Detoxing is on the tip of everyone’s tongues with the warmer weather upon on! Whilst our minds are gearing up for time in the sun, our body may still be lagging behind, stuck in hibernation mode. If you feel like your body needs a re-charge and you’re seeking lighter, more energised times, maybe a detox is the catch up your body needs, but not the kind of detox as you know it!
A lot of fear surrounds the word detox because the first thing that springs to mind is deprivation! However, its possible to put the juice cleanse aside and detox your body towards greater health in a more sustainable and delicious way! It’s about focusing on nutrient density and supporting your body not deprivation!
Detox in a nutshell
Detoxification is a process whereby not so friendly substances (eg alcohol, medications, pesticides) are changed by the liver to more friendly substances in preparation for their excretion from the body. Liver detoxification has two stages, phase 1 and phase 2. Both stages require certain nutrients, minerals and amino acids to ensure this process is carried out. Our body detoxifies naturally daily, but it’s when our system gets overloaded that sluggishness may strike!
Detox doesn’t stop at the liver; the waste then needs to be removed. If we ignore these routes of removal its akin to leaving the garbage at the front door instead of placing it in the bin! Hence, we need to also support gall bladder, bowel, kidney and urine function!
Signs its time for a detox
Red flags your liver and body may need some support:
- Unexplained nausea
- Constipation or sluggish bowels
- Lack of appetite
- Poor tolerance to fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol
- Bloating and poor digestion
- Inability to lose weight or recent weight gain
- Fatigue, lack of vitality and feelings of irritability
- Increased skin break outs and dull skin tone
- Grey rings around the eyes
- Poor sleep or disrupted sleep
The biggest dietary liver offenders are: alcohol, caffeine (in excess), unhealthy fats (e.g. trans fats), sugar, medications, artificial sweeteners and additives, pesticides and chemicals. If you know your daily diet and lifestyle exposes you to such offenders, it might be time to detox.
Depriving the body of nutrients, amino acids, food and in other words resources is the last thing your body needs when detoxing! With that being said, here are some top tips to detox in a sustainable and effective manner:
- Water: consume at least 2L filtered water daily to flush out toxins and remain hydrated
- Start your day with a squeeze of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, in warm water to get your digestion firing
- Get a good night’s sleep: the liver undertakes most of its detoxing during the night so ensuring you get a good night’s sleep ensures the liver can get its job done!
- Load up on fresh fruit and vegetables: this provides an ample supply of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants for your liver to work. 5 serving of vegetables and 2 serving of fruit. 1 servings = ½ cup
- Try incorporating a fresh vegetable juice or add veggies into your smoothie
- Ensure half of your dinner plate is full of vegetables and salads
- Snack on fresh fruit and/or vegetable sticks with dip (e.g. beetroot)
- Lean Protein at each meal: the liver runs on amino acids, we need to consume protein regularly to fuel the liver to do its job:
- To give your system a break alternate animal protein for vegetarian protein e.g. legumes, tofu, pea protein, buts and seeds
- Swap 1 coffee for green tea or other herbal tea (peppermint, rosehip, liquorice, chamomile)
- Take a break from alcohol if you consume it daily
- Include fibre at each meal: healthy bowels are critical for clearing toxins and wastes, you don’t want to undo any hard work of the liver:
- Try oats with chia seeds at breakfast, sweet potato at lunch, quinoa at dinner
- Snack on fresh fruit and vegetables with hummus dip
- Toss chickpeas, lentils, beans into salads or through steamed vegetables
- Indulge in foods rich in natural compounds supportive of liver health: bitter greens (dandelion, radicchio, watercress, rocket) brassica vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), beetroot and turmeric
- Include raw food at each meal: raw foods are high in natural enzymes which help our body digest the foods we consume and absorb nutrients from foods, causing less load on our digestive system and the liver:
- Toss fresh sprouts into salads
- Munch on vegetables sticks!
- Try sauerkraut as a snack or add to sandwiches/wraps
- Use apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing in replace of heavy dressings such as mayo
- Liver protective herbs and supplements: if extra support is needed, try St Mary’s thistle, globe artichoke, taurine, magnesium or selenium
- Daily exercise – movement you find fun!
The healthiest part about making the above changes is that they are simple and delicious! Therefore are undoubtedly lifestyle/dietary changes you can make for life, not just for a 2-week detox. Start slow and make a few small changes each week, once you get started, I guarantee you won’t look back!
Simple Detox Salad Dressing – drizzle on salads or over steamed vegetables
- ½ cup flaxseed oil (or macadamia nut oil)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder (or 1 tbsp. fresh grated)
- Pinch cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp. raw honey
- add a little water if needed, to your desired
- Blend all ingredients in a food processer/blender
- Store in the fridge for 3-5 days