DETOXING: is it a necessity or just a nice idea?
I am often asked by clients if there really is a need for us to detox on a regular basis. I always answer this question with a big resounding yes! Naturopathic concepts of internal cleansing have been around for a long time and concepts of cleaning and detoxification have formed a key part of naturopathic principles for many years. Modern life presents a range of factors which increase the need for us to detox, including living in big cities which concentrate pollution, leading stressful busy lives and eating and drinking foods which impact negatively on our health.
Don’t I Already Detox Everyday?
Although it’s true that even under stress, the liver and other organs of detoxification are able to complete the detoxification processes needed for us to survive, they often don’t work at the optimum capacity required to help us thrive. This is especially true when our system is overburdened by the byproducts of unhealthy eating and drinking choices, lack of exercise and fresh air and toxins which are present in our environment such as pollution, chemicals and pesticides.
How Will I Know I Need to Detox?
Once natural detoxification mechanisms become overworked, a range of signs and symptoms may develop which can include:
Recurrent headaches or migraines
Recurrent infections and poor immunity
Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
Fatigue and lethargy
Hayfever or sinus issues
Difficulty with conceiving and fertility issues
Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Skin conditions such as acne and eczema
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it is likely that you will benefit from taking part in a detox program.
Which Detox is Right For Me?
Although there are now popular three day juice cleanses or tea cleanses (which are often not designed by those with professional health qualifications) I would not recommend that you take part in one of these ‘one size fits all’ programs. They are unlikely to lead to an effective and efficient detoxification outcome, and do not take in to account your personal circumstances. Instead, I would recommend taking part in a program which has been developed by a suitably qualified healthcare practitioner such as a naturopath, who will carefully consider your current situation and take into account your past history, current medications, health concerns and goals for the detox. Although making food changes during the detox may be enough for some people to really benefit from a detox, others may require the additional support of some professional supplementation to make the most out of their cleanse.
What Can I Eat and Drink On a Detox?
In terms of dietary recommendations, there is no set diet that suits every person, especially when detoxing. Most people though, will benefit from removing all dairy, refined sugar, refined and processed carbohydrates and animal protein (especially red meat). Some people may be able to enjoy a vegetarian diet whilst detoxing, whilst other people such as those that are very active, could require some animal protein during the detoxification phase. In terms of fluid intake, increasing fresh filtered water, vegetable juices and herbal teas and reducing and avoiding alcohol, caffeine and soft drinks is a good place to start. One of the main organs of elimination are the kidneys, which require optimal hydration to aid removal of wastes.
Is Detoxing Just About What I Eat and Drink?
Detox programs should not just address what you are eating and drinking (this is of course important!) but should also take into account how you are eating and drinking. Do you eat on the run, rush from appointment to appointment, skip meals or eat lunch at your work desk? Being more mindful of your meals and taking time to enjoy your meals have have a really positive impact on your digestion and your ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate wastes. Other lifestyle factors such as stress levels, sleep, cosmetics as well as exercise levels also impact on your ability to detoxify. Taking part in daily dry skin brushing, weekly epsom salt baths, gentle exercise, lymphatic massages and saunas are also great ways to aid the detoxification process. Incorporating a short term social media and electronic equipment detox (keeping off Facebook and Instagram) can also be really helpful. I also educate clients to take a good look at what they are putting on their skin (cosmetics, skin products and deodorants). Your skin is one of your most important organs of elimination and it’s important to address what you are putting on your skin, especially when cleansing.
Are you interested in taking part in a detox? Call Shift Natural Medicine today to book in for a professionally prescribed program tailored specifically to your needs.