Feeling sluggish after winter? Many of us reach for the comfort foods a little too often when the weather is cold. But now that it’s warming up, you might be thinking about a spring cleanse.
Why most detox programs just don’t stack up!
Most qualified health practitioners are very skeptical of most detox programs available on the market. Here are a few reasons why:
They neglect the power of food as medicine
Detox programs are usually product-based – and expensive products at that. They will either neglect the diet entirely, or give you a bland, generic meal plan.
But some of the best ways to support your body’s detox processes can be found in the supermarket! Foods like berries, green leafy vegetables, herbs and spices are just some examples. There is no such thing as a supplement deficiency – only a nutrient deficiency.
They aren’t personalised to you
Everyone has different nutritional needs, different preferences for foods and a different lifestyle. It might not be feasible for you to live off shakes for a week if you live an active lifestyle, or juice every 3 hours if you’re a working professional. Any change to your diet – short-term or long-term – should be tailored to suit you.
They are a quick fix
Very few programs will help you transition to a balanced diet that suits your body. Most are a few weeks long, then you go back to your usual eating pattern. If you do lose weight, it usually piles right back on.
How your body’s detoxification system actually works
Your liver does the bulk of the detoxification work. Here, there are two main phases that take place. Phase 1 converts potentially problematic chemicals into intermediate compounds. Phase 2 then converts these compounds into water-soluble waste products for the body to excrete.
It’s important that phase 2 occurs, as the intermediate compounds can be quite toxic and reactive. It is this phase that many practitioners will focus on when supporting natural detoxification.
Your elimination channels include sweat, urine and faeces. The body will dump waste products into one or more of these channels to eliminate them.
Easy tips to support your detox pathways
Want to give your liver some love without spending hundreds on fancy laxatives? Here are some simple ways to support your detox pathways naturally.
Drink plenty of water
Water is essential for almost every process in the body, including detoxification. It makes up the fluid that runs through the elimination channels and lymphatic system. So if you’ve been a bit slack with your water intake, now is your chance to boost it back up. If you need some tips to increase your water check out our blog here.
Eat more greens
Vegetables are detoxification superstars, and greens are some of the best out there. So find some way to include more green in your daily diet. Make green leafy vegetables the base of your plate, and build your meal around that. Snack on celery and cucumber sticks with your dip of choice. You can even add greens to a smoothie or omelette with breakfast. For more ways to increase your greens click here.
Don’t forget your protein
Many of the processes in phase 2 detox rely on amino acids, which are the building blocks found in protein. So make sure you’re including quality sources of protein with each meal. Grassfed meat, free range chicken and eggs, fish, shellfish, legumes, beans and pseudograins like quinoa are a few options to include.