Detox your body
Feeling a little toxic? Detoxifying is a great way to cleanse your body and create a fresh, toxic-free you.
The excess nature of modern-day life can leave us feeling intoxicated, bloated, lethargic and maybe a tad guilty. Following a detox plan can do wonders to what's left of your body and mind. Detoxifying cleanses the body, re-invigorates the system, provides an energy boost and gets us feeling healthy again.
Even if you're relatively health- conscious, detoxifying once in a while is still important to give your body a rest from chemicals that are caused by inorganic food and the environment.
According to South Australian nutritionist Marilyn Foran, "the idea of a detox is to modify the way we currently eat with the aim of clearing an overload of toxins from the digestive system, circulatory system and other organs or cells in the body."
Benefits of detoxing
Increased alertness, vitality, vigour, improved immunity to infection, higher libido and a younger look.
Exercise and detox
"If the detoxification program is combined with a sensible exercise program, then there may be a reduction in cellulite and a loss of weight," says Marilyn. But getting rid of toxin build-up isn't all fun and games. Detoxifying requires commitment and discipline, so yes, that means looking past the garlic bread, chocolates and caffeine just to name a few of the typically restricted foods.
Detox often produces some unpleasant side effects. Sydney naturopath Margaret O'Brien explains that initially people may feel fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea as toxins are expelled from the body. Headaches are also common as our systems go through caffeine and refined sugar withdrawals. The side effects are stronger with more radical detox plans such as juice fasting or eating only brown rice and water. Symptoms also vary according to your diet, living conditions and the amount of toxins you have.
There are many products on the market that promise to clean out your system in a few weeks, give you more energy and improve the function of the kidneys, liver, bowel and stomach. They come in different shapes, sizes and prices, and while there are a few radical programs, others are quite feasible and there are even some you can literally sleep through.
Pharmacy shelves reveal a range of products available for those wanting to embark on a home detox program. One such product is Quick Cleanse, a 15-day program that includes a meal and exercise plan as well as herbal supplements. The program recommends that you avoid meat, animal products, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods while eating more fruit and vegetables, whole grains and a small portion of fish.
But instead of spending money on home detox programs, Margaret recommends seeking a nutritionist or naturopath who can draw up a personal detox diet according to your individual needs and lifestyle.
"Remember we are all individuals and what suits one person does not necessarily suit another and a detox plan worked out for an individual is clearly more beneficial as it will be designed according to his or her particular needs and health," says Margaret. This way, you'll get an individual eating plan along with cleansing herbs and teas and any other minerals your body needs to detox.
One of the more popular forms is the juice fast with various length programs from a few days to a few weeks. These plans can be found on the internet, magazines and books, such as Caroline Wheater's The Juicing Detox Diet. But if you're going to go radical, it's recommended you first consult a naturopath, nutritionist or other health professional before you start.
If you want to go cold turkey but don't think you have the will power, you can always head to a fasting camp where you won't have access to a refrigerator. At Detox for Life Health Retreat, guests enjoy plant cleansing and herbal detoxification while fasting on organic fruit and vegetable juices for nine days on the Noosa Coast. For something truly hardcore, head to the infamous fasting retreats in Thailand where you fast without any food - only water and herbal teas, plus a daily colonic irrigation.
Sweating it out with FAR infra-red saunas
Don't confuse these with conventional saunas. FAR infra-red sauna manufacturers say they're the most effective way to get a full body detox. They also claim other benefits such as: stress relief, cellulite and fat reduction (burning 600 calories per 30-minute session). This helps to get rid of stretch marks, acne, rashes, varicose veins, allergies; helps with pain relief, diabetes, blood circulation, menopause, PMS, healing of scar tissue and more. They don't use ultraviolet radiation or any other harmful thing. However, due to the heat, pregnant women and people with multiple sclerosis shouldn't use them. If you have any illnesses, please consult your doctor before using one.
According to Chinese medicine, there are over 60 acupuncture points on the sole of the foot, most of which are reflective zones of our internal organs. That is, a certain point on the foot represents the liver while another reflects the intestines and yet another, the spine, and so on. Chinese medicine practitioners believe the soles of the feet are the best place to remove toxins. To do this, they attach foot patches containing natural ingredients like bark and vinegar that help to draw out waste from the body overnight. By morning, the white patches will have turned grey or even black in colour, indicating the absorption of chemicals from the body.
