What are toxins?
Toxins can be broken up into two types: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous toxins are by-products of metabolism and energy production. They occur as part of the process of living and can be used-up hormones, by-products of exercise or metabolites of energy production.
Exogenous toxins come from the environment like cigarettes, mould, pollen, chlorine from water, insecticides and pesticides from food, alcohol, caffeine, medications and chemicals from plastics and cosmetics.
The Western diet is often at odds with good detoxification
Western diets are typically low on fresh organic produce, low in fibre and high in sugar and preservatives, often leaving us short of the nutrients, water and fibre we need. When toxic metabolites accumulate they cause symptoms like: low energy levels, bad breath, foul-smelling stools, PMS or other issues related to hormonal imbalance, low immunity (more than two colds per year), brain fog, or inability to think clearly, worsened hangovers and acne.
A wholefood cleanse enhances detoxification
There are many variations of cleanses and detoxes, my approach is to enhance the systems of detoxification. This means to eliminate foods that increase the burden on the liver; remove or limit possible allergens; provide support for organs; and improve digestion and bowel transit time.
A spring cleanse can be anything from three days, although 15-20 days is optimal, and a month is ideal. A cleanse should never be stressful and can be accomplished by the following:
1. Eating at least 6-8 portions of fresh organic vegetables and fruit daily – favouring vegetables. Vegetables provide nutrients needed by the liver. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage stimulate the phases of liver detoxification. Smoothies are a great way to get nutrients and plant fibre.
2. Focus on eating plenty of fibre-rich foods to establish good digestive elimination. Oats, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice and quinoa provide fibre and B vitamins. Legumes also provide a broad spectrum of amino acids, and are great replacements for animal protein.
3. Drink 1.5-2 litres of filtered water daily. Decaffeinated teas like fennel, ginger, nettle-mint and liquorice also count and nourish the detoxification organs.
4. Eat portions of raw food daily. These contain powerful enzymes that help you digest food more easily.
5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and common food allergens such as dairy and gluten. All these can aggravate your digestive system and increase the toxic load on your liver.
Some people may get withdrawal symptoms, withdrawal from caffeine can bring headaches and, as your body starts to release toxins, you may feel fatigued and have flu-like symptoms. This is normal, and shouldn’t last longer than 3-4 days.
Adding nutritious whole foods won’t damage your health, but if on any medication or pregnant, tell your GP you are changing your diet.
DID YOU KNOW?
The body has a fabulous, intelligent detoxification system already in place. The liver, kidneys and other organs of the digestive system spearhead
the major detoxification processes. When working as they should, they rid our bodies of toxins that could cause health problems if left unmanaged.