You Should Consider a Detox!

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You Should Consider a Detox

Feeling bloated, groggy and tired despite having a holiday? Unfortunately, the holiday season accompanies good food and good wines! Weight gain is therefore inevitable (unless your are a dietitian… and that even too is not a guarantee). One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to detox, ‘purify’ your body from ‘toxins’ and lose weight. However, many people want to detox and shift excess weight, but are not sure where to begin. 

Do detox diets offer any health benefits?

While many people are familiar with the idea of detoxification, there is a great deal of confusion about how to do it safely. Detoxification diets are touted as a way to remove ‘toxins’ from the body. Specific detox diets vary — but typically a period of fasting is followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. For example, trendy water or juice fasting may cause muscle wasting and an increased feeling of fatigue.

In addition, some detox diets advocate using certain herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to help empty the intestines.

There’s little evidence that “detox diets” actually remove ‘toxins’ from the body. In reality, the human body is equipped to deal with toxins on its own. Most ingested ‘toxins’ are efficiently and effectively removed by the kidneys and liver and excreted in urine and stool. 

Certain individuals should be detoxing more frequently than others

The exception is where patients have genetically reduced liver detoxification and would not be aware of this unless they have checked their detoxification capacity through a DNA Health test. These patients would also often be more prone to toxicity symptoms. DNA Health testing is offered at the practice, and identifies in whom an ordinary detox plans will not be effective. Here a sound researched based medical detoxification plan guided by a dietitian, would be indicated 

Symptoms of toxin build up

Over time, the buildup of toxins from the environment and lifestyle choices can compromise the way our bodies work, and even affect our health. Your body will usually give you clues when you should consider a detox plan.  Symptoms such as achy joints or muscles, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, allergies or gas, or more serious problems such as autoimmune diseases, migraines, asthma, acne, irritable bowel, reflux, arthritis may be linked with toxicity. It is a know fact that toxins store in body fat meaning that overweight individuals are more prone to carry more toxins in their bodies.

Toxins also has the ability to interfere with weight loss and by ridding your body of toxins, will enhance your weight loss capacity. Introducing a detoxification strategy as part of your daily mealplan or doing a strick detox prior to the start of an eating plan and even better, doing a detox in the midst of your weight loss plan would be best strategy to upregulate your weight loss rate.

Your Detox Strategy

If you’re considering a detox diet, an important consideration is that a detoxification diet should not be used for long periods of time and preferably takes place under the watchful eye of a trained professional.

Also remember the best diet is a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Research has shown that the human liver, which is primarily responsible for ridding the body of toxic substances, functions best on a diet rich in lean proteins and cruciferous vegetables. If you have compromised liver detoxification or symptoms of toxicity you should consider the use of a Medical Detoxification product alongside your detoxification plan

Detox products 
There are literally thousands of herbal and over-the-counter products that promise ‘safe, natural detoxification’. Many of these products contain harsh laxatives and/or diuretics, which can cause more harm than good. 

Harsh laxatives, including those touted as ‘safe and natural’ or ‘herbal’, will interfere with the natural function of the bowels and in extreme cases can lead to loss of peristalsis (the normal muscle contraction of the bowel wall that moves waste products through the digestive tract). 

Individuals who overuse harsh laxatives lose their normal bowel function and get hooked on these laxatives for life. Diuretics used in excess can lead to dehydration, which can be fatal in some cases. 

Basic rules to get you on the right track

In order to support liver detoxification function, the body needs macronutrients such as quality protein and carbohydrates, plus specific micronutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals) that provide targeted nutritional support

Rule 1: Fluid

Drinking sufficient amounts of fluid is essential in ‘cleaning’ the system. If you are able to stomach a regimen of only liquids (no solids) one should only do this for two days. Clean water, spring water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices whipped up in a food processor, and iced rooibos tea with lemon, are all excellent liquids which will detoxify the body. 

A high liquid intake helps to flush out the liver, the kidneys and the bowel. 

Don’t overdo your liquid intake, drinking too much liquid can be harmful and cause electrolyte imbalances. You will need 35ml of fluid for every kilogram you weight, e.g. if you weigh 60kg, you would need minimum of 2100ml fluid a day (35ml x 60kg = 2100ml). 

Rule 2: Take a Toxin Holiday (Gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine)

For the period of detoxification, it would be best advised to exclude gluten and diary products. Go for gluten free produce or lower the carbohydrate content altogether if weight loss is the goal. Dairy products should also be avoided during detox and rather replace your milk with almond or oat milk, dairy free yoghurts and avoid cheese. Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in a box, package or can or have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food.  Give up all diet drugs: Caffeine and alcohol are the two biggest after sugar.

Rule 3: Power up with protein. 

Protein provides your liver the the raw materials to detoxify optimally. Add protein at every meal, especially breakfast. Start the day with farm fresh eggs or a protein shake. I recommend Metagenics Ultraclear Plus Liver support which is specially formulated to increase the livers detox capacity and contains a high amount of Protein: 2 scoops is all you need to get started with.

Rule 4: Choose your veggies wisely

Certain veggies have additional detox power. These are called cruciferous veggies, which includes greens, the broccoli family (including cauliflower, kale, and collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, and peppers as well as onions and garlic. Aim for a daily intake 

Rule 3: Dietary fibre

If you feel that you need more than liquids to sustain you during the cleansing period, concentrate on eating foods rich in dietary fibre to clean out the bowel. The following foods are the best sources of dietary fibre: fresh, raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, organic oats & oat bran and organic brown rice.

Rule 4: Exercise

Exercise is beneficial to cleansing and ‘detoxing’, such as gentle jogging or walking. Even a 30-minute stroll helps. Exercise is such a powerful tool because it promotes physical, spiritual and emotional health. Not only will it kick start your metabolism and burn kilojoules but studies show that regular exercise helps you maintain your weight, improve immunity and keeps you regular.

Rule 5: Probiotics

It is essential to ensure regular bowel function during detox. If one becomes constipated during a detox, you are more than likely to re-absorb the same toxins you are trying to get rid of. 

The only detox products that will assist you in terms of constipation are Probiotics  or ‘beneficial microorganisms’ such as Bifidobacteria and Lactic acid bacteria, which help to restore the natural flora in the digestive system. Include probiotics in your diet either as a supplement or in the form of yoghurt with live cultures / Kefir. Use probiotics to get more regular by promoting good bowel habits and combine them with enough fluid and a high-fibre diet to prevent constipation. Simple solutions are still the best.

Taking things a notch upMedically Certified Detoxes that actually have science behind them

In the recent years nutritional companies have formulated detox products that do the trick. There is a range of products for a range of disorders whether you would like to focus on liver detoxification, improving your gut symptoms, ridding your body of heavy metals, or doing an alkaline detox. These products are highly specialised and cannot be bought and taken under your own supervision. The Clearchange program is a medically Certified detoxification program that will enhance the body’s natural metabolic detoxification process while providing adequate fuel for both cleansing and other daily activities–supporting energy metabolism and overall well-being.

Please feel free to book a 5 min chat session to discuss the implementation of such a program for yourself.


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