The meaning of a ‘detox’ is quite subjective; many people use it to describe a period of time where they eat a healthier diet like avoiding processed foods, smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks etc. During this time they might also choose to avoid animal protein and dairy in their diets whilst slowing down their lifestyles to rest more and de-stress. This helps support the body’s organs of elimination: the liver, kidneys, bowel and skin set about their work of detoxification and focus on the process of renewal and rejuvenation.
We can control our internal environment by modifying what we choose to put in our bodies, but it is harder to control our external environment where we are exposed to external toxins including heavy metals, food additives, solvents (cleaning materials), pesticides and herbicide. Also, another source of toxins is internal pathogenic bacteria and yeast living in our gut. Our ability to effectively detoxify and eliminate these toxins is a key factor in determining our state of health. Traditionally, it is believed that our ancestors would detoxify by taking time to fast often this was at the end of the winter when food supplies were low and eating a diet of spring greens and drinking water made sense. Also, many cultures and traditions have a time of fasting at their core which they see as therapeutic for both body and mind.
Reasons to detox are varied. Perhaps you have been facing specific health challenges or are just feeling sluggish, tired and in need of more energy. Maybe, you have decided to detox because the time feels right - the Silly Season has finished and your body is craving some recuperation time. ‘Feb Fast’ or ‘Dry July’ are also a great time to detox, joining the community of people who are also removing a vice from their diet.
Another great time is to follow our ancestors and detox at Spring time, the changing of the seasons feels an intuitive time to change to healthier eating. For whatever reason, it is good to apply common sense by easing your way into the detox and ease your way out, avoid harsh extremes and be kind to yourself along the way.
The liver is the largest internal organ and its optimum functioning is vital to good health and proper detoxification. The liver functions to detoxify blood, regulate cholesterol, synthesise blood proteins, produce bile and store glycogen (for energy use). The liver helps to break down drugs, alcohol and other toxins. It also produces bile, which removes waste products and helps process fats. If the liver malfunctions this can have a range of negative effects on the body.
Support healthy food choices with these healthy and enjoyable lifestyle practices to enhance your detox experience:
1. Enjoy an Epsom Salts Bath with a few drops of an essential oil such as citrus or sage. Epsom Salts are full of magnesium so may help you relax and unwind.
2. Try skin brushing – the skin is the body’s largest organ of elimination and skin brushing is an old naturopathic tradition to remove the dead skin and encourage the movement of lymph to help your body better detox.
3. Treat yourself – to a natural therapies treatment such as massage, acupuncture or reflexology.
4. Exercise regularly – whether it’s walking, swimming, cycling, joining a yoga or pilates class or your local gym, exercise will get you sweating, which is also a great way to facilitate elimination.
5. Take time out – do less, rest more – a detox is the perfect time for quiet reflection whilst your body does the work.