What does it mean to detox?
Our bodies are continually doing their best to neutralise and remove various kinds of toxins to minimise the harm they can cause us, be it metabolic waste, environmental pollution, alcohol, tobacco, or drug consumption. The liver is one of the main detoxifying organs, supported by the kidneys, bowel, lungs, lymphatic system and skin. Detoxification is a normal and natural process occurring in the body all of the time, but can be supported in order to promote good health.
The body has to detoxify potentially harmful substances that enter via food, skin contact and the air that we breathe. These include:
- The metabolic waste from substances in foods that cause a reaction e.g. gluten
- Chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and food preservatives, even though they can be in trace amounts
- Toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium, found in our environment due to industry use, eg, paints, petroleum, plastics
- Pharmaceutical and recreational drug metabolites
- Breakdown components of infectious microbes such as bacteria, viruses and fungi
Since World War 2, there have been increasing amounts of chemicals released into the environment, which adds to the burden of the organs responsible for eliminating waste. We can support and stimulate our natural detoxification processes by making small changes to our diet in order to enhance the nutrients required by the body, as well as choosing foods that are fresher and in the least processed state. We can also do a bit more and initiate a ‘spring clean’ with supplements.
When is a good time to do a more intensive detoxification programme?
Some people do a short-term intensive programme once or twice a year – and intuitively Spring can feel like a natural time to ‘clean house’. Spring is also a wonderful time to consider this type of dietary and lifestyle change due to increased amounts of light, more fresh greens starting to grow, and often we feel more optimistic due to the thought of warmer summer months being closer.
Another popular time is January or February, when the usual over-indulgence at Christmas and New Year starts to weigh us down and its time to shed the excess and get our body back in condition for the busy year ahead. People may also find winter an easier time to clean up their diet as well, due to less social activities, and lots more nourishing soups and heartier meals. It’s important to choose a time that will work for your lifestyle.
Aim to be on this kind of regime from one to four weeks, and keep as many of the good habits you gain going afterwards. It can take a few days to get into the swing of eating better and feeling the benefits, so be patient and bear this in mind if cravings kick in.
What can I do to help prepare my body?
- Get into a regular exercise routine, such as a daily half hour walk or cycle. Breathe fresh air, focus your thoughts on something positive and uplifting, and feel centered in your body.
- Before you start a detox programme, do a grocery shop with the next few weeks in mind, stocking up on as many fresh, whole foods as you can. Include vegetables in a variety of colours, fruits, nuts and seeds, seaweeds, lean meats, eggs, and herbal teas.
- If you don’t have time to juice vegetables every morning, look for a good quality powdered vegetable or herb product that you can mix with water – spirulina, barley grass, or wheat grass are all excellent additions. A simple organic lemon or lime juiced in warm water is also a great way to start the day.
- Organise recipes to make meal times easier, especially if you have family and multiple meals to prepare.
- Remove the foods that aren’t going to be supportive of the detoxification programme you are on. This will remove temptation and set the scene for your focus, and provide inspiration for longer term dietary changes. You’ll get the most value from your detox by reducing your intake of unhealthy foods for the duration.
Typically, the foods to avoid are foods that will rob key nutrients your body needs rather than replenish you:
- Sugar and sweet treats
- Highly processed grain foods, e.g. crackers, biscuits, breakfast cereals, bread
- Trans/saturated fats, e.g., margarine, vegetable oils, bakery goods, pies
- Gluten containing grains e.g. barley, rye, oats, and wheat
- Alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs
- Food additives such as MSG (#621), and Aspartame (#951)
What are the advantages of using a programme?
Unless you already have a good understanding of the physiology of the body, and the particular nutrients that support detoxification, it’s best to follow a well-designed programme, then you can focus on your own process and the changes you’re making and experiencing – and that’s probably more than enough to think about!
How do I choose which programme to use?
A good detox programme will provide you with the key tools you need to complete a detox process. These include:
- Specific herbal supplements that support the liver, kidneys, and bowel to work as optimally as possible
- Fibre support to encourage eliminations through the bowel
- Probiotics to encourage healthy flora balance
- Some may have herbal medicines that address parasites. If this is of concern for you, look out for this
- Easy step-by-step guidelines, and plenty of information, with back-up support for you if you need it.
-The HealthPost Naturopaths
The BioBalance Herbal Detox Program is a carefully designed two-stage program that helps prepare your body to achieve maximum benefit from detox herbs while minimising unpleasant effects. It provides you with options for both a short-term intensive detox and long-term ongoing maintenance of detox and elimination, and includes the Herbal Detox Program Brochure, a comprehensive guide to successful detox and healthy eating patterns.
We’d Love Your Feedback
Do you have any cleanse/detox experiences you would like to share?
Have you tried a supplemental detox program before? If yes, what was it and how did it go?