Detoxification is a natural process, allowing toxins from our environments and diets to be transformed into less harmful substances for excretion.
Toxins are substances with a potential to interfere with both short- and long-term health. Toxins may be in the form of dietary allergens, such as gluten, preservatives or additives, or they may be environmental or lifestyle related, from pesticide exposure, to cleaning agents or cigarette smoke. Toxins may even be created internally from the re-circulation of metabolic waste, or by the bacteria of the digestive tract.
So, why detox?
The aim of a detox is to reduce dietary toxins, improve detox capacity, neutralise free radicals, and eliminate waste products.
If you're chowing down on gluten, preservatives or additives; if you're stressed out; if your body's not feeling tip-top, or you don't feel it's running as smoothly as it should; if you suffer from maldigestion or 'leaky gut'; if you're exposed to pollution or cleaning agents at home or work... it's probably time for a detox!
How can I detox?
Stay away from cured or deli meats, pork, mince, sausages, salami, prawns and shellfish.
VEGGIES: Artichokes, asparagus, avocado, baby spinach, bean sprouts, beans (broad, butter, soy beans + lentils and chickpeas), beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, carrot, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, garlic, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushroom, olives, onions, peas, pumpkin, radish, rocket, sea vegetables, spinach, sprouts, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini… ALL THE VEG! We’re talking three cups of vegetables and four cups of salad per day!
FRUIT: ALL THE FRESH FRUIT! No canned, tinned, frozen or dried fruits. And a maximum of three serves per day, to prevent fruity sugar overload.
DAIRY ALTERNATIVES: Nut milks, goats milk, rice milk, soy milk, and organic soy or goats yoghurt.
WHOLE GRAINS: Brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and plain rice cakes or crackers.
EXERCISE – move that body! Two to three times per week, spend 30-40 minutes exercising aerobically (walking, swimming), and once or twice per week strengthen your body with weights, or a yoga or pilates class.
SAY NO TO DRUGS – alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. No no!
One or two glasses of alcohol, especially red wine, per day may be beneficial in moderation, but steer totally clear while you’re detoxing.
HYDRATE with at least two litres of pure water per day. You’ll need closer to three litres of pure water on hot days, or if you’re exercising. If drinking that much water sounds frankly terrifying, why not try adding some lemon, ginger or mint?
CLEAN UP YOUR ENVIRONMENT – minimise your interactions with car or factory pollution, cleaning products, aluminium-containing antiperspirants, pesticides, paints and hair spray.
DRY BODY BRUSH for 5-10 minutes per day before hopping in the shower to allow your biggest organ (hint: it’s your skin) to effectively remove toxins from your body.
GET ENOUGH REST & SLEEP to allow your body to rejuvenate while it detoxes.
TREAT YO’SELF to a sauna session, a body wrap, an exfoliation or a lymphatic massage; and also to a bit of time-out from those people or things that cause you stress and negativity.
Unlike a store-bought detox program, a qualified Naturopath’s is tailored to suit your needs, and will likely include practitioner-only supplements of the least-reactive, highest quality. Your naturopath should screen and evaluate the efficacy and safety of your detox program as you go, providing support and motivation to help you to achieve optimal results.