Is it time to detox?
Over the years as a naturopath I have heard some gruesome detox stories from straight water fasts, to the lemon/maple syrup diet, to the grape diet, in which you guessed it, all that is eaten is grapes. The reason I call them gruesome is that more often than not these protocols stress the body rather than supporting it. And when it comes to detox, support is the key. Lets face it, we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis, from sugary, processed foods full of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives to environmental pollutants, household cleaning agents, off-gassing plastics, modern technology and more (the thought of all those toxins is toxic!). These factors are stressful on the body’s pathways of elimination. To top this with an extreme detox, well it is no wonder people feel awful.
From a naturopathic perspective, the primary aim of a detox is to promote elimination by reducing the toxic load and supporting the organs involved so the body works more efficiently and is able to clear the toxic backlog more effectively. Stressing the body doesn’t make the job of elimination any easier. Giving the body a break does, particularly if done in a gentle, supportive way.
The key systems of elimination are the digestive system (poo!), urinary system (urine), skin (sweat), lymphatic system (blood and lymph) and the liver. We can, through diet, exercise and some well chosen nutrients and herbs support these systems. Some examples of gentle detox practices include:
- Dry Body Brushing – this stimulates the blood and lymph to flow ensuring the toxins don’t stagnate in the body, rather that they are moved out.
- Exercise – of any kind will get things moving. If you sweat, even better as you will be eliminating toxins via your skin
- Cutting out processed foods and sugar – this reduces the toxic burden on your body
- Drinking a detox tea – herbal teas have two important roles. Firstly the herbs support key organs such as the liver and kidneys and secondly, they are in a base of water which helps flush out toxins via the urine. Look for herbs such as Dandelion, Calendula, Red Clover, Nettles, Green Tea and Peppermint.
- Incorporating at least 5 serves of fresh vegetables, of all colours into your daily diet
- Drinking at least 1.5 litres of water a day
- Meditation or thoughtfulness also allow us to detox our thoughts
Detoxes can be a simple as above or incorporate more specific aims (these are generally put together with your naturopath) and the benefits are many including feeling healthier, sheding a few excess kilos, and ultimately help your body process and systems of elimination work more effectively.