Detox Diets in the Southwest Metro

There’s a wide-variety of detoxification diets on the market —is there one that’s right for you?
Kris Roach's own battle with candida inspired her to help others reach their healthy detox goals.

Kris Roach swears by the power of detox dieting. Fourteen years ago she suffered from Candida, a chronic gut-lining condition, and had forgotten what it felt like to be healthy. In desperation she turned to a detox diet that not only killed her Candida, it inspired her to help others reach their own health goals. Today, Roach is a holistic health coach and owner of Inspiring Wellness; she can be found giving talks and coaching clients around the southwest metro. Her diet of choice: the sugar detox. “Sugar is so pervasive in the American diet and so tough on the body,” says Roach, who incorporates a sugar detox into almost every client’s program. Instead of the popular juicing or intense fasting that some people follow, Roach’s clients eat real food—just without any added sugar. “I’m a fan of detox, but in a gentle way,” she says. With the number of diets circulating right now, it’s important to do research to find that perfect fit before committing and to speak with a trusted health professional. “It’s not your neighbor’s diet, your best friend’s, or your husbands—it’s yours,” Roach says. Her best advice: be in tune to your body. For five to seven days, Roach’s diet consists of mostly protein and veggies, and then fruit is slowly added back in. When the body is clean of sugar, which is hard to process, the organs can focus their energy on the important tasks. “The body is an amazing thing and can bounce back if you give it the opportunity,” she says. “It’s about uncovering how great you can feel.” Dr. Jo Becker-Puklich also offers detox options at  Live Well Chiropractic Spa & Acupuncture Center in Chanhassen. Many of her patients initially come to her for chronic joint or back pain, but after talking about eating habits, they find there’s a nutritional component to their ailments as well. Food can be a source of inflammation in the body, which results in pain, so Becker-Puklich uses the detox program “to help them pinpoint what their underlying problem is.” Patients add Metagenics, a pharmaceutical-grade product, to their daily routine for anywhere from 10 to 21 days. This drink (or pill) helps the liver and colon detoxify, says Becker-Puklich. But for the most part, her detox diet “is really just about clean eating.” Fish, chicken, fruit and veggies, can be eaten throughout the diet, while avoiding red meat, dairy, gluten and processed foods, due to their inflammatory nature. There’s no denying that exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but it’s hard to keep up with workouts while in the midst of a detox diet. That’s why Jason Ivesdal of Higher Power Training in Eden Prairie came up with his own detox program that integrates workouts. “I wanted a program that is good for active people … a boot camp type plan,” he says. At Higher Power Training, clients commit to a 21-day detox that starts off with unlimited veggies, low carbs, some fruit, healthy fats and lots of specialty protein shakes. Protein plays an essential role because it’s the most critical nutrient to drive the body’s detox process, explains Ivesdal. Meat is gradually added back in to the diet but processed food is cut out completely. “[This diet] gets people to enjoy real food,” he says. At the gym, clients are weighed and measured twice a week to track their success, and personal trainers lead them through workouts, with an emphasis on weight training. “Body composition is more important than the scale,” Ivesdal says. Not only does weight training increase lean muscle mass, it helps drive the lymphatic system (which is part of the detox system) and strengthens the immune system. Glutamine, a supplement used during detox, serves as a natural appetite suppressant. Nutritionists and dieticians are a little more skeptical about detox diets, pointing out that detoxification is what the liver, lungs and kidneys were designed to do. “The body is an amazing piece of biochemistry, and the organs work very well at detoxification,” says Deborah Prelesnik, owner of Vision of Wellness. Instead of focusing on detoxing the body, liver and colon, she suggests clients turn their focus towards detoxing their diet and lifestyle. Eat lean meat, fruit, veggies, whole grains, don’t smoke, avoid alcohol, get exercise, and as a result the body will be healthier, she says. Anne Bechtel, from Ridgeview Bariatric and Weight Loss Center, suggests that many people on detox diets who claim to feel healthier “are likely feeling the benefit of having cut highly processed high-fat and high-sugar foods out of their diet.” “If any diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Additionally, if a diet requires special foods, beverages or supplements then it isn’t sustainable,” Bechtel says. “Check with your doctor before going on a detox, or any other diet. Eliminating or limiting whole food groups such as proteins, carbohydrates or dairy for a long period of time (more than 2 weeks) may cause medical problems.”Words of Advice Anne Bechtel: If you remove food from your diet, replace it with a healthy alternative so you aren’t missing out on vital nutrients. (Vegetarians are encouraged to take B12 supplements.) Deborah Prelesnik: Certain people should not fast: pregnant women, elderly, children, those with specific medical conditions. Check with your doctor before doing any type of diet. Jason Ivesdal: Brush your teeth right after you eat your last meal to avoid the late-night snack temptation; go to bed early. Dr. Jo Becker-Puklich: Try homemade kale chips! Kris Roach: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey and cinnamon to 6-8oz of water to jump-start the detoxification process.