With summer on the approach, it seems a detox diet is hottest health accessory to help us slip into that 'silly season' party dress or get that bikini beach bod! But could some of these supposed detox diet methods be doing more harm than good? People experimenting with the countless juice cleanses and fasting techniques on the market now days, or just living off raw food, could be causing you to gain more weight after the initial detox stage is over and done with!
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that drinking 'some' fresh juice combinations is a bad thing, in fact you have probably all heard of my popular 'Green Goddess' blend, which I advocate incorporating into your daily diet as a healthy way to alkalise and detox your digestive system, but undertaking a juice fast for any longer than 4- 5 days, whilst being a great way to take the stress off your digestive system, can end up down regulating your metabolic rate and setting you up for more weight gain further down the track, (especially if you have an underactive thyroid condition). Worse still I have seen extended periods of juice fasting even trigger binge eating and bad hypoglycaemia with some of my patients.
Another reason I question some juice fasts is because I am also not a fan of juicing fruit because of the high fructose content and lack of fibre. I see so many people drinking big glasses of fresh fruit juice (or worse still bottled), thinking they are being healthy, oblivious to the fructose content far outweighing the nutritional benefits of the vitamins they are getting. This is why I advocate eating whole fruit and in moderation.
I included a cleanse phase in my eating program found in my book, Love Your Gut, to help detox your body and repair your gut, whilst still being able to enjoy eating wholesome food.
The science behind my program, lies in it's ability to rebalance your body's biochemistry - to regulate your appetite and reduce chronic inflammation from food intolerances and toxins, by enhancing the liver's natural detox mechanism.
And if you want to really takes things to the next level, then I recommend you combine it one of my nutritional supplement digestive repair and detox packs . These work to enhance the gut repair and detox process even further, through eliminating pathogenic bacteria or parasites from your gut, improving your body's ability to digest accumulated dietary fats, carbs and proteins, replenish your gut flora colonies ( good bacteria), whilst stimulating your liver and bowel to eliminate waste more effectively.
Here are my seven tips to help your body to naturally detox each day...
1. Consume whole foods as close to their natural state as possible.
You can support your body's natural detox processes each day just by choosing organic, whole foods. Think organic fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, organic free-range chicken or turkey, wild-caught fish over farmed, cage-free and organic eggs, naturally gluten-free whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
2. Eliminate stimulant foods from your diet like caffeine and sugar .
Foods like these are so destructive to your digestive system, and drain your adrenals, feeding the perpetual fatigue cycle, not to mention they are highly addictive. By following my Eat Yourself Healthy program your digestion and energy levels will start to naturally improve and crave natural whole foods instead of these addictive stimulants.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Stay hydrated and drink plenty of filtered water, or herbal teas and warm lemon water upon waking. Your body is 80% water so staying hydrated is essential to enable you to process and eliminate toxins, boost metabolism and keep your complexion glowing.
4. Get enough sleep.
Enough quality sleep is crucial for good health. You can read more about the impact of not getting enough sleep here, Remember no amount of good food or coffee for that matter, can make up for not getting enough sleep. Avoid the computer and mobile phone devices within two hours of more of going to bed.
5. Chew your food well and avoid distractions.
Chewing your food properly is the start of digestive process and eating on the run, or with distractions like talking on the phone, will impact your body's ability to digest food and extract the nutrients. You can read more about this in a previous post I wrote here. Don't over eat or eat too late at night and to stop when you're about 80% full. Simple things like placing your knife and fork down between bites and avoiding water 20 minutes either side of a meal will help your digestion enormously.
Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time and ensure you get out and about each and every day. Moving is essential to preventing disease and staying healthy. You can read about the health impacts of sitting too long in a previous post I wrote here. You don't always have to make time for intense workouts, just a 20minute walk, or stretching and breathing each day - because sometimes less is more when it comes to exercise and restorative forms like yoga or Qigong are better than pounding pavements when your adrenals are struggling.
Stress is probably one of the body's biggest enemy's next to a bad diet. It triggers your body's fight-or-flight response and releases stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. When your body is stressed, it will put everything else aside, including proper digestion and detoxification. Practicing daily meditation will work to balance your stress levels and diminish the impacts on your body. Even something as simple as 15 minutes of doing absolutely nothing each day - no tv ,no phone, no computer, just you and empty space.