Caffeine, sugar, and white flour are substances that interfere with your metabolism and brain health — and the ones people usually have the most trouble giving up and getting out of their systems.
I recommend eliminating these items from your diet in a systematic way with a detox. This may help you avoid potential withdrawal symptoms, make you feel better, and jumpstart the process to better brain function and overall health. Follow the steps below to help make the transition as simple and painless as possible.
How to lower your caffeine intake
If you have been drinking caffeine for a long time, you have to get off it over a few days. Minimize your pain and the difficulty of giving up your addiction by following these detoxification steps.
Step 1: Start on a weekend
You may want to start on a Sunday. This will allow you to take naps as needed, since your body will be recovering from the caffeine and you are liable to be fatigued.
Step 2: Reduce your caffeine intake
For the first three days (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday), cut your daily intake of coffee, cola, black tea, or other caffeinated beverages in half. That means if you usually have four cups of coffee in the morning, you would have two cups of coffee in the morning on Sunday, one cup on Monday and half a cup on Tuesday. Doing this helps you wean your body off the caffeine, which should reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Step 3: Drink green tea
For the next four days (the remainder of the week), you can drink one cup of caffeinated green tea steeped for five minutes in boiling water. You may continue drinking green tea for all its wonderful health and weight benefits. (Note that I recommend green tea as part of your morning ritual.)
You can switch to decaffeinated green tea if you want to eliminate caffeine completely. Otherwise, it is fine to have one cup of caffeinated, organic green tea every morning. The caffeine is minimal, and the health benefits are great.
Step 4: Take vitamin C
Throughout this process, I recommend taking 1,000–2,000 mg of buffered pure ascorbic acid (vitamin C) powder or capsules. This may help you detoxify and balance your system.
Step 5: Drink plenty of clean water
You should also drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water a day. You should do this regardless of whether or not you are getting off caffeine, but it is especially important for this process because it will keep your body well-hydrated and can reduce headaches and constipation, and flush toxins out of your system.
How to eliminate sugar and white flour
Eliminating sugar is hard because it’s an addiction. But the physical cravings dissipate quickly once you stop eating it. Here are some tips for how you can successfully do this with a whole-body cleanse.
- Start the same day you cut your caffeine intake in half.
- Go cold turkey from all white flour and sugar products. (Don’t cheat — it will only make it worse!)
- Include protein for breakfast, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake.
- Combine “good” protein, “good” fat, and “good” carbs at each meal. (Good fats are fish, extra virgin olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Good carbs are beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruit. Good proteins are fish, organic eggs, small amounts of lean poultry, nuts, soy, whole grains, and legumes.)
- Don’t go low-fat. Consume olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, and avocados every day. Despite commonly held beliefs, these good fats are NOT fattening.
- Eat every three hours. Snack on nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (raw or dry-roasted only). One serving is a handful or ten to twelve nuts.
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water a day.
How to ease withdrawal symptoms
The unfortunate reality is that making these changes in your diet is liable to cause a few withdrawal symptoms. They include:
- Bad breath
- Achy, flu-like feeling
- Itchy skin
- Offensive body odor
- Sleep difficulties (too much or too little)
These symptoms are actually a good sign. They mean your body and mind are eliminating stored toxins and are finding their way to balance once more.
Those who consume the most caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, and those who have the most food allergies, will have the most difficulty with the detoxification initially. In any event, symptoms of withdrawal usually disappear after three or four days.
What to do if withdrawal symptoms become uncomfortable
- Make sure you drink at least six to eight glasses of filtered water daily.
- To prevent headaches, make sure your bowels are clean.
- If you are tired, allow more time for sleep.
- Make sure you exercise daily to help fight off fatigue.
- If you are hungry, have some protein in the afternoon such as a handful of nuts or seeds such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds, cooked beans, or a piece of steamed or baked fish.
- If you’re irritable or have trouble sleeping, take a combination of calcium citrate (500 mg) and magnesium citrate (250 mg) before bed.
- If you have an upset stomach, drink ginger or peppermint tea. Drink up to four cups a day as often as needed.