Spring has sprung. 'Oh sun in the sky, blossom on the trees, you know how I feel'... Forget the ‘after Christmas bloats’ in January – spring is the perfect time to cleanse ourselves and detox.
I have tried so many weird and wonderful detoxes in my time, from gall bladder cleansing, colonic therapy, fasts to 40 day mono diets - it’s almost a rite of passage when becoming a naturopath, I believe. And although I’m now much tamer with my detox experiments, I still see the purpose and value of a ruddy good clear out.
We are the first generation to be exposed to such a high level of man-made chemicals on a daily basis. Synthetic chemicals are everywhere – in the air we breathe, food, drinking water, carpets, wall paint, foam filled furniture and household products. We smoke, drink alcohol, eat junk food, take medicines and cover ourselves in personal care products loaded with chemicals and synthetic additives. How we react to this chemical onslaught is very individual. Some of us are lucky and have good bio-chemistry and strong genes, meaning it doesn’t seem to impact our health at all. Some of us are a little more delicate and suffer with poor immune systems, asthma, irritated skin, poor digestion, lethargy and weight gain – all of which can be common symptoms of a toxic overload. And as chemicals increase, so do the number of people who are beginning to react to them - even the hardy types are not as resistant as they once were.
I often meet clients who struggle with their ideal weight. A diet can shift some of the weight, but then it just seems to stick or it piles back on again. Why is this? The answer is often toxins. Weight is not our enemy. Actually it’s our friend, our protector. Weight protects the body from toxins by encasing them in a safe layer of fat. The difficulty is, when we lose the weight, the toxins are released into the system and the body responds in one of two ways – by piling the weight back on to protect itself or with an immune system crash which causes reoccurring colds and illnesses. To stop this cycle, we need to lose the weight whilst gently removing the toxins. The body will then keep the weight off.
1. Food. Firstly, cut out refined and processed foods - wheat, alcohol, fizzy drinks, red meat and dairy. Instead, enjoy organic, seasonal fruit, veggies, wild fish, nuts and seeds for 10 days. Go for organic fruits and vegetables that contain more vitamins and trace elements and are free from chemical fertilisers and insecticides.
2. Water. Drink lots of fresh filtered water. Now spring is here, we can enjoy organic homemade juices (I don’t recommend cold juices in the colder months). Make sure you overload on the veg and not the fruit. Fruit naturally has fibre in it to balance the sugar. When you remove the pulp, you remove the fibre and up spikes the blood sugar.
3. Herbal cleanse. Many detoxes are a bit rough and ready and make you feel rubbish, as the liver tries to process the toxins too quickly. Like a big, fat hangover, but without the night before! It’s much nicer to have a gentle cleanse, which is why we recommend the Healthy Starter Pack by Nature's Sunshine. It’s designed to support all the key elimination systems of the body – liver, intestines, digestive, circulatory and urinary – so the liver doesn’t go into overdrive and you don’t have that nasty detox feeling for 3 days. Take the Healthy Starter Pack with an Omega to ensure the healthy fats are replacing the nasty ones that are being eliminated by the body. We recommend 10 days on, 1 day off, 10 days on again.
4. Skincare. Cleansing the outside is as important as cleansing the inside. Change your skincare and toiletries to lovely chemical free options. We like Neal's Yard, because their products smell gorgeous and contain no nasties whatsoever. The Honey and Orange Face Scrub is so lovely you can actually eat it (I know this, I’ve tried it).
5. Body brushing. Invest in a body brush and start dry skin brushing first thing in the morning.
6. Detox your home. Goodbye, Cillit BANG and all of its toxic ingredients. Hello, Method or Nature's Sunshine Concentrate, which can be used safely on just about everything in the home.
7. Detox your emotions. Negativity breeds toxicity in the body. Watch your thought patterns. Are you being kind to yourself? A really nice approach is to talk to yourself like you would a child. Forgive your mistakes, be gentle with yourself.
8. Breathe. Go and sit in nature and just be. As you breathe in, picture your belly, your abdomen and your lungs filling with fresh, cleansing oxygen and when you exhale release and let go carbon dioxide. Delicious.
Whats the point in all this detoxing? It’s the secret to feeling lighter, brighter, more energetic and having that much loved spring in your step. And it’s as good as Honey and Orange Face Scrub on toast.
Laura Knowles is a Nutritionist, Kinesiologist, and Yoga Teacher at the Balanced Wellness Clinic in Havant near Portsmouth. Loves blogging about the really important stuff - life, love, vitamins and poo.See my profile »