by Dr. Mark Hyman
Millions of us, over half the population, suffer from FLC Syndrome. That’s when you Feel Like Crap. Sometimes it’s annoying little symptoms such as achy joints or muscles, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, allergies or gas, or more serious problems such as autoimmune diseases, migraines, asthma, acne, irritable bowel, reflux, arthritis or worse.
A detox could be your solution to these and other problems. Now, I know that the word “detox” has bad connotations. You might imagine drinking some weird concoction, being constantly hungry, having to run to the bathroom all the time, or otherwise suffering and depriving yourself.
When I use the word “detox,” I mean a scientifically designed medical detox from sugar, and all things that turn to sugar. The fun part is that it’s done simply by taking out the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff—lots of good stuff. Maybe I should call it The Feel Good with Good Stuff plan!
An intelligently designed detox helps you get rid of more than just unwanted pounds. This is your chance to heal your body on every level.
Yes, you will drop pounds, but you will also find that your energy, sleep and mood improve, that chronic problems including joint pain, digestive problems, autoimmune disease, headaches, memory problems and brain fog, sinus and allergy issues, even acne, eczema, and psoriasis will get better or disappear entirely. Your sexual desire and function may even improve.
I can think of a thousand benefits of detoxification, but let’s take a look at these seven:
- You feel better. When you detox, you wake up feeling vital, vibrant, alive, joyful, and full of energy. Even if you are thin but have symptoms of being toxic like fatigue, brain fog, achiness, digestive issues, allergies and headaches, the detox can help heal you quickly. Most of us don’t connect what we’re eating to how we feel. In the 10-day “feel good with good stuff” plan—the program in my book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet—you will learn how you have put up with needless suffering. Feeling good is only a few days away.
- You lose weight. The scientific establishment has convinced us that losing weight is just a matter of calories in/calories out, energy balance, and eating less and exercising more. How’s that working out for you? Probably not so well! Problem is, the scientific establishment is different from the established science. The science says that sugar and flour calories are WAY different. First, they trigger addiction and overeating. Second, they spike insulin and inflammation, which makes you store belly fat and blocks your ability to feel full. The verdict is in: Sugar calories are worse than whole food calories. Sugar spikes insulin and triggers inflammation, a double whammy guaranteed to mess up any attempt at long-term weight loss. When you detoxify, you eliminate nasty toxins (including sugar!) that hold your weight hostage.
- You nix cravings. Sugar and flour are biologically addictive. The science behind it is clear and conclusive. Yet we blame the fat person for being a lazy glutton, which leads to shame and guilt. I am here to tell you it’s not your fault. Your biology has been hijacked by the food industry. They have done a hostile takeover of your taste buds, brain chemistry, hormones, and metabolism. More than 300 food industry insiders spilled the beans to Michael Moss in his book, Salt, Sugar and Fat, explaining they hire “craving experts” to create the “bliss point” of junk food to create “heavy users” and increase their “stomach share.” Sugar is the new nicotine. In fact, sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. If you are trying to use willpower to lose weight, you will fail. A detox allows you to unhook yourself from the addictive power of sugar, flour, and hyper-processed, hyper-palatable food-like substances.
- You eliminate food sensitivities. An intelligently designed detox will also eliminate foods that your body might be reacting to, causing inflammation and many other symptoms. The two most common and harmful food sensitivities are gluten and dairy. Many people do not realize that they have hidden food sensitivities. These are not true allergies, like a peanut or shellfish allergy that makes your tongue swell, closes off your throat, creates hives, and can kill you in minutes. These are more subtle reactions to everyday foods. On The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet you remove gluten, dairy, and other reactive foods that make you sick, tired, fat, and inflamed.
- You get a reboot! All of us stray from living in a way that supports our health: too little sleep, too little exercise, too much bad food, too much stress, not enough time for ourselves. The best way to reset your life is with a detox. Simple, delicious foods. No toxins or drugs, by which I mean sugar, flour, processed foods, caffeine or alcohol. Self-nurturing practices: deep breathing, sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, a little exercise, and self-love. All this works to get your body and mind back to their original factory settings—and quickly!
