How to make healthy choices every day

Simple Detox for All

Whew! What a long blog break that was. The holidays were a beautiful bustle of family and friends and I feel refreshed and excited to welcome the New Year!
Now back to cultivating My New Roots…

This time of year I get so many questions about detox programs and cleansing. I suppose that after the holidays everyone is dying for a quick fix that will help shed their holiday weight gain and give them an excuse to abstain from drinking alcohol for a week. However, detoxifying the body is a serious undertaking and not something to rush into, especially if your diet has been…ahem…less than perfect lately.
Firstly, going to extremes is not the answer. Fasting, or giving up food entirely, is an inappropriate path to take this time of year, since our bodies need food to keep us warm and nourished for the cold winter months ahead. (The spring and summer months are more suitable for fasting since the weather is warmer and we don’t need as many calories to regulate our body temperature. Makes sense, doesn’t it?) And I bet it’s good news for you, since that water fast you were planning can now be put off until June. Whoopee.

Yes, now is the time to be gentle and make small changes to your diet for a week or so. You will certainly notice a difference and maybe even feel compelled to continue your clean nutritional regime, bringing your body back into balance, improving your concentration, sleep, digestion and energy! Big Whoopee.

We can also support the process of detoxification through other routines such as yoga, using saunas, and massage. All of these physical practices help to move toxins through the lymphatic system by sweating, or specific movements that twist and “ring out” internal organs.

Here are some general cleansing tips that almost everyone can follow after the holidays.

Dietary Suggestions:
1. Start everyday with a cup of warm water and fresh lemon juice. This serves to flush the digestive system, stimulate the liver and kidneys and alkalinize the whole body. (This is one of the best things you can do for yourself! Especially if you can squeeze it in before your morning coffee or tea. Start now and do it everyday for the rest of your life…watch miracles happen.)
2. For one week, meals should consist mainly of brown rice, steamed vegetables, miso broth and seaweed (all organically grown!). Ginger and cayenne may be added to flavour soups to stimulate circulation.
3. Drink plenty of water! At least 2 litres of purified or filtered water a day to stimulate your kidneys, liver and digestive system’s (primary detox organs) functions. It will also boost your metabolism, which in turn accelerates toxin and fat elimination.
Things to avoid: drugs, sugar, fried foods, meats, dairy, anything in a box, bag or bottle!

Lifestyle suggestions:
1. Head to a yoga class, book a massage, or find a sauna to hop in!
2. Practice dry skin brushing. See instructions here.
3. If you want to exercise, keep the intensity low…your body is resting.
4. Be gentle with yourself. Choose a week where you have time to relax and reflect, get some extra sleep (8 or more hours a night), and the mental space for the challenge of change.

What? Disappointed that I didn’t tell you to starve yourself? You wanted some drastic deprivation and torture? The truth is, most of us struggle giving up booze for a week, so if you can handle the suggestions above, you have my blessing to move on to more convoluted procedures. Good luck with that.

When you come out of a gentle cleanse such as this one, try to continue eating a balanced, whole foods diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. As we treat our bodies with the physical and emotional respect they deserve, our need to detoxify becomes less and less and the better we will feel everyday.

I wish everyone the best for 2009. Thanks for continuing to discover the beauty of becoming the healthiest, most vibrant self through My New Roots!

source: Haas, Elson M. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkley, CA: Wiley, 2006.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at

23 thoughts on “Simple Detox for All”

  • Hi Sarah, I love your blog! I use so many of your recipes all the time. I was wondering if you boil the water for the ‘hot water with lemon’?

  • Hi Sarah, are you still here blogging? It doesn’t seem as tho you are posting back to some of the ladies. I just saw this and want to know if you have any updates to the cleanse?

  • suggestions for gluten-free, dairy-free living? I’ve found this diet eliminates my rheumatoid arthritis, but it feels limiting doing without cheese!

  • Hi Miss Sarah,

    It’s 2014, yey, and joyfully enjoying your post about nutrition and health. But this topic about cleansing publich wayback in 2009 is amazing. I know it’s late, I just found your website what else can I say. Anyways, in cleansing you said avoid drugs? I have hypertension, ya said to say. I want to try this regimen as I’m one of those people that need cleansing :). Does this diet affects when taking my medications? Any other opinion?

  • Hi Sarah!

    You don’t mention how much lemon to use in lemon water in this post, but I saw in another post that you suggested 1/3 lemon. I didn’t know that, so I have been using the juice of an entire small lemon. Are there any drawbacks to this, other than the potential damage to my teeth (which I try to minimize)? It feels easier to use the entire lemon than store half of it/possibly lose that good juice power. I would love to hear what you think!

  • Thank you Sarah for the wealth of information your blog provides me with. I am wondering if you could tell me if lemon could be replaced by lime in my morning glass of lukewarm water. This would be much more convenient for me considering I have a lime tree in my backyard.
    Sincerely, Andrea

  • I’m on day 6 and am feeling really great. On day 4 I was craving protein and added some tofu to my rice, veg, broth mixture. Should I be staying away from tofu and just sticking to beans and lentils for protein?

    For a tip; I made veg broth using only the scraps from the organic veggies that I’d prepped for steaming and some cayenne for heat. It was nice to use that broth instead of the miso sometimes to mix things up and the heat of the cayenne made up for the absence of salt.

  • Hi Sarah! I really like your blog!! 🙂 I am not doing a cleanse right now but I started drinking hot water with lemon in the morning because you said it was good for the body. But I confess I really really like the taste of my morning coffee too. What do you think about drinking hot water with lemon and then a coffee? Do you think one small coffee everyday is bad for me? Should I try to stop or is it ok to have a little bit each day? I’m finding a lot of different opinion on that so I wanted to know what you think. Thank you so much!!! 🙂

  • Hi Rachel – glad to hear you’re going through the archives. There is lots of good stuff in the back 😉

    As for your question, yes, lemon juice is ‘acidic’ in the mouth, but it’s what it leaves behind – an alkaline ‘ash’ that is why it’s considered alkalinizing. Perhaps this is a topic I will cover in a future post…thank you for the idea!

    Sarah B

  • Sarah,
    I am so thrilled to have found your blog. I’m catching up!

    Re: the water and lemon juice- can you explain how this alkalinizes the body? I always thought citrus would be acidic.

  • Great question Izabel!
    Yes, as it says in the post: “meals should consist mainly of brown rice, steamed vegetables, miso broth and seaweed”. So that means definitely no soy or caffeine.

    Good luck on your cleanse! Your body will thank you 🙂

    Best, Sarah B

  • Hi! In the first recommendation, are you saying water with lemon juice, or the two separated? Dumb question I know but I was just wondering..

  • Hello Anonymous 🙂

    Good question. When I am cleansing, I like to have steamed brown rice for breakfast, maybe with a little miso broth and veggies – pretty much what you would eat for every other meal! You can also try other non-gluten grains such as quinoa, millet, amaranth etc. If you want to eat fruit, cook it first by steaming it over the grains. Apples are nice this time of year, and seasonal.

    Happy cleaning!
    Sarah B

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