For many of us with busy lifestyles, the meals we serve ourselves and families range from healthy, to healthy-ish, to not-that-healthy. Healthy and nutrient-dense foods heal, restore and refuel. Eating a lot of foods that are processed and nutrient-poor can harm our bodies. My diet isn’t perfect so I do a 21 Day Big 6 Detox (21DB6D) in January each year. This is a period of whole body restoration where I’m only eating nutrient-dense and whole foods.
The Big 6 Detox removes the top food groups that have been known to cause inflammation, or negative reactions from the body. The idea here is by removing these potential negative triggers, your body will be in a continuous period of restoration and healing.
Here are the big 6 food groups that are removed from this detox.
Without Grains. Some of the most popular grains are wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye and millet. The reason why grains are one of the popular food groups to eliminate during detoxes is because they have evolved to produce toxins, like gluten, to protect itself from predators like humans. These toxins poke holes in our gut lining, bind to essential minerals and make them unavailable to the body, prohibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients like protein.
Without Dairy. Milk from conventional cows are raised with reproductive hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and growth products. Some of these additives are known to promote cancer. The Dairy Council has convinced us milk is the best source for calcium. The truth is there are better food options that are more calcium-rich for healthy bones and are also a good source of Vitamin D, K, and magnesium. Sardines and arugula are a great example of this.
Without Added Sugar. Sugar is highly addictive and can cause blood sugar imbalance, insulin resistance, weight gain, diabesity, and many other problems. Sugar is confusing because it has over 200 different names and food manufacturers use this confusion to sneak it into most processed and packaged foods.
Without alcohol. In moderation, drinking alcohol works for many of us. When drinking becomes a daily habit (one, two, or three + glasses to wind down from the day), it can start to negatively impact your health. Alcohol can effect sleep, your mood, your skin, your hormones, and your digestion.
Without legumes (beans). We should avoid legumes because they contain the anti-nutrients called lectin and phytate. Lectins are a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes and studies have shown lectins can impair growth, damage the lining of the small intestine, and destroy muscle. Phytates interfere with enzymes we need to digest our food. Even though these anti-nutrients would be inactivated after 15 minutes of cooking, I eliminate them for their reputation for triggering a negative reaction in the body.
Without processed oils. Canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn, vegetable are categorized as processed oils because they go through steps like bleaching, de-gumming, deodorization, high heat, to create oil from the plant they are picked. All of this processing makes the oil unstable and hard to digest. Processed oils also have a high imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. High omega-6 intake has been linked to an increase in all inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, psychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases. I like to use canola oil and ghee for cooking and olive oil for salads.
So what can you eat?
- Any whole food like vegetables, meat, seafood, eggs, natural oils, herbs, spices.
- Only one granny smith apple or green tip banana a day
- Read labels and make sure you each ingredient is allowed during the detox
If you are having trouble with sleep, digestion, brain function, or energy levels, please join me in January and let’s do the 21 Day Big 6 Detox together.