The word detox gets thrown around frequently in the health world, and I’ve come to believe it’s something not to take too lightly. We asked naturopath Lynda Griparic if she would share her knowledge on the topic of detoxing. This is a fantastic post and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy, over to Lynda…
Lynda: We accumulate so many toxins in our body from the food that we eat, the lifestyle choices we make (smoking, recreational, medicinal drugs etc), to the environment we are exposed to (pollution, chemicals). These toxins wreck havoc and may present as hormone imbalances, weight gain, chronic fatigue, digestive issues, headaches, poor memory, concentration and immunity to name a few (sound familiar?). Regularly clearing toxins from the body benefits your overall health profoundly and helps keep you operating at your very best.
However the body is not always able to handle the toxic burden and your ability to process and eliminate the nasties may be compromised. Luckily there are many tailored detoxification programs available which help reduce the toxic overload and improve your bodies own ability to detoxify properly.
The following five detox tips may seem very obvious and simplistic, however incorporating these tips into your life can have a HUGE positive impact on your overall health.
1. Get off the sugar
Or fertilise the bad guys that will lead to bad breath, eczema, weight gain, horrendous memory recall, hormonal problems, un-satiated hunger, bloating and gas… it’s your choice.
Aside from sending your blood sugar to sky rocket levels, sugar is the fuel that nourishes your disruptive gut bacteria. A diet rich in sugar such as high fructose corn syrup affects the hormones that keep you feeling full and satisfied. So avoid these inflammatory substances and give your body a chance to detoxify well and perform as it naturally should.
Watch Sarah Wilson’s tips for quitting sugar here.
2. Lay off the processed foods
Really, what are you eating? Do you even know? How are the chemicals within these products affecting your health? Would you feed an animal a diet of lollies, chicko rolls and coco-pops and expect it to be happy, perform well and thrive? No, then why would you stick foreign produce into your body and expect it to flourish? You really are playing with fire.
Try to reduce or avoid processed foods in favour of whole foods, shop on the perimeter of your supermarket, where food looks like food and buy fresh food that you can recognise. Sure whole, fresh, real foods may not have a shelf life as long as your packaged and processed foes but they will be recognised and support your body. This leaves your body to carry on with more important things such as filtering toxins out of your bloodstream and getting rid of unwanted fat.
3. A bowl movement a day keeps the toxins at bay
Put simply if you do not poop every day, you are generally recycling your own toxins. Regular bowel movements assist your body in eliminating inflammatory toxins. If you are constipated and are not completely emptying your bowels every day, chances are the toxins are having some fun, hanging out in your colon or are being re-absorbed by the body.
Why is this a problem? Well, a build up of toxins in the body can cause a wide range of issues as mentioned before from hormonal imbalances, impaired brain function (foggy mind, poor concentration, Parkinson’s etc), infertility, digestive issues, such as leaky gut and all of the problems that come with that. People can become constipated for many reasons, some of those are from the food they eat (or do not eat), emotional stress, travel etc.
Making sure that you get adequate fibre and manage your stress can help your bowels move and poop as they should. Get your lips around some fibrous fruits and vegetables, brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli to name a few (180 Superfood Protein is high in fibre too) or get some support from a naturopath or nutritionist on how you can adjust your diet to get all internal body systems cooperating.
4. Ditch the alcohol
A big one to stick to when detoxing and one people cling onto for dear life. “But alcohol contains antioxidant benefits right?” “It’s anti-ageing!” “It calms my nerves and keeps me sane!” I hear these comments all of the time and whilst not entirely untrue you are better off getting your antioxidants, anti-ageing and stress relieving fuel from other sources.
Why, I hear you holler? Here are a few reasons to bin the rocket fuel while you cleanse the body. In a nutshell alcohol overburdens the liver. An organ we need to detoxify properly. When the liver breaks down alcohol it causes oxidative stress which can damage the cells of the liver. Our major organ of elimination. From this, inflammation can result as the liver works hard to repair itself. Wouldn’t you rather your body use that energy toward other things such as boundless stamina and concentration, or fabulous digestion instead?
Alcohol can also impact the intestines, allowing toxins from our gut bacteria to get into the liver, again overburdening the liver, causing more inflammation and reducing its detoxifying efficiency. Lastly, lets not forget that most alcohol beverages contain a significant amount of sugar. See hot tip one if you need a refresher on sugar.
(Stu: I’m a big advocate for reducing any kind of inflammation where possible for amazing health, sleep and energy, read more on this article here: Inflammation: The Top 4 Causes In The Body And How To Avoid Them)
5. Don’t forget to add protein
While juice fasting has its place and has certainly become popular in the last decade, juice fasts that consist of fruit and vegetables only are not the best way to detoxify. Toxin elimination through detox requires amino acids, which comes from protein. Amino acids bind to toxic molecules and eliminate them from the body. Without a good amount of protein in the diet your body will struggle to detoxify effectively. Unfortunately most juices lack a protein source and are generally comprised of sugars, water and fibre. In many cases people loose muscle mass as the body starts to use the amino acids from the muscle to support the detox process.
Including protein in your detox diet ensures that your body has adequate amino acids to effectively detox and will also ensure no muscle mass is lost. You can learn more about protein here.
Whether you are in it for the long run with a comprehensive detox overhaul, or just fancy an express detox, a well executed detox can leave you feeling younger, more energetic, motivated and can often reduce or resolve long standing imbalances and dis-ease in the body.
As everyone is so beautifully unique, I highly recommend getting support from a naturopath or nutritionist, especially if you have had long standing discomfort or ill health. A good practitioner will taylor the detox to suit your needs. They will often need to carry out a series of tests to make sure that the treatment works directly on what is causing your imbalance. Which of course saves you time and money in the long run, as well as put you on the path to great health.