Time for a detox
THE MOST wonderful time of the year is fast approaching, and we are ready to greet it with healthy appetites for the savoury ham, spirited sorrel and delicious fruitcake. But first, some would like to have a cleanse and opt for a detox.
When we speak of detox, we are not referring to those imposed by one’s physician due to acute toxicity. Rather, we are talking about changing one’s diet to allow our body to eliminate and heal. This could include supplements and herbs to support specific organs.
According to Health Coach Natalie Murray, it is important to have a detox as our natural environment and our diet tend to inflict a bit of wear and tear on our bodies.
“The foods and drinks we consume are highly processed and not always the best for us. The air we breathe, the cleaners we use in our homes and the substances we put on our bodies that gets absorbed by our skin, are loaded with chemicals. Some of these substances can accumulate in our bodies, and be stored even in our fat. If we do not eliminate these toxins, we end up with low energy, inflammation, skin irritations, immune system challenges and extra weight, among other things,” she explained.
She notes that while our body has a natural detoxification system responsible for cleaning up the by-products of normal metabolism, for most people that system is overloaded. But we have to be careful how frequently we are doing a detox.
“A period of cleaning up your diet can be done fairly regularly, but a full-blown detox should not be done more than quarterly or twice a year,” Murray told Food.
She advises that it is best that you work with a health coach to ensure that you are on the right path which addresses your needs.
“When you are on a detox, you may experience symptoms that need coaching through. You may need more water or just need to push through uncomfortable sensations – but you won’t know on your own,” Murray explained.
She explained that in her detox programmes, foods that are most likely to be genetically modified are eliminated. Processed and energy-blocking foods such as alcohol, sugar, gluten and dairy are also removed from the diet while increasing phytonutrien-dense foods – mostly vegetables.
All this is done while ensuring adequate water, fibre, protein, B vitamins and magnesium, which the body requires for its detoxification pathways to function properly. One’s bowels movement should be at least daily or you may reabsorb the toxins you are trying to get rid of. After your detox, you will have to be careful not to go right back to eating the way you did before or your body will retaliate. You also want to add back foods gradually, which allows you to identify what foods your body does not tolerate well.
Natalie Murray is an integrative health coach specialising in detox programmes.
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