Detox, detox, detox! It seems every time January comes along, everyone’s talking about the best detox diets, supplements and programs that we all must be doing if we want to be fitter, healthier and leaner. It’s confusing and overwhelming to know where to begin and if they will even do what they claim.
The first thing to bear in mind is that we are all different and unique, what might work well for one person may not have the same desired results for another. If you don’t enjoy or get on well with raw food, don’t consider doing a raw food cleanse because you think it’s good for you.
There are so many ways to support your body to detox and finding what works best for you is better than aimlessly following the latest extreme celebrity fad. These types of detoxes are often over-hyped and over-priced and are probably not going to benefit your health in the long term.
Mother nature provided us with plentiful means to support our bodies to detox naturally thousands of years ago. Any new claims about products and programs should be researched properly before you part with your hard-earned cash and waste your time. Some extreme detoxes can even cause harm and further stress on the body, which is the very thing we are aiming to reduce.
Many holistic practitioners understand that an overwhelm of toxicity in the body can be the root cause of disease. The body is designed to remove toxins via the colon, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system and the skin. However, we are bombarded with different toxins from the modern lifestyles we lead.
Toxins in our diets and environment are at an all-time high, couple that with a sluggish elimination system and toxin overload is inevitable. Detoxing can lessen symptoms of disease and improve overall health and vitality.
It’s not just toxins from our diets we need to be aware of, our body’s basic biochemistry also produces toxins that need to be expelled. Not to mention additional toxins from things like alcohol, smoking, medication, illness, stress, pollution, the list goes on and on. By not removing these toxins, our bodies can soon feel tired, lethargic and function at suboptimal levels.
The intensity of detoxes varies, those that are short lived and involve fasting or taking detoxifying supplements in high doses can often cause a Herxheimer reaction which is when you feel sick and generally rubbish as your body tries to remove toxins at a fast pace. This can be quite off putting since who wants to intentionally make themselves feel unwell?
But there are other ways, which are gentler and more effective, albeit can take longer to complete. They can kick start your body’s natural processes to tip the balance back towards vitality and wellbeing. Once you feel sufficiently detoxed, you can then perform shorter detoxes periodically to ensure you stay in optimal health. Different styles of detoxes suit different people and lifestyles.
At a very basic level, you can improve your health and increase your vitality by gently eliminating processed foods and replacing them with whole unprocessed foods with plenty of fruit and vegetables. In addition, eliminating more complex foods such as meat, dairy and gluten can also be of assistance.
Also try to reduce unnecessary toxins where possible, one way would be to swop chemical-based body and cleaning products to natural alternatives and by cutting out caffeine and alcohol.
Then add in herbs and superfoods that have been used for thousands of years for their protecting, cleansing, tonifying and re-balancing properties.
The How To
Let’s now consider some of the ways you can detox and enhance a detox by including additional techniques to food, herbs and supplements to boost the effects. Colonic irrigations, massage, sauna, body wraps and skin brushing can all be beneficial in supporting your detox efforts. By adding in just one or two of these modalities can increase the removal of toxins from the body.
Consider the following stages to ensure a full-bodied detox.
- Stimulating the proper working of the elimination channels to ensure the body is getting rid of toxins effectively. Consider the bowel, kidneys, liver and skin by using herbal tinctures and teas, colonic irrigation, skin brushing and by eating wholefoods that are high in fibre.
- Cleansing the internal organs and systems, such as the lymph and digestive systems, and promoting cellular renewal by using herbal tinctures and teas, fresh juices and intermittent fasting. Lymphatic massage and rebounding can greatly support your efforts here.
- Boost the circulatory system to assist the effective removal of toxins that are being released by using herbal tinctures and teas, exercise, hot baths, sauna and massage.
- Nourish the body with a dense source of nutrition to heal and re-balance the body by using superfoods, wholefoods, herbal teas and tinctures.
Adjust this basic framework so that it meets your body’s needs and fits in with your lifestyle. It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than this for most people. If you suffer from any adverse detox reactions, or struggle with any of these stages, always consult a qualified holistic health practitioner to guide you through the process.
A detox should be a carried out for a short period of time, to give the body a chance to release and renew, it is not recommended long term or as a lifestyle since once the body has detoxed to an extent, then the detox pathways will be stimulated and open to continue detoxing daily. Periodic short detoxes could be carried out quarterly to ensure any accumulated toxins are being released on a regular basis.
Here are some of our favourite herbs and superfoods that have a long history of use for their detoxifying properties. Most come in different forms such as tinctures, teas, powders and capsule form so can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle.
- Nettle Leaf – Cleanses and tonifies the kidneys and body systems
- Milk Thistle Leaf – Protects and cleanses the liver
- Dandelion Leaf – Acts as a diuretic and cleanses the kidneys
- Pau D’Arco – Anti-microbial, anti-fungal and cleansing
- Turmeric – Anti-microbial and cleansing to the liver
- Hawthorn Berries – Stimulates circulation
- Beetroot Powder – Cleanses the blood and stimulates circulation
- Flaxseeds & Psyllium Husks – Are both high sources of fibre which absorb toxins and promote healthy bowel function
- Zeolite Clay – Binds to toxins and draws them out of the body. Helps detoxify heavy metals, environmental toxins, mould, radioactive materials and microbial pathogens. Use particle size of less than 10 microns for a cellular detox as it is carried into the bloodstream. Use particle size from 10-40 microns for a gut detox as larger particles stay in the digestive tract to act as a binder
- Spirulina Powder & Chlorella Powder – Are dense sources of nutrition that cleanse, alkalise and nourish
- Wheatgrass Powder & Barleygrass Powder – Offer complete nutrition, alkalise and calm inflammation
Something to consider when looking at products to support your detox is that not all supplements are equal, the most expensive one’s are not necessarily the best and cheaper alternatives are not necessarily no good.
In addition, mental health should also be addressed when doing any type of detox. When you are highly stressed, your body will be working hard to reduce the ill effects from the stress and will have less energy to focus on detoxing. Even if you are taking a ton of herbs or supplements to detox, they simply won’t be as effective compared to taking them when you are feeling calm and relaxed.
Please note, this blog does not aim to offer any personal medical advice to any individual. If you are unsure about the best route or combination for your specific needs, please seek the advice of a qualified nutritionist, herbalist or functional medicine practitioner.