You have no doubt heard that we don’t really need to “detox” because our body already does this for us.
And, that is absolutely right.
Our liver, kidneys, digestive system and even skin are constantly eliminating wastes and getting the nasties out of our body. All day. Every day. It is a natural process.
So, when we refer to “detoxing” we are really talking about how we can support our body to carry out its own natural cleansing.
Naturopathically, we do this by nourishing the body with whole foods, avoiding processed foods and unnecessary chemicals, and supporting the liver and kidney with strengthening and tonifying herbal medicines and supplements. And taking it easy.
Our liver performs more than 500 functions in the body. 500!
So doesn’t it make sense to make it a little easier for the liver to do its job by giving it a break from alcohol, coffee, processed foods and unnecessary chemicals. I remember learning at university that when we drink alcohol or coffee, our liver has to, in a sense, stop what it is doing to immediately deal with the constituents of alcohol or coffee (which it identifies as a “poison”) until it can process it into substances which is safer for the body to metabolise.
Detoxing, in the naturopathic sense, is about reducing the burden we place on our body so it can really address removing any stored or built up toxins in the body.
In many cases, I recommend that clients support their body to detoxify before we can really begin treatment. A detox might be for just two days or up to six weeks, depending on the individual.
Not everyone should jump in and start a detox though – for example if you are pregnant or on some medications – so it is important to see a natural healthcare practitioner first.
Wondering if a detoxification program might help you?
If you answer “yes” to a significant number of these questions, then you might want to consider a professional detoxification program:
If you answer yes to a large number of these questions, then you may want to consider a detoxification program. Learn more about clinical detoxification here.
And don't worry - a detox doesn't mean being hungry or feeling deprived. Check out this detox recipe for Caramelised Bananas with Coconut and Macadamia Crumble.
Liver Anatomy: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions.
Detox Questionnaire: www.metagenics.com.au
Detox. It’s a term you’ve no doubt heard a lot of on TV, in magazines or in the gym. But why should you ‘detox’?
Detoxification is your body’s natural process of changing dietary and environmental toxins into less harmful substances before eliminating them from your body.
We all do it, every day.
But sometimes, the processes that manage detoxification in the body becomes overwhelmed. And we start to notice some symptoms.
Who should detox?
A detoxification program can benefit most people. Ask yourself these questions:
• Do you suffer from bloating, gas, reflux, constipation or diarrhoea?
• Do you often feel tired or lethargic, no matter how much sleep you get?
• Are you overweight or obese and have trouble shifting weight?
• Do you get recurrent headaches and migraines?
• Are you regularly suffering from muscle aches and pains?
• Do you have difficulty concentrating and feel ‘foggy’?
• Do you have allergies and sensitivities?
• Do you suffer from mood swings, anxiety or depression?
Supporting natural detoxification processes can help improve digestive function and may even help you lose a little weight, however the benefits do not stop there.
Healthy detoxification pathways may also lead to a reduction in other seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as sore joints or painful periods. Even if you’re fit and well, for many people a regular detox leaves them feeling more energised whilst reducing the toxin load.
So Where Do These Toxins Come From?
The term ‘toxin’ refers to any substance with the potential to interfere with normal cellular function and which may negatively impact both your short and long-term health. You do not have to look very far to find toxins as they may be found in household chemicals, personal care products, and also in some foods (e.g. food may be exposed to pesticide residues or toxic metal contaminants).
Your body is designed to remove these toxins via the ‘channels of elimination’, i.e. your liver, kidneys, bowels and skin; but it is possible for these channels to become overwhelmed, depending upon your level of exposure, and this may reduce your overall health and wellbeing.
So Where Do I Start?
Walk into any pharmacy or health food store today and you will find a number of over the counter detox products.
Some of these are great, but they don’t assess your individual health requirements and so are limited in their ability to meet your detoxification needs.
