So for 1 week before you begin a fast (if this is what your plan is) eliminate just one of these food categories. So the first day you say, "ok, no sugar" then that's out. The next day, no alcohol; now that is out. Each day remove one of these categories and by the time you get to day 5 to 7, you will have a a really detoxifying diet that if continued for 2 weeks to a month would be a great little cleanse for the body; if your leading up to a fast, this will prepare you slowly so that you don't feel terrible when you begin the fast. You can just eliminate these foods and then stick to it for a month or so for a very gradual cleansing. This is suitable for those that are not ready to cleanse yet.
Most of the foods below are acid forming. This is only part of why they made the naughty list but it's very important to become aware of the difference between acid forming foods and alkalizing foods. Here's the short version of the explanation:
The body requires pH balance to function. The blood for example is ALWAYS between 7.35 and 7.45; side effects of varying outside of that pH window are death. Since the body creates acid naturally (all the cells of the body do); our body's (in their infinite genius-ness) also have procedures to eliminate the acid.
Just the simple act of exhaling eliminates acid. The body also requires minerals to buffer the acids and get rid of them safely. If you didn't, every time you urinated you would be burning out the lining in your urethra with acid urine- ouch! The body buffers the acids with minerals to safely eliminate the wastes we create and control the pH of the body 24 hours a day. These minerals MUST come from foods. If your body doesn't get them from foods, it pulls minerals from places like bones (which is bad). Mineral rich foods like fruits and vegetables are the answer. For a complete list of Alkaline and Acid Foods; click here.
Vegetable Based Oils and Spreads like Margarine are processed to death and need to be eliminated from the diet permanently. I can talk all day about this subject so if you have questions about why vegetable oils like canola, cottonseed, & soybean oil are bad for you, just ask.
Alcohol: Is really should need no explanation. It's hard on the organs, cells, it's acid forming and hinders detoxification process.
Refined Table Sugar: Sugar spikes blood sugar making the body work hard to put out insulin. Acid forming in this way. Empty calories as there is no nutritional value with the extra energy it provides. If you must sweeten during your weaning process use maple syrup or raw local honey:). These have health benefits but ideally should also be avoided after this first week. NO artificial sweeteners whatsoever! This includes splenda, sweet n low and equal. Stevia is fine.
Bread and most grains: This would be probably the last thing to eliminate from your diet that first week. It's something, most of us are used to eating with every meal and it's tough for some to get rid of. If you already avoid alot of bread your going to have an easier time with this. Bread is acid forming in the body. When it's 100% whole wheat it is a decent source of fiber and has some naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. However, bread (unless it's sprouted grain bread from the health food store) contains gluten and wheat. These components are common allergens. You probably are like a lot of people who would say, "But I don't have a gluten intolerance" All humans have a very slight to moderate gluten allergy that we aren't aware of. Wheat as a grain has changed much from what we have evolved to eat. In the last several hundred years it's been hybridized and has changed from it's original form. Our bodies as humans don't evolve that fast! Gluten and wheat are very "sticky" in the cells of the body.
Simply put - no matter who you are Gluten and Wheat "gum up the works" in your body! Grains that would be acceptable during a cleanse would be organic quinoa and brown rice. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) is gluten free and is a very healthy ancient grain. Brown rice is very nutritious also. Enhance flavors with VERY lite sea salt and parsley and other herbs. Foods containing grains to avoid include bread, cereal, noodles, oats (even though they are technically gluten free) for our purposes we will avoid those too, croutons, breaded foods (which are usually fried anyway), granola bars, lots of foods in boxes contain wheat. Stick to foods that don't come in boxes to make it easier.
Meat: For the carnivores in the house this is always a tough one too. Meat is definitely acid forming in the body. It's harder for the body to digest, it stays in your stomach and intestines longer than any other food. It is often tainted with growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticide residues from the foods consumed by those animals- not to mention the fact that most animals in the US are raised so poorly that they are literally raised in there own feces, get little exercise and never even get to be outside. One does not one to eat of something this unhealthy during a cleanse.
The first week you can eliminate your meats one meat at a time if you like to make it easier. Day 1 - no beef; Day two- no chicken; day three no turkey, and so on. Many people will say: "what about my protein?". This is easy! Eating a wide variety of vegetables and fruits will give you all the essential and non essential amino acids you body needs to make protein. If your really concerned about protein or your breast feeding or something, begin taking spirulina. Spirulina is one of the most protein rich vegetarian sources.
People are often surprised at how much protein are in foods of vegetable origin. It all comes back to copious amounts of fruits and vegetables so I'll sound a bit like a broken record on this one but it will be key to you staying satisfied while doing the cleanse and getting all the nutrition you need. You NEVER have to go hungry! Eat vegetables and fruits till your heart is content!
Last but not least~
Caffeine:What a bummer! If you can go 2 weeks without caffeine, you will begin to not require it to function in the morning. With caffeine free herbal teas so wide in variety you can drink a new one every day of the week with, you won't' want for variety. Green Tea does have Caffeine. I would recommend even skipping decaf kinds as sometimes they are processed with harsh solvents. I'm happy to recommend many teas- because I am a herbal tea girl! Peppermint is a great one to start with as it's delicious, supports digestive and it is invigorating in the morning.
Why no caffeine? First; It's Acid Forming Big time! Secondly, as you know it's a stimulant and it completely throws the body out of balance with your rhythms of digestion, sleep, adrenal health and water retention. We don't want any of that for this cleanse to be optimal. Once the caffeine is out of your system you will feel energized naturally. For some it takes longer to get there than others. But if you want balance, you'll get there.
When fasting it wont always be easy. You will have your moments of fatigue, crankiness and boredom with the fast. The flip side of that is when you feel incredible clarity of mind, pure energy to run circles around your friends and family, and you will know that your doing your body the biggest favor you can but giving it a well needed break, repairing damaged tissue and cleansing toxins out of the cells.
Keep your eyes peeled for part IV:) Happy Cleansing!