Detox, should you or shouldn’t you

Well, should you or shouldn’t you. There is such a lot of information around supporting both the ‘should’ and the ‘shouldn’t’ that it is hard to know if it would be worth the effort.

First of all let’s have a look at the purpose of detoxification. This is in essence to give your organs of digestion and elimination a chance to do some housekeeping. It requires a lot of blood supply and energy to process and eliminate food, and the purpose of detoxification is to remove the load from the digestive system and give your body a chance to renew and reinvigorate itself.

In ancient days people always chose the coming of spring, after a long winter in which fresh food was not available, to perk themselves up with a ‘spring tonic’. This usually involved eating the fresh green vegetables which were again available, and drinking vegetable broths and drinking infusions of fresh herbs to clean the blood and refresh to liver and to provide some much needed fibre to a bowel grown sluggish from the lack of fresh fibrous food during the cold weather.

The same principle can be applied today, we can choose a time to detox after Christmas when we feel awful from all the over eating and over drinking we have been doing, or any time we feel we have let our healthy lifestyle slip for whatever reason.

The first important thing to do is to choose a suitable time. Don’t choose a time when you have a number of important social occasions coming up, choose a time when you can devote yourself to healing and refreshing, a time when you can be selfish, a time just for you. If you can do a detox during a holiday that would be perfect, but if that isn’t possible don’t let that put you off. But, no social occasions for the time period you choose is important. The reason for this is so you can relax quietly at home after work and go to bed early. Sleep is a very important restorative function. We all know how awful we feel when we don’t have enough sleep!

Next thing to decide is the length of time you wish to devote to your detox. It can be anything from two days to two weeks, but a week or ten days is best.

Then it is time to decide just what method of detox to use. There are a number of commercial packs available but it is just as easy to work out a programme for yourself. If you are going to do your detox while continuing to work, it is important to choose one in which you get enough to eat, You don’t want to feel faint and ravenous in the afternoons and fall on the office biscuit supply like a starving wolf.

A simple choice is one with non reactive foods. In this you eat cooked brown rice and steamed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, cauliflower. You eat this for all of your meals each day. This food is easy to digest and reduces the work of the digestive system. To drink you can have green tea or peppermint or chamomile tea, and water, lots of it. You must cut out black tea and coffee. By eating in this manner you are also cutting out dairy and wheat along with caffeine.

Another choice could be to begin your programme with two days on juices. It is best to choose mostly vegetable juices as these are not so high in sugar as most fruits. A good combination is carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger. This is very cleansing and provides a lot of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. After two days on juices you can then move to raw food. Eat only raw vegetables and fruit. If you are doing this for seven days you can add small amounts of nuts such as almonds and brazils for the last four days. Small amounts unfortunately does mean small, 10 almonds per day, or five brazil nuts per day.

If you have assigned only a weekend to your detox, day one could be raw food and juices and day two could be brown rice and steamed vegetables.

In a detox programme it is usually a case of getting worse before you get better. If you drink a lot of coffee or cola drinks you can expect to feel quite toxic when you give them up. Many people get a dull headache and a coated tongue, and feel very tired. Some experience all sorts of aches and pains. This usually passes somewhere between days three and five. This is an important reason to choose your time carefully. It is not a time to be under a lot of work pressure or stress.

It is very important to plan to spend as much time relaxing as you can. Go to bed very early and if you like to read in bed, choose topics that will not excite or agitate you in any way. If you prefer to watch television, or watch DVDs, choose relaxing material.

While you are detoxing your body, it is a good idea to also detox your mind. If you have any particular worrying matters going on, try to resolve them before you start your programme. If particular people upset you or make you angry, try not to see them for the duration of your detox. Choose whatever suits you to enable you to feel calm and relaxed. Some people like to play soothing music, some like to practice Tai Chi, some prefer yoga, and then there are others who find physical activity relaxing and a good way to de stress. Go for a run or a swim, whatever will achieve the outcome of a calm, relaxed state.

When the allotted time for your detox is over, please do not celebrate it by going on a sugar or alcohol binge because you will feel absolutely terrible if you do. Your body will have adjusted to being without these things and they will act as the poisons they really are.

It is a good idea to reintroduce foods back in to your diet slowly when you complete your programme. Eat one group of foods, for example wheat or dairy products one day, then leave a day in between eating any different foods to see how you feel. You will then know if the foods do not suit you or make you feel sick.

When you have completed your programme and you  move to the wonderful exhilarating feeling of true health, you will have a powerful reason to stick to a healthier way of living.