We all overindulge from time to time and for some, a little more than we'd like to admit. If the Christmas period left you feeling lethargic, unmotivated and well, generally feeling unhealthy, it's probably no real surprise you feel this way when you consider the food and drinks that were consumed. But it's what is going on inside that's of concern. Despite the body's amazing kung fu powers to eliminate wastes, occasionally the build up of nasty toxins are just too much. That's where a detox comes in. It might be as simple as eating fresh foods or cutting out sugar, or just taking some time out to yourself to relax. To find out the ins and outs of detoxing we spoke to naturopath and author of Digestive Solutions, Michèle Wolff, to get you off to a fresh start this year.
Why We Detox
With our ever-changing and busy lifestyles, it really is no wonder we're exposed to certain toxins and harmful pollutants. And to be honest, it's not always easy to know exactly what we are putting into or on our bodies. Michèle says that while the body has a natural ability to remove harmful substances through key organs like the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract (stomach and bowel) and the skin, often the demand is too high. "Toxins from the external environment and those generated within the body can be absorbed into the blood stream and affect your overall health and energy stores," explains Michèle.
When It's Time to Detox
When do we know that it's time for a detox? Well, it's usually pretty easy to spot. If you're aware of the fact you've been feeding your body with toxic stuff — bad eating habits, no exercise and using harmful products — and your skin, energy and general well being is suffering, it's safe to say it's time to detox.
How to Detox
"Detoxing involves eliminating toxic substances with healthy whole foods and juices to give your body the chance to recharge. This should be done at least once a year and you should ideally give yourself a minimum of three weeks to fully cleanse the body," says Michèle. Read below for Michèle's five techniques to cleanse and refresh your body.
- Remove the load on your digestive system by avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, unnecessary drugs, sugar and processed foods.
- Provide your body with essential nutrients by eating fresh organic foods, drinking purified water and vegetable juices.
- Release toxins through the digestive tract, liver, kidneys and lymphatic system by eating simple whole foods and drinking herbal teas to support organs and remove wastes.
- Renew your digestive lining by eating foods that help get rid of bad bugs and eating foods that promote good bugs.
- Relax to avoid stress and promote repair and recovery.
The Side Effects
Just like withdrawing from substances like drugs and alcohol, the body can have similar side effects from a detox. For example, the removal of addictive substances like caffeine and sugar from the diet can cause unwanted effects like nausea, mild headaches and digestive changes. Though as Michèle explains, "these symptoms should be mild and will usually pass in a few days when the body starts to adjust to getting rid of the toxins.
"It can seem overwhelming at first so take time to plan, organise and choose a suitable moment for yourself to begin the process. Think of it as clearing out your overly-cluttered garage that has built up over the years — it takes time to get through it all but once you do you immediately feel better," says Michèle.
She adds that as your energy increases through detoxing, your motivation to keep up the good habits will increase too. "As your body rejuvenates, you will feel lighter and more vibrant, your skin will glow and people will start to notice that something is different about you."
It might only be a small diet or lifestyle change, but the feeling of happier healthier you is so worth it. So who's ready? Let's detox!