taken with you wherever you go and eaten cold.
- As with the Elimination Diet, organic ingredients are preferable whenever possible. Even if you buy nonorganic, the combination of raw ingredients used for Detox will boost your body, especially if you are shifting from a diet that was high in cooked and or processed foods. Again, just do the best that you and your wallet can and wash everything well.
- Canned fruits and vegetables usually contain preservatives and sometimes high fructose corn syrup and salt, so avoid them at all costs. Frozen fruits are acceptable for the liquid meals, especially if they are organic.
- Your personal preferences and your environment will dictate which recipes you choose. Be adaptable. For example, the thicker, blended soups may be more appealing on cold winter mornings than the fruit smoothies, which contain ice. Remember that the thinner the liquid, the more intense the detox. Juices will promote detoxification slightly more than blended soups.
- If you don’t feel a hunger for your liquid or food meal when the time for it comes, please still make and consume it, or at the very least have a half-size portion. The nutrients are necessary to keep your detoxification process supported.
- Keep the Elimination Diet “Include/Exclude List” on your fridge for the days when you are making your own lunch and refer back to it to stay on track in both eating and drinking.
In addition to the liquid and food meals, you must drink plenty of pure water each day to enhance the detoxification work by increasing the kidney’s elimination of toxins. A good estimate of how much to drink is the amount it takes to cause you to pee hourly. A typical total daily water intake is two quarts. You may add fresh lemon, cucumber, or mint to the water for flavor. During the program, avoid all caffeinated beverages. Do not drink decaffeinated coffee. Herbal teas and hot water with lemon are fine, but have them in addition to the full amount of pure water, not in place of it. Do not drink commercial fruit juices, low-calorie sodas, “natural” sodas, or energy drinks. Carbonated water adds to the acidity in the body so it is wise to exclude this also. If you’re not sure what you can drink, go by the general rule that if it’s not hot or cold water, and if it’s in a bottle with a name on it, it’s probably to be avoided. It’s only for a few days of your life, so for now, keep it simple and pure.
Breakfast: Green Smoothie. Hot water and lemon, or herbal tea
Mid-morning: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Lunch: Steamed Bass with Fennel, Parsley and Capers
Mid-afternoon: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Dinner: Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint
Drink plenty of pure water all day.
Breakfast: Carrot, Beet, Cabbage, and Watercress Juice; hot water with lemon, or herbal tea
Mid-morning: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Lunch: Stir-Fry Vegetables with Buckwheat Noodles
Mid-afternoon: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Dinner: Fennel and Apple Juice Drink plenty of pure water all day.
Breakfast: Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom Mid-morning: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Lunch: Plain roast chicken and salad from supermarket Mid-afternoon: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Dinner: Energy Smoothie with Almond Butter and Cardamom Drink plenty of pure water all day.
Breakfast: Easy Pineapple and Avocado Gazpacho
Mid-morning: Snack or herbal tea (optional)
Lunch: A piece of steamed salmon and steamed mixed vegetables made at home
Mid-afternoon: Snack or herbal tea (optional).
Dinner: Green Juice
Drink plenty of pure water all day.
When all this is put into practice, each person’s intake of Detoxmeals is unique to him or her. It may look very different week to week, or you may find a formula with the amount of variety you can handle, and stick to it for the three weeks. A few days of Detox will typically look something like the chart above.
A weekly planning and preparation chart is provided on p. 192 to help you organize what you plan to make and what you need to buy.
Your Detox Nutrients
Nature provides all the nutrients you need for full-functioning detox. It’s up to you, however, to select them and get them into your body. The Detox recipes include all the nutrients you’ll need over the next few weeks as you switch detox onto “high.” Your snacks and any “off the menu” lunches can also be selected with these nutritional needs in mind. Use the “Detoxification Nutrients” chart (see appendix) during the program and afterward, to ensure that you fund all the needs of your busy liver by including many of these foods every week.
Detox delivers its maximum benefits when a few easy-to-find natural supplements are added into your daily intake. Though they’re not obligatory, I highly recommend them, and they are not expensive. Buy the best brands you can find, asking your local health food store for guidance. (Online vitamin stores often have low prices.) Good supplements should be thought of as health insurance. For a little extra investment up front they save money over the long term on doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and missed workdays. They’ll add years to your life, especially when used as part of a detoxification program like Detox—and they’ll add life to your years.
