Yesterday, I shared with you some of the detox symptoms to expect when you cut out processed foods (and refined sugar). Today, I wanted to share some of the practical things you can do to help yourself through it and possibly make those symptoms less severe.
As a reminder, some of the detox symptoms to expect:
- Severe headaches/Migraines
- Fatigue, loss of energy
- brain fog, lack of concentration
- general malaise
- constant hunger
I’m going to talk more about the spiritual aspect of this tomorrow, but pray, pray, pray. Start your day with a daily quiet time –get in God’s word. When you feel bad because of detox, turn to the Bible, turn to the Lord in prayer.
Remember that this is a spiritual battle for Christians. If you’re in a bad position with food or addicted to sugar, you likely have made it an idol in your life to some extent–turning to food for comfort when you should be turning to the Lord. I am not pointing fingers here, I’m speaking from experience.
Use this time to pray, praise, worship, and get in God’s word. Turn to Him for help through these symptoms.
Have a Plan
I have learned that I don’t think well during detox symptoms–hunger, severe headaches, brain fog, no concentration, irritability, fatigue and general malaise do not make good thinking conditions! If I rely on myself to make good choices during this time, I’m setting myself up for failure. I do much better when I prepare well.
- Stock your house with good foods and healthy, on-plan snacks
- Prepare as much as possible–cutting up veggies, boil some eggs to have on hand for an instant snack, etc.
- Make a meal plan so that you aren’t trying to think of something to feed yourself and your family
First of all, make sure you’re eating enough. I know this is completely opposite from most “diet” language, but remember, you’re not trying to eat nothing, or even much less, you’re just trying to eat the right kinds of foods. While you are cutting out refined sugar and processed foods, there will likely be a transition period during which you feel hungry all the time. This is okay–your body is getting used to having to work a bit more for it’s energy. Fight that by eating more of the right types of foods.
Also, remember that in most cases the good foods you’re now eating have far less calories. Just for example, a small order of McDonald’s french fries has around 250 calories while a side salad with no dressing has around 21 calories! So, you may want to track your calories in a calorie tracker (like free www.myfitnesspal.com) to ensure you’re eating enough and getting a good amount of nutrients, etc.
Note: I know a lot of people think snacks are bad and that you shouldn’t snack between meals. When I’m trying to come off sugar and going through these detox symptoms and feeling hungry all the time, I allow myself on-plan snacks, in order to help myself through the process.
Drink More Water
Drinking enough water (at least 8 glasses a day, possibly more for some people) can really help your body with the detox process. It can also help ensure that you don’t get dehydrated, which can make some of your symptoms far worse–particularly headaches.
—> If you don’t care for water, try recipes like this one to liven it up a bit--get a more refreshing taste and more nutrients–a win/win.
I love my essential oils, and have some favorites for helping through detox symptoms as well as many other things. Here are some suggestions of ones that I use specifically for these things:
- Peppermint Essential Oil- This is great for headaches, and also for increased energy. For headaches, I put a drop on my fingertip and rub at the back of my neck, behind my ears, on my wrists, and under my nose. For fighting fatigue, I put it in those same places, or wear it in my essential oil diffuser necklace.
- Lavender Essential Oil- This is great for that irritability! It has a calming effect. I put a drop in my diffuser necklace and wear it throughout the day. You may not notice a change immediately, but when I use it throughout the day, I definitely feel overall more calm and relaxed.
There are other great essential oils, but these are a couple of basic ones that I have found useful for this particular purpose.
I’ve heard others who have good results from adding vitamins and supplements to their diet at first to help with some of those symptoms.
- Sleep. Be sure you’re getting enough rest. Lack of sleep will just exacerbate all the other detox symptoms. Proper rest will help your body adjust.
- Eat a good breakfast. We’ve all heard it’s important to start your day well with a good healthy breakfast, but I think if possible it’s even more important during this time when you’re trying to detox from bad foods.