Spring Detoxification Part 2: The Do’s and Don’ts of a Detox Diet

Last week we talked about the importance of detoxification and the ten things you can do to detoxify your body. This week we want to share some tips on how to start cleansing your body of toxins and provide you with a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of eating while on a detox.

Although cleansing is not an easy process to stick with, most people feel better as their cleanse progresses—more vital energy, lighter, less blocked, more flexible, clearer, and more spiritually attuned.  There are so many benefits to detoxing your body and mind!

Where to Start?

  1. Read last week’s article, consult a naturopathic doctor, follow the detoxification guidelines and get ready to start feeling great!
  2. Upon waking, ½ a lemon freshly squeezed into filtered or boiled water.
  3. Breathe! Practice your deep breathing exercises. Not only does it get rid of toxins, but it also stimulates your digestive system to help your gut to detox as well! Get in the habit of doing this regularly in your daily routine!
  4. Exercise 20-30 minutes throughout the day at your convenience. This doesn’t need to be strenuous, even a 30-minute, moderate speed walk can help get rid of those toxins. AND, if you walk outside, you’ve just completed two of the detox methods in one! Exercise and Fresh air!
  5. Drink water continuously throughout the day, aiming for 3-4 L. Carry a water bottle with you. To avoid toxins it is important to drink out of a plastic-free water bottle and drink filtered water.
  6. Eat foods from the detoxification list below. Some of the foods are very helpful in detoxification and we suggest incorporating them into your meals daily. These foods include beets, garlic, onions, any green vegetables, lemons, oats (not processed oatmeal), apples, pears, black cherries, nuts and seeds (raw and unsalted).
  7. Try to eat a variety of foods. We have a 3- Day Detox Plan with grocery lists and recipes to help get you inspired.
  8. Avoid drinking during meals and if needed only have small amounts.  Drink liquids one half-hour before and one hour after a meal.
  9. Chew all food WELL.  Aim for 20 times per mouthful.
  10. Practice meditation and journaling! Dr. Chris ND has a great journal to help guide you through this process!
  11. Between dinner and bedtime drink only herbal teas.  Refrain from food and alcohol intake late at night to give your bowels time to repair and detoxify.

“Healing Reactions”

Please be aware that people experience different reactions to detoxification and cleansing depending on how much your body needs to eliminate.  Some common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, sweating, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, runny nose, and an inability to concentrate.  These and others are normal reactions and can be lessened with increased water intake, exercise and resting when needed.  Try to start your cleansing process when you have a day or two off from work since the first day or two are the most difficult.  These symptoms will subside and the benefits will be worth it!!!

Detoxification Diet

REMEMBER: If possible, it’s best to get organic foods as it decreases your exposure to toxins from pesticides.



Herb teas: mint, spearmint, comfrey, licorice root, eucalyptus, dandelion, chaparral, red clover, chamomile, coffee substitute: pero, cafix Alcohol, cocoa, coffee, milk, soft drinks & decaf coffee


Millet, rye, buckwheat, whole wheat, bran, corn, 7-grains, soya tortillas, only whole grains, freshly ground or sprouted, free of all preservatives White bread and blended bread, made out of white flour


Millet, oatmeal, brown and wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, cornmeal, cracked wheat and 7-grains, freshly ground, if possible Processed cereals


No dairy products, tofu (soy cheese) is OK
Milk substitutes: soy, sesame or diluted tahini milk, rice milk, use nut milks sparingly
Eggs, milk, cheeses


Most cold-pressed, unsaturated oils such as: safflower, sesame, walnut, corn, soy and soy lecithin spread Butter, shortening, margarine, saturated oils & fats, cottonseed oil, rancid & continually heated oils


Cold water fish (baked, broiled, poached), tofu, all legumes.
Free-range, organic meat may be acceptable
Meat: beef, port, poultry, veal (conventionally raised)  


Fresh whole fruits, fruit cocktails, stewed fruits, natural, fruit gelatin, whole tapioca
Sweeteners: honey, sorghum, maple syrup (in moderation)
Canned or frozen fruits, all pastries, custards, sauces, ice cream, candy


Fresh fruits organically grown if possible, apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, currants, grapes, guavas, grapefruit, lemon, mango, melon, nectarine, oranges, papaya, peaches, pineapple, pears, plums, persimmons, tangerines Sprayed and sulfured fruits, canned or frozen fruit


Only fresh UNSWEETENED juices
Fruit: apple, berry, cherry, grape, grapefruit, lemon, orange, pear, pineapple, prune
Vegetable: beet, carrot, cucumber, celery, garlic, onion, peppers (red or green bell), radish, red cabbage, turnip
Peel sprayed vegetables or wash thoroughly
All canned and frozen juices


Limited amount of nuts, particularly fresh, raw walnuts, almonds, pecan, peanuts, raw nut butters, freshly made in blender or juicer only
Seeds: sunflower, sesame and pumpkin
Roasted and/or salted nuts and seeds


Homemade soups made from listed ingredients.
Brown rice, barley or millet can be added
Miso soup with vegetables
Canned and creamed soups, fat stock, bouillon or stock, bouillon consommé


Baked or steamed potatoes with jackets and mashed potato salad seasoned with salad dressing, millet, brown rice and all kinds of pasta & macaroni made from buckwheat, whole wheat, soy and vegetable flour without eggs French fries, potato chips, grilled potatoes, white flour noodles and macaroni


All spices: chives, garlic, parsley, sprouts.
Herbs: laurel, marjoram, sage, thyme, savory
Kelp, vegetable and herb seasonings (that contain no sodium chloride [table salt])
Salt substitutes: ‘spike’, ‘vegit’, ‘veg sal’ and soy sauce


Raw or freshly steamed, organically grown if possible.
Artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, celery, chives, corn, cucumbers, endive, green and wax beans, green peas, lentils, lima beans, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, yams, watercress, kale, beet tops, radish, red cabbage, etc.
Sprayed or canned vegetables

Suggested Menu

• Juice
• Raw/ cooked fruits
• Cereal with soy milk
• Wheat or Rye Toast
• Steamed Vegetables
• Pasta or grain
• Salad
• Fruits and tea
• Salad
• Soup
• Potato
• Fruit
• Fresh fruit and juice
• Nuts and fruit
• Fruit, Juice

If you feel the need to eat more frequently on this temporary diet – go right ahead!


  1. Pizzorno, J. and Murray, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine 2nd ed. Harcourt Brace and company, 1999.
  2. revised 9/8/02  Clinic/handouts/Detoxification Diet, Bastyr Center for Natural Health

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