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Action Plan Detox: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid

During a detox, it's important to have a solid, healthy meal for lunch. Get inspired by these detox-friendly lunch recipes, or feel free to create a meal from any of the "Foods to Include" listed below. 

Aim for variety, and take care not to supersize your portions. A lunch salad might include 4 ounces of protein, 1/2 cup of grains, greens, a cup or two of vegetables, a tablespoon of oil, and several herbs and spices.

Our detox guidelines, including which foods to eat and which to avoid, were adapted from "Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself" (HarperOne; 2009) by Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Foods to Include

  • Dairy substitutes: Rice and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk
  • Non-gluten grains: brown rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, potato flour, quinoa, gluten-free oats
  • Fruits and vegetables: unsweetened fresh or frozen whole fruits, water-packed canned fruits, diluted fruit juices and raw steamed, sauteed, juiced, or roasted vegetables
  • Animal protein: fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken, and turkey
  • Vegetable protein: split peas, lentils, and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts; sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds; hazelnuts; pecans; almonds; cashews; nut butters such as almond or tahini
  • Oils: cold-pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut, canola, and pumpkin
  • Drinks: filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, seltzer or mineral water
  • Sweeteners: brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, fruit sweetener, and blackstrap molasses
  • Condiments: vinegar; all spices, including salt, pepper, basil, carob, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric

Foods to Exclude

  • Dairy and eggs: all
  • Butter and mayonnaise: all
  • Grains: wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, triticale, most oats (oats are usually contaminated with gluten unless you can find a gluten-free brand)
  • Fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, corn, creamed vegetables
  • Animal protein: pork, beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, shellfish
  • Vegetable protein: soybean products (soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, textured vegetable protein)
  • Nuts and seeds: peanuts and peanut butter
  • Oils: shortening, processed oils, salad dressings, and spreads
  • Drinks: alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and soft drinks
  • Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice
  • Condiments: chocolate, ketchup, relish, chutney, barbecue sauce, teriyaki

Things to Watch For

  • Corn starch is often present in baking powder, beverages, and processed foods.
  • Vinegar in ketchup, mayonnaise, and some mustard usually comes from wheat or corn. 
  • Breads advertised as gluten-free still might contain coats, spelt, kamut, or rye.
  • Many amaranth and millet flake cereals contain oat or corn.
  • Many canned tunas contain textured vegetable protein, which is from soy; look for low-salt versions, which tend to be pure tuna, with no fillers.
  • Multi-grain rice cakes are not just rice. Be sure to purchase plain rice cakes.

Use this shopping list to stock up on everything you need for the Action Plan four-day detox. 

Get more Action Plan tools and join the community.

 

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