Detox Your Way to Food Freedom

Dr. Mark Hyman shares details about the detox outlined in his latest book.

The only solution to food addictions is a detox to break the cycle. Try asking a cocaine or heroin addict to “cut down.” Forget it. Once you take back control of your biochemistry and body, you can be more flexible, but in the beginning you have to think about this as you would any other addiction. You must unhook from the biology that drives your behavior.

You might wonder, “Is 10 days long enough to make a difference?” My answer is yes. Research has shown that dramatic changes in diet, without extreme measures such as gastric-bypass surgery, can quickly normalize blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, getting people off medication in as little as a week. Why? Because when you rapidly shift your way of eating, you shift your hormones, brain chemistry, and biology. After 12 weeks, a person’s liver, pancreas, and metabolism all return to normal. Our bodies are capable of amazing healing if we give them the chance.

If you break the cycle of food addictions, you will emerge after the first few days of this detox feeling light, happy, energetic, and alive again — released from the grip of food addictions and possessed of a vitality you probably haven’t experienced in years. The joy you feel from being free of cravings and struggles with food will quickly replace any quick-hit high you get from sugar and processed foods.

10-Day Detox Diet Overview

Now that you know the science of why you’re doing this program, let’s jump in and get to the actual detox. Below, I am sharing an overview from my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. For more on the specific details of the detox process, please see the book. For a list of helpful resources, see www.10daydetox.com/resources. (Please note: you will need to add your email address to access the resources from Dr. Hyman’s website.)

There are three phases of this program, and all are key to your success:

  • Phase 1 is the Prep Phase. Ideally, set aside two days for this phase before you begin the program, to physically and psychologically set the detox process in motion. During those two days, you’ll gather all the food and supplies you need. I’ll provide you with a clear checklist with everything you need to get and do during the Prep Phase.
  • Phase 2 is the actual 10-Day Detox, and it includes essential daily practices, such as exercise, an UltraDetox Bath, journaling, and daily relaxation exercises — all of which are critical for healing! Each of the 10 days has a specific focus to help you remove the most common obstacles to weight-loss success and provide the toolkit to get and stay healthy.
  • Phase 3 is the Transition Phase, which gives you a roadmap for what to do after your 10-Day Detox, and how to transition to a long-term health and weight-loss strategy.

Phase 1: Prep Phase

The key to weight loss and health is planning and preparation. The reality is that many people spend more time planning parties and vacations than planning their health. You have to design your life for success and create an environment that directs you toward the right choices automatically. For instance, if you have nuts in your pantry instead of a sheet cake, you are more likely to make a good choice of what you eat. Setting up your mind, kitchen, and work or school environment right is essential for long-term health and weight loss.

Before you get started on the actual 10-day detox, set aside two days to do the necessary preparation. To optimize your results and avoid detours and delays, you’ll want to have everything you need ready to go.

There are six simple things you’ll do during the Prep Phase:

  • Detox your kitchen. Start by throwing away anything that is not real food (unless it is a canned whole food such as sardines or artichokes with only a few real ingredients such as water or salt); any food or drink that contains sugar in any form; anything that contains trans fats and refined vegetable oils; and any foods with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, additives, coloring, or dyes. The following items also have to go, but if you feel uncomfortable throwing them away, just put them far out of sight during the detox (you may choose to re-introduce some of these in your transition phase): All gluten products, all grains, all dairy products (including yogurt and cheese), and all beans.
  • Gather your supplies. Now that you’ve cleared out your fridge and cabinets, restock them with the whole, real, fresh foods that you’ll be eating during the 10 days. Also, pick up a water filter and stainless-steel or glass bottle, the supplements you’ll need, the ingredients for 10 days of nightly UltraDetox baths, a blank notebook for your Detox Journal (which will be your constant companion throughout the 10 days), and walking shoes.
  • Taper off coffee, alcohol, and sugar. The two-day Prep Phase is the official beginning to what I call your “drug holiday,” those drugs being sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. These drugs may temporarily make you feel energized and alert, but they wear off fast, leaving you needing more or sparking the vicious cycle of crash and crave. A few days off of that crazy rollercoaster and you’ll realize just how much these substances were sabotaging your energy, health, and weight-loss efforts.
  • Align your mind and intentions. A revolution in the body starts in the mind. In the past, your weight-loss efforts may have faltered not just because of wrong eating habits, but because of wrong thinking, too. During the Prep Phase, your Detox Journal is your lifeline to rooting out the mental obstacles, beliefs, and attitudes that can sabotage your success. The goal here is to bring awareness to what stands in your way and consciously shift your focus to what you want and know you can accomplish. The more you can bring to light the obstacles and opportunities that may be hidden in your subconscious mind, the better chance you have to be able to navigate around them.
  • Measure yourself. Take the following measurements the day before you start the program and record them in your Detox Journal (or go to www.10daydetoxdiet.com/resources to find our online health tracking tools): weight, height, waist size, hip size, thigh circumference, and blood pressure (this can be done by your doctor or at the drugstore, or you could buy a home blood-pressure cuff). My book also includes a toxicity questionnaire you can fill out.
  • Please consider joining The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet community. The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet is more than just a program or a book. It’s a community. Remember, losing weight and getting healthy is a social activity! You can do the program alone, but if you find a buddy, join or create a group, or join our online community at www.10daydetox.com/resources, you will not only find support for your journey and friends on the path to help if you have questions or get discouraged, you will get twice the results. 