- You have better sex. Sex hormones, toxicity, and a healthy insulin balance are more intimately linked than you might think. We’ve been conditioned to believe that low sex drive and other symptoms become normal as we age. They don’t. Libido-crashing mood disorders in women and men reaching for a “little blue pill” do not need to be a part of the aging process. Bad habits such as drinking and smoking, exposure to environmental toxins, and being chronically stressed all diminish sex hormone balance. When you detox, you eliminate toxins – including sugar – that create hormonal imbalances and wreak havoc on your metabolism. Once you understand how insulin can impact other hormones (including your sex hormones), you begin to connect the dots about how toxic food and a toxic environment can wreck your sex life.
- You get to the roots of your motivation and choices. When you detox, you get to examine your thoughts and beliefs, and the ways in which you live that don’t support the greatest expression of who you are. A detox will quickly help you feel better and show you how health, energy, weight loss, and, yes, even happiness are available to you when you use food as medicine and make a few simple changes in your daily routine. Once you have experienced what it feels like to feel good, to get rid of brain fog, cravings, joint pain, fatigue, excess weight, and a myriad of other chronic health problems, then you know there is a path forward.
I do The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet four times a year—not to lose weight, but to reboot my life. It’s like a vacation without going anywhere. For me it’s a form of self-created paradise. I hope it is for you, too!
5 Ways to Detox Smartly
So now that you know why you need a detox, how do you do it without pain and suffering? How do you take a shortcut to feeling great?
Here’s a little secret that the diet and food industry, the medical establishment, and Big Pharma don’t want you to know: Most of us are only a few days away from health and happiness. Even if you have a really bad case of FLC Syndrome or even a chronic disease, food is the most powerful medicine on the planet to fix it. Here are 5 ways to do this:
- Be a turkey (a cold one) and take a drug holiday. There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. Go cold turkey. But you won’t have to white-knuckle it because when you detox correctly, you will automatically reset your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones. Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products, and all artificial sweeteners. They all cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. This especially includes liquid sugar calories, which make you eat more all day and drive storage of belly fat. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in a box, package or can or have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. And the best way to really detox is to give up all grains for 10 days. Give up all drugs, too. Caffeine and alcohol are the two biggest after sugar.
- Power up the day with protein. Protein, protein, protein at every meal, especially breakfast, is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin, cutting cravings, and providing your liver the raw materials to optimally detoxify. Start the day with farm fresh eggs or a protein shake. I recommend my Whole Food Protein Shake. Include nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal. A serving size is 4 to 6 ounces or about the size of your palm.
- Eat unlimited carbs (the right ones). Yes, that’s right. Unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. Unlimited refills! There is one catch. I only mean the non-starchy veggies such as greens, the broccoli family (including cauliflower, kale, and collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, and peppers. Sulfur-rich cruciferous veggies, as well as onions and garlic provide additional detox power.
- Fight sugar with fat. Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar, and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados, and omega-3 fats from fish.
- Use friend power, not willpower. Extraordinary new research shows that obesity is contagious. You are more likely to be overweight if your friends are overweight than if your parents or siblings are overweight. But health is contagious too. In a large social experiment I did with my friend Rick Warren at Saddleback Church we got 15,000 people to lose 250,000 pounds in a year by doing the program together. They met in small groups, helped, loved, and supported each other. And those who did it together lost twice as much weight and got twice as healthy. I call it the Love Diet! Every “body” needs a “buddy.” Find a friend or form a small group and do the detox together.
If you’ve ever believed detox means drudgery, starvation or otherwise suffering, you should buy my new cookbook, available at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook. This will shift your perspective and provide the pathway to weight loss and optimal health. Download my 10-Day Detox Diet Starter Kit and get cooking today!