I am often asked if I believe in the benefits of detoxing. My answer is I absolutely do! With the amount of toxins we are exposed to daily and rates of chronic illness sky rocketing, helping the body lighten its toxic load is more important than ever before.
When starting a detox or a cleanse -the approach does not have to be overly restrictive or difficult to follow. Keep in mind – small daily steps can have a huge improvement on health.
In short, a detoxification plan is designed to optimize liver and digestive function and to promote proper daily elimination. When you think about it – this all makes sense. Your liver is the largest cleansing organ in the body followed by your gut. Giving the body high fibre, nutrient dense foods and eliminating food irritants is hugely beneficial to the microbiome and elimination process.
How long should I follow a detox approach for?
This is a great question and is entirely up to you! I typically recommend a minimum of 7–10 days to notice some positive changes.
What should I eliminate?
The most common foods to eliminate are those that can cause blood sugar fluctuations, inflammation, and digestive upset such as;
- Processed sugar
- Refined flours
Please note: When you detox from sugar, you can experience cravings and headaches at first. Eating fresh fruit, dates and drinking sweet herbal tea can really help. I recommend Celestial Seasoning Bengal Spice tea – it is naturally sweet and helps you get over the sugar addiction. Drinking roasted dandelion root tea can also help with liver support.
What should I add in the diet?
In a nutshell, a mixture of fruits and vegetables, essential and monounsaturated fats and lean protein are all important for health and wellness. Examples include:
- Leafy greens
- Carrots, celery, peppers,
- Sweet potatoes
- Apples, oranges, lemons
- Fibre – ground flaxseeds, chia, hemp hearts
- Lean protein – organic fish, organic eggs, grass fed beef, high quality protein powder or collagen powder
- Essential fats
- Nuts and seeds
- Cleansing herbal teas
- Chickpeas, black beans
- Olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil
Can I drink coffee while I detox?
This is literally the most common question I get! When you eliminate coffee or caffeine – you can get withdrawal symptoms for a short period of time. When I cut coffee cold turkey a few years ago – the withdrawal effect was so profound I was sure I had the flu!
If you do want to enjoy a cup of coffee, you can try a mold free, alkaline coffee by Vitacup. If you do decide to eliminate coffee all together, you can substitute with chicory root tea or matcha.
A few additional daily detox steps include;
- Upon waking, drink 8 ounces of room temperature water with lemon.
- Drink 2 litres of water per day .
- Do not eat after dinnertime (fast for 12 hours).
- Supplement wisely (probiotic, fish oil, GI revive). You can visit my shop and see some of my favourite supplements.
- Keep natural sweet options on hand for when a craving strikes. Click here for my favorite chocolate energy ball recipe.
- Instead of using sugar, switch to monk fruit sugar.
In addition to nutritional approaches, there are some non nutritional detox practices that are very effective which include:
- Taking social media breaks
- Castor oil packs over the liver
- Dry brushing prior to a shower
- Spending time in nature
- Sleeping in a dark, cool room
- Taking cold water showers or bath
- Stretching in the morning
- Having a private practice of journaling, yoga, meditation or alone time in the morning
- Breath work
- Listening to music
- Spending time with a loved one or pet (did you know that studies in infants and young children have shown that early exposure to a pet actually increases the diversity of the human gut microbiome!)