The Do’s of Detoxing

11 June 2015

Undergoing mindful  detoxification is a great way to assist our body’s natural detox mechanisms to remove excess toxins more effectively. In theory, our bodies are supposed to be continuously undergoing detoxification. Our lymphatic system, lungs, skin, liver, and kidneys function specifically to breakdown toxins, purify our blood, and remove unwanted substances from the body. However, these natural metabolic detoxification mechanisms can be hindered due to the prevalence of:

  • High stress levels
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of sleep
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Consumption of pharmaceuticals
  • Exposure to pollutants, pesticides and chemicals in the air, water, food

As a result, are bodies are unable to efficiently remove all toxins, which then build up over time and cause us to feel sluggish, fatigued, bloated and constipated. Undergoing a detox, is therefore a great way to help our bodies along by recharging our natural detox mechanisms so that they operate optimally.

Think of detoxing as a way to help your body towards become more efficient in cleansing itself from the inside out. When we detox, we help our liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and lymphatic system to remove unwanted toxins more efficiently. When our bodies are in an optimum state of detoxification, we feel energised, and cleansed. Detoxing the body helps to reduce gas, eliminate bloating, prevent constipation, remove impurities from the skin, improve digestion and promote a healthful glow.

There are many ways through which we can effectively cleanse our system:

  • Nourishing the body optimally by eliminating all processed foods
  • Engaging in rigorous exercise regularly to remove excess toxins through perspiration
  • Undergoing colon cleanses to filter the intestines
  • Purifying massages to draw out toxins
  • Spending time in a sauna or steam room
  • Hot yoga

Detoxing really doesn’t have to become an overly-extreme, ‘liquids-only’ process. Detoxing simply means mindfully nourishing our bodies with the right nutrients to promote the removal of unwanted toxins. Eating wholefoods that include plenty of steamed veggies, leafy greens, lean chicken and fish, wholegrains, and legumes, drinking loads of water and unsweetened herbal tea, will effectively and efficiently promote detoxification without having to starve, or undergo liquid detoxes.

It is also important to remember that detoxing requires a holistic approach in order to be truly effective: Proper nutrition in addition to sufficient rest, exercise, and mental cleansing are imperative for the detox to have full effect. It is all good and well eating properly, but if we are exhausted and stressed, our toxins will replenish quickly which will undo any good we have just done nutritionally.

Some Do's on a Detox:

  • Do exclude processed foods, sugars, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, carbonated beverages, store-bought sauces, dairy, and heavy meats – these are the key perpetrators for toxin accumulation and should be avoided completely.
  • Do eat lots of leafy greens, lean fish and chicken, legumes and wholegrains such as rolled oats, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice.
  • Do exercise 3-4 times a week. Try opt for exercises that really get you to sweat as this will improve your mood, reduce stress and ultimately promote detoxification even further through perspiration.
  • Do get plenty of sleep – at least 8 hours every night.
  • Do engage in regular meditation to relieve stress, calm the mind and control your thoughts. Remember, your thoughts can be just as toxic as poison to the body!
  • Do continue to exclude the above listed foods post-detox. You can re-introduce meat and dairy if you wish, but first see how your body feels when you eat them – you may find that you feel better without them. It is not the end of the world if you treat yourself on the occasion, but don’t allow processed foods back into your daily diet – they are both unnecessary and toxic!
  • Do drink plenty of water, unsweetened herbal teas, and detox water to keep hydrated and flush out toxins. I love to infuse slices of cucumber and strawberries into my water to promote detoxification and to give my water a delicious and refreshing taste.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your body. So many of us become so fixated with prescriptive time-frames, methods and diets, which prevent us from tuning in to our bodies to really understand what they actually need. Your body will tell you when it is time for another cleanse.

Low energy levels, fatigue, poor digestion, bloating, gas, skin breakouts, unexplained weight-gain, high levels of stress, fogginess, and poor concentration are typical tell-tale signs that your body is not detoxifying itself effectively. Monitor yourself continuously to assess where your body is at; see if you experience any of these symptoms, and then decide if you need to detox again. It really is all about getting to know your body better and working with it to enhance its natural detoxification mechanisms. Most importantly, try to maintain a clean diet on a permanent basis to ensure that your body is always detoxing optimally.


Yours in Health Always,

Cara-Lisa Sham


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