Is 2013 the year you will make the choice to take resonsibility for your health, do you know your choices and how can you tell which is the best one for you. In my years as a Naturopath I have seen all sorts of trends with detoxing, waterdetox, liver detox, juice detox, fruit detox, vege juice detox and the list goes on. Which one is best for you and if you do need to do a detox and why ?
The word detox seems to be a bit of a buzz word and as a Naturopath it gets me a little concerned, especially if we look up the meaning of the word detox or detoxing (courtesy Wikipdia) and we find the definition ” the process, real or perceived, of removing toxins from the body”. The process, real or perceived, I would like to suggest that it is real, next we need to decide whether we need to initiate this detox or leave it up to the body.
We probably need to ascertain the level of “perceived or real toxins”, once this is reached and we have an understanding what is a toxin, where they come from, and what we may have contributed to the situation that will give us an idea where is the best place to start. What I am suggesting is establish where you are right now and what you are trying to achieve, this will then determine your means of getting there. Does that sound okay?
What are toxins and where do they come from?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Toxins toxin (from Ancient Greek: τοξικόν toxikon) is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded. The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919).
Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that are capable of causing disease on contact with or absorption by body tissues interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their severity, ranging from usually minor and acute (as in a beesting) to almost immediately deadly (as in botulinum toxin).
If a toxin is a “a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms”, and if our body is producing it, why and how can it be so terrible? If you have read any of my other articles you will be aware of my belief that our body is a self regulating, self repairing, regenerating and continually evolving to survive ( absolutely amazing ). With this understanding why would our body that is working for us want to produce a poisonous substance? Unfortunately, I am going to answer this with another question, how does our body communicate with us? Our body communicates through sensations, feelings, discomfort, comfort, etc. When we get the sensation of pain or tension then we can generally assume that our body is struggling with a situation. When this goes on for a period of time and especially when the carer of the body may choose to cover up this symptom with self medicating i.e pain relievers ( either medicated or natural) they are shutting down the intelligence of the body. This is unfortunately what happens regularly in our society, as we do not wish to “miss out” on anything or due to the pressure of work or life commitments deem we are unable to afford the time to rest. This creates a dilemma for our body, as it is the one caught in the crossfire and the one that needs to deal with the onslaught of stimulants, processed foods, alcohol and pollution to name a few. Even if you lived on a remote island in the pacific you would still be dealing with the onslaught of pollution, not to the extent if living in the city, but in the era we live there is no escaping it completely.
Did you notice that I wrote “natural” pain killers as a problem, there is the perception that natural medicine is better than orthodox, well, I would just like to make it clear when you are shutting down a symptom in the body whether using pharmaceutical or a natural supplement, it can and generally has the same effect. Before, I get people upset, let me clarify, I am not talking about taking chamomile tea for an acute upset stomach that can and is quite calming, what I am referring to is for example taking a anti histamine whether natural or pharmaceutical for a considerable time will inhibit the digestive system. You may be having symptoms such as a runny nose, hayfever or sinus, which is your body telling you that it is trying to a eliminate a “toxin” the best way it can. As you have decided rather than give up the iced coffee each morning or the cheese after dinner you will continue to load the body with a substance that it is having trouble digesting. Many times the body will create excessive mucus as this contains digestive enzymes from your immune system to break down and remove the “perceived toxin”. By taking the anti histamine it is masking the problem and reducing this excessive mucus production and also your digestive enzymes at the same time, setting up the body for further symptoms down the track, We have to be extremely careful we do not get caught in reacting to symptoms of our body by closing the reaction down, but by listening and feeling what may be going on and allowing the body to do its job.
Your body is extremely clever at handling toxins, however your brain is not, so it is when you start to interfere with ideas of “well everyone else gets to eat ice cream, pizza and cheese” rather than your cellular wisdom, there will be a problem. If the body is not allowed to eliminate the toxin via some extra mucous or sneezing, or maybe a few extra bowel motions or sweating then it will have no other choice but to bring in stronger or more aggressive measures like infections, cysts, tumours etc. Bringing us back on track to the topic of detoxing, yes, it is paramount you detox your body. When you are eating, breathing, moving and resting in true harmony your body will actually do it for you. The problem we have is we do not generally live in harmony and we may not eat the best foods, drink the best water or for that matter think the best thoughts, so for our lifestyle we need to take time out and “do a detox” The dilemma we will have is, some of our elimination pathways in the body, may be struggling from the years of neglect and onslaught of inappropriate foods or food like substance.
When you start a detox plan and your eliminating pathways are not working efficiently you can actually make your health much worse, as your body is unable to eliminate the toxins efficiently. You can have circulating toxins in your blood stream, now affecting your brain and other organs, not to mention the extra symptoms of headaches and joint and muscle pain. You may have to decide what form or detox is the best for you, some people will benefit from a juice detox, others a raw food detox maybe sufficient and then just eliminating all processed foods and drinking more water will be enough for others ( especially if have any health concerns)
A few questions you need to ask prior to considering a detox program:
- Are you on medication?
