Action Plan Detox Dos and Don'ts

The 2011 Whole Living Action Plan 28-Day Challenge begins with a gentle, food-based detox designed to go easy on your body in more ways than one. This is not a fasting diet; you'll be eating frequently and can always snack on whole foods like organic nuts and fresh fruit. But you will also cut out a lot of the junk that you may be used to eating, easing up on your digestion in the process.

"By removing common allergens, you boost nutritional intake and support your digestion," says naturopathic physician Brooke Kalanick, author of "Ultimate You."

Each day eat five to six small meals rich in fruits, vegetables, and other complex carbs. Supplement with organic, hormone-free animal protein if you want, and remove the skin to cut down on saturated fat. Opt for high-fiber, gluten-free grains; choose brown or black rice over white, for example. 

A typical meal might be three ounces of protein (the size of a smart phone) 1/4 to 1/2 cup carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes, or fruit), and unlimited nonstarchy vegetables like leafy greens. It also might be an apple with 2 teaspoons almond butter or a smoothie. 

Mix and match the Week 1 recipes provided, or make your own using the following elimination guidelines.

Foods to Avoid: Week 1

  • Added sugar
  • Processed foods or beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Wheat gluten (see detailed list below)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Peanut products
  • Fruit juices (Most are very high in sugar. Unsweetened, low-calorie juices -- like pomegranate -- are okay.)
  • Soy, including soy sauce
  • Corn
  • Farm-raised fish and shellfish
  • Fish that are high in mercury (swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, tuna steaks, canned albacore, and whale)

Foods to Avoid: Week 2

  • Added sugar
  • Processed foods and beverages
  • Alcohol 
  • Fruit juices (a splash is fine, but don't guzzle OJ -- the sugars add up.)

What to Avoid for Good

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Preservatives

Which Foods Contain Gluten? 
Foods that contain gluten include wheat, flour, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, triticale, cereal, oats (unless specifically gluten-free), couscous, bulgur, fried and battered foods, and soy sauce (except for tamari). 

If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, you may also react to foods that can contain traces of gluten derivatives, such as alcohol made from grains, bran, canned foods containing preservatives, ketchups and mustards (unless specifically gluten-free), margarine, sausage, imitation seafood, salad dressings, instant hot drinks, fruit drinks, white pepper, some curry powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), starches, and even chewing gum. 

Gluten-free grains include rice, quinoa, 100 percent buckwheat (or soba) noodles, millet, amaranth, teff, and Irish oats.  

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