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Keep everything as simple as possible. Do not buy anything packaged or pre-made. Eat it as nature gave it to you. Remember ‘could you grow it, gather it or make it’ yourself? If you were living 150 years ago and had to provide all your own food from your own land ~ what would you be eating?

You will also want to be avoiding all foods that create a ‘nutrient debt’. Does the food you’re eating supply you with a good quantity of nutrients that your body can use? Or does is supply you with minimal goodness and your body has to work hard to metabolize and dispose of (thereby creating a nutrient debt). Does it give you more than it takes from you? All white and refined foods fall into this category, as does alcohol.

You will also want to completely eliminate all foods that you suspect you may have sensitivities to. This is a good time to cut them out of your diet and then re-introduce them slowly to see how you react. The top 3 would be wheat, dairy and soy.  Keep your portion sizes smaller than usual. You don’t want your body to have to work too hard during this time. It should be putting its energy into eliminating waste products.


Most of your food that you are consuming should be alkaline forming. Proteins and most grains and beans are acid forming. Keep these to no more than ¼ of your meal. Everyone is metabolically different, so eat these foods in a ratio that makes you feel your best.


Water is very important during a detox (as it is at all other times as well). Drink ‘clean’ water (if you have chlorinated tap water, get it filtered). Chlorine and fluoride will destroy vital enzymes and create imbalances in your gut bacteria. You can also drink herbal teas. Drink at last 8 glasses per day and more if you feel thirsty. Water is needed to effectively flush toxins from your body.

  • Avoid alcohol and coffee.
  • NO pop or sweetened drinks/juice.


If you are a meat eater, then try to eat proteins that are easier to digest, such as fish and eggs. Beef, chicken and lamb are also okay in smaller portions. Try to buy your meat and poultry from local, grass fed and organic animals.

  • Avoid pork and shellfish.
  • Avoid all dairy during a detox.
  • Eliminate pickled, cured or smoked meats.


Whole grains are fine during a detox. Avoid grains that have been made into flour. Flour can hold things up in the digestive tract (imagine what happens to flour when you mix it with water). You want everything to be moving along smoothly and efficiently during this time. So avoid all foods made from flour (bread, pasta, baked goods, etc…). Whole grains are all acceptable, but remember that they are acid forming as well as raising blood glucose levels, so try to keep it down to ¼ of your meal. Millet (most alkaline), buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, spelt, amaranth, rye, oats, kamut are all okay. White rice is okay too in small quantities. All beans and lentils (not canned). Sesame seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts and their nut butters (tahini, etc…). Avoid peanuts and cashews unless they are organic. Pumpkin, sunflower, flax, hemp and chia seeds are all good.

  • Avoid commercial wheat products.
  • Eliminate flour.
  • Keep soy to a minimum (unless fermented).
  • No processed cereals.


As fruits contain natural sugars, eat them in moderation. A couple of pieces of fruit per day are fine but try to eat fruits that are natural to where you live (domestic fruits such as apples, pears, peaches if in season, plums, berries, etc…). One exception are lemons as they are great for a detox. Some fruits such as melons are prone to fungal growth on the skins, so avoid these during this time as well as dried fruits.

  • Avoid tropical and very sweet fruits.
  • Avoid dried fruits.


This should be the largest food group in your diet. At least ½ of your plate should be vegetables. Eat mostly vegetables that grow above the ground (green veggies). Root vegetables are high in starch and sugars. Mushrooms should be avoided as they can exacerbate fungal infections.

Arugula, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, green beans, beet tops, broccoli, brussel sprouts,  cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, dandelion, eggplant, herbs for seasoning kale, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, parsley, parsnips, peas, peppers, radicchio, radishes, rutabagas,  spinach, turnips, watercress.

Sprouts are fantastic as long as they are fresh. It’s best to sprout your own. My favourites are broccoli sprouts and daikon radish sprouts as they are both from the cruciferous family and support the liver.

Sea vegetables are an important addition to any diet. Alginate in the seaweed will help to chelate toxins out of the body.

  • Avoid white potatoes.
  • Avoid mushrooms.


You should only be using home made condiments during your cleanse. Dips made from beans, avocado or a salsa are all very tasty! Use as many fresh herbs and spices as you like. Dressings can be made simply from oils and lemon or vinegar.

You can use as much of garlic, onions, green onions, shallots, chives, ginger, green foods (fresh vegetable juices, home grown sprouts and other vegetables), seaweeds (dulse and kelp can be sprinkled on foods), olive oil, coconut oil, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, lemon juice, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, etc..), cayenne, turmeric and many other spices and herbs. These are all very supportive foods.

Always use cold pressed oils in salad dressings and smoothies. Use Stevia to sweeten your food if you have a sweet tooth.

  • No sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, etc..)
  • No jams or jelly.
  • No baked goods.
  • No deep fried foods or hydrogentated/commercial oils.


Fermented vegetables are a great addition to any diet and fermented cabbage is especially powerful and will help the liver to detoxify. Home made naturally fermented sauerkraut and Korean kim chi are great ways to add extra flavour to your meals! Miso soup (fermented soy and rice) with seaweed is fantastic! If you have access to kombucha, it would be great as well.You can ferment pretty much any vegetables.


Written by, Kira Neumann, RHN

January 13, 2012