Doing a detox is a great way to reprogram your body, get rid of unhealthy cravings, and start the new year off strong.
However, every year when I host a yearly Detox Challenge, I observe that some people feel… Worse.
Instead of the clear-headedness they expected, they get brain fog.
Instead of the anticipated energy boost, they experience tiredness and fatigue.
And, instead of feeling more positive optimistic, they end up being cranky and anxious.
If this happens to you, I want to reassure you it is normal and TEMPORARY.
It has happened to me.
I’ve had mild side effects like a nagging headache and more severe ones like all-out flu symptoms that put me in bed.
When you cut things like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar from your diet, experiencing some withdrawal symptoms is almost unavoidable.
If you are experiencing any of these 10 side effects, do not give up on your detox just yet! I promise you, the benefits of detoxing are worth it.
10 Side-Effects You Might Experience During a Detox
Headaches are the number one withdrawal symptom reported in the Detox Challenge group every year.
The best fix? Hydration.
Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.
You can also supplement your water intake with non-caffeinated herbal teas like ginger or peppermint. I love every tea made by Celestial seasonings, especially Bengal Spice and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride.
2. Sleep problems.
For the first few days of a detox, you may experience a disruption to your sleep patterns.
Insomnia is not uncommon, but you may also struggle with feeling tired and desperate for a nap.
To minimize the risk of insomnia, power down your electronic devices an hour before bedtime.
I find a calming night ritual helps get my body ready for good sleep, especially during a detox.
I sip bedtime tea an hour before bed while reading a book (this always puts me to sleep) and listening to ocean sounds.
I also try to stretch 5-10 minutes before my tea + reading ritual. Put my legs up at the wall seems to help ease any discomfort in my legs and lower back that sometimes make it difficult for me to “get comfortable.”
Napping in the afternoon means I won’t go to sleep at night, but it doesn’t seem to affect my husband in the same way so power naps might work for you.
If you’re really tired and can’t nap but need energy, set a timer for 10-15 minutes and close your eyes. Even if you don’t fall asleep you’ll be amazed at how rested you feel from that simple practice. Laying down or at an incline in a chair makes this practice even more invigorating.
3. Tiredness and fatigue.
When you cut sugar from your diet, or simply choose to go without your daily caffeine fix, you are going to feel tired for at least a few days.
I usually tell people if you’re cutting sugar don’t try to cut caffeine too. Tackle that next.
Although it seems counterintuitive, exercising (including going for a walk) can help give you more energy.
Instead of feeling tired, some people can end up feeling restless or with “chatterbox” energy during a detox.
While a few of them can use that flutter of energy to get things done, others find it distracting and unpleasant.
If you stick to your detox program, your energy levels should stabilize in just a few short days.
Until then, take special care to stick to your daily routines to keep the nervous energy levels in check. Meditation and yoga can help. If you feel really anxious trying closing your eyes and counting each exhale until you hit 10. Repeat as long as needed.
Taking too many bathroom trips is probably one of the most common problems people experience during a detox.
Psyllium husk can help you regulate your bowel movements, but your diet should come first.
Make sure your detox plan is balanced and includes plenty of high-fiber foods to keep your bowel movements regular.
Depending on what your diet was like before the detox, you may experience stomach troubles on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Again, the easiest way to avoid this is making sure your detox meal plan includes a variety of healthy, plant-based foods.
If you are struggling to find healthy detox recipes that aren’t just plain salads or weird things that cost a fortune, check out my Detox Plan. It’s all simple, healthy foods that you know and love but nourish you too. There’s also plenty of fiber to make sure you clean the pipes!
If you are feeling a little more cranky than usual, the side effects of detoxing your body may be to blame.
To cope with increased irritability, consider taking some time to detox your mind as well.
(More on that next week!)
You may experience low-grade anxiety or notice an increase in your anxiety symptoms during the first few days of a detox.
I find it is helpful to acknowledge I’m anxious and then let it go.
9. Skin problems.
Have you noticed that you tend to break out more when you eat poorly?
As strange as it sounds, the same thing can happen during the first few days of a detox, even though you are eating healthy, detoxifying foods.
But don’t worry - after a few more days, your skin will look better than ever!
This is something EVERYONE who goes through a detox experiences at one point or another.
(Yes, including me.)
If you find yourself suddenly craving every type of junk food under the sun, don’t panic.
Hang in there, drink lots of water, and know that in just a few short days you will have successfully reprogrammed your body and brain to crave healthy foods instead.
And if you’d like some extra support when it comes to getting rid of your cravings once and for all, join the super supportive folks doing the 2019 Vegan Detox Challenge with me.
We’ve got your back - and will help keep you going!
How Meal Mentor Can Help
The best way to minimize the unpleasant side effects of a detox program?
Sticking to a healthy, plant-based meal plan all year round.
Joining Meal Mentor will give you access to hundreds of delicious plant-based recipes, weekly meal plans, grocery lists, and a tribe of wonderful community members who are here to support you every step of the way.
We’re LOVING all the brand-new detox recipes and know you will too!
Ready to crush your 2019 health goals?