Recharge with a Summer Detox
These guidelines originally appeared in Women’s World Magazine a couple of years ago.
It’s summertime, and the good news is that people tend to detoxify their bodies and release excess fat most easily at this time of year. Sunny days give us energy and lift our moods, so we’re more active, and by August there’s also a bounty of fruits and vegetables in gardens and at local farmers’ markets and farm stands. That harvest includes virtually all of Mother Nature’s best aids in detoxing our bodies and infusing our systems with nutrients to achieve optimal health and an optimal weight. I’ve often seen my patients drop 7-10 pounds in a week, 15 pounds in two weeks during this season with cleansing and detox programs. So, if you’re carrying extra pounds, just focus on fresh veggies, and weight loss will be one of the primary wellness benefits.
Why it works
The switch from a typical not-so-healthy diet to produce-based meals will cut calories, but it’s much more than that. You also enhance the natural process by which the body expels toxins. This is key because toxins—from junk food, pollution, mold and more—can trigger internal inflammation that causes fluid retention and stalls body systems. Inflammation is linked to health problems in general, and weight problems in particular. Making matters worse is the fact that the liver is the organ responsible for filtering toxins and breaking down fat and sugar. It often can’t handle this double workload all at once; therefore, toxins are temporarily stored in our fat tissue, where they instantly inhibit fat burning and can cause water retention.
Produce (fresh vegetables, especially greens, and some juicy fruits)) is the number-one weapon against toxins —especially locally grown veggies, which are freshest and thus have the most nutrients. Ideally you consume 10 or more servings daily to be sure you really flood your body with antioxidants, which neutralize toxins and have a soothing effect that reduces inflammation. As an added bonus, many antioxidants—including ones found in summer foods like watermelon, peppers and corn (choose non-GMO organic)—have been shown to offer benefits like boosting metabolism and improving liver function. For even greater benefit you could also reduce sugar and saturated fat intake, so your liver has less to process and can spend more energy eliminating toxins. Believe me, you’ll feel amazing and lose weight easily at the same time!
In 2016 a group of Woman’s World Magazine readers tested my summer detox plan and lost up to 7 pounds in a week. That included Roxanne Mosley. After stocking up on detox supplies at a local farmers’ market, “I lost 10 pounds that first week, and I’m down 18 pounds so far,” said the 49-year old California attorney. “I feel better than I have in years. If you’re considering Dr. Haas’ plan, go for it. It will change your life!”
Using Summer’s Bounty of Fruits and Veggies to DROP WEIGHT with Ease!
Farm Stand Detox Menus
This summer-ready version of my signature Detox Diet is designed to be customized with your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies—especially produce from local growers. You can even enjoy some sweet fruit like watermelon and cherries and starchy veggie favorites like corn and potatoes! To speed initial results, I recommend only anti-inflammatory fats (olive oil, organic butter) and protein (plant proteins and seafood). While using this plan, drink plenty of good clean spring water and herbal tea—preferably two glasses (of water) before each meal sitting. Season foods with herbs, spices, vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard as desired. A little stevia is fine but avoid other sweeteners. This plan may not be right for those with certain health conditions. Always get a doctor’s okay before trying any new diet plan.
You may also be taking a break from any daily regular substance use. This includes caffeine, alcohol, sugar, cannabis and other “drugs.” Our body can benefit from a little vacation. You can review my book, The Detox Diet, for guidance in the use of these substances. Or you might want to take my Regain Your Natural Energy self-paced online 7-Day course, which is loaded with vital information, videos, and support materials LEARN MORE HERE
Upon Rising - 2 glasses filtered water with the juice of 1/2 lemon
Morning fruit - 1 small bowl fresh fruit, such as watermelon, cherries, berries
Tip! “Fruit sugars don't digest properly when eaten with heavier foods, so I recommend eating fruit by itself and early in the day,”
Breakfast (enjoy 15-30 minutes after your morning fruit)
1 bowl of cooked oatmeal, prepared with water and 2 Tbs. 100% fruit juice; if you prefer cold cereal in the summer, oatmeal is tasty prepared ahead of time and enjoyed chilled.
1 bowl raw salad; drizzle olive oil vinaigrette; top with a sprinkle of raw sunflower seeds, if desired. OR -
1- 2 bowls steamed seasonal vegetables (include a small serving of potatoes or corn, if desired; beyond that, go for a mix of colors and of roots, stems and greens); top with a drizzle of olive oil or a little detox “better butter” (recipe below) plus any lemon, vinegar, herbs or spices you desire. I sprinkle cayenne pepper on many of my dishes to help with circulation and warmth; cayenne is a good natural stimulant. Veggies to consider include zucchini, green beans, cauliflower or broccoli, and then some chard or kale. Really, any that you enjoy can be used.
Detox butter! My yummy topping delivers a range of healthy fats plus an antioxidant kick from spice. Just mix equal parts softened organic butter and extra-virgin olive oil with a pinch of cayenne or any spice you enjoy. The recipe calls for ¼ cup oil to ¼ pound (one stick) of butter.
(aim to finish this meal before sundown, even a couple hours before, like 6-6:30pm)
1-2 bowls of raw salad (mixed greens and other veggies), drizzle olive oil vinaigrette; if desired, top with 3 oz. fish or beans.
1- 2 bowls steamed seasonal vegetables (same guidelines as for lunch) topped with a little detox butter (or drizzle of olive oil) plus any lemon, vinegar, herbs or spices you desire.
EVENING - Herbal tea, any variety
After a couple of weeks following this plan your body should be more detoxified and ready to handle greater food variety. In general, I suggest eating light meals of raw and gently steamed vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, some organic nuts and seeds, olive oil and fruit most of the time.
My daily recommendations for an overall Balanced Diet:
- 5-10 servings of vegetables
- 2-4 servings of fruit
- 3-4 servings of whole grains
- 2-3 Tbs. good oils
- 2-3 servings of a variety of lean protein, with emphasis on fish and beans
- 1 handful of nuts or seeds per day
A final tip! Maybe your summer detox has given your body a break from foods and beverages you usually consume. As you re-introduce them to your diet pay attention to how your body feels – look for a “food reaction” in such symptoms as nasal congestion, indigestion, gas, or even more subtle feelings like brain fog or mood shifts. Many common foods are in fact not well tolerated and should be avoided.
Follow these simple guidelines and enjoy the height of Summer’s revitalizing energy boost!