Yes it is that time of year. We have all been inward, happily snuggled by the fire eating our comfort food, chocolate and whatever else floats our boat. –Yum! It is now time to start thinking about coming out in our swimwear …help!...I mean...., in the fresh air and sunshine and letting our bodies open up and take a big breath in and out.
Toxins: As we know toxins are a very real part of our world with 80 over 80,000 chemicals presently used in the US. 1 It is unknown specifically how many here in Australia.
Chemicals enter our bodies both internally with the processed foods we eat, as well as products we use on our skin right down to the air we breath.
Stress we experience, and the quantity and quality of our sleep are major factors to consider when choosing a detoxification program. As we detox in our sleep you may need some support in this area.
Therefore before we start a ‘hard core’ detox, it is important to assess what we are exposing ourselves to on a daily basis.
Constitutional type: We all have different constitutional types. Some of us tend towards an excessive constitution and may benefit from safely losing some weight, while some of us are deficiency types and may benefit from much more nourishing, building and warming foods during our detox program.
Some of us may have additional health concerns and may require further testing for candida, H pylori, dysbiosis and/or protozoa and bacterial over growths effecting digestion. Protocols such as a weed, feed, seed may be required to combat these infections.
It is important to be mindful that doing a detox that is too extreme can lead to health problems especially for those who are already depelted.
Here are some basic detox principles to get you started
1. Eat a clean wholefood organic diet of rainbow coloured vegetables daily. Fresh organic vegetables provide you with antioxidant support and enhanced your vitamin and mineral intake. Adding predominantly cruciferous (Dark leafy greens such as, kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and watercress) vegetables will assist your detox pathways by clearing toxins out of the body through the liver. This will also increase essential fibre to support colonisation and feeding 'good' bacteria in our gut and excretion of toxins through our bowel. RDI 30-35g daily.
2. Exclude sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Start your day with fresh lemon juice in warm water or apple cider vinegar and utilize a detoxifying herbal tea throughout the day. Such as loose leaf; nettle, lemon grass, ginger or roasted dandelion or chicory root coffee. This will help stimulate the digestive system.
3. Remember to take water with you! Drink at least 2-2.5 liters of filtered or spring water each day in a glass bottle. All of the body’s biochemical reactions and functions occur in water. It is required for digestion, absorption, transportation, dissolving nutrients, elimination of waste products and thermoregulation. (National Health and Medical Research Council 2009) Water is so vital for optimal detoxification as it removes toxins from the body through the kidneys and the skin.
4. Sweat it out. Your skin is one of your body’s largest organs. Through sweat we can assist the body to excrete toxins. Do 30 minutes exercise each day. e.g. jogging, riding or hot yoga and sauna and don’t forget to add Pilates or yoga.
5. Your beautiful Skin: Try dry brushing your skin in an upward motion towards the heart, before a shower or Epsom salt bath. This will stimulate movement of the lymphatic system, which has the job of eliminating toxins. Best practice is in the morning.
Which detox program is good for you? This is where an individualised wholistic program may be of benefit. You may like to loose weight, stop smoking, clear your skin or candida, reduce stress (…yes you can do a detox for that!), or quit caffeine...the list goes on... By undertaking a thorough health assessment and ongoing support from a qualified health practitioner you can do this safely, well and more effectively. A qualified health practitioner will take into consideration, your health history, medications, limitations as well as any underlying health issues or areas of health you would like to focus on.
Remember to be mindful of what your body can handle at this time. Don’t push yourself too hard especially if this is your first time doing a cleanse. AND remember our bodies are detoxing naturally everyday, in our sleep, when we walk, when we sweat...so don't sweat it if you have a treat here and there. Enjoy it, taste it and love it!
Christine Naturopath - BHlthSc (Nat), NHAA. ANTA
Love Thy Health - Naturopathy
1. Weiss B, Landrigan PJ. The developing brain and the environment: an introduction. Environl Health Perspect 2000;108(Suppl 3):373-374.
This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
Reference: National Health and Medical Research Council 2009, Nutrient References for Australia & New Zealand, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Nutrient References for Australia & New Zealand.