- Do you have more than 10kilos of weight to lose?
- Do you have trouble moving your bowels daily?
- Are you over 45 years of age?
- Have you had the flu or a virus in the last three months?
- Are you pregnant or breast feeding.
If you answered yes, to any of the questions above then I would suggest you do not participate in a detox program before talking with a health care professional.
In the meantime, till you get your appointment you can start by eliminating all processed foods, sugars, cakes and biscuits, bottles fruit juices, coffee and soft drink.
If you answered NO to all the above questions, then here is my suggested detox. Take the time to prepare yourself and follow the instructions.
My suggestions prior to the commencement of your detox program are for one week prior to the commencement of the detox
- Eliminate all processed foods i.e. basically anything in can, packet, box or plastic bag.
- Eliminate all stimulants i.e. coffee, energy drinks, tea etc.
- Eliminate alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs.
7-10 day Detox Plan
I am suggesting a 7-10 days, however you can reduce it to 5-7 days depending on your life commitments.
Eliminate all dairy products, meat, eggs and bread, cereal and pasta for the 5-7 days
For the next 7-10 days
500ml – 1 litre of filtered water
1/2 lemon in 1/2 glass of water
Do about 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise
If you are seriously wanting to detox, I would suggest a coffee enema each morning. If you have not done an enema before, please email me and I will send you the instructions. It is best to prepare this when you first get up in the morning, so while you are exercising your coffee is brewed and has a chance to cool.
After coffee enema
Dry skin brush and shower
Green smoothie – include greens such as parsley, cucumber, kales, coriander, collards, spinach, etc. add 1/2 lemon (including the seeds and pith, you can either cut the skin off or brush to ensure is clean) 1/2 mango or whatever fruit you desire, 1tspn spirulina, wheat grass and chlorella, 1 dessertspoon of flaxseeds, 1 dessertspoon flaxseed oil, a few ice cubes and water and blend in a Vitamix or equivalent blender. Should make approx 1 litre of juice.
Vegetable juice– 50% carrot, 20% beetroot, 20% celery and 10% apple. Basically you want to make it predominantly the vegetables and the apple is only adding a little sweetness. It is best to drink this straight away. Aim to have two glasses of vegetable juice per day.
Throughout the day you can have fruit, I would suggest fruits like paw paw, are great as they contain papain which will assist with digestion, strawberries, blue berries, kiwi fruit, pears. I would avoid bananas and citrus for the first two days.
For lunch or dinner a large salad
Include lots of greens, sprouts, any vegetables, plus tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, shallots, avocado. You can sprinkle with seeds and also a dressing of flaxseed or olive oil and lemon and herbs or apple cider vinegar.
If you have the salad for lunch then I would suggest having another green smoothie for dinner.
Drink plenty of water in between meals, you can add lemon or lime to the water.
Herbal teas like green, tulsi, peppermint and ginger are good ones to include.
You will basically repeat the above for the 7-10 days, alternating 2-3 vegetable juices with 1-2 green smoothies and salads.
Daily routines to include –
- Make time to spend grounding yourself, walking on the beach barefoot would be great. If that is not possible, then walking on the grass or at least standing on the bare ground for 20 minutes would be good.
- Sleep- Aim to go to bed around 8.30pm- 9.30 pm to rise about 5.30- 6.30 am
- Meditation or Quiet reflection- Detoxing is not just about the physical body, ensure you spend time detoxing out dated and limiting behaviours and thought patterns.
Detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by resting the organs and digestive system and reduce the need to break down heavy or processed foods, by consuming a high amount of fresh and raw foods in the manner of vegetable juices. Essentially the aim is to remove excessive debris from the body and encourage a renewal of cellular nutrition and energy, thereby improving communication from cell to cell and give the liver a much needed rest from excessive pollutants in the system.
It is vital that when you do resume your “normal’ lifestyle that the introduction of non-living foods and liquids is kept to a minimum or eliminated once and for all. Allowing for the natural detoxification process to work more efficiently in your body.
I wish you the best in health, aim to include raw vegetable juices into your day and for some great ideas look at Dr Sandra Cabot ” Raw Juices can save your life”, or another great book is “Green for Life” by VictoriaBoutenko.
If you are after fat loss then have a look at my fat loss program at http://agelessvitality.com.au/fat-loss-program/ I also offer a support detoxification program if you live in the Brisbane area and also a Reset program for anyone with sugar imbalances especially. Send me an email via the contact page.
Till next time where I will be discussing managing weight with raw food.
Consult your doctor before using any health treatment — including herbal supplements and vitamin or nutritional supplements— and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intented as substitute for medical counseling.