New Year Detox: why I am NOT doing it!
It honestly amazes me that there is still this drive towards new year resolutions and detoxes and fitness regimes etc. that promise the elixir of life but simultaneously punish our bodies and minds. Plus if we are really honest we have all done something like them before and it didn’t actually work, at least not for the long term.
And then in addition to these false promises that will really only strip you of your hope, self-esteem and hard-earned cash, there are others singing this message and telling us that just because we have a liver we need not worry at all. And I’m sorry to burst the bubble but it also doesn’t work quite like that. Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly toxic world and the average diet has never been less nutrient dense. With a bigger workload and less resources to bolster it, the liver really has never needed more help!
Do I need to actively support by body to detox then?
This is not a one-size-fits all answer… it really depends on your toxic exposure and the quality of your diet, but if you experience symptoms like headaches, fatigue, irritable moods, weight gain, bloating, constipation, night sweats, skin break-outs, poor cognition, sensitivity to strong chemical or pollution smells or unexplained nausea, they could be a sign that an active detox might be good for you.*
Ok, so how do I detox if there isn’t a juice of pill for it?
1. Reduce your toxic exposure
There are lots of toxins that we know we are burdening our body with, things like alcohol and caffeine for example. Why not give these a rest for a bit so your body can also take a break or get busy with some other more hidden toxins it hasn’t had a chance to start working on.
Opt for natural unprocessed foods where possible and avoid burnt foods such as BBQs and fried foods. Choose organic wherever possible and drink filtered water. Whilst not so obvious as caffeine and alcohol, all these foods also add toxins that are actually avoidable, at least in the short term. If you know that you react to certain foods, it can be a good idea to also avoid them.
Outside of the food you eat, other toxins that can add to the load are plastics. Plastic food storage containers can be swapped for glass or stainless steel ones and try to avoid using cling film and aluminium foil when cooking/storing foods.
We also absorb toxins in through our skin and lungs so opt for natural toiletries and make-up and use natural cleaning products. Many air-fresheners and scented candles can also be quite toxic, so swap them out for natural non-toxic alternatives and let house plants clean your air for you instead!
2. Love your gut
This one isn’t as obvious, but as well as identifying toxins in the body and processing them through the liver and kidneys, the body also has to get them out and a whole bunch go via the digestive tract in bile so you can poop them out!
If you’re constipated, they aren’t leaving, and in fact they can even get reabsorbed from your digestive tract back into the body in a much nastier form than they were previously hanging out there in.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of fibre, loving your gut with probiotic and prebiotic foods, getting enough good fats and keeping well hydrated. When your body is detoxifying, hydration is key so make sure that you’re drinking two litres of water per day or ensuring that your urine is a healthy pale colour.
3. Eat well
A whole host of nutrients help support our body to detoxify, so focus on feeding yourself well. If you’ve no idea how to do this, do sign up to my Thrive in Five course or drop me a message to get some help, but if you know the basics then trust in yourself and give it a go…
Get plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, rocket, cabbage, turnips, Brussel sprouts, radish, pak choi, spring greens, peppers, kiwi fruits, oranges, citrus fruits, berries. These are packed with a whole host of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fibre.
Make sure that you consume good sources of protein. This is crucial as many detoxification processes rely on certain proteins and when you only consume juice or pills, protein is going to be lacking. Organic meat, fish and eggs are one way to get quality protein, otherwise you can use nuts, seeds, beans and pulses – a variety of everything would likely be ideal.
Healthy fats like eggs, avocados, oily fish, coconut and olive oil, nuts and seeds. Binding toxins to fats is a great way to escort them out of the body and really helpful if you’re focused on detoxifying. The fats to avoid are those found in processed foods (ready-made meals and snacks) and in foods fried in seed oils – chips and crisps, stir-fries cooked with sunflower oil.
4. Sweat it out and move your body!
So now we know it’s not just the liver, kidneys, digestive tract and lungs that are involved in detoxification, but also the skin. So think about giving a helping hand by sweating – this could be in the sauna or simply by moving your body. Exercise also helps to mobilise fats cells where toxins are stored, so is a great addition to the above dietary support.
A final word of warning
Our bodies are just incredible and are detoxifying us all the time. But nevertheless, sometimes there is more to do than they can manage, so listen to your body and don’t make too many sudden changes. If you start to get symptoms like headaches and brain fog, adverse changes in mood or anything else that seems abnormal, ease off and make sure you get some medical support.
Many of these foods as well as exercise also encourage weight loss and there is the potential to flood the bloodstream with toxins the body previously used to store them away. Make sure you’re not losing weight to fast.
Speeding up detoxification can also affect the speed at which you metabolise drugs, so bear this in mind as well if you take them.
One size definitely does not fit all, and genetic differences can make a huge difference to how well we detoxify different toxins. Sometimes certain processes happen quickly and vital accompanying processes happen more slowly so again, be mindful of any symptoms that come up and adjust your efforts as necessary.
If you'd like to discuss detoxifying your body, supporting your liver or digestive tract, balancing your hormones, lifting your mood or any other symptoms that can be supported through dietary change, please don't hesitate to book a call with me to discuss how I might be able to help you.
*Please do consult a medical professional if you are experiencing symptoms or develop any adverse reactions from dietary and lifestyle changes. This article does not replace proper medical advice.
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