Starting this Friday, we’re embarking on a two-week family detox. The whole family is doing it (yes, kids too).
Back in March, we all had the dreaded norovirus. That stuff is nasty. It took us a good two weeks to get it out of the house completely (you can read how we finally did that here). Since that time, we’ve seemed to catch colds and other little things going around much more easily than is normal for us. My 1-year-old, who had started to eat homemade sourdough without issue, can no longer tolerate grains. I believe that norovirus messed up our guts. I’ve heard similar stories from other families who had norovirus this year as well — it’s just bad, bad, bad.
It’s time to fix that.
Our detox plan may not look like other peoples’. We may keep in certain foods that others don’t, or eliminate some others might keep. I’m basing this on what has seemed to work for our family over the last several years. Your needs may differ. I will explain why we are keeping each food group in so that you know how I am thinking about it. I’ll also share our general “detox” plan because it’s not just about the food — we’re also going to work to rebuild our gut flora and reset our immune system.
When I shared this on my page, someone asked, “Why don’t you just take probiotics?”
Well, we do. That’s the thing. I was taking a high-quality probiotic before we got sick, and continued to do so after (although, admittedly, not as regularly as I should have the first few weeks after). Despite taking the probiotic, plus often feeding my family yogurt, kombucha, and fermented pickles, we still got sick and are still having these ongoing issues.
Norovirus is so bad that it can really clear out the good gut flora (from repeated and often violent vomiting and diarrhea). When that sort of thing happens, it takes awhile to restore balance and replenish the good gut flora. Bad ones can take over, more than they should, while your defenses are down. This means, especially if you notice ongoing immune issues, that more is needed than *just* taking probiotics.
Is It Safe for Kids?
A lot of people would be concerned about trying to detox kids. It’s true, you have to be more careful with them, and they really don’t need as much. They’re young, they’re growing, their bodies are going to throw stuff off more easily than adults. I wouldn’t bother doing it for them, except I’ve seen them catch more colds and such that I know is normal for them. I know their gut flora needs some help.
With the kids, the actual detox stuff will be more limited. We’ll be focusing more on rebuilding gut flora. And it’ll be shorter. I’m aiming for two weeks, but we’ll let symptoms (or lack thereof) guide us.
If at any point, I feel like I’m not sure what they need next, we do have an alternative doctor that we’ve seen in the past and whom my husband still sees. We might take the whole family to see him again to get advice.
You might be curious what our actual diet will look like. Typically we eat an omnivorous diet — the only foods we regularly avoid are corn and soy because we don’t react well to them. But we aren’t gluten-free, or dairy-free, or vegetarian, or anything like that. If you are, that might change how you’d approach something like this.
This is also a temporary diet, which we intend to transition out of after 2 – 4 weeks.
Foods we’re eliminating:
- All grains (wheat, rice, barley, corn, etc.)
- All sugars (except minimal raw honey)
- Sweet fruits (apples, grapes, pears, bananas, etc.)
Our goal here is to eliminate grains and sugar, basically. These two things consistently seem to cause an issue for us when our guts aren’t as they should be. This is in line with the GAPS theory. We will be including minimal raw honey, which has its own health benefits, plus it will lightly sweeten a variety of herbal teas that I want the kids to drink.
Foods we’re keeping:
- All vegetables, both cooked and raw
- Low-sugar fruits (berries)
- Dairy (raw/grass-fed)
- Nuts/seeds (soaked or sprouted)
- Legumes (beans)
You might wonder why we’re keeping all of these things. I’ll cover some of it individually and some as a whole.
GAPS vs. Raw Vegan
The two ‘main’ detox diets are basically GAPS and raw vegan. GAPS eliminates grains, complex carbs (sugars except for honey, potatoes, seeds), and mucilagenic foods (okra, arrowroot). It focuses heavily on probiotics, fat, and gelatin to soothe an irritated gut and heal it.
Raw vegan diets focus heavily on fruits and vegetables, eliminating dairy, meat, eggs and cooked grains (and most grains in general, since they aren’t so good uncooked). It involves eating a lot of salads and juicing, intending to give the body a break from heavy digestion, provide fiber, and provide bursts of serious nutrients all at once (from fresh juice). It’s very cleansing.
We’re basically combining elements of both of these, incorporating lots of fresh, raw foods, smoothies, and some juices; but also fat, meat, gelatin, and probiotics to heal the gut.
A lot of people think dairy is terrible for you. I think commercial dairy is pretty bad and we rarely consume it (and then only in the form of sour cream, cream cheese, and minimal other cheeses, which we don’t get very often).
When we were on GAPS back in early 2010, I actually felt that introducing raw dairy improved our health. I have continued to believe that and haven’t seen any reason for us to remove it. For that reason, we’ll be keeping it, especially fermented dairy.
Others may find that dairy is an issue for them, and would be better off cutting it out. That’s up to you.
We’re keeping these, but won’t do too many of them, and will make sure that they are properly soaked or sprouted before consumption. Our goal is to reduce the phytic acid and make them more digestible. If we did see any issues, these would be the first foods we’d eliminate, based on our history. So far I haven’t seen anything that makes me think we need to start out eliminating them, so we’ll keep them and see.
The detox plan is going to be less for the kids than the adults. They’ll do fewer things and less often. These are the basic things.
These are for everyone. Adults, 3 – 4x a week, kids 1 – 2x a week. A detox bath will be very warm (kids) or hot (adults) with some baking soda, Redmond clay, and/or bath salts. Adults will use a lot more than kids will. Adults will focus on getting the bath as hot as possible and sweating as much as possible, then resting after — lying down or even sleeping.
This is for the adults. We’ll be doing oil pulling each morning with coconut oil. Read more about oil pulling here.
This is for everyone. We’ll drink kombucha, eat fermented pickles, eat yogurt, etc. Everyone will have a little with every meal, as much as possible. We’ll also be doing probiotic supplements for everyone (85 billion CFU for me; kids 3 – 5 billion CFU).
This is for the adults. We’ll be drinking lemon water in the mornings as a cleansing treatment. The juice of 1/2 a lemon in a large glass of water. (I prefer mine cold; some say room temperature is better.)
This is (mostly) for the adults — some of the kids like it too and get a little bit of it. Adults will take 2 – 4 tbsp. per day. (I dissolve the gelatin in cold grape juice or herbal tea, then add boiling water. I use this to take my probiotics and liver pills in the morning.)
If we can afford it and get appointments, we may each (adults) go in for a massage. After the massage, we would immediately take a detox bath and then rest.
We’ll be taking certain supplements, too, more regularly than we have been lately.
- Liver pills (4 – 6 per adult; 1 – 2 per child)
- Cod liver oil (2 – 3 tsp. per adult; 1/2 tsp. per child)
- Probiotic pills (3 85-bil. CFU for adults per day; 1 5 bil. CFU for kids)
- Hemp oil (adults, 1 – 2 tbsp. per day)
- Herbal tea with ACV (nettles, blackberry leaf, a small splash of ACV, for everyone)
I’ll be sharing more about hemp oil this Friday! I just got some from Manitoba Harvest and I’m loving it. It makes me feel good.
And on the liver pills, the kids can’t swallow them. My boys actually like to chew them.
That’s the plan right now. I’ll update once we’re in the middle of it with any changes we’ve made and how it’s working out. We start on Friday! I’ll also share my shopping list and some of the meals I’m making.
Have you ever done a family detox? What was it like?