Maybe you’ve been too exhausted to notice, but we’re in the midst of a dual epidemic of tiredness and sleeplessness — one that’s wreaking havoc on our waistline and health. “Millions now rely on caffeine and sugar to battle fatigue during the day, then turn to heavy meals, wine, and sleep aids to relax at night,” notes Elson Haas, MD, a leading practitioner of integrative medicine. “I call it the Stimulation Sedation Syndrome. We’re using stimulants and sedatives in an effort to keep up with the fast pace of life, but we unwittingly bombard our systems with toxins that make matters worse.” To the rescue: Dr. Haas’ new seven-day detox that gives your body (and especially your toxin-clogged liver) exactly what it needs to heal and reinvigorate. “I see people losing up to 15 pounds in a week as energy is restored and insomnia and a host of health problems disappear.”
Dr. Haas’ detoxers temporarily go cold turkey on caffeinated coffee, added sugar, alcohol, and other substances driving stimulation sedation syndrome. At the same time, they swap in foods and habits “that give the liver and the entire body a little bit of a spa vacation,” he says. “Within days, your body starts to respond. And this isn’t just about weight loss. The difference between natural energy and chemical energy is astounding, so people stick to better habits after the detox ends. They can’t believe how amazing they feel!”
Why the Liver is the Key
Your liver has dozens of crucial jobs, including filtering away all harmful impurities and turning all the sugar and fat we eat into energy. In fact, virtually every substance that enters our systems makes its way to this vital organ. “Too much of anything can overload the liver, but the worst culprits are sugar, ultra-processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, chemicals, fried oils, and meats,” notes Dr. Haas.
He explains that the organ often can’t keep up with the demand put on it, becoming clogged and sluggish and allowing inflammatory compounds to accumulate. Eventually, intense inflammation sets in that slows down metabolism and many other body systems. It’s a root cause of fatigue, weight gain, and even high blood pressure and diabetes. The great news: Your liver is easy to rejuvenate and can even regenerate if necessary.
Detox Made Easy
What does Dr. Haas’ detox entail? First, you take a break from sugar, chemicals, and all liver stressors Dr. Haas just mentioned. Worried a hankering for sweets, fast food, or alcohol will derail you? Taking the mineral chromium or the amino acid l-glutamine twice daily can reduce cravings. (Talk to your doctor about the right dose for you.)
Dr. Haas also has you shift emphasis to veggies. “They should be 50 percent of your diet,” he says, noting that, every variety contains powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation, break up liver clogs, and help eliminate toxins. Round out meals with moderate amounts of fruit, liver-friendly protein like fish and beans, fiber-rich starch, and good fat.
Also key: You’ll start each day with lemon water. turning all the sugar and fat we “Lemon has an astringent quality that causes tissues to contract and tighten, loosening up and clearing trapped toxins,” says Dr. Haas, who has coached thousands through detox regimens. “You may feel funky for a couple of days as the simulation sedation cycle is broken, but after that, your sluggishness and irritability lift, your metabolism picks up, and you’re moving rapidly toward an optimal weight and optimal health.”
7-Day Liver Detox Sample Menu
Breakfast: First thing, sip water with the juice of half a lemon. Later, enjoy fruit with yogurt; wait 30 minutes and have whole-grain cereal with almond milk.
Lunch: Chicken or fish over a large mixed salad. Add a handful of olives or a sprinkle of nuts/seeds, if desired. For dressing, mix olive oil and herbs with lemon juice or vinegar.
Snacks: At mid-morning, have nuts and veggie juice. Mid-afternoon, go for veggie soup. If desired after dinner, enjoy veggie slices and popcorn.
Dinner: Pair a large serving of steamed mixed veggies with either a serving of whole-grain pasta or a serving of chicken or fish. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.