Spring officially arrived on the morning of Tuesday, March 20th marked by the Spring Equinox when light and darkness are equally balanced. Now that the daylight is getting longer everyday, it’s a traditional time for a spring detox program. Recovering from a tough flu season where many people, who are never sick, were felled for weeks, it may be just the thing to revive one’s vitality and rebuild the immune system.
There are lots of detox programs recommending the best way to detox and cleanse. Choosing between those that involve fasting versus those that have a regime for eating cleanly is a decision you need to make depending on what fits your body and your life’s rhythms the best.
Whichever style you choose, detox programs can present a big challenge for many people due to the requirement to refrain from drinking coffee and alcohol. Ok, some number of days without alcohol isn’t that big a deal for most people, but ask a coffee drinker to give up the morning cuppa and boom! Resistance sets in.
Dandelion root, roasted and ground to brew like coffee, and chicory root, the French coffee alternative, can help a coffee drinker get over that hurdle. Along with replacing the taste and body of a cup of coffee, dandelion and chicory roots have detox health benefits that add to a cleansing program. But you have to be careful to prepare ahead of time to make your detox program more effective and more pleasant. Here’s why eliminating caffeine during a detox program is such an important factor and how drinking an herbal coffee made from dandelion and chicory roots can help.
Give Your Adrenals a Rest
Adrenal glands, part of our endocrine system, power our energy all day long by excreting the right hormones at the right time. Cortisol wakes us up in the morning while melatonin puts us to sleep at night. DHEA is produced as the master hormone that is used to create our sex hormones, keep our bones and muscles strong, and help to reduce depression. But if you’re a habitual caffeine imbiber, your body’s rhythm of hormone production is going to be compromised.
First, your cortisol level can be too high due to caffeine stimulating its production with every cup of coffee or energy beverage you drink. Second, high cortisol levels create stress and can have a cascading harmful effect on many parts of your body. Finally, if you’re powering your day with caffeinated drinks, adrenal fatigue can set in. Now you can’t feel energized no matter how much caffeine you consume.
The point of a detox program is to take a break from patterns that might not be optimal for our health. It’s like pushing the reset button. Your appetite corrects itself by getting used to eating less. Your organs get a chance to do some housekeeping because they’re not overwhelmed with the daily barrage of everything we consume. While you’re on reset, it’s the moment to wean yourself off of caffeine and give your adrenals a well deserved rest.
Weaning off of Caffeine with Dandelion and Chicory Herbal Coffee
The key to enjoying your detox program without caffeine is to start one to two weeks before you intend to begin detoxing. If you typically get caffeine withdrawal symptoms like recurring headaches, fatigue and depression, give yourself even more time. Begin by combining ¼ Teeccino Dandelion and Chicory Herbal Coffee with ¾ of your usual ground coffee. Over the days ahead, start to gradually reduce the amount of coffee while increasing Teeccino. By the end of a week or two, you should be drinking 100% Teeccino.
Some people take longer to adjust to starting the day caffeine free. If you’re one of them and you still want a bit of the caffeine stimulus to start your day, you may be able to adapt to just ¼ to ½ the amount of coffee you originally drank. An additional benefit is that you may be able to drink more cups a day as you extend your coffee with Teeccino.
If you’re an “energy” drink consumer, try drinking iced Teeccino. It’ll fill you up and give you an energy boost that comes from the potassium in the herbs. Or cut your energy drinks with mineral water or another sparkling beverage that is caffeine free. Watch out, however, for sugar in any bottled beverage because your detox program will require limiting your sugar intake as much as possible.
Detox Properties of Dandelion and Chicory Roots
Even though you’re eating less during your detox program, you still want to nourish and aid your body’s natural detoxification systems. Dandelion and chicory roots, brewed into an herbal coffee or steeped like an herbal tea, help stimulate your organs to release toxins via their bitter taste and diuretic properties. Dandelion root is particularly known for its diuretic effect on the kidneys which can reduce bloat caused by water retention. Dandelion root contains polysaccharides that help protect the liver from toxins which are abundant in our environment or in the agricultural chemicals on the food we eat.
Both dandelion root and chicory root contain minerals that aid the detoxification process. As deep tap roots, they draw up minerals from the earth and concentrate them for your benefit. Both roots are high in potassium, an electrolyte mineral that is essential for heart health and healthy blood pressure. The importance of more potassium in the diet is being recognized by the FDA. The content of potassium will be required on the new nutrition facts regulations on food and beverage labels.
Minerals are essential to the optimal functioning of our bodies including the balancing of acidity and alkalinity. Potassium is an alkaline mineral which, along with calcium and magnesium, is used to correct metabolic acidity. Your detox program will emphasize consuming food and beverages rich in minerals. By drinking an herbal beverage rich in bioavailable potassium like Teeccino Dandelion and Chicory Herbal Coffees, you’ll be supporting your body’s mineral requirements.
Dandelion and Chicory Roots Are Prebiotics
In case you don’t know the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic, the simple explanation is that probiotics are microorganisms that live in your intestines (and without them, you can’t live) and prebiotics are the part of the food you eat that feeds those microorganisms. Prebiotics are non-caloric soluble fibers that you can’t digest but that microbiota thrive on and use to produce essential compounds like vitamins and short chain fatty acids to keep your body in optimal health.
Chicory root contains the highest amount of the prebiotic, inulin, than any other food and dandelion root has a very high amount of inulin too. Nature has distributed inulin into many common foods like wheat, garlic, and artichokes in order to make sure your probiotics thrive. In a cup of Teeccino, the inulin extracts naturally from the dandelion and chicory roots during brewing. When you drink a cup of Teeccino, you’re getting soluble fiber that feeds your digestive flora and keeps a diverse population of microbiota alive.
Dandelion and chicory roots have a reputation for helping stabilize blood sugar. This function is due to their inulin content which has been proven to help regulate blood sugar.
Although you can take probiotic supplements, only 10% of the microbiota that live in our intestines are available by supplementation. The other 90% are anaerobic and can’t survive in a supplement. This makes it even more essential to be feeding your probiotics with prebiotics. Some restricted diets end up starving the microbiota of their necessary prebiotics. When that happens, the microbiota begin to eat the lining of your intestines which can lead to leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel conditions. You’ll see more and more supplements with prebiotics in them as nutritionists recognize the importance of regularly consuming food that nourishes the entire population of probiotics!
Detox Programs We Recommend
If you’re looking for a great detox program for your spring cleanse, we highly recommend the following:
- Dr. Deanna Minich’s 21-day Whole Detox
I’ve done her programs several times and am always inspired by her sensitivity and breadth of knowledge. She is an expert in functional medicine and nutrition and has pioneered integrating nutrition for the whole self: mind, body and spirit. Deanna Minich, PhD. has some of the very best health information on the internet!
Or any one of Amie Valpone’s programs from:
- The Healthy Apple
She is a Manhattan Celebrity Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Writer and Motivational Speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘Clean Eating’ recipes.