What is Detoxing?
Detoxing is just another word for cleansing. The aims of a detox programme are to increase the efficiency of the digestive system and to stimulate other parts of the body that are responsible for cleansing and elimination. Detoxing also works to improve underlying health so you are less prone to infection. Used sensibly and occasionally, detox regimes are invaluable in promoting and sustaining good health.
Ways of detoxing
Detoxing is a relative term. Anything that supports elimination will help you detox. Doing no more than drinking a couple of liters of water a day will help you flush out toxins. Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables – high water-content, cleansing foods – and fewer meat and dairy products will reduce congestion and increase elimination. However, it is important not go to extremes – fasting, frequent enemas, use of diuretics and excessive exercise hold the danger of making you lose essential nutrients.
In this book, detoxing involves reducing the intake of toxins and improving their elimination through diet and body therapies such as spa treatments and skin brushing. You should also try to avoid chemicals, refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and many drugs to reduce the toxic load.
The most important way of strengthening your body’s natural defence and combating the daily onslaught of toxins is to improve your diet. Food can provide a rich source of antioxidants and plant chemicals, with improve the way your body eliminates waste products and increase your body’s ability to remove pollutants.
As detoxification takes effect your health should improve steadily, possibly with temporary relapses known as healing crisis. Minor aliments such as colds, fever and skin spots should be seen in a positive light because they are signs that the body is trying to throw off an accumulation of toxins. So, don’t be surprised if your skin becomes dull or spotty at the beginning of a detox programme – it will soon clear.
Who shouldn’t detox
Children under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those who are ill or recovering from illness, and those over the age of 65 should not detox. If you have a medical condition or are taking medication, you must seek medical advice before detoxing as it may not be suitable for you.
How your body handles toxins
Your body is designed to cope with toxins, and neutralizes, transforms or eliminates them. The liver is the main organ of detoxification, transforming toxins into harmless agents so that they can then be eliminated. The kidneys filter out waste products from your blood into your urine. Your intestines push potential toxins and indigestible material from food into the bowel for excretion. The lungs expel gases such as carbon dioxide, which are produced in the cells and filter out poisonous gases you breathe in. The skin eliminates toxins via sweat and sebum (skin oil) and by shedding dead skin cells. The lymphatic system carries waste products that are too large to enter the bloodstream to the lymph nodes for processing. They are then returned to the liver via the bloodstream for detoxification.
Preparing to Detox
To ensure that your detox programme goes as smoothly as possible, it is useful to gather together various items before you start. These include kitchen items to help you prepare meals more easily, and bathroom accessories to facilitate your body detox routine.
For the kitchen
For the bathroom
Detoxing your kitchen
A key step to successful detoxing is to clear your kitchen of all the fatty, sugar-laden comfort foods that you reach for in times of emotional crises so that, if you do go through a wobbly patch, there won’t be anything bad in the cupboard for you to eat. Set aside a day to go through your all the processed and refined foods you find there. Then restock your kitchen with nutritionally sound food, using the shopping list on page 24-25 for guidance. Where possible, choose locally grown fruits and vegetables – these retain more nutrients and cause less environmental damage because they don’t have to be flown across the world to reach you.
Once you have the right ingredients, make a sustained effort to be more creative in the kitchen. Try out new recipes and new foods and discover just how delicious and satifying your meal can be.
Organic foods are not essential when detoxing – the very fact that you are increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you consume will make a significant different to how you look and feel. Furthermore, despite some recent food that scares, the non-organic food that that you can buy in the supermarket is stringently tested and carefully stored and transported and so should be safer than ever before.
However, organic foods are an attractive alternative for the consumer, offering food that will have been produced with minimal use of pesticides and other chemicals, and which adheres to standards set down by European law.
Most supermarkets stock organic produce, or you can have supplies delivered to you from organic wholesales. The trick is to buy little and often, because organic food will go off more quickly.