The aim of detoxification is to counteract toxin exposure through dietary and lifestyle changes and ensure that destructive bacteria and waste is removed from the gastrointestinal tract.
In my opinion, a detox is similar to an elimination diet. With the removal of common dietary allergens such as wheat, dairy, soy and peanut, symptoms can be resolved and any destructive inflammatory load on the body can be reduced. This then allows healing to take place and optimal digestion and gut membrane integrity to be restored. Overall, this is essential to protect the body against the entry of large food particles into the bloodstream and the subsequent development of immune reactivity, sensitivities and allergies.
Why should you detox?
1. To support the digestive system, liver and kidneys.
2. To ensure toxins are excreted efficiently and completely.
3. To restore gut health, organ function and toxin elimination long-term.
How do I know if I need to detox?
In life, there are a number or internal and external situations that accumulate and lead to less than optimal health. If more than two of the following apply to you, then a detox is something you should consider.
- Leaky gut
- Unexplained weight gain
- Problem skin
- Poor dietary choices
- Environmental pollutants
- Chemicals, including medications and recreational drugs
How long should I detox for?
2-6 weeks. This depends on health status and goals.
Where do I start?
- Remove common dietary allergens
- Bring your nutrition back-to-basics
- Start your day with a squeeze of lemon in warm water. One step up from that is 15ml of apple cider vinegar. I like to dilute mine in approximately 100ml of water. This acts to stimulate your own hydrochloric acid production and enhance digestion in the gut.
- Aim for nutrient density: protein, non-starchy vegetables and good fats with every meal.
- Avoid anything that comes in a box, carton or wrapper. Real food doesn’t need fancy marketing claims, a mascot or an upsize deal.
- Chew your food. Digestion starts in the mouth – efficient chewing allows for optimal absorption and minimises digestive problems such as gas and bloating that can occur when larger particles enter the stomach and intestines.
- Eat mindfully. Yes this means stopping for lunch and minimising distractions. Take a picture of your lunch if you must, but upload it on Instagram after you have finished!
- Include key nutrients*
- Probiotics are essential for gut health, metabolism, immunity and the prevention of degenerative illness, just to start. Eat: sauerkraut and kimchi; drink: coconut kefir and kombucha tea. More on this coming soon! The best place to start is with Peace, Love and Vegetables – I buy mine from Catie at The Staple Store.
- Glutamine is essential for gut integrity and mucosal structure. Eat: grass-fed meat, free-range eggs, spinach, cabbage and parsley.
- Zinc plays an important role in the integrity of the apical junction complexes of intestinal cells. Eat: seafood, grass-fed beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts and cacao.
- Glutathione is one of the liver’s strongest antioxidants. Eat: avocado, onion, garlic and all your greens! Kale, broccoli and collards should feature highly in your nutrition plan.
- Turmeric has been shown to increase gastric wall mucous production and maintain the health of intestinal cells. Add to soups, stir fries, curries and even tea!
*This list is by no means exhaustive, just food for thought.. Pun intended.
- Drink tea
Drinking tea is a great gentle way to detoxify. It not only contributes to your daily liquid requirements, but also minimizes additional supplements you need to take in pill or powder form. Start by selecting two or three of the following and aim for three cups per day.
- Milk Thistle
- Green Tea
- Lemon Tea
- Look at additional lifestyle factors
- Consume 2.5-3L of water per day
- Consider your prescriptions: are there natural alternatives you can take?
- Add in dry skin brushing
- Detoxify your environment – chemical cleaners, antiperspirants and hairsprays are all chemicals and natural alternatives are always the better option.
Do I need to do a juice cleanse?
The answer, as always, is relative. Personally I prefer vegie juices to supplement my “back-to-basics” approach. Detoxification can occur with whole foods and by following the steps above. I’m also training for a half Ironman, so my fuelling goals are quite different.
Similar to my opinion on Intermittent Fasting, before you start, please consider if you have healthy relationship with food and ensure that your cleanse does not lead to poor food choices, overeating or binging. It is still a diet after all and definitely not a long-term solution. If the “liquid only” approach becomes a stressor for you, it will only increase cortisol levels and potentially lead to body fat accumulation as a result.
If you are going to try a juice cleanse, please start with three days and be aware of the amount of sugar you are consuming. Juices should always be an 80/20 composition of vegetables to fruit.
Ready to detox?
I am now accepting expressions of interest for the next round of my Back-to-Basics (B2B) Detox. This is a 2-week cleanse including whole foods, supplements and all the support and guidance you need. Numbers are limited to ensure you get the attention you deserve, so please email me to find out more and secure your place. Improve your digestion, heal problem skin and shape up! It’s now or never….x
Metagenics: Genetic Potential Through Nutrition. Online at: www.metagenics.com.au.