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How to Prepare for a Detox Diet

Tips to Know Before Starting


Updated July 09, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

How to Prepare for a Detox Diet
Jeffrey Coolidge/Photodisc/Getty Images

Before you begin a detox diet, you need to get your body ready for optimal cleansing. Here's how:

1) Give Your Diet a Mini-Makeover

Some foods can interfere with the liver's ability to detoxify your body, which could impair your detox efforts. For three days leading up to your detox diet, try to eliminate: alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and packaged, boxed, canned or fast food. People going on a juice fast usually eliminate meat and poultry. Up your intake of raw vegetable salads and lightly steamed vegetables.

You may also want to take this time to rid your kitchen of any foods or beverages that might tempt you during your detox diet.

Plan your menu for the week and make time to grocery shop. If you don’t normally buy organic, look for local farmers’ markets, health food stores, or grocery stores with a good selection of organic foods. If you’re not able to buy all produce organic, get a fruit and vegetable wash (Environee makes one) to help rid your produce of pesticide residues, waxes, and other undesirable chemicals. If you are going on a detox diet, see a sample menu. If you are going on a juice fast, have all of your produce ready and storage bottles if you will be preparing larger quantities to last you through the day.

2) Prevent Caffeine Withdrawal

If you drink caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, you may experience headaches, tiredness and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Here are some tips on how to prevent it:

  • Gradually decrease your caffeine intake prior to starting the diet.
  • Try substituting some of your coffee intake with Swiss water decaffeinated coffee. For instance, try having a cup of coffee that is 75% regular coffee and 25% decaffeinated coffee. Gradually up the percentage of decaf until you're ready to eliminate it entirely. 
  • Switch to lower-caffeine green tea, white tea, matcha, or oolong tea.
  • If it's the bitter taste of coffee you miss, try a caffeine-free herbal coffee substitute such as Roastaroma tea.

3) Drink More Water

Your body needs plenty of water during a detox diet. Drinking lots of water keeps you hydrated and may help flush out toxins, so be sure to drink at least eight glasses of filtered water daily. Also try having a cup of room temperature or lukewarm filtered water with lemon in the morning.

4) Stock up on Tools for Detox Success

Some practices may help promote cleansing throughout your detox diet. Exfoliating your skin with a dry brush, for instance, may help support circulation and prompt the passage of toxins from your lymph.

To enhance relaxation as you detox, consider buying some essential oils to add to your bathwater or use for massage. Incredibly calming, lavender oil may be especially helpful for those suffering from caffeine-withdrawal-related headaches. Learn about using essential oils safely.

5) Know What Not to Cut Out

Don’t stop taking any prescription medications while on a detox diet. Discontinuing certain medications can have serious, possibly life-threatening consequences.


Wong, Cathy. The Inside-Out Diet: 4 Weeks to Weight Loss, Total Body Health, and Radiance. Wiley, 2007.

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