Most of us started 2022 with grand ambitions, but come February, many are already starting to stray from their honest health commitments. A good way to get back on track is to incorporate some form of detox into your life. Not only does it help reboot your system, stimulate healthy, glowing skin and potentially help you lose a few kgs, but it also refocuses your mind, enabling you to overcome those hurdles standing in your way.
A good detox works on all the major players in your body’s detoxification system: liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, intestines, and lymphatic system. Detoxing can, in some cases, improve quite serious medical conditions, according to nutritional therapist Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the United Kingdom and author of The Optimum Nutrition Bible (Crossing Press, 1999).
Most detox plans follow the path of an elimination diet (used to diagnose food sensitivities and intolerances), so if you have an undiagnosed food intolerance, you could well notice huge health benefits. In fact, as a result of detoxing, many people report having beaten or seen dramatic improvements in conditions such as asthma and eczema; headaches and migraines; hay fever and sinusitis; PMS; and palpitations and chest pains.
Because detoxing involves cutting out alcohol and caffeine, you may also notice your energy levels balance out and your mind become clearer and more focused. Sleep often improves, as well.
Beware, it is not uncommon to notice huge shifts in mood when you detox. These can be positive, or initially difficult. Any changes we make on a physical level are likely to have an impact on our emotions and minds as well, so don’t be surprised when old emotions come to the surface to be released.
Although detoxing should not be confused with a weight-loss diet, many people do experience some loss of excess weight. Although quantities of food are not usually limited on detox, the major causes of weight gain – excesses of refined carbohydrate, sugar, saturated fat and alcohol – are limited in most detox regimens. Detox also can help re-educate your taste buds and eating habits, making it easier to later stick to a healthy weight-loss plan.
But detox is no magic bullet. If you have a serious health condition, detoxing won’t cure it. It might help, but you will need to seek professional advice and have realistic expectations. Only you are in charge of making a drastic change- still, a detox may get you started down the right path.
HOW TO START?
Pick a program. There are a variety of detox programs and protocols from which to choose. On the whole, though, there are two major approaches: fasting (and variations thereof) and limited detox diets. Fasting is the original and perhaps most stringent detox.
Fasts can last anywhere from 12 hours to seven days, and in their purest form, only water is taken. However, you should check with your physician before, during and after fasting.
The majority of modern detox experts often avoid restricted fasts and opt instead for various limited detox diets, which are ideal for most people who want an effective, safe and easy-to-follow detox. “This type of regimen uses a low-toxin diet plus plenty of the key nutrients needed to speed up the body’s ability to detoxify,” explains Holford.
In limited detox diets, you eliminate the foods and drinks that cause the most stress to the body’s detox systems, and then replace them with foods that are either neutral or that actively help detoxification.
All detox experts agree that this involves cutting out alcohol, caffeine, dairy, sugar, saturated fat, salt and processed food. Beyond this point, though, the naturopaths and nutritional therapists diverge, especially when it comes to animal protein.
If you want to detox on your own – and you don’t have serious health problems and are not on medication or pregnant – it is generally recommended you try a seven-day gentler limited detox diet. This form of detoxification is ideal because you can maintain energy levels and are less likely to suffer other common detox side effects such as headaches and nausea. It’s worth noting that any limited detox diet should not last beyond four weeks, as avoiding certain foods entirely may set up intolerances.
DO YOU NEED TO DETOX?
Naturopaths say there are several signs that your body’s natural detox ability is being compromised. The following are common signs of imbalance within your body’s detox system:
SLUGGISH LYMPHATIC SYSTEM: frequent colds and flu, tiredness, puffiness, dark circles under eyes and cellulite.
OVERLOADED LIVER: bloating, nausea, indigestion and furred tongue.
CONGESTED LUNGS: congestion, runny nose, constant sneezing and clogged sinuses.
STRESSED KIDNEYS: dark-coloured, cloudy, scanty or strong-smelling urine and pain while urinating.
OVERSTRETCHED SKIN: cellulite, congested blotchy skin, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and rashes.
TOXIC INTESTINES: constipation, gas and headaches.
If you suffer from two or three symptoms, you could probably benefit from a gentle detox. If you have most of them, you should consult your healthcare practitioner.
Ready to glow from the inside out? Here is a great (but gentle) 7-DAY DETOX.
Information supplied by: Coyne Healthcare