MY DETOX EXPERIENCE...
Alex Jameison, author of The Great American Detox (Pan Mcmillan), chef and nutritionist and partner to Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame
When I was 24 I moved to New York city, which was quite a stressful thing to do. I had a young person's mentality and metabolism, I had been eating junk food and a heavy diet for the last ten years. Because I was young, I hadn't gained any weight and was skipping along just fine. I was in a high-pressure corporate job, a relationship that wasn't overly supportive and all of this combined with a minor knee infection and the antiobiotics and painkillers that went along with it totally destroyed my immune system. I went back to work, ended my relationship and I was miserable. I had no energy, I was having migraines three or four times a week, and I was depressed. I couldn't believe how miserable I was. I was putting on weight and just felt awful. For me it was a shock that I was feeling so bad so quickly. I could have easily gone the more traditional route and gone, I'm depressed I should get some anti-depressants, or I'm gaining weight I should go on some kind of diet. I was lucky in the sense that I was introducted to alternative medicine and nutritional theory, that whole world really appealed to me.
MY DETOX RULES:
Beans, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables: cabbage, bok choy, spinach and berries.
Refined sugars, traditionally-raised animalproducts (animals raised with growth hormones, pesticides, refined carbohydrates and caffeine.
Artificial sweeteners, like splenda, anything you can't pronounce or read on a food label question what that is.
FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH:
I'm really into tomatoes, I'm making a tomato salad with fresh herbs olive oil and cucumbers.
MY VIEWS ON DETOX
Dr Sandra Cabot is the best-selling author of many books including The Liver Cleansing Diet and more recently The Ultimate Detox.
What does detox mean to you?
To detox is to stop consuming unhealthy foods, beverages, stimulants and drugs for a period of time to improve overall health. It is also important to minimise exposure to environmental toxins as much
What are the benefits of detox?
Doing a detox forces you to take a good look at what you are eating and the type of lifestyle you lead, and then evaluate whether that is helping your health, or hindering it. In our clinics we see many patients with conditions such as fatigue, allergies, insomnia, frequent infections, excess weight and skin problems. Each of these conditions can be greatly improved with a good detox.
But what of the opposing view?
The human body has inbuilt detoxification mechanisms, designed to remove toxins from our body via our bowels, urine, breath and perspiration. This would function well enough in an ideal, stress-free, unpolluted world but we do not live in such a world. In today's times we are exposed to much higher levels of chemicals, heavy metals and stress than any generation before us, with new challenges such as food irradiation, genetically modified foods, microwave ovens and an increasing amount of artificial sweeteners.
So where does exercise fit into a good detox program?
Exercise is a fantastic way to speed the removal of toxins from the body because it improves circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system to remove waste from the bloodstream, and many toxins are excreted through perspiration. Exercise also increases energy levels and motivation to eat well and look after ourselves. While doing a detox, we strongly recommend that people exercise at a lower intensity than usual. It is important to not push yourself too hard during this time.
MY VIEWS ON DETOX
Janella Purcell, naturopath and soon to be seen on Janella Purcell's Get a Life on Foxtel.
What's the best approach to detox?
Slow. A lot of people do a really full-on detox and they get symptoms of a healing crisis, such as headaches, nausea and skin break outs. All the toxins are being released at once, and you get the symptoms of a really bad hangover. To do it slowly is better. You can't go off everything all at once and expect to feel good.
How should one prepare?
Getting rid of the junk food out of your house. Getting a whole lot of fresh fish and vegies.
Can detox be bad for you?
If it's done in extreme, definitely. You don't want to release all those nasties at once, you want to sneak them out.
Pungent is a great flavour for the liver (found in ginger and coriander) because it's good for digestion. Sour foods are specific for the liver (grapefruit, lemon, pears, plums and mango). Peppermint tea, celery, broccoli, seaweed, chamomile, rye and wheatgrrass are good. Generally, your detox diet should be made of good fats, fresh fish and vegies.
All preservatives and chemicals. Processed and refined foods, such as
white wheat and sugar. All junk food, processed oils, rich and heavy food.
NONE AT ALL:
I don't think that you should particularly deprive your of anything. But it's good to be mindful of the foods listed above.
Drink lots of water, do gentle exercise and don't rush into anything too quickly. Think of detox as a change of lifestyle, rather than a quick-fix solution.
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