What is a Detox?
A detox is a short-term diet that people often follow because they feel like they’ve over-done it, perhaps over the Christmas period or whilst they’ve been on holiday. The idea is that you drink certain things or take particular supplements that speed up how quickly you detoxify or rather, how quickly you get rid of your toxins.
This usually involves drinking vegetables or fruit juices and eating little more than a few pieces of fruit over the course of 2-7 days.
The problem with this way of ‘detoxing’ is that this type of extreme calorie restriction causes rapid weight loss and whilst that may sound like a good thing, it’s not. The body stores toxins in fat cells and when we lose weight gradually these toxins are released at a steady rate that the liver can easily cope with. When weight is lost rapidly, the toxins are subsequently released rapidly and this increases the level of toxins circulating around the body. The liver struggles to cope with the toxic load, which causes damage to the tissues.
To clarify, when we’re talking about toxins this means things like pesticides used on food, pollutants from the environment, parabens from beauty products, and drugs such as recreational or prescription, as well as toxins that are produced internally due to stress.
Detoxing the Healthy Way:
Firstly, you should be aware that you’re always detoxing; you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t! Everyone detoxes at a different rate and this is partly to do with genetics and partly to do with nutritional deficiencies. If you want to do a ‘detox’ or rather support your body after a few weeks of too much sugar, alcohol and too many calories then here’s the way to do it.
Many of us are addicted to two things; sugar and caffeine. If you’re anything like me, over the holidays I drink way too much coffee and eat more sugar than I’d like to admit. Then, when we go back to normal life the decrease in caffeine and sugar can leave us feeling low and tired. The best way to support your body is to beat you’re dependency on sugar and caffeine and the best way to do this is to go cold turkey. Completely remove caffeine by switching to herbal teas or a naturally caffeine-free tea like rooibos. Alternatively switch to decaffeinated teas and coffees. Remove sugar by avoiding refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and rice (wholemeal is fine), ready meals, chocolate and sweets, cakes and pastries etc.
For a couple of days you may experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches and cravings, however this will pass. After this most people experience noticeably increased energy and improved sleep. It’s best to do this for at least good month or so but the longer you do it the better. To make it more sustainable you may want to allow yourself the odd caffeinated drink or sugary treat once you’ve completed the initial month.
Additionally if you really want to nourish your body and give it a rest from all the rubbish that can run you down, have a vegetable juice as often as daily, and go organic to avoid further toxins entering the body.
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