Phase 2: 10-Day Detox

Your template for the 10 days is simple. While the daily to-do’s are the same, the recipes and daily theme are customized (for the specific recipes and themes of each day, please see my book) so you’ll know exactly what to cook, eat, and focus on each day. All you have to do is follow each step carefully and the results happen automatically.

Your Daily Schedule

Here is the plan you’re going to follow for each of the 10 days. I encourage you to do each of these practices at roughly the same time every day, to balance your biological rhythms and help your body heal:

  1. Take your measurements and track your results in your Detox Journal or online tracking tool.
  2. Walk (or do another form of moderate exercise) for 30 minutes.
  3. Take supplements as directed.
  4. Make a breakfast Detox Shake. I recommend taking PGX, which is basically a super fiber that slows blood sugar and insulin spikes and can cut cravings and promote weight loss. It can be taken in powder or capsule form with a glass of water 15 minutes before eating.
  5. Eat a snack (optional).
  6. Have lunch (take PGX with a glass of water minutes before eating).
  7. Eat an afternoon snack (optional).
  8. Enjoy dinner (take PGX with a glass of water 15 minutes before eating).
  9. Write in your Detox Journal, recording your experience.
  10. Practice a Take-Five Breathing Break for 5 minutes.
  11. Take an UltraDetox Bath.
  12. Sleep for 7 to 8 hours.
  13. Throughout the day: Drink 8 glasses of clean, filtered water.
  14. Throughout the day: Be mindful of the power of a media fast during the program and limit your use of phone, email, and screen time to essential work or personal activities. I promise the world will still be there when you get back.

Phase 3: The Transition Phase

At this point, you’ve completed the 10-day detox, and you might be asking, So what now? This program has given you a small taste of what is possible, and now it’s up to you to decide the path you want follow to take your health and weight loss to even greater levels. After the 10-day detox, it’s up to you to choose how to transition back into your life.

After doing a little mental debriefing and taking some final tests and measurements, you can choose one of four plans. Two plan options eliminate all grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit (except for a daily 1/2 cup of berries or kiwi); a third option allows gluten-free grains, nutrient-dense starchy vegetables, and a couple of servings a day of low-glycemic fruit, such as apples, pears, berries, or pomegranate; and the final option is much like the third option but asks folks to minimize sugar and avoid all foods with added sugars.

On this last plan, you can always add a little bit of sugar, maple syrup, or honey in the food you cook yourself, but watch to see if any sweetener triggers an addictive pattern of eating. If so, like some alcoholics or addicts, you may have zero tolerance, and I’d encourage you to stay away from any type of sugar or sweetener and get your “sugar” exclusively from whole fresh fruit.

Once you have used the program to reset your biology, you’ll see that it is really the beginning of an entirely new way of eating and living — one that will lead to optimal weight and long-term health and vitality.

HYMAN_BookThumb**This article was adapted from the book The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet. Copyright 2014 by Mark Hyman, MD. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Mark Hyman is the medical director and founder of the The Ultrawellness Center in Lenox, Mass., and a leading expert in functional medicine. Follow him on Twitter @MarkHymanMD and on Facebook.com/DrMarkHyman.

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