Wow, a year has passed and 2017 is now upon us. With a new year comes a new blog post on how to bring us back into health. So here I am writing about 7 simple ways to detox your body and mind that will prepare us for the year ahead. You will also find out your detox potential, what you can do to accelerate your health potential and simple swaps that will keep you on track for wellness.
So, what does detox actually mean for you? For some is extreme 7 day juicing, for some is going to some expensive 5 day retreat in the Dolomite’s to not eat much and have colonic hydrotherapy once a day. But in truth detoxing has been here for hundreds of years. People use to fast for either short periods of time or long periods of time to achieve spiritual cleansing. So in simple words detoxing is removing toxins from our body and bring it back to its naturally healthy state.
FIND YOUR DETOX POTENTIAL
Here’s a list of questions that can help you work out if you need to improve your detox potential:
- Do you often suffer from headaches or migraines?
- Do you have dark circles under your eyes?
- Do you sometimes have earache, drainage from ears or ringing in the ear?
- Do you often suffer from stuffy nose or sinus problems?
- Do you suffer from acne or skin rashes?
- Do you sometimes have joint or muscle aches or pains? why
- Do you find it hard to lose weight or if underweight find it hard to put on weight?
- Do you often have a bitter taste in your mouth or a furry tongue?
- Do you suffer from bloating
If you answered yes to 4 or more questions you will really benefit from improving your detox potential.
If you answered between yes between 2 or 4 times you are showing signs of poor detoxification.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY DETOXIFY
About 80% of the chemical processes happening in the body involves detoxifying harmful chemical. Much of this is done by the liver – sometimes called the chemical