The Non-Deprivation Way to Detox (you can eat food!)
I’d hazard a guess and say that this is the most popular time of year for juice cleanses and detox programmes. After weeks of over-indulgence in rich and sugar-laden foods and drinks over the Christmas season, people are gung-ho about ‘cleaning up their act’, getting ‘back on the band wagon’ and repenting for their sins.
But did you know that our bodies naturally detox every day? They are built to remove toxins by neutralizing and eliminating them through our liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph colon and skin.
So is there an actual need to ‘do a detox’?
While our bodies can naturally detox we put them through a lot. From environmental pollutants to chemicals in skin care products and processed foods to the water we drink and the air we breathe, our toxic load is ever increasing which can overwhelm our bodies inhibiting them from detoxing properly. So it’s a good idea to give our bodies a break and give it the support it needs to detox effectively.
Does that mean we need to do avoid food in order to detox properly? And do detoxes need to feel like a punishment? I don’t know about you, but I like food! I personally don’t believe you need to fast in order to give your system a break and to get rid of toxins. Doing a food-based detox is a great way to support our body’s natural self-detoxification system.
Here are some tips on doing a food-based detox (that doesn’t need to be too depriving):
Load up on nutrient dense plant-based whole foods
Make sure three quarters of your plate is made up of a variety of vegetables, especially leafy greens like kale and cruciferous veggies like broccoli for their chlorophyll content as that rids the body of nasties such as environmental toxins and pesticides while increasing oxygen in the blood. Try to eat a rainbow of vegetables and fruits to get as wide a range of micronutrients and antioxidants.
Foods such as dandelion greens, raw garlic, grapefruit, avocado, beets, carrots, artichokes are especially good for supporting the liver but it also needs amino acids from protein. Good quality fish, chicken, nuts and seeds are all fab sources.
Steer clear of foods that stress your liver
This means saying buh-bye to processed foods laden with hidden and not-so hidden sugars plus avoiding possible inflammatory foods such as sugar itself, gluten, corn, soy, alcohol and dairy. If you drink a lot of coffee, it could be good to cut down or cut it out altogether.
Start your day with a warm lemon water which will not only hydrate your body but it will help stimulate and clean out the liver, boost your vitamin C levels and will prepare your body for digestion by stimulating the release of enzymes.
Then throughout the day keep hydrated by sipping on water and green tea. Green tea is a fabulous source of antioxidants and can increase liver function.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays a HUGE role in daily detoxification. Dry body brushing is an easy way to help the body detox and get glowing skin to boot.
Work up a sweat
Weither it’s from a sauna, a hot bath or exercising, a good sweat is a great way to rid the body of toxins.
Get some quality zzz’s
We are doing a ‘detox’ in order to repair and support our body which is why rest and good quality sleep is really important as our body repairs itself overnight.
What can you expect from doing a detox?
You will be flooding your body with nutrient dense foods, you’ll be detoxing from sugar and curbing those cravings, you’ll also give your immune system a boost and will reduce inflammation. Your skin will start to glow, your energy and vitality should increase and you might even shed a pound or two (or three). And since you won’t be starving yourself, there’s really no downside.