Whether your goal is to produce your fastest times, reach your ideal race weight, or just boost overall health, detoxing the body has a certain appeal, particularly after the holiday season. February, in particular, is a popular month for endurance athletes to ratchet up their nutrition plan as they prepare for the spring racing season. If you’re looking for a realistic, balanced approach to detoxing, or just need a plan to get back on track after falling off the wagon, read on. With the right steps, it only takes one day to get on track.
Fill half your plate with veggies.
To reach the recommended amount of fiber and nutrients in a given day, half our meal plate should be filled with vegetables. We know that veggies are packed with nutrients, but what role to vegetables play in detoxing the body? The answer: fiber.
When foods high in soluble fiber pass through our digestive tract, they absorb (and eventually excrete) toxins, sugars and cholesterol along the way. Foods rich in insoluble fiber serve as a gentle scrub brush and cleanser for the colon.
Look to cruciferous vegetables, fruit, lentils and oats for soluble fiber, and leafy greens for insoluble fiber. For an added detox benefit, consume foods from the Allium family, such as garlic, onions, and leeks, which are rich in detoxifying phytonutrients.
Sleep. Preferably by 10pm.
We know that sleep is critical for repair and recovery from training. Sleep is also a key time for eliminating waste and toxins accumulated through the day. Research indicates that the hours between 10pm and 12am can be particularly potent detox hours, so do what you can to get to bed early.
Sweat it out.
Perspiration is the body’s natural detoxification method. Get outside and break a sweat, even if it’s just a brisk 20-minute walk.
Avoid processed foods for one day.
The only thing processed foods have going for them is they’re convenient. Processed foods are calorically dense, nutrient-poor and contain chemicals that our body has to work hard to process and eliminate such as MSG, industrial seed oils, sodium nitrates, artificial sweeteners and an array of others. Give your body less to detoxify in the first place by eliminating processed foods.
The body’s detox organs—the liver and kidneys—need water to do their job. Even a mild state of dehydration can impair these organs’ ability to eliminate waste and toxins. Water is also essential for transporting nutrients into our cells. You get the picture: staying hydrated is a simple, easy way to detox and absorb more of the good stuff from the foods we’re eating.
If you’re on the path to healthier living and get derailed, don’t get discouraged. Start by taking charge of your health for one single day, then build from there. With these manageable steps, you can regain traction and reignite motivation in just 24 hours.