Spring clean

Septem­ber brings spring, a time for re­newal and re­ju­ve­na­tion, a well-timed and bal­anced detox will help you spring out of win­ter.

Element - - Lifestyle - By Lani Lopez Lani Lopez BHSc Ad­vDip­NatHealth is a natur­opath, clin­i­cal nu­tri­tion­ist and top-sell­ing au­thor. Founder of lanilopez.com find her and talk well­be­ing on face­book.com/lanilopez.com

In win­ter we tend to eat heav­ier com­fort foods and hud­dle in­doors, quite un­der­stand­ably pre­fer­ring warmth to our nor­mal, more ac­tive life­style. This can leave us feel­ing slug­gish; in part be­cause our diet changes and re­duced ex­er­cise com­pound the slow­ing of our win­try me­tab­o­lism, pos­si­bly lead­ing to a build-up of tox­ins in the body. A detox is a way of flush­ing out your sys­tem, restor­ing full, healthy func­tion and im­prov­ing body and mind. The ben­e­fits of a detox are long-last­ing and can im­prove en­ergy, di­ges­tion, mus­cle and joint com­fort, sleep, im­mu­nity, eye­sight, fo­cus, mem­ory, anx­i­ety, stress re­sponse, mood, skin, nails and hair.

Work with your body

The body has nat­u­ral pro­cesses for detox­i­fi­ca­tion. Work­ing with them makes detoxing eas­ier on your body and more likely to give long-last­ing ben­e­fit.

While liq­uid fast­ing detoxes are pop­u­lar, they are a sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­rup­tion to your body’s nat­u­ral func­tion. A liq­uid detox may stress the body, risks rapidly de­plet­ing your en­ergy and ul­ti­mately may leave you vul­ner­a­ble to ill­ness. So I rec­om­mend you only do one un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a natur­opath.

There are fewer con­cerns with a detox­i­fi­ca­tion diet. Symp­toms which can in­di­cate the need for a detox­i­fi­ca­tion diet in­clude bad breath, al­ler­gies, fa­tigue, dif­fi­culty sleep­ing, di­ges­tive symp­toms, joint pain, headaches, and skin symp­toms in­clud­ing rashes, itch­ing, or strong body odour.

Detox your diet

A detox­i­fi­ca­tion diet lasts two to four weeks. It is a short, fo­cused re­fine­ment of what goes into your body to help flush tox­ins out.

You will, for a lim­ited time, re­strict your­self to whole, un­re­fined, non-al­ler­genic foods. While my spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions vary for each in­di­vid­ual here are some broad guide­lines on what to eat.

Up­date your shop­ping list and fill your pantry with:

Leafy greens: Eat raw in sal­ads (es­pe­cially good) or lightly steamed, leav­ing them still green and crisp.

Car­rots, pump­kin, cap­sicums, in fact all yel­low and orange veg­eta­bles.

Berries by the buck­et­load, fresh if you can, but frozen is eas­ier to find head­ing into spring. Rose­hips, which can be eaten fresh or en­joyed as a tea. This diet helps boost Vi­ta­min C which sup­ports your im­mune func­tion that needs a hand af­ter fight­ing all win­ter long.

Eat only whole grains, no pasta or white rice. Make ku­mara your carb of choice. Di­etary fi­bre is im­por­tant to chelate (grab onto) tox­ins for evac­u­a­tion and re­duces toxic re­ab­sorp­tion. Fi­bre from flax seeds, psyl­lium, pectin or slip­pery elm helps to bind onto ex­cess di­etary choles­terol for ex­cre­tion. Take 1 – 3 tsp of flax seed fi­bre, psyl­lium husk or other fi­bre prod­ucts. Keep meat lean, fresh and or­ganic. Eat fish fresh, not from cans. Look af­ter your liver – the pri­mary or­gan for detox­i­fi­ca­tion. Foods that are es­pe­cially ben­e­fi­cial for cleans­ing the liver in­clude broc­coli and cau­li­flower (all bras­sica veg­eta­bles), dan­de­lion root, globe ar­ti­choke leaves, gar­lic and onions.

Re­fined su­gars, dairy, pro­cessed foods (ba­si­cally any­thing that comes in a packet), cof­fee and al­co­hol are elim­i­nated. This can lead to crav­ings, es­pe­cially for su­gar, so in­crease your in­take of fresh fruit ev­ery day and keep fruit handy for snack­ing.

Drink lots of wa­ter, some fruit juice is al­low­able each day and ki­wifruit or prune juice will help clean you out.

Bet­ter out than in

Tox­ins do not feel good and flush­ing them out of the body can cause some un­com­fort­able side ef­fects (see break-out box). These don’t last, usu­ally drop­ping away by day five. Fo­cus on light at the end of the tun­nel and see the dis­com­fort as a wel­come re­lease of poi­sons that were mak­ing you un­well and are bet­ter out than in. Fo­cus on the end of the detox tun­nel, on the warm light of a healthy spring.

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