New Year, New You? Give yourself a well-deserved boost!
Recovering from holidays filled with feasts, invitations and too much of everything, you might feel like you’re ready for a fresh start. And what better time than the new year to do just that? New Year, new – energised and radiant – you! How about boosting all of your systems and planning a detox?!
Do you often find yourself feeling tired and sluggish? Is it difficult to get up in the morning? Do you regularly suffer from headaches, brain fog, irritable bowels or poor digestion? Is it hard for you to lose weight, or do you generally feel below par? (Do the “Do I need a detox test” here below).
Do I need a detox?
Check how toxic you are by answering the following questions: if you’ve answered most of these questions with “yes”, then you definitely need a detox!
- Are you constantly tired?
- Do you get up in the morning already feeling tired?
- Is your skin spotty or dull?
- Are you constipated?
- Or do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome?
- Do you have dark circles under your eyes?
- Do you suffer from headaches?
- Are you only slowly recovering from injuries?
- Do you have aches and pains in your joints?
- Do you suffer from bloating and water retention?
- Do you have cellulite?
- Do you have problems sleeping?
- Do you suffer from frequent mood changes, including depressions, anxiety and inability to concentrate?
- Do you suffer from skin rashes or eczema?
- Do you have allergies that seem to be building up?
If this sounds all too familiar to you, and you’ve anwered most of the questions with “yes”, you could be suffering from toxic overload. A total-body cleanse will boost your system and energy levels, heal your gut and strengthen your immune system…
“The whole detoxing concept might seem a Hollywood fad at the moment but actually it isn’t. Detoxing is a proven method that has stood the test of time. It works. While the very word “detox” might scare you, it really isn’t as difficult as it might sound. The nice thing is, there are so many ways of detoxing that you can choose what works best for you and your lifestyle!”
What are toxins and what does a detox actually do?
Toxins are harmful substances (caused by foods, negative thoughts or stress) that pollute and irritate our bodies, putting a strain on the working of our vital organs. They come in various forms and have been around forever. What is new today is the sheer quantity and nature of the toxins we face.
We all make sure to give our cars regular tune-ups and clean-outs to make sure that they always run well, don’t we? We help it eliminate what holds it back, put fine-grade oils into it to keep the engine purring, and make sure to clean it (well, at least once a year, right??).
Like a car, our body is a finely-tuned machine that knows just what to do to fight against and eliminate these toxins. But, depending on age, lifestyle and general health, your body may become overburdened, polluted with toxins, and no longer be able to cope. When the body is not working properly, it stores toxins rather than eliminating them. The result? Any of the ailments or complaints listed above (and more)… Over time, your engine starts straining to keep up.
How detoxing works
The principle of a detox is very simple: it aims to heal and optimize the body’s functioning through cleansing. Our body eliminates through the gut the things that are not good for us, that are toxic to us. We eliminate these undesirable substances through our skin, lungs, kidneys, liver, digestive system and lymphatic system. Simply put: we exhale CO₂, we go to the toilet, and ‘sweat it out’ through exercise.
The less you do to eliminate these toxins, the more they build up, and the greater your ailments.
A detox allows you to support and enhance these natural processes. By choosing foods that can cleanse your body, you give your digestive system in particular a well-deserved break. It doesn’t need to spend energy on ‘cleaning house’. It can focus on the core things, quite literally! A detox allows your system to eliminate toxins, absorb nutrients more effectively, heal itself and boost immunity. In fact, did you know that 80% of your immune system lies in your gut?
“Did you know that 80% of your immune system lies in your gut?”
Detoxing to suit your lifestyle
There are various ways and different approaches to doing a detox. Much depends as well on your current lifestyle is and how experienced you are with detoxing. From easy to elaborate, here’s an overview:
- 12-hour fast
Suited especially for the detox rookie. It’s easiest to do this at night. So after 6 or 7pm, do not eat or drink anything except water. See your tummy’s reaction the next day!
- 1 or 2 detox days
Built into your monthly routine.
You eat only alkaline mineral-rich foods during these days: fruit (max 1 kg), vegetables (max 1 kg), cooked or steamed potatoes (max 1,5kg) or brown rice (max 200g at pre-cooked weight).
- Liquid meals replacing your breakfast or dinner
With this detox, you shake, blend or juice fruits, vegetables and other superfoods together into exciting new tastes and flavour combinations. The concentrated vitamins, minerals and energy will keep you going for a long time and are immediately absorbed in the blood – like an infusion of power! This can be done over 1, 2, or 3 weeks.
- Clean eating
This is more of a lifestyle choice, and is a long-term detox promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Taking the gentle route
The gentlest, and much less radical way is to choose a cleansing diet over a longer period of time. In it, you eat unprocessed – preferably organic – foods, and substitute one meal a day (breakfast or dinner) with liquid meals in the form of smoothies, juices or soups. I personally love this method; it is easy to integrate into my everyday lifestyle. I also like that I can involve my family or friends. My neighbour and I take turns making smoothies and soups, and share them – delicious fun!
If you are not sure or you have no experience with detoxing, it is best to seek medical guidance prior to starting. Also, if you are new to detoxing or you have a lot of health issues, try the first fast listed above and go from there.
In any fast, do not go to extremes… Simply put, you won’t be detoxing: you’ll be putting yourself at high risk of dangerous toxic shock.
General detox rules
- For your detox to be successful, be sure to plan it, and shop for ingredients accordingly.
- Drink plenty of water, in general, this should be at least 2 litres per day (or calculate 0.35ml per kilo of body weight)
- Drink herbal teas, alkaline teas (Basentee) or liver/gallbladder-supporting teas
- Take a1 tsp of organic flax seed oil as omega 3 supplement (this is always good by the way!)
Follow the Clean Eating Principles
During any detox, follow the ‘clean eating’ principles which are very simple – stay as close to Mother Nature’s version of your food choices, and you’ll be on the right track!
Choose things like:
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables
- For proteins, opt for low-fat meats such as free-range chicken or fresh fish, nuts, sprouts, beans, pulses or lentils, and mushrooms. Organic red meat on occasion is fine, too.
- Organic foods when possible
Avoid or limit:
- Packaged and processed foods
- Toxic and addictive foods (alcohol, caffeine, and sugar)
- Inflammatory foods (wheat and dairy products)
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods. This is especially found in corn- and soy-based products, as well as canola oil (unless labelled organic)
- High-mercury fish (tuna, swordfish, grouper, Atlantic salmon)
While January is often the most natural choice for embarking on a post-holiday detox, any time is a good time! Why not mark every change of season with a bit of self-pampering and an immune-system boost? Even the healthiest among us can benefit from the occasional detox… What’s not to love about extra energy, increased vitality, and radiance that shines from within?
Next week I’ll be sharing with you my 10 favourite detox recipes, from juices, salads, soups to potatoes and rice!
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before making any medical or lifestyle changes, always seek the advice of your health professional with any questions or medical conditions you may have.