There is a wealth of information out there about detox – it can be confusing and difficult to know what is the best thing to do. I am going to do my best to give you simple guidelines that will help you find the best plan to suit you and your lifestyle.
The one thing you already know is that you’re not feeling your best and you want to do something about it. This is a great start and by searching for this information you are taking the first step to improving your health, hopefully permanently. Good for you – literally!
We all know when we’re feeling toxic – we can look puffy, feel tired and apathetic, maybe a bit depressed and as if everything is a bit of a struggle. We might even by suffering from constipation, skin problems, aching joints and anxiety.
Why Do We Need to Detox?
Normally – in a healthy and natural environment – our bodies are more than capable of detoxing themselves, keeping every cell clean and working as it should to keep you energized and full of health and strength.
Unfortunately the world we live in is no longer healthy and natural and we are constantly bombarded with complex and processed chemicals that our bodies find hard to metabolize effectively. These pollutants are in our air, water and food as well as in the cosmetics and household cleaning products that we use. These toxins can build up in the body and cause damage to the tissues and cells.
As a result the amount of toxins that our organism has to deal with every day can overwhelm our natural ability to cleanse. There is simply too much coming in for our systems to have the time and energy to sort it into categories and dispose of it all safely. It’s a bit like the local Council dump – they have to close the gates when they are too busy just so they can catch up and clean out the skips ready for the next lot of rubbish to arrive! That’s what detoxing is – its closing the gates and not letting anymore rubbish in until you’ve dealt with the back-log!
It is the ceasing of digestion that enables the body to have the time to clean itself. The less you digest the more toxins you’ll be able to release.
Will I Lose Weight?
Losing weight is one of the main incentives for people to do a Detox. In reality they often find that losing weight is just an added bonus rather than the main benefit. The increase in vitality and general enthusiasm for your life will be more likely to result in a change of diet and lifestyle. This will bring with it an all round improvement in health on all levels that, incidentally, includes being a healthy weight!
Which Detox is Best For You?
If this is your first Detox its best to start with a three day plan so that its easy and safe for you to do. You can go from there to a longer program or a guided, residential retreat to get even more, longer lasting benefits.
You can increase the results of the Detox enormously by preparing for it as long as you can in advance. By cutting down on your intake of toxins before your three day detox you will lessen the detox symptoms and increase the efficacy of your cleanse.
Preparing for Your Cleanse
To do this try and avoid the following for a minimum of a week before you start. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and refined, processed foods. If you want to eat meat then try and buy organic meat from a local source. Cheap meat can contains steroids, hormones and antibiotics. I highly recommend shopping in your local health food shop rather than the super-market as it is much easier to find the foods you want and some you didn’t even know existed!
Try and eat like an animal! Prepare foods that still look like they did when they were growing. Lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and pulses are an excellent and economical source of valuable nutrients – without the toxins.
Sip plenty of water throughout the day – at least 8 glasses along with herbal and fruit teas. This will help to flush the toxins out of your body and reduce any detox symptoms you might be having. These symptoms can include headaches, aching, tiredness, cravings and even mood swings.
These symptoms arise because the body is releasing too many toxins for the liver to metabolize and release. To assist the liver you could try a supplement or herbal tincture that supports the liver such as Dandelion or Milk Thistle. You can also buy good quality Detox tea (usually at your local health food shop or from a herbalist), this can also assist the liver during your detox.
During the week before your cleanse try giving your liver and gallbladder a boost by taking 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Do this every morning first thing for 5 days.
Mixing a spoon of honey with cider vinegar also has a detoxifying, re-balancing affect on the liver.
Detoxing if You’re Busy
If you need to carry on with your normal daily routine while you’re detoxing, I recommend a mono-diet. This allows you carry on taking in energy without the body to have to work too hard to digest the food.
1. In the winter I would recommend a brown rice cleanse. This is so simple and cheap to do. Just buy a quantity of organic, short grain brown rice, cook for 45 minutes in double the amount of water to rice and eat just that for three days. Don’t add salt or seasoning to keep it as easy to digest as possible. This will give you the calories you need whilst giving your body the break it needs from digesting.
2. In the spring or summer three days eating nothing but organic grapes is a good way to keep your blood sugar levels up whilst allowing a deep and thorough spring clean.
You can increase the benefit of both these diets by squeezing fresh lemon into a glass of water in the morning.
The benefits of the mono-diet are that it is easy to prepare and carry the food you need with you and it is very simple to do.
Detoxing if You Have More Time
The general guide is: The less you digest the more you cleanse.
If you’re finding the Detox too difficult then just increase the variety of the food you’re eating. On the retreat the participants only have diluted juices for 6 days – this enables a deep and effective cleanse. Just by giving someone a pure, undiluted juice we can dramatically slow the effects of their detox.
If you want to have a deep detox then stick to juices – it this is too hard then add salads, whole fruit, seeds and some simple cooked food. This will lessen the symptoms and the intensity of the cleanse. Always listen to what your body needs (cravings can be misleading – the body doesn’t actually need chocolate and coffee!!).
Again – start the day with lemon juice in water. Drink only water and herbal teas during the day.
If you have a juicer then buy selection of fresh, organic vegetables (preferably locally grown) and juice these in combination to make a variety of delicious, nutritious drinks. Also, by adding a superfood such as spirolina, you can make your juices even more nutritious and alkalizing to the body. You can add root ginger to your juices for a warming and tasty addition.
You can either just have juices and fruit or make salads with a mixture of raw vegetables. Grated beetroot, carrot and cabbage can add bulk and goodness. Beetroot is especially good for the liver. You can add seeds and sprouted pulses (readily available from health food shops or easy to sprout at home) and dress with a cold pressed olive oil and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
If you want to include cooked food then lightly steam vegetables and have with a small amount of brown rice or quinoa dressed with olive oil, a little tamari (wheat free soya sauce) or a tahini dressing which can be made with a spoonful of tahini (back to the health food shop) mixed gradually with some water to make it a smooth, runny consistency. Add ginger and tamari, lemon or cider vinegar if you really need more flavour.
Try and eat all your food slowly and moderately and remember to take at least half and hours gentle exercise everyday.
A Supervised Detox
At a Detox Retreat the staff can sure that every participant gets exactly what they, personally, need. They provide supplements with the juices that are specifically designed to enhance the cleansing program. They reduce hunger, clean the bowel, collect the released toxins (to prevent them from being re-absorbed) and loosen old matter stored in the intestines. Juices are provided and maybe a mineral broth every day and they will hopefully have a Detox expert on hand to advise and support each individual.
Retreats usually also provide colonic irrigation, either gravity or colema equipment in each bathroom so that participants can have self-administered colonics or administered mechanised colonics. The role of the colonic is to speed up the cleansing process by literally washing the toxins and old matter out of the bowel. All the unwanted waste that is released into the bowel is washed clean away by this simple process. It feels amazing!
A good Detox Retreat will provide emotional and practical support and advice, massage and healing therapies as well as talks and nutritional information to take into your daily life. Gentle exercise can be provided by yoga and guided walks as well as the spa and gym facilities. Just so the spiritual side isn’t left out you could have guided meditations to start the day.
The Detox Retreat is there for people who don’t want to try and detox at home and feel that they would benefit from more support and guidance and for those people who have various health issues that could benefit from a longer and deeper cleanse.