You might also have friends or colleagues who recommend multi-level-marketing programs such as Isogenix, Juice Plus, Doterra. While these are great at promoting a healthier lifestyle, I can't endorse these as the best option for everyone.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, then I suggest seeing a qualified natural health practitioner (such as a naturopath or nutritionist). A personalised program based on your specific health history, together with the added benefit of professional support and advice from a qualified natural health practitioner can have a much greater impact on your detox capacity – helping to promote long-term wellbeing beyond the duration of the program.
Oh, and of course I should mention that you can consult with me. I have an online practice where I "meet" with clients from all over Australia. So that might be an option for you too. (Just check out the Bookings page to book yourself an appointment).
Herbal Help to Boost Your Detox
In clinic, depending on the needs of the client, I often use three key herbal and nutritional formulas, based on scientific research, to lay the foundation for effective detoxification.
These formulas focus on supporting the three main channels of elimination:
The first formula helps optimise your liver’s detoxifying capacity. It often contains the herb Milk thistle along with Cape jasmine and Green tea to help protect your body from the harmful effects of metabolising toxins. In addition, the amino acids taurine and glutamine support liver detoxification pathways and promote a healthy digestive tract.
The second formula incorporates the greens Spirulina, Coriander, Kelp and Aloe. These herbs assist with the binding of toxins and promote alkalinisation, since an alkaline pH is required for effective removal of wastes via the kidneys.
Finally, a traditional herbal formula containing Dandelion, Gentian, Lemon balm and Ginger not only helps to minimise any existing symptoms of poor digestion such as burping and bloating, but helps stimulate the digestive secretions and bile flow you require for optimal digestive function.
Depending on the client, I may also prescribe a specific probiotic, or perhaps a formula to support sleep, the nervous system, energy levels or hormonal health.
Detox Diet and Lifestyle Support
Modern diets can be a major source of ongoing toxin exposure due to the intake of caffeine, alcohol and refined processed foods, which typically contain artificial additives, preservatives and toxic fats.
Not only do these add to your toxin burden but put they mean more work for your organs of detoxification. (Which in many of us are already working pretty hard).
By cutting out the foods I mentioned above, while eating more plant-based wholefoods, you can enhance the effects of the herbal and nutritional formulas and boost your detox capacity.
The Path to Long-Term Wellness
Supporting effective detoxification is a cornerstone of Natural Medicine practice. I find that my clients who undertake a cleansing or detox program before we begin working on their specific health problems experience quicker and longer lasting benefits.
The Practitioner Only Detox Programs are simple and easy to follow, and I also have your back to support you. I’ve undertaken them myself, and coached many, many clients through the process.
Depending on what is going on for your health right now, the length of the program can be 2 – 6 weeks.
If you are interested in your own detox program, then drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or book in for an online consultation via the Bookings page.
I also have a free 3 Day Cleanse Program which is a good place to start. I designed this program to be gentle yet effective, and today it is one of my most popular downloaded resources. Grab it for free on the Resources page.
I've noticed that when I go a bit overboard with eating and indulgence in December, my energy drops way down. I start to rely on sugary treats and caffeine to get through each day, which of course makes the cycle so much worse.
So, here are the 3 simple things I do to get back on track, and feel energised, happy and full of vitality to do all the fun Summer stuff that we look forward to all year.
It sounds really obvious. In fact it is so obvious that it is easy to forget.
Upping your intake of fresh, pure water; and non-caffeinated herbal teas can help you feel energised, motivated, clearer and lighter.
In fact, as I was writing this post, I threw out the cup of coffee I had just made, and replaced it with a peppermint tea (did you know that peppermint has a cooling effect in the body - great for Summer!)
2. Eat more unprocessed foods
Cut out the junk, packaged foods, convenience meals, takeaways, refined grains, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Replace them with fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and protein.
Your body will LOVE you for it.
3. Make friends with your liver
Your liver works hard when you overindulge, especially if alcohol, caffeine and sugar is involved.
Increase your intake of leafy green vegetables, fresh herbs, broccoli, lemon, rocket. Replace that second coffee with dandelion root coffee. Chew your food well so your digestive system doesn't have to work so hard to extract nutrition.
If you need a more personalised approach to your Summer wellness, make an appointment to talk to me or consult your healthcare practitioner.
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist