BY FITZ-GEORGE, Jamaica Observer
AFTER holidays and the thrill of the culinary experiences that come with it, it’s time to get back on track with healthier, controlled portions and reduced refined flour and sugar intake.
The first option for many is to detox, essentially choosing a low-calorie, possibly tea, soup or some other liquid-based diet with the likely inclusion of chosen herbs or seasonings.
Does detoxing work?
There is no complete scientific support for detox diets. If you are trying to drop a few pounds, the low-calorie regimen of a detox diet may help. It is also highly likely that you will regain those pounds.
If you are trying to clean your liver, brain, kidneys, vessels, or some other part of your body, save your time and money.
Many typical detox diets may even prove to be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions, such as low blood sugar.
How will you get rid of toxins?
Toxins don’t “build up” in any specific part of your body, and your healthy liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, colon, skin, and lungs will do the job of processing and ridding you of anything you need out of your system.
Simply not loading yourself with processed, excessively fatty, sugary, and simple carb-laden foods will give your system the time to regain the balance it needs.
Shift your dietary focus to wholefoods, clean proteins, fruits, fibre foods, and vegetables and you will be fine.
If your detox is a clean-eating dietary focus, then definitely, “detox” away. But for all the hyped detoxes promoted over the years, forget them, shortcuts are never the healthiest options.
What can I do?
Forget detoxing, pay attention to and fix your gut microbiome.
If you want to make a significant scientifically proven adjustment after going off your dietary wellness wagon, recondition your gut microbiome instead.
Your gut microbiome is a collection of potentially damaging bacteria and the good helpful fungi, microbes and bacteria. Think of it like a garden connected to your hormones and brain.
The bad bacteria, which feeds off refined foods, fast food, sugars, processed foods, and flour, are like the weeds, choking off the healthy systems. The good bacteria are the ordered sections of the garden, with all the beautiful plants, fruit trees, birds chirping, and the shaded areas with a cool evening breeze flowing through.
As dramatic as that may sound, the facts are much more dramatic. Your gut microbiome:
• Directly regulates inflammation;
• Regulates digestion;
• Is connected to protecting you from: Obesity, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and autoimmune diseases;
• Affects your immune system;
• Is linked to mental health, mood, anxiety, depression, and low energy;
• Has been associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s;
• Affects your cravings and habituation;
• And helps with the production of certain vitamins.
Most of all, your gut microbiome needs you to properly tend it. Your actions will define your outcomes, what you eat will affect your gut microbiome and will affect your likelihood of all the above, and more.
ITK gut reconditioning diet
To recondition your gut microbiome and have a well-tended, health-inducing, internal garden, there are two sets of things you must do.
• Cut out processed foods, fast foods, etc;
• No processed meats;
• No refined flour or flour products;
• Reject refined sugars or products;
• No artificial sweeteners.
Include your chosen gut-healthy foods in your diet for three to seven days straight. Those foods are:
• Clean proteins, for example: Plant proteins, eggs, salmon, grilled or baked fish or chicken;
• Seeds, for example hemp seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds;
• Beans, for example lentils;
• Probiotics (fermented foods containing good bacteria), for example: yogurt, sauerkraut; kefir, tempeh, kimchi;
• Prebiotic (feeds good gut bacteria), for example: green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, leeks; whole grains such as quinoa, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, teff, corn, wild brown rice;
• Polyphenol-rich foods (healthy blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress-reducing plant compounds), for example: Berries, onions, green tea; kombucha tea, almonds, and garlic.
If you know how you are feeling, if you know you have been eating less than optimally and you need to get back on your wellness track, don’t focus on cutting calories or eliminating healthy food groups, don’t wasting time on “detoxes/cleanses”. Stick to a tried, tested and scientifically proven path.
Do your reconditioning diet first (ITK), build up your gut microbiome, set yourself up for a healthy, and well-adjusted future. Remember, the knowledge of truth should determine your logical choice.
Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at intekaiacademy.org