It’s a hot topic every spring. And with so much information (and so many products!) out there, it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to detoxing. One thing I’ve learned in over 15 years in this industry is that you can’t believe everything you read – especially when someone’s selling you a “quick fix” (hello…. lemon detox/skinny tea/lose 5kg in 1 week!).
Firstly – if someone is promising that you’ll lose 5kg or more in one week, that 5kg won’t all be made from fat. It may happen on the Biggest Loser, but out here in the real world, no one loses weight that fast, and it’s not healthy to try and do so anyway. That speedy weight loss is likely to be made up of some fat, sure, but also some muscle mass (not a good thing to lose!), fluid (some products use herbs to make you pee more), or most likely… the contents of your bowel.
Many “detox” products are simply strong laxatives, and that “flatter” stomach is just due to there being nothing left in your colon. As soon as you eat, it will just gradually fill up again. Long term use of these products may even make your bowel lazy and lead to long term constipation that’s hard to resolve. If you need help to poo, see your naturopath for a more balanced approach. Side note – if you ARE bloated, consider doing some investigation around food intolerances – they’re one of the main causes of a sticky-outy-tummy.
A TRUE naturopathic detox needs to contain the following factors:
- NO processed foods
- NO gluten
- NO dairy
- NO cane sugar
- NO processed/inflammatory seed oils
- NO chemical additives
- NO coffee or alcohol (sorry!)
- NO heavy red meat (opt for fish, eggs, or organic chicken as your animal protein sources)
- LOTS of green, leafy veggies
- YUMMY fruit and veggies in abundance
- FRESH herbs or sprouts
- HEALTHY proteins like nuts and seeds
- ORGANIC food where possible
- SOME brown rice and legumes – have more if you’re vego (none if you’re paleo)
- LOTS of water (and herbal teas if they’re your thing)
So now that you know what to do for a real detox (and not a fad, gimmick or quick fix), there are some fabulous natural ways that you can enhance your regime.
Load up on the good stuff
Food can double as medicine! Make sure you’re eating plenty of vegetables that are raw or lightly steamed for ease of digestion, and then add in small portions of grain-like-seeds such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. These provide carbohydrate energy but are much easier for the body to digest as they don’t contain wheat or gluten. Include some fresh fruit such as berries, and ripe bananas that are high in potassium which makes the liver happy.
Classic spring juice cleanse
Of course, spring is the perfect time for a juice cleanse. Raw vegetable juice gives the digestion a break, simultaneously flooding the body with nutrients. Choose vegetables that are high in liver supporting sulphur such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, as well as carrot which is high in Vitamin A, and beetroot, greens, cucumber, parsley, and ginger for alkalinity.
Essential fatty acids
All nuts are full of essential fatty acids, with walnuts especially high in l-arginine and glutathione to assist in detoxifying the liver and oxygenating the blood. Use high quality essential fatty acid sources – olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado to name a few.
Let’s get zesty
Add some lemon or lime zest or juice to your filtered water, fresh juices, salad dressings, and other meals for extra anti-microbial activity and antioxidants. Grapefruit especially is rich in these liver cleansing actions as well is being high in Vitamin C. It also contains a compound that assists the liver to metabolise fat rather than saving it for later, so the juice makes a great cleansing tool.
The wonder root turmeric not only aids digestion and has been proven to decrease joint pain and other inflammatory conditions, but it also supports liver metabolism and regeneration, protecting the liver against damage. You can add it to fresh juices, smoothies, stir-fries, curries, make a golden milk or turmeric latte, or speak to your naturopath about taking a turmeric supplement to supercharge your cleanse.
Not just a weed
Dandelion root has been used for centuries to help flush toxins out of the body. This common weed helps to boost the immune system, soothes digestion, and contains Vitamins A, B, C & Zinc. The leaves, stems, and flowers can all be used in a tea as a kidney and skin cleanser. It can help to relieve, muscle aches, upset tummies, gas, gallstones, and also increases urine production and bowel movements.
Got milk thistle?
Another useful herb, Milk Thistle, assists in the detoxification of heavy metals as well as helping to repair damage done by alcohol, medication, and environmental toxins. It supports the liver and has antioxidant and free radical scavenging actions, which helps protect the liver against toxins as well as stimulating regeneration of new liver cells. Milk Thistle also boosts the disease-prevention master glutathione through its active ingredient Silymarin.
The digestive broom
Of course, spring is the perfect time for giving the house (aka your gut) a good clean. Constipation makes us floaty and crampy. Fibre helps us feel full and feeds the good bacteria in our gut, as well as helping clean out toxins. But rather than going for a strong laxative, aim for 25-30g of fibre each day by consuming plenty of vegetables, grain-like-seeds and adding chia seeds, ground linseeds, and flaxseeds to salads, yoghurt, soups, smoothies, or desserts. And make sure you drink plenty of water to flush it all through.
A spring cleanse doesn’t have to be expensive or full of special products. Let food be your medicine, tweak the process with a few herbs if you wish, but stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. Follow these guidelines and you’re MUCH more likely to come out the other end glowing, lighter and more energised… with lasting results!
Do you have special needs or are looking for a more tailored detox program? Don’t forget I’m also available for 1-on-1 appointments here.
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