DETOX….or rather DON’T SAY DETOX!
It’s January and the pressure is on to be a new improved you. Everywhere you look it seems to be “detox” this, “clean eating” that and ”fad diet” the other. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on these detox diets because I feel they are dangerous and because I don’t want you to see them as an option for health.
Firstly, it’s important to say that “detox” is a legitimate medical procedure which occurs within hospitals when someone has taken an overdose or has been poisoned. However, the detox diets we see online or in a packet are a far cry from a real detox and aren’t necessary.
There seems to be many claims out there on detoxing. Apparently we are all blocked with toxins and sluggish from over indulgence and a detox can help to
- Cleanse the liver
- Unblock the liver
- Rid us of cellulite forever
- Allow us to drop a dress size of a certain amount of weight in a short time
The common detox options seem to involve eating nothing or only drinking foul tasting and expensive juices or herbal drinks. You do lose weight, but only because you are consuming so little.
The down sides and dangers far out way the benefit of shifting a few pounds. Here are just some of my thoughts on the the cons:
- You can often feel terrible – nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, acne etc as your body reacts to the change in diet
- If your detox is based on juicing then you are taking out the fibre from the fruits and vegetables which is the element that keeps the digestive track healthy and keeps us full. Removing fibre and just drinking juices may actually upset blood glucose levels too
- Restrictive eating like this is mimicking eating disorder behaviours and is something I feel has the potential to be truly dangerous
- Without protein over a period of time the body may break down your muscles to avoid being deficient. That can never be a good thing!
So how can be rid our body of all these toxins? How can we cleanse our blocked liver? Well, here is the thing – we aren’t all blocked with toxins and the liver doesn’t need to be cleansed. So the detox marketing is actually made up!
Our kidneys and liver are our detoxification system and they are self-cleansing. Toxins don’t get blocked in them and the system is working 24 hours per day to make toxins safe that are coming into the body.
It is true that some of the toxins we are exposed to do become stored in fat cells. It is also true that if we do not open the bowels often enough the toxins are reabsorbed into the blood stream and need to be reprocessed so there are things that we do need to work on to support the liver and kidneys to function optimally.
So here are my top tips for January instead of embarking on a crazy detox:
- Drink enough filtered water so that urine is a nice pale colour (water is needed by both the kidneys and the liver plus the bowel needs water to help stool formation)
- Wash all your fruits and vegetables well (pesticides are toxins that are easily avoided)
- Ideally stop but certainly cut right back on caffeine and alcohol and sugar (these are all toxins)
- Stop smoking (or vaping!) and avoid passive smoking (more toxins)
- Eat 2 different fruits and 5 different coloured vegetables each day (these provide the liver and kidneys with many of the nutrients they need to function optimally and the fibre may really help the bowels)
- Go easy on portion sizes and don’t snack if you don’t need to (less over eating makes the kidney’s and liver’s job a whole lot easier) – you might even lose some weight!
- Sleep well – bed by 11pm and no sleep disturbing electronics an hour beforehand (the liver works hardest during the night whilst we sleep so if our sleep is poor then the liver may not be working optimally)
- Don’t store, heat or cook foods in plastics (unless they are BPA free) – these plastics can leech into the foods we eat
So, it’s actually more about feeding and nourishing your body than restricting. Doesn’t that sound nicer than a smelly and foul tasting drink!