Christmas is gone and you might have overindulged in food and drinks, but realise that it’s not sustainable to carry on eating all day like we do at Christmas. Why? Because the digestive system needs a break, so do the body and our mitochondria - our energy factories. Eating that vast amount and without much break can make us sluggish, fatigued, give us headaches, skin issues and digestive problems.
The latest research suggests that our bodies and our mitochondria work best if we take a break between meals and overnight. Some call it intermittent fasting or restricted time of eating, so eating no later than 6-7pm and not consuming anything else before 10-11am in the morning. It’s just one way to cleanse our body to give itself a 12-hour non-eating window. Do you have to do this all the time? Of course not, but it’s best to do it seasonally for a period of time or at least to do it twice yearly.
So what is detoxification or cleansing?
It’s one of the oldest known practices of health promotion and it has roots in some form or another in all ancient cultures. Although it’s not commonly used in conventional Western world and medicine; Nutritionists, Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine Practitioners are great advocates of it.
There are organs in our bodies that perform detoxification without us realising it. The skin perspires, the liver filters the blood and secretes bile and enzymes and lymphatic system removes toxins. The intestines do a mucosal detoxification and they also excrete faeces, while the kidneys excrete urine.
What is a toxin? It’s an anti-nutrient which interferes with a nutrient absorption, excretes that nutrient or changes that nutrient’s metabolism. Toxins can be heavy metals (like mercury in tooth fillings), chemicals (including alcohol) and microbes. We might eat, drink or inhale them with or without knowing it or putting them on our skin.
In fact, we’re exposed to a huge number of toxins every day, from our water, food and air, through to the products we put on our skin and have in our home. Add to that too much stress, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, not enough water, fruit and vegetables or enough quality sleep, and over time our bodies can become overloaded which can affect our health. So where possible do what you can to reduce that toxic load.
According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 products a day, containing 168 different chemicals. Men use fewer products, but still put 85 chemicals on their bodies. There is no wonder why so many people suffer from skin conditions like eczema, etc.
The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA has more than 85,000 chemicals listed on its inventory of substances that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (US, 2017 data) but if you compare that with hunter-gatherer times when possibly were none, you see why it is important.
Symptoms of Toxicity
What are some of the symptoms of toxicity that might indicate someone needs to cleanse? Toxicity symptoms that many people disregard as normal may be signs of toxic overload. Common signs include:
- Low energy and fatigue
- Headaches or migraines
- Acne and skin issues
- Constipation and digestive issues
- PMS and hormone issues
- Premature aging of the skin
- Difficulty losing weight
- Bad breath
If you have any of these symptoms or are just concerned about toxins that you may have been exposed to in the past, it’s time to start cleansing. Regular herbal cleansing can help reduce our toxic burden by helping the body to detoxify more effectively.
Cleansing can help improve the following:
- Improved elimination
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Skin conditions
- Constipation, poor digestion, water retention and bloating
- Low energy, mental sluggishness, or fogginess
- Emotional stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved overall health and well-being
What to expect during a cleanse
Biochemical processes change within the cells and toxins can get released. As a sign of this you might or may experience ‘Healing Reactions’ whether it’s physical or mental. Common ones can be: headaches, digestive disturbances, weakness, cold, spots, rashes, itching, much increased need for sleep.
If severe or overwhelming, then the pace of change is possibly too fast and you need it to slow it down. Always talk to a Nutritional Therapist, before you are doing a cleanse. If you are on medication, always consult with your doctor first.
I would like to do a cleanse, where do I start?
Our Top Tips for doing a Cleanse
- Drink plenty of water – to flush out toxins and help bowel movements.
- Begin to cut back on red meat, sugar, white flour, wheat, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, salt and drugs of any kind other than your needed prescriptions.
- Eat plenty of fibre (oats, fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, ground flaxseed) – to ensure you have a bowel movement at least once a day – to help eliminate toxins.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit, including raw vegetables and juices.
- Increase vegetable protein.
- Try not to eat after 7pm!
- Cut out all processed and charred foods.
- Cut out sugar – use cinnamon, berries, mashed bananas, a little xylitol or stevia as natural sweet alternatives.
- Cut out tea and coffee. Switch to green tea instead, especially Matcha, as it’s naturally high in antioxidants which help the detoxification process in the liver. Try a Turmeric latte.
- Cut out alcohol – try Kombucha instead!
- Avoid gluten and dairy, two common food allergens and any other foods you know you react to.
- Get plenty of quality sleep, go to bed earlier for additional rest if necessary.
- Ensure your work commitments are not too demanding and you have time for rest and relaxation. Calm the mind and use stress-relieving techniques.
- Get moving! Anything which gets the heart pumping but also spend time outside to get fresh air. Exercise improves circulation which helps the release of toxins, as does sweating.
- Grounding – try to walk with barefoot in the park or your garden when it gets warmer.
Other ways to detoxify/cleanse
These may bring added benefit while doing a cleanse but can also be done on an ongoing basis.
Add in super greens, such as chlorella, barley grass, wheatgrass, and sea greens. These are cleansing and alkalising and a good source of antioxidants. Add to juices and smoothies.
Try probiotics for a gut cleanse
Try juicing – for a rapid cellular cleansing, which gets quickly absorbed you can try juicing for those vital enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that alkalise your body and protect your cells.
Dry skin brushing – it helps the lymphatic system to cleanse the body.
Have a sauna – to sweat and help the body rid itself of toxins.
Have a massage – to improve circulation and help release toxins.
Switch to natural skin care products, including make-up and toothpaste
Switch to natural household products – washing up liquid, cleaning products and laundry liquids
Use BPA free bottles and glass containers to store food.
Colonic irrigation is another way to detoxify. Please always check with the doctor if you are unsure and use probiotics after.
If you’ve never done a cleanse before why not come in and have a chat with us. We have a team of qualified nutritional therapists in the shop and are here to help!
You can reach us on 01737 223499, or book a FREE Health Check In here.
If you are on any medication, always check with your GP or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.