Me? Detox? Why detoxification is crucial for everyone and the easy way to do it properly.
Living in this modern world we are surrounded by toxins every day.
Toxins are in our air, our homes, our personal care products and even in our food. It’s not possible to avoid these toxins completely but we can reduce our exposure and help our body to eliminate them, rather than have them build up in our system.
Detoxifying is crucial for everyone because studies show that many chemicals we are exposed to in everyday life are carcinogens (capable of causing cancer), neurotoxins (toxic to our brain and nervous system) and endocrine disruptors (interfere with our hormones). Exposure to these chemicals is so common that, according to research, 95% of people have endocrine disrupting chemicals in their bodies! This can lead to reproductive disease and infertility.
The body gets rid of toxins via its eliminatory organs: the liver, skin, lungs, kidneys and bowel. When toxins overload our body’s ability to detoxify them, they can lead to:
- foggy thinking
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- skin problems
- gut problems
- very heavy and/or painful periods
- irregular periods
- subfertility or infertility
- weight gain
Additional signs you need to detox:
- you smoke
- you drink more than four standard drinks per week
- you have sluggish bowels (you don’t go every day or your bowel movements feel incomplete or hard to pass)
- you use personal care and household products that are not toxin free
First, clear out the cupboard
It makes sense to first reduce our toxic intake. This can be hard to do overnight! Begin to investigate what is really in your household using an app such as The Chemical Maze or Skin Deep to look up ingredients in:
- Makeup, skin care, hair care, deodorants, sunscreens and anything else you apply to your skin
- cleaning products and gardening products
- processed and pre-packaged foods (or just avoid these altogether)
- storing your food in plastic (invest in re-usable glass containers and beeswax food wraps plus re-use glass jars for food storage) or drinking from plastic bottles
- cooking with Teflon or aluminium cookware
- having brand new furniture in the house or buying a brand new car (these release gas chemicals for the first couple of years)
When to detox
Spring is the optimal time detox: as we start to warm up our bodies come out of hibernation mode, we feel like getting outside and moving more, and eating more fresh veggies rather than warming, comfort foods.
Ideally, you should detox when you have a little more time on your hands to de-stress, prepare food and focus on staying on track, but your detox doesn’t have to be drastic to be effective so you can still go to work and go about your normal life, mostly. It’s best to make sure you have minimal social engagements on so that you don’t get tempted to eat or drink the wrong things.
Your mini detox
No juice fasts here. We need protein to make liver enzymes for detoxification and plenty of fibre to improve our gut health. Juice fasting does have its applications but is best done under the guidance of a trained professional.
Here’s exactly how to do your Spring detox:
- Turmeric is a powerful detoxifier so start each day with a warm turmeric drink: 1/2 tsp of organic, dried, ground turmeric in 200ml of warm water with the juice of 1/4 lemon, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil. The oil and black pepper allow the active constituents in turmeric to be absorbed. Add the juice of half an orange for sweetness if needed.
- Cut out sugar, dairy, gluten, alcohol and caffeine
- Replace these with an abundance of fresh veggies (7 or more serves per day, where one serve = 1/2 cup), some fruits, small portions of whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, oats, millet and brown basmati rice, lean meats, fish, tempeh and tofu, raw nuts and seeds, olive oil and coconut oil. Eat freely of these foods so you don’t go hungry and you keep up your energy levels. Eat organic where possible to avoid herbicides, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Flavour meals with natural ingredients using plenty of fresh and dried herbs/spices to reap their detoxifying properties
- Drink plenty of herbal tea such as ginger, nettle, dandelion, hibiscus, red clover, lemongrass, chamomile and lemon balm. Also, keep well hydrated with 2L of filtered water or natural mineral water per day.
- Do light exercise such as walking or low-intensity yoga daily. Get plenty of rest also
You can do this detox for anywhere from 3-14 days, depending on how much time you have where you are able to prepare food and eat in this manner. Three days will give your body a bit of a break but 10-14 days is ideal to really allow your liver and gut time to clear out the toxins.
When to get help
Sometimes we need help from a trained professional to safely and effectively detoxify. Your naturopath can safely use high strength, high-quality herbs and nutrients to help you clear toxins. See a naturopath if:
- you are having trouble falling pregnant
- you have persistent gut issues
- you carry excess weight
- you live under a flight path or near a busy road
- you have mercury fillings
- you’re exposed to heavy metals or chemicals at work
- you smoke
If any of the last four apply to you, you could also benefit from a hair tissue mineral analysis test. This test shows us if heavy metals are stored in your tissues and being eliminated from your hair. You can then work with your naturopath to detox and mitigate the negative effects of heavy metals.
The human body does have an amazing ability to cope with toxic load but due to the plethora of toxins we have to face each day sometimes it needs is a helping hand.
So start planning your Spring detox today and your body will thank you for it.
*Please note the symptoms mentioned in this article can also be caused by many other diseases or disorders so if you have them it is important to be properly investigated by a health professional for more serious underlying conditions.
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