The word ‘detox’ is thrown around all over the place, and has been attributed to some very restricting regimes, but all it really means is a period of time in which you rid your body of toxins and unhealthy substances. A detox programme helps the body's natural cleansing process by resting the organs, stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body, promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin; improving circulation of the blood; and refuelling the body with healthy nutrients. This all slows down the ageing process, which goes into overdrive when we’re overdoing it on little sleep and poor fuel.
A need to detox is especially telling if you are experiencing these symptoms:
- Irritated skin (itchy with dry patches)
- Unexplained fatigue (sleeping 7-8 hours but still feeling drained)
- Puffy eyes
- Menstrual problems
- Mental slowness
- Sluggish elimination
There are many things that can contribute to detox, and you don’t have to go ‘all or nothing’, but first, you really do have to start by lightening up your toxin load. Here are a number of things you can do to detox:
- Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and derail the detox process.
- Eat plenty of fibre, including brown rice and organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are all excellent detoxifying foods.
- Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
- Take Vitamin C, which aids the body in producing glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
- Drink two litres of water throughout the day to continue flushing out toxins.
- Start the day with a glass of water and the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. This helps flush out toxins and alkalises the body. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your water to alkalise.
- Try intermittent fasting. For example, you can choose to eat only during an eight-hour window, such as from 12pm to 8pm, and then fast from 8pm to 12pm the next day. During the fasting phase, the body gets some rest and is able to break down leftover food effectively, leading to detox and reduction in gut inflammation.
- Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely throughout your system.
- Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
- Relax in a sauna so your body can eliminate waste through sweating.
- Dry-brush your skin to remove toxins through your pores and stimulate the lymph nodes. Special dry brushes are available at natural products stores.
- Transform stress by reframing negative thoughts and focusing on positive emotions. An easy way: if you are ruminating on a fear, try and visualise what you want instead.
- Seriously, anything that gets you moving. If you are tired, a one-hour walk can replace a workout and aid in detox.
- P.S. don’t forget to remove toxic people too.
All these steps will help to reduce stress and the damaging stress chemicals in your body. The more you incorporate these small steps as a regular part of your routine, the less need you’ll have to do stricter forms of detox such as juicing. That's welcome news to all of us who like solid food.