Welcome to New Year, New You, our month-long series that is dedicated to helping you reach your body, mind, beauty and health goals for 2014.
If your goal is to be more healthy in the new year, one way to get off on the right foot is to rid your body of all the toxins that have built up over the past year.
In this excerpt from her forthcoming book, Raw and Simple Detox, author Judita Wignall explains how the body benefits from a detox program, why raw foods are great for detoxifying the body, and the specific toxins that her raw and simple detox plan will target.
“Detoxification simply means to remove toxins—the environmental and man-made chemicals that accumulate in our body over time through our modern lifestyle.
Our bodies are self-healing and will take care of foreign matter as needed all day long, but there can still be an overload as more toxins than we can eliminate enter the body. It’s an unfortunate reality of our chemical-filled world.
This overload results in reduced energy and organ function, inflammation, nutritional deficiency, accelerated aging, and disease. There are many methods and opinions on how to move the junk out, but the way that I’ve helped my clients do this gently and with the least amount of side effects is to eat your way to health with raw foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, avocados, coconuts, nuts, and seeds.
A raw food diet consists of eating foods that have not been heated over 118°F (48°C), thereby preserving their full nutritional content. At 118°F (48°C), we start to break down the enzymes, and at 135°F (57°C), we begin to lose the vitamins and phytonutrients in the food.
A typical cooked meal only has around 50 to 70 percent of the nutrients it had before it was heated. No heat means that the carbohydrates (sugars) haven’t caramelized, fats are not adulterated and sticky, and the protein amino acid chains are intact and bioavailable.
Every raw meal gives you more bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking, and is packaged in the way Mother Nature intended for us, not stripped, processed, and refortified, with added preservatives and artificial chemicals like most of the food on grocery store shelves today.
Besides eating more nutrient-dense meals, we’re also lightening up the digestive load. It takes a lot of energy to digest food from our stomach to, well, the finish line. Our digestive tract is 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) long and involves several major organs, such as the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
In [the plan in my book], we’ll be enjoying lots of easy-to-digest foods like juices, smoothies, and soups. Eating light gives our body more energy to work on removing toxins and repairing tissues and cellular function; in short, we are supporting the natural cleansing process of the body.
Other great benefits to raw food are that it also contains fiber to help sweep out waste in the digestive system and water to hydrate the colon and tissues. Having great digestion is the heart of great health, as you’ll see later on in this book.
Because raw foods are so high in antioxidants, they are anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation is an immune response that occurs when cells are signaled to respond to an injury or foreign stimuli like carcinogens, toxins, fungi, or pathogens. This is the body’s way of protecting itself and is an important part of healing.
When inflammation is coming from a toxic environment or diet, eating antioxidant-rich raw foods can help neutralize free radicals that cause damage within the body, like in the arteries (such as plaque), joints (such as arthritis), and eyes (such as macular degeneration).
So consider this an anti-inflammatory diet as well as a detox and a major step in slowing degenerative disease.
But the power of a raw food detox lies not in just what we eat, but also what we don’t eat. Let’s face it. The Standard American Diet (SAD . . . sad indeed) is quite toxic.
IN THIS DETOX WE OMIT
- Processed foods that have been stripped of nutrients
- Industrial seed oils that are rancid and inflammatory
- High-fructose corn syrup that is linked to obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease
- Artificial sweeteners that are neurotoxins
- Trans fats that cause inflammation and heart disease
- MSG, which is a neurotoxin and linked to diabetes
- Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives that are neurotoxins
- Genetically modified foods that cause tumors in lab rats and are linked to liver failure and infertility
Raw & Simple Detox is a guide to help you detoxify your body with simple, nourishing foods. Get your detox started with information on how to set up your kitchen, raw food techniques, and lifestyle advice. Then, use the 100 recipes included to improve your health, energy, immune system, memory, and digestion. Shopping lists, meal plans, and menus are included to help you easily plan meals and combine recipes for maximum effect. Whether you want to go on a day-long, multiple-day, or week-long cleanse, or add detoxifying meals to your regular diet, Raw & Simple Detox will help you reset your eating habits and live a healthier life!
Judita Wignall is a commercial actress, print model, and musician from Los Angeles. She discovered the healing power of raw foods after health challenges made her reassess her diet and lifestyle. Her passion for great-tasting food, holistic health, and wellness brought her to Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, where she became a certified raw food chef and instructor. In between her many creative projects, she continues to teach classes, coach, and personal chef for clients around the country. Learn more at www.rawjudita.com.