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Dr. Ray's Spring Pre-Detoxification (Pre-Tox) Guide: Preparing Before Your Detox (Part 1)

This post is for informational purposes only.

Always consult with your doctor before starting any detox protocol or program.

Spring is here and many of us are researching how to drop our Winter weight gain, boost our immune systems, and optimize our daily energy. Nowadays, social media and Google ads have started pushing Spring detox programs as a one-size-fits-all to purify your body. However, many consumers are clueless about the hidden dangers of these programs and supplements that often promote bad practices or sell products with harmful ingredients.

As a practicing licensed Naturopathic & Functional Medicine Physician, I have unfortunately witnessed too many patients harm themselves with these generic protocols and low-quality products. I've had patients come see me after doing a Spring detox and report having to either stop the detox early or feeling worse post-detox due to unwanted symptoms.

The Problem with Detox Programs:

For starters, our bodies already have internal systems that naturally detoxify us daily. When the term "detox" is used, this usually means following a specific plan or protocol with supportive measures to stimulate a stronger release of toxins from the body. However, overstimulation of your detoxification pathways (i.e. liver, kidney, bowels, etc.) may overwhelm your body and potentially cause unwanted reactions.

Bad reactions to detox

Adverse reactions to detox protocols can happen with anyone but are particularly higher risk for people who have preexisting conditions. Consider if you are hypertensive (high blood pressure), diabetic (high blood sugar), obese, chronically fatigued, chronically inflamed, or have Longhaulers syndrome (Long C-vid), metabolic syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, and/or a history of chronic exposure to toxins or repeated infections. In that case, you may experience the following adverse reactions if you attempt a detox protocol without proper preparation:

  • Throbbing headaches and/or migraines

  • Brain fog

  • Weight gain

  • IBS or digestive complaints

  • Fatigue

  • Sleep disturbance/ Insomnia

  • Anxiety and/or Depression

  • Pain flare-ups or arthritis aggravation

  • Muscle Pain

  • Hormonal imbalance

  • Cholesterol elevation

These are serious symptoms caused by attempting to "detoxify" or push the release of stored toxins too quickly without taking the proper steps by first using a Pre-Detoxifcation (Pre-Tox) strategy.

What is Pre-Detoxification or Pre-Tox?

Pre-Detoxification is a naturopathic holistic healing strategy to PREPARE the body for a detoxification protocol or program. The goal is to gently optimize your primary detoxification organs and bio-processes to handle the extra burden of releasing toxins. This means ensuring your liver, kidneys, GI-tract/gut, adrenals, cardiovascular system (heart + blood vessels), mind, and spirit are ready to support you in your Spring detox.

Pre-Tox includes a combination of steps that help clear the body's natural detox pathways so your intended detoxification protocol can work more effectively:

Pre-Detox Step 1:

Begin Eating a Cleaner Diet for 1-2 Weeks Before Detox

Fruits and Vegetables Clean diet for PreTox and Detox

Start removing or greatly limiting ultra-processed and junk foods from the diet such as:

  • Chips

  • Candy & refined desserts

  • Packaged snacks (i.e. SlimJim, Takis, high sugar "protein" bars, honey buns, etc.)

  • Fast food

  • Fried foods

  • High-sugar cereals (i.e. Cap'n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, etc.)

  • High-sodium Frozen meals (i.e. Stouffers, Hungry Man, Lean Cuisine, Amy's, etc.)

  • Frozen and take-out pizza

  • Alcohol

  • Sodas and high-sugar juices (i.e. fruit punch, lemonade, etc.)

  • Icecream

  • Refined and Hydrogenated Oils - canola, soybean, cottonseed

  • Foods with high fructose corn syrup

  • Instant foods such as instant oatmeal, Cup-O-noodles, instant mac & cheese

  • Other foods you know to be nutritionally poor in quality.

Replace the diet with increasing your intake of Pre-Detox Foods:

  • Spring or filtered water

  • Fresh, dried, or frozen fruits

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables

  • Whole grains (i.e. wild rice, rolled oats, quinoa, teff, millet, blue corn, etc.)

  • Healthy fats (i.e. olives, avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, etc)

  • Healthy lean and higher quality protein sources (i.e. Bison, sustainable seafood, heritage pork, organic or pasture-raised poultry, rabbit, venison, etc.)

