Alcohol Detox At Home
I’m often asked, “James, how do I do an alcohol detox at home and what do you use to make it through the first few days”
So I thought I’d put together a more defined list of things you can focus on to make sure when doing a detox from drinking, you set yourself up for success to skyrocket your energy, have better sleep, have healthier, smoother skin, more mental clarity and even lose some body fat.
While you may experience lack of appetite or even nausea during your first few days of not drinking, it’s important to focus on foods that will help give your body the vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and building blocks to re-establish equilibrium and balance in your cells.
Diet is a crucial component and we’ll focus on this intently in this article along with what beverages–water, juices, etc–to make sure you are putting the RIGHT things in your body and not leaving a void once you’ve put down the booze.
You’ll want to go to your local grocery store and pick up a variety of fruits and vegetables. Whether they’re your favorite or not, it’s important to have a variety of produce to maximize the spread of nutrients you consume.
Fruits will help the sugar cravings. When you quit drinking, your body may be used to consuming anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 15 teaspoons(or more) of sugar per drink. This is a broad range depending on the beverage consume and if a mixed beverage was added. So while you may or may not experience the sugar cravings, it’s important to have a yourself armed with the right backup tools so you don’t slip into running to the store for ice cream, chocolate or worse, another drink.
Bananas are a terrific source of energy, can elevate mood and contains potassium and fiber to help with sore muscles. Ever have sore legs after a long night out? The potassium may help you out.
If you’re concerned about a spike in blood sugar, oats are particularly helpful in curbing your blood sugar levels and help as a natural relaxer. You may also want to take a walk for 30 minutes after eating as studies have shown your blood sugar levels can be HALVED after just a short walk.
Here’s a short video on what foods you should consume while you quit alcohol:
While it’s important to eat healthy foods while detoxing from alcohol, its just as important to avoid harmful foods that can disrupt your sleep or keep your body holding onto or storing that toxins from drinking. Try to avoid or limit caffeine consumption as it can be harmful to your sleep, nervous system and circulation. It can also affect your anxiety levels. Try to avoid processed foods and whenever possible look for organic foods when shopping.
It’s important that you make sure to keep your body hydrated while you detox from alcohol. We recommend drinking 12 glasses of water (8oz) the day after drinking alcohol. Stretch them out so that you do not drink all 12 glasses at once as this can cause water intoxication. Instead, drink 1 glass per hour over a 12 hour period.
You’ll also want to include electrolytes while drinking water as your body loses valuable electrolytes when you rehydrate. Drinking a sports drink that contains electrolytes or coconut water can help you replenish electrolytes while you hydrate.
Fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to detox your body and help you to absorb vital nutrients and vitamins while you detox from alcohol. While not intended to hydrate the body, this can help cleanse your liver, overcome the sugar cravings from alcohol and rebuild the stores of nutrients needed to get you feeling more energized and clear minded.
Here’s one of my favorite juicing recipes to help you cleanse your liver while getting crucial vitamins and other nutrients that will help you to recover:
When detoxing from home it’s important to set yourself up for success. We recommend you get rid of any remaining alcohol in your home to keep you from going back to drinking and to avoid the temptation. Throw it in the trash, give it to a friend or pour it down the sink. Just get rid of it. You don’t want to wait for your willpower fade for you to have the temptations around. Alcohol remove any empty containers: empty wine bottles, beer cans or liquor bottles. These can act as a visual queue and trigger you to have cravings for the alcohol.
Be sure to get 15 mins of sunlight each day to help your body with vitamin D levels. Too much sunlight can be detrimental so be sure to keep direct contact with sunlight to under an hour. If you are in an area with little sun or during a time of year with reduced windows of time of direct sunlight, you may want to purchase a lamp that can emit UVB rays to help with vitamin D production from contact with your skin.
Low to moderate exercise while detoxing may help with blood circulation and help decrease levels of anxiety when quitting alcohol. It can also aid in the release of endorphins. It may be important to keep your mind busy during the first few days of not drinking as it will help fill the void of time you used to spend drinking. I recommend playing games, connecting with loved ones, household chores or writing in a journal.
If you do experience cravings, I recommend moving to something active immediately to help get your mind off the idea of taking a drink and to focus on something you enjoy. Take a walk, drawing, painting, gardening, or even
Sleep is important as it will help your body recover from the alcohol, give it the time it needs to recover and allow your mind to clear. If you experience trouble sleeping, consult your doctor. Some things to try if you experience trouble sleeping include:
- Reading a book,
- Passion flower tea before bed or
- Swanwick Sleep Blue-blocking Sunglasses 1-2 hours before bed
While this may be your first time detoxing from alcohol at home, just know that the temporary symptoms that come up while detoxing are just that: Temporary. The longer-term lasting benefits of not drinking can far outweigh any in-the-moment discomfort. Focus on treating your body like a temple and replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts and activities to put your life back on track and toward living at your best self.
If you’re serious about taking a break from alcohol, I encourage you to check out my 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge to help see how taking a break from alcohol can get you to feel your best, transform your health and well-being.