Fiber plays an important role in elimination support because it absorbs water and creates bulk, which triggers the peristaltic movement of your intestines and promotes bowel elimination. Fiber sequesters (pulls out) toxic waste that the intestines keep clearing from the blood, making sure that the toxins don’t get reabsorbed. Fiber feeds the good bacteria, promoting a healthy environment in the intestines. It also captures cholesterol and prevents its excess absorption, while giving you a feeling of fullness, thereby limiting overeating. For all these reasons and more, high-fiber diets are associated with a decreased incidence of colon cancer and heart disease. Though the Detox program is filled with fruits and vegetables, it may contain less roughage than you are used to. Most people benefit from adding some form of fiber to the program. Look for natural fiber products containing ingredients like psyllium husks and psyllium seed, prune fiber, guar gum, and flax seeds. Bentonite clay is used in cleansing-detox programs to further bind to toxic chemicals including heavy metals and to reduce gas in the intestines. Fiber should be adjusted to the number and consistency of bowel movements. Most quality products come with dosing instructions.
Probiotics are a very valuable tool in the restoration of the hundreds of different species of good intestinal bacteria. There are lots of good probiotics supplements for sale, some of which need to be refrigerated once opened; make sure yours has at least 15 billion organisms per dose. Read the instructions carefully. One dose a day should be enough during Detox, but there is no downside that I know of to taking more.
Antimicrobials help kill the pathogenic (bad) bacteria. Many of the foods in the Detox recipes such as garlic, lemon, olive oil, onions, broccoli, coconut oil, and many of the spices have antimicrobial properties. But sometimes the intestinal flora is in such state of disarray (dysbiosis) that it needs a little heavier artillery to clean the territory so that the good bacteria can take up residence once more. A smart measure is to take one or more of the following during Detox. Concentrated oil of oregano is especially potent against yeast (look for it as a pill or essential oil). A clove of garlic can be eaten daily, raw. (Slice it and place it between thin apple slices if you prefer). This will not only help to eliminate bad bacteria, yeast, and parasites; it will also help regulate blood sugar levels, enhance fat burning, reduce hunger sensations, lower cholesterol, relieve arthritic pain, and reduce bowel gas. If this is unappealing, garlic pills are an inexpensive and easy way to ingest effective amounts of garlic. You may find an herbal antimicrobial that combines several different antimicrobial herbs and roots. Berberine, licorice root, rhubarb root, skullcap root, coptis root, ginger root, sage leaf, and thyme oil are some of the ingredients I look for.
Olive oil taken at night will lubricate your intestines, improve bowel elimination, provide anti-inflammatory fats, kill germs and enhance fat burning, stimulate the gallbladder and liver to move bile clearing the liver system, promote bone formation, inhibit blood clot formation, and promote hormonal balance. Take two tablespoons before bed every night and follow with water and lemon.
Finally, try to include a liver support product during your Detox program. These can be a single ingredient or a combination of ingredients. The most common available liver support herbs are milk thistle (sylimarin), N acetyl cysteine, dandelion root, and wormwood leaf. Ask the staff at your health food store for advice; many sales people seem to have Ph.D.-level knowledge of liver support preparations!
FAQs About Doing the Detox Program
Q: I work out and train hard physically. Can I still do Detox?
A: Yes. Recreational and competitive athletes alike have successfully done Detox, losing weight while upping their performance. It is not recommended to do Detox during intensive precompetition training, but at any other time you can keep training while on the program. Double or even triple the servings of your liquid meals. Use more of the soups and energy smoothies than juices and make sure your lunchtime meal includes lean protein, healthy fat such as avocado or coconut, and some of the allowed grains from the Elimination Diet.
Q: I drop weight easily and am already slightly underweight. What should I do?
A: You can safely do the program. Weight loss is always greater amongst those who need to lose weight as the body is looking to find its best state of balance. Any pounds you do lose, you can put on strategically when you are done by eating plenty of good fats, clean proteins, and whole grains. However, it will help you to double up on your liquid meals during Detox, and to make sure your daily meals are satisfying in portion size. Include nuts in your snacks.