  • Caffeine-free Herbal teas or Chickory Coffee

  • Plant-based Milks (i.e. oat milk, hemp milk, flax milk, almond milk, etc.)

  • Kombucha

  • Fermented veggies

  • Low-sugar yogurt (i.e. greek or vegan-style)

  • Pasture-raised eggs and/or local-raised eggs

  • Organic plant-based protein shakes

Please note, that if buying all organic is cost-prohibitive, you can still get great nutritional and medicinal value by simply eating more whole foods in your diet. You also may want to consider buying foods directly from farmer's markets, local farms/ranchers, or starting your own mini garden. Some states also offer extra incentives when you use SNAP or food stamps to buy from farmer's markets.

You can also read about the most common toxic food chemicals and the Dirty Dozen list of foods most contaminated with pesticides. Learn what's in your food to help you make smarter and healthier food choices.

Pre-Detox Step 2:

Clean Up Your Living Environment Before Detox

Toxin free and natural products to support healthy detox

Unfortunately, many personal care products like haircare, perfumes, nail polish, soaps, cleaning supplies, and other home care contain chemicals and synthetic substances harmful to our health.

  • Continuing your use of these products, especially during a detox, can place more toxin burden on your organs and may cause adverse reactions.

  • Plus, many of these products are labeled as "safe" but have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm/infertility, neurological dysfunction, and more!

Begin removing and replacing your products that contain parabens, phthalates, preservatives, artificial dyes, triclosan, and other harmful ingredients.

  • Environmental Working Group has awesome consumer guides to help you find and choose healthy, low-toxin products right for you and your family. Visit here to learn more.

  • Spring Clean Your Home - if you can't remember the last time you deep cleaned your home, then it's time to clean up! Use natural cleaners such as lemon, thyme, peroxide, thieves vinegar, etc. Removing dust, air allergens, dirt, and other residues provides a healthy living space and will aid in your detox prep.

  • Extra tip: consider using a HEPA or PECO air purifier to remove extra aeroallergens and dust. If you already have one, then make sure the filter doesn't need replacement. I love using my Molekule purifier and the filter lasts for six months.

Pre-Detox Step 3:

Make Sure You're Having Daily Bowel Movements (Pooping)

How to fix constipation naturally before you detox

  • Not having daily bowel movements is a sign of Constipation.

  • Constipation means your body is not properly eliminating daily toxins and biowaste, which may lead to a higher toxin load or burden.

If you're struggling with consistent, daily pooping, consider the following to help support your gut health:

  • Increase your daily water intake to at least 8 - 10 cups daily of Spring or filtered water. Add a small pinch or dash of Himalayan salt to improve hydration.

  • Add in Daily ACV Shots or Aloe Vera Juice for Gut support:

    • Drinking raw organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) may help improve digestion and bowel regularity. Start with 1 -2 tablespoons diluted in 1 - 2 oz of water, 5 - 10 minutes, before meals.

    • Another option is to drink 6 - 8 ounces of aloe vera juice in the morning on an empty stomach. Aloe vera has laxative effects to reduce your intake if you experience diarrhea or loose stools. (Lily of the Desert is a good brand)

  • Increase your fiber intake to 25 - 30 grams per day (women) or 30 - 38 grams per day (men). A combination of soluble and insoluble fibers can promote bowel regularity. Drink plenty of water to avoid bulky, sticky stools that are hard to pass from the excess fiber.

Other Beneficial Pre-Detox Tips:

  • Get up and Move! Regular exercise and extra body movement help promote circulation and sweating, which improve detoxification processes. If you cannot exercise due to limited mobility or pain, then consider using infrared sauna therapy 2 -3 times a week.

  • Meditation. Taking time to sit quietly and breathe every day will promote calm and help reduce tension in the body. Try Box Breathing or Diaphragmatic Breathing techniques to help ease stress from the body-mind-spirit.

  • Reduce exposure to EMF & Blue Light. If you constantly have your computer, smartphone, tablet, and/or TV on and around you all the time, you could be at risk of electric pollution. EMF can damage DNA, speed up aging, and reduce detoxification. Consider reducing your screen time, using blue-light blockers, keeping electronic devices away from you while sleeping, and using EMF-blocking tools to limit exposure.


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