How to prepare the body for a detox
As the Spring equinox approaches, many of us look to clean up and refresh and detox our homes and more importantly – ourselves. Those who cleverly eschewed the new year, new decade healthy regime resolutions on Jan 1st will be smug in the knowledge that it is far better to wait until mid March and work with the natural rhythms of the planet and seasons. For not only do we need to consider ourselves as a whole rather than various attached parts ( body/mind/spirit), when making any kind of healthful changes, we need to remember we are imbued with the same natural processes of fallow and regrowth that are ever present in nature.
Spring is a time of renewal which is so inbuilt into our souls that even in the midst of deep city living we still feel that pull to do something for our bodies at this time – we can of course ignore it and Deliveroo ourselves to death. Never let it be said we don’t have choices.
Detoxing now seems to play a large part in the desire to be healthier and fitter. It is defined by lexico.com as being to: “abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.” In the past this term was used to refer to those going off to rehab clinics for a few weeks at a time generally to withdraw and recover from addictions, whereas now, it is seen as something we can do ourselves at home and even over a weekend.
LET’S ALLAY THE MYTH
You cannot detox in 3 or 5 or even 7 days.
That is the bad news and apologies for being the messenger but someone has to do the dirty work! What you can do in these time ranges, on many of the detox plans rebounding around the internet, is rest your digestive system, liver, and other hard working organs. Which is a good thing. Of course. And would be an excellent preparatory period for an actual detox.
PREPARATION IS KEY
The thought of prepping for a detox by eating lightly for a few days, is probably what you have come to think of as the actual detox, but in fact it is incredibly important to work with the body and not shock it or overload it, by suddenly plunging into the deep end.
Technically speaking, we are constantly detoxing daily, otherwise frankly we would be dead, we are in fact toxed up to the hilt – unless you live in the wilds of Portugal eating fresh fruit straight from the unsprayed trees, miles from any traffic, wifi and toxic people (I’ve done it, it’s wonderful, can highly recommend!)
Most likely instead, like me now, you are battling in some way shape or form, an onslaught from processed foods, medications and vaccines, all bog standard cleaning products, whether these be for our homes or ourselves, plus we are submitted to traffic fumes, wifi radiation, (don’t even get me started on 5G) and chemically loaded tap water. Not forgetting all our toxic reading, watching and thought habits!
Unless you have been living in said rural Portugal and on an information and media hiatus for the last 10 years, you are likely to be very aware of the above and one of the very reasons you want to do a personal detox.
However, although we are rarely taught this in school biology (but then again who paid any attention?), our various body parts do in fact work synergistically, whether this be our structural frame: bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons or our internal organs: liver, kidneys, spleen, intestines, gallbladder, pancreas et al.
SUPPORT AND STRENGTHEN
When you go into a sudden detox this places extra work initially on these organs mentioned above, as the toxins currently being stored around various parts of your body, generally in your fat cells, are released. If your liver is not in functioning optimally, the extra strain on this causes uncomfortable reactions – flu like symptoms, spotty, greasy skin, lank hair, extra tiredness and more. When I tried to give up coffee some years back I was struck with agonising cramping pains in my legs that necessitated a hot bath in the middle of the night to alleviate the pain. I gave up on giving up.
What is largely missing from any detox program is allowing for how these poisons are going to leave your body. The exits need to be cleared first, otherwise it is rather like trying to swish the grubby washing up water from your sink away, when the waste pipe is blocked. You just end up with back up and it’s not pretty.
So for all the obvious routes of toxin dismissal – sweating, urinating, defecating (crying – those toxic emotions will want to have their say!) the colon needs to be in good working order first. When your body is in great operative order you will poop after every meal. I’m betting you don’t.
We have approximately 25 feet or 7.62 metres of intestinal pipeage that carries the sludge away into the bowel ready for departure – if these are clogged it means a delay, and toxins can be reabsorbed back into the body. So cleaning up your colon is necessary in readiness. This can be done by using either OxcGen or human grade Diatomaceous Earth, depending on your budget. You need to drink plenty of water when you take either of these.
LIVER LOVE AND KIDNEY CARE
You also need to be supporting your liver. But, but, but, I hear you say sputter, surely detoxing does this very thing – helps my liver? Yes indeed it does. However, our wonderful livers are, for the large part, very poorly appreciated for the work they do and oh, how much more support they could use. They are the backup to other organs like the kidneys, if these are weak the liver helps out. I’m not talking clinically damaged or of any liver or kidney disease, but simply what we consider is ‘normal’ in how these function.
So before any detox you really need to be loving your liver – strengthening it in readiness for the extra workload ahead.
- Start by taking a good quality Turmeric supplement every day – the best option is to get hold of the organic root and grate on food – simple food grade powdered turmeric is not the same, it will add colour and some flavour to your meals but does not pack the punch to aid your liver. It cannot be said enough times that the quality of the herb or supplement is vital. There are so many brands on the market and only a handful are the real deal, otherwise all you will get is the placebo effect.
- Schizandra berries are a very good liver support and Neals Yard Remedies do a pretty delicious tincture (all things are comparative – it tastes like Cinzano Rosso, not necessarily a drink I would describe as delicious in other situations but better then eating soil) or you can simply make tea out of the berries.
- Milk thistle has kind of fallen off trend, yet no doubt, like 1970’s flares, it will swing back around, and it is of course, still as good as it ever was in supporting the liver.
The kidneys also need boosting pre-detox and can be helped by:
- Organic Goji berries which you can use in a variety of ways, one of which is to add a few to your water quota in the morning and drink throughout the day or buy pure Goji berry powder
- Nettle tea is also good – juiced nettles even better.
- Juicing half a cucumber to 3 sticks of celery daily. If the thought of the taste of this does not appeal, then add in a couple of apples.
WORKING WITH YOUR BODY AND MIND
Once you have done these things for 3-4 weeks, only then are you ready to go into a full detox without putting a strain on your body.
During this pre period add a green salad into your daily diet with one meal at least, using plenty of rocket and spinach, organic and as fresh as possible, and up your intake of fruit, fresh juices, and mineral or filtered water. Tap water is loaded with chemicals which negate any benefits. It is important that there are no sudden changes from a heavy dietary intake to cleaner, lighter, sunshine infused foods. We want to work with our bodies not against them.
Resetting yourself – or setting up a new regime by using a few days to break a pattern – also benefits from getting the mind involved.
Mental prompts play a significant part in this cleansing process – affirmations work wonders if used repeatedly and for several weeks. I know this myself, but I still fall prey to forgetting them and/or getting bored with repeating them – however, one I recently found simple to use and from the magical mind of the Barefoot Doctor (whose recent demise is a loss on multiple levels) is: “I cooperate with myself.”
Simply that is enough, and easy to repeat many times a day. Mostly we fight with ourselves, we resist, and we beat ourselves up when we behave in a way that we perceive as failure. By allowing the space for cooperation we relax into the flow.
And there you have it. The neo-fashionable version of detox is simply a preparation for going into a deep and fully cleansing detox, which is best done with the support and guidance of a qualified practitioner. Eating lightly and simply is excellent by the way, just not a detox.
Disclaimer: Please make sure you check with a health professional if you are taking any medications before attempting the above. These are general recommendations and we are all responsible for our own health choices. Any supplements I recommend are because I have used them for years and trust the integrity of them.
Helen is a nutritional therapist and freelance natural health writer, interested in metaphysics, Taoism, babies, cats and chocolate, though not necessarily in that order.
Having searched over 2 decades for the best ways to eat to live long and strong, Helen switched to a highly raw, plant-based diet.
You can reach her at [email protected]