We spoke to nutritionist & dietician Belinda Reynolds about how, why and when to cleanse and detox your body this January to get back into the groove.
Toxins are an unavoidable part of modern life, especially during the festive season. We are exposed to them as a result of pollution, they are in many of the foods we eat (e.g. food additives and pesticides), and they can even be produced by chemical reactions in our bodies.
A nutritional body cleanse is a great way of accelerating the clearing of toxins from the body – the correct approach will also help improve digestive function, immunity, concentration levels, the condition of our skin, energy and hormone levels.
Some warning signs that may stem from toxin-overload:
When you’re giving your body a cleanse, what you eat is very important. You need to avoid foods high in toxins, but it’s also important to add nutrient-dense foods that are easily digested, as this gives your body a break from its hard work and supports the cleansing process.
Avoid sugar (including sweets, cordials, soft drink and juices, unless freshly squeezed and watered down), artificial sweeteners, processed/packaged foods, and foods that may cause inflammation, including gluten in excess.
Avoid wheat, meat and dairy during your cleansing routine. Choose foods that are high in protein as they are important for detoxification. Protein contains amino acids which help the body to metabolise toxins. Whole brown rice protein is one of the best choices for cleansing. It’s gluten, dairy and soy-free and contains all the right amino acids that you need.
Juices are a great tool for cleansing, however, they should be consumed in conjunction with a balanced diet that includes some protein. Generally, a juice should contain more vegetables than fruit to avoid a sugar overdose. Adopt the 5 vegetable:2 fruit approach – consuming your plant foods through juices and meals in this ratio. Dilute with water. A supplement containing the gut-healing nutrient glutamine, plus soluble fibre (e.g. inulin), will help to ensure the digestive system is prepped and ready to remove toxins, minimising any unwanted side effects and improving the efficiency of your detoxifying pathways.
Cleansing programs can run anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks depending on the type of cleanse you are on. It is best to consult your healthcare practitioner for appropriate advice. Your current state of health, individual sensitivities, current and past diet and lifestyle, medications and occupation are just some of the factors that will influence the best type of program for you.
Exercise is a vital ingredient to an effective cleansing program. You can commence with gentle exercise in the form of Tai Chi or yoga, a walk and then slowly ramp up to more vigorous exercise. Gentle exercise during a cleanse revs up your circulation and gets the blood pumping. It helps with the cleansing process.
Supplementing your diet with extra nutrition can be important and helpful during the cleanse process.
Look for a protein powder with nutritious powdered plant extracts (broccoli sprouts, cracked chlorella, spirulina, carrot, dandelion root, globe artichoke), and digestive enzymes.
Supplementing with ‘energy’ nutrients such as B vitamins and coenzyme Q10 helps to turn the food you eat into energy. You may also require adrenal support if stress is a common issue in your life.
Firstly, it is important to remember that any beneficial change is helpful. Never feel that all is lost because you “fell off the wagon” at one meal. Your body will benefit from the overall impact of removing excess toxins from your diet and lifestyle, and the addition of extra nutrition and digestive support.
– Remind yourself why you are doing the cleanse, and the benefits you are going to achieve (e.g. more energy, less headaches, better skin).
– Work with your practitioner and look around for delicious meal ideas that are rich in all of the nutritious foods you need. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!
– Plan ahead. If you are heading out to dinner, think about what healthy foods/drinks you are able to opt for, this can avoid making rushed, unhealthy choices.
– Take nutritious snacks and water wherever you go. This reduces the risk of you making bad choices if you get hungry/thirsty and only processed/unhealthy options are available.
– If you slip up, simply start again with something good and healthy at the next meal.
– Take pleasure in things outside of the unhealthy “vices” that you may have previously used for comfort (e.g. instead of wine and chocolate, choose a walk along the beach, a soothing bath, read a great book, or make time for other hobbies that you may have stopped partaking in).
– Remember that we eat to live, not live to eat. Every meal should be nourishing you, not harming you.
Everybody is different, and the results you will achieve can vary greatly from person to person. However, some common benefits can include improvements in skin tone, weight loss, a reduction in “brain fog”, healthier digestion and bowel habits, and an overall feeling of greater energy and exuberance.
For more health articles, go to http://www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles