To be honest I am more of a fan of Intelligent Living daily. Our focus should be a way of life that optimises a sense of well-being, both physical and emotional, as we are all in it for the long game right?
There are lots of detoxes out there, and many of them don’t work. It isn’t what you do for 7 days of the year but what your day consists of 90% of the time.
Your body is wise and does a lot of detoxing on its own, but certain chemicals or a higher toxic load make it tough for your body to clear toxins efficiently.
The promise of glowing dewy skin, weight loss, more energy, less pain, over-indulgence and the idea of being “clean” and endless other reasons. It’s no wonder detox diets are so popular but do they work?
The trouble is, many common detoxes don’t work. Juice and water cleanses, for example, are often counterproductive because they deprive your body of essential nutrients it needs to work optimally. A sound eating protocol can assist you in strengthening your detox organs by supporting your natural detoxification pathways.
Like you I often feel the need to “clean house slightly” I feel somewhat sluggish, too caffeinated, poor digestion, dry skin and hair, inflamed and an overall lack of zest for life – a little off tinker – we all feel it – your body is always communicating with you and if we tune in we will know what is needed naturally – so I avoid over the top rigid diets or quick fix detox protocols and instead focus on my daily actions.
What is a true detox?
I personally don’t like detox diets that last a week, or juice cleanses or extreme ways of purging the body. I feel that detoxing should be a way of life and not something you do for a few days a year. There are however key supplements and nutritional strategies that assist the body on a cellular level after a time of over eating, too much alcohol, late night eating, and overall processed and refined foods consumption.
Do you feel the need for a detox?
I think it is important to listen to your body and know when something is out of balance but I also think we must remove the urgency and panic and even the sense of deprivation that comes from the idea of detoxing. With that in mind, we need to be aware that we are exposed to some less-than-ideal chemicals daily. Your body is wise and does a lot of cleansing on its own and there are ways we can naturally support its detoxification pathways which includes supporting the liver and kidneys.
Whether you need a complete overhaul or a little extra detoxification support, these are the top signs that your body is telling you that you need to change some of your daily habits.
Constipation, bloating, diarrhea, anxiety, binge eating, constant hunger and gas are all signals that your gut is out of balance.
You are always exhausted, fatigued and irritable. Clear signs of toxic build up both emotionally and physically. Also a very clear sign of inflammation – high cortisol, hormonal imbalances and disrupted sleep.
If your body is not eliminating toxins effectively, it’s going to appear on the surface of your skin in the form of acne, rashes, eczema, and more. Clear signs of excessive toxic stressors.
You smell funky
Bad breath and body odour indicate poor detoxification in general, your gut microbe is disrupted and your badly scented sweat is expressing itself as a toxic overload.
Resistant weight loss
Despite your best efforts your weight does not budge. This can happen due to chronic inflammation levels and hormone imbalances that are often made worse by bad habits leading to poor elimination in general.
Remember this: You need to support your own detox organs like your liver so they can work optimally and aren’t taxed by modern day living – this is something we should focus on daily so that we don’t need to do an annual detox/juice fast/starvation diet.
How to love your liver?
Just about any allergic, inflammatory or metabolic disorder may involve or create impaired liver function, resulting in eczema, asthma, chronic fatigue, chronic infections, to name but a few, which in turn affect liver function.
Because the liver is working hard, it can be some time before serious symptoms of dysfunction appear. Early signs may show as feeling tired and sluggish, blocked up or headachy and less tolerance to alcohol, sugary foods or caffeine. Signs that your liver is overworked.
It is the greatest multi-tasking organ, and as a result its function – or dysfunction – has an incredibly important impact on how you feel.
Your role is to limit toxin exposure daily to help support our detoxification system and when your liver is functioning optimally you will experience:
• Increased energy and vitality
• Clearer skin
• less digestive complaints
• Regular bowel movements
• Fresh breath
• Clearer sinuses
• Fewer infections
• Brighter eyes
• Sharper mind
What can you do daily to optimise our detox pathways?
Always Start with Food
There aren’t necessarily any bad foods. but bad ingredients. The most important change you can make daily is to source the best quality food, seasonally and locally. Seek regeneratively raised/organic foods wherever possible. This is what will take your health a long way, long term.
Most of our toxic exposure comes from our water and food supply as well as all the hormones and antibiotics in commercially raised animal products. Pesticides and other agrochemicals are rampant in our food supply, even being “vegan”, plant based, keto, carnivore is no advantage if the quality of your food is compromised.
- Protein is essential as your body requires adequate amounts of amino acids to construct enzymes and other molecules integral to the detoxification pathways so make sure to eat enough protein. These amino acids include glycine, taurine, glutamine, arginine plus more. Without protein, the body catabolizes its lean tissue to source the amino acids necessary for this function.
- Avoid wheat. Gluten is a protein found in the cereals wheat, rye and barley. Obvious sources of gluten in the diet are bread, pasta, breakfast cereals and… in wheat, called gliadin irritates the gut. Give your inside a break by avoiding all bread made from wheat and all commercially made cakes, biscuits, pastries and pasta. Also, check the labels of all other commercially made foods to ensure that no wheat is included. Instead, buy non-wheat, gliadin-free alternatives such as oats and oat cakes, brown rice and rice cakes, quinoa, corn, millet or buckwheat.
- Avoid caffeine It is treated as a toxin by the body. Give yourself a break from coffee, black tea, colas and diet colas, Red Bull and other caffeinated drinks. Reduce coffee to a maximum of one cup a day.
