What is a toxin?
Any substance that is unnecessary for bodily function and can have a detrimental effect on health.
Your body is constantly bombarded with chemical and heavy metal toxins, from non-organic and processed food and drink, popular skincare products and toothpastes, prescription and over-the-counter medications, pollution from planes, trains and cars, carpets, plastics and household cleaning products. These toxins are stored in fat cells and mucus and can lead to ill health or generally feeling “not 100%”.
The body has an amazing ability to heal and cleanse itself, but if we are ingesting and inhaling more toxins than it can cope with, our liver, kidneys and immune system become less efficient.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Frequent colds and infections
- Stomach upsets; constipation, diarrhoea, cramping, flatulence
- Bad breath, body odour
- Excess weight and cravings
- Headaches, poor memory and concentration
- Joint aches and pains
- Skin eruptions
- Depression and mood swings
…and the list goes on
The good news
Detoxing does not have to mean starvation or feeling weak and hungry, by keeping your toxic intake to a minimum and increasing your intake of restorative foods your body will automatically begin cleansing and healing. Below are some simple ways to introduce a detox with the minimum fuss. You may feel more energised, in need of more sleep, have a change in bowel habits; but ultimately you’ll be giving your body a much needed rest from the day to day nasties.
When detoxing avoid the following:
- Caffeine: coffee, tea, cola and chocolate
- Sugar and sweetened products and artificial sweeteners (watch out for glucose, corn syrups, fructose etc)
- Dairy products, milk, yogurts, cheeses and margarines of all types
- Red meat
- Fried foods including crisps
- Wheat included in pasta, cereals, breads, biscuiits, crackers, cakes
What can I eat?
Fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and if you feel really hungry and in need of something more solid, a small amount of wholegrains and some raw nuts and seeds. Have a tablespoon of Coconut oil daily to satisfy.
Eat these raw or lightly steamed (3-4 minutes). Invest in a bamboo or electric steamer, this can also be used for fish. Drizzle your vegetables with a little extra virgin olive oil, hemp, pumpkin or flaxseed oil and a little lemon juice.
Make a one pot soup, slowly cook the vegetables of your choice, onions, garlic, fresh or dried herbs, and seasoning and blend with a hand-held blender. Serve with a drizzle of oil and wheat-free tamari (a soy sauce substitute).
Salads can include any vegetables, try adding grated carrots, sweetcorn, peas, avocado, radishes, spring onions, beans, lentils, artichoke, asparagus, chickpeas and a sprinkle of pine nuts, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds.
Garden herbs have medicinal properties and can prove to be a useful addition to everyday foods, but especially during a detox. You can use them fresh to make your own teas.
Try: Sage, rosemary, parsley, coriander, thyme, oregano, peppermint, chives, basil and camomile.
Choose from apples, pears, berries, cherries, melon, peaches, plums or apricots with a small handful of nuts or seeds (not roasted or salted). Alternatively make a smoothie, this is better than just fruit juice which raises your blood sugar levels, as you still retain the fibre and the extra nutrients contained in the whole fruit.
Buckwheat (wheat-free despite the name), millet, quinoa, barley or brown rice. Choose any one of these wheat-free grains if you find you need something a little more substantial. Wheat-free pasta and bread is found in health stores.
Sprouts and green foods are full of nutrients, including essential fats, antioxidants and protein in a highly absorbable form. They are particularly useful during a detox as they support the liver and aid in the elimination of toxins. You can buy mixed sprouted seeds from chiller cabinets in health stores and Riverford deliver. In powder or liquid they can be added to food and drinks and many are available as capsules.
Try: wheatgrass, barley greens, spirulina, chlorella and alfalfa.
What can I drink?
Start your day with warm water and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.
- Vegetable juice, make your own version, you can include cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, fresh mint, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, apple, ginger, beetroot
- Organic herb or green teas; rooibos (redbush), camomile, peppermint, fennel, lime blossom, dandelion, sage, nettle, lemon verbena or a detox blend. Look for brands in unbleached bags. Find a flavour you like.
- Filtered or bottled water preferably from glass; aim for 1¾ to 2 litres throughout the day at room temperature.
Aim to do something different. A brisk walk outside is visually stimulating and gets you out in the fresh air and daylight, you’ll feel invigorated and energised.
This is an invigorating way to start your day and should be done on dry skin before getting into the bath or shower. Brushing stimulates the lymphatic system which is responsible for transporting waste from your cells. It’s also great way to improve circulation and skin tone whilst removing dead skin. Start on the soles of your feet and work your way up the body in long sweeping strokes towards the heart. Start off gently, avoiding any areas of irritated, broken skin, varicose veins or moles. Buy a special body brush from health stores for around £10.
After your bath or shower moisturise well using a cream or lotion that’s free from petrochemicals. Learn to read the labels and particularly avoid sodium lauryl sullphate (SLS), methyl parabens, DEA, triclosan, talc, fluoride and more. I suggest ‘Green People’ or ‘Faith in Nature’ brands for all body products including toothpastes from health stores.
As a relaxing bath at the end of the day, have the water as warm as possible, but still comfortable and not scalding, but enough to work up a sweat. Add a large handful of sea salt or Epsom salts and relax for 20 – 30 minutes. Epsom salts are particularly good for drawing toxins from the body, soothing sore aching muscles and can promote a restful night’s sleep. Aim to make this the very last thing you do, when you’re done go straight to bed.
Saunas and Steam Rooms:
Aim for twice a week around 30 minutes each time, you may need to build times up gradually. If possible take some essential oils to add to the steam. Allow your body time to readjust when you come out and remember to drink plenty of water or coconut water after. Regular Infra-Red Saunas are particularly valuable for detoxing. Home infra-red saunas from £169 are available from www.firzone.co.uk. If you are feeling brave afterwards, step into a shower and gradually lower the temperature until it’s cold…great for circulation.
A vital component for a healthy body and mind. This is the time when the body can repair and the mind has a chance to “file” the thoughts and activities of the day. A good night’s sleep in total darkness, should be uninterrupted and leave you feel refreshed the following morning. Treat yourself to a massage allowing you to relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
©2015 Lynn Alford-Burow Dip ION, fNTP, GRCCT 643023 NUTRITIONAL THERAPIST
CINNAMON HEALTH, Cinnamon House, 21 Winner Hill Road Paignton Devon TQ3 3BT Tel 01803 394959 Mob 07949 085688