A detox diet gains importance in the context of contemporary lifestyles predominated by processed and junk foods and the deluge of pollutants that assail us every day.

Shahnaz Gulrez, Consultant Nutritionist in Chennai gives us tips on getting the best out of your detox diet. Excerpts from an interview with her:

Why is a detox diet important?

“Every day, we are exposed to many pollutants and toxins. Junk foods and processed foods are loaded with toxins. A detox diet is ideal to flush out these toxins accumulated over a period of time, from our system. Normally most of us do not drink enough water or fluids. A detox diet gives your body easy-to-digest food and keeps it free from the stress of digesting difficult foods. It is also a good way to wean oneself from processed and junk foods. Go on a detox diet and get on to a healthy, wholesome, balanced and nutritious diet. Processed foods are a big NO!”

What is the best way to detox your body?

“I give my clients a detox diet for three days. The detox diet is predominantly based on fruits and vegetable juice. Those who do not like having juices all the time or those for whom it is inconvenient to make or carry juices, I suggest whole fruits; but they must consume lots of water. A detox diet is primarily based on fluids. We do not allow processed or other foods.

A detox diet is basically a cleansing treatment to flush out toxins. I don’t suggest a detox diet for more than three days because it is not good to deprive your body of certain nutrients for a long time.”

Oftentimes it is not practical to make or carry juices with you, especially if you go to work. So how do to continue a detox diet?

“Since many people go to work, it doesn’t make sense to ask them to prepare and carry different types of juice or even have veggies like cucumbers. I suggest a diet that suits one’s personal choice and requirements and is easier to follow. I give them this color concept which is a famous diet of mine. I give five basic color concept fruits and vegetables such as blue-purple, yellow-orange, red, white and green and ask them to include all these colors every day. They can mix and match the way they want and according to their time schedule. They can make juices or have as whole, but they should have more fluid content by supplementing with water. It is important to make sure all the colors are done in a day.”

After a detox diet, how do you get back to normal diet?

“After three days, you cannot go back to having processed or junk food. In fact, a detox diet is a good way to get out of junk food, to first wean out of the lifestyle we have adopted and correct your food habits. I tell people to detox and go into a proper diet. We give guidelines for a healthy diet if detox is only for general health reasons. If the detox diet is for a specific purpose, such as to lose weight or deal with a skin issue, then the diet will be different. We chalk out a diet according to the person’s goals and needs.”

What is the ideal kind of diet to follow after a detox?

“It is better to go on a simplistic diet with fiber rich foods, pulses and lots of fruits and vegetables and a good quantity of yoghurt, which is a probiotic and is very good. You can also have a bit of nuts which are rich in essential fatty acids.”

Today alcohol is an integral part of the food culture of many youngsters. What is your counsel on consuming liquor intelligently?

“What I suggest normally is to restrict alcohol to once a week. There are different kinds of alcohol. If you have to make a choice, red wine it is. It is good for the heart. If someone likes to indulge three or four times a week, I tell them to cut down to once a week. For some who have a hectic social life and cannot avoid alcohol, I would say even twice a week is fine but try to have it in moderation, such as one small peg a day. Ideally, bring it to once a week. Moreover, it is not just the alcohol that impacts the body but the snacks that go with it, which are usually deep-fried and high-fat foods, which are consumed often during the night. It is not healthy. If you must snack, choose foods that do not add up to your calories. That is most important.