- Reduce sugar intake. Any added, refined or processed food sugar, in any form, is a toxin. If you are interested in doing a sugar detox alone – explore my My 30-Day Sugar Detox Challenge
- Alcohol. Ditch it for a few weeks. Give your liver a total break.
- Bad fats. Take a break from all, all fried food (including any vegetables, French fries and crisps), all processed foods containing hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) oils, commercial mayonnaise and all margarines and spreads. Substitute with essential fats from fish (but not fried fish), eggs, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, and nut and seed butters and oils. (But don’t cook with them; if you are intending to use oil in cooking, use only olive oil or coconut butter.)
- Add in some seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and flaxseeds, which contain the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fats to help repair damaged cell membranes. They are also rich in the minerals needed for detoxification. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Have the equivalent of a tablespoon a day.
- Greens. Concentrated greens either in powder form, spirulina, or green juices are all great additions, but one of my favourite ways to include greens is by making pesto.
My Daily Pesto Recipe
A handful of watercress, baby leaf spinach, basil leaves, parsley leaves and about 1tbsp, of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and some pine nuts. Whizz all the ingredients together in a mini blender or food processor, or, if you don’t have one of these handy, finely chop the herbs. Stir in the oil.
Nothing beats real whole food, cooking from scratch, fresh air, clean water daily movement and a little nutritional support.
NOTE: Don’t eat all day. Two or three meals spaced 5-6 hours apart and having your lightest meal in the evening is ideal.
Exercise increases lipolysis (the breakdown of fat tissue), releasing toxins stored in your fat tissue, isn’t always a good thing, especially if you can’t efficiently get rid of them.
Exercise helps with circulation providing more oxygen to your liver and kidneys so that they can better filter out toxins.
Studies show that people who exercise and lose body fat end up with higher levels of circulating hormone disruptors. Exercise for at least 20-30 minutes
Sweating does more than cool you off. It also helps you get rid of both heavy metals and xenobiotics – foreign compounds like plastics and petrochemicals – in small but significant amounts.
A 2012 review of 50 studies found that sweating can remove lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury, especially in people with high heavy metal toxicity. Another study put participants in both traditional and infrared saunas and found similar results.
Sweating also eliminates hormone-disrupting BPA, which accumulates in your fat cells. Spend 45-60 minutes in a sauna/heated yoga. Remember to get plenty of water and salt/electrolytes.
Dry Body brushing/lymphatic drainage massages
Daily dry body brushing is a great tool to increase circulation and lymph flow. I love to dry body brush with some peppermint essential oil and have a cold shower after or go into a sauna. For the ultimate treat try a lymph drainage massage.
Charcoal binds to chemicals whose molecules have positive charges, including aflatoxin and other polar mycotoxins, BPA, and common pesticides. Once the chemicals attach to the charcoal you can pass them normally.
Charcoal can bind to essential nutrients too (i.e. vitamins and essential minerals) so I don’t recommend taking it within an hour of other supplements. Try taking a couple charcoal pills along with exercise or have a sauna session. They should absorb many of the toxins you release into your gut and GI tract.
Cryotherapy and Cold exposure
One of the best ways to stimulate mitochondria. Cold exposure can increase thermogenesis. Cryotherapy is gaining popularity as it reduces inflammation and mobilises stored bad to be removed.
Chelation therapy for heavy metals
Chelation therapy is the strongest way to detox heavy metals. Chelation therapy uses compounds called chelators that form strong bonds with heavy metals, leaving them unable to further poison your body. Chelators mobilize the toxins, and you can either pass them normally or bind them up with adsorbents like activated charcoal. Chelation therapy is very effective for removing lead, mercury, aluminium, arsenic, iron, and copper.
My top supplements for support
- Take 500-1,000 mg liposomal glutathione and 2-3 g vitamin C an hour before exercising.
- Milk thistle
- Dandelion Drops I like the Phytoforce range – excellent for the liver
- Take 3-4 activated charcoal pills.
- Marcus Rohrer Spirulina daily preferably in the morning.
- Glutathione to protect your cells
If you have a lot of fat and you’re burning it off quickly, you’re probably getting rid of a lot of toxins at once, and you may get a headache, digestive problems, brain fog, etc. If that happens try taking more glutathione, vitamin C, and charcoal. Be sure you take charcoal at least an hour away from other supplements, as it binds to vitamin C.
A special note on Glutathione
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects you from heavy metal damage. As humans, we have a built-in natural detoxification system that works on a deep cellular level. This is the glutathione system.
Age and over exposure to toxins depletes its glutathione levels in the body and we know that up-regulating all aspects of this system will help rid the body of toxins, especially heavy metals such as mercury.
By strengthening the glutathione system, we positively enhance all three phases of detoxification. Optimal phase II and III detoxification requires the activation of the “cellular master switch” which is known as the Nrf2 protein pathway. This protein turns on the intracellular production of several antioxidants, including glutathione, and glutathione-S-transferase, the phase II enzyme that serves to bind glutathione to toxins for subsequent elimination from the cell.
There are many natural substances that can activate Nrf2 including lipoic acid, selenium, kelp extract, pine bark extract and curcumin. In addition, intracellular levels of glutathione can be enhanced with vitamin C.
One of the most direct ways to increase glutathione levels is via supplementation. Your digestion will destroy normal glutathione supplementation, so opt for a liposomal glutathione supplement that makes it through your stomach.
When substances are delivered in liposomal form, detoxification is enhanced. Liposomes are microscopic spheres made of phospholipids that encapsulate the supplement compound in order to bypass the digestive processes that can degrade the substance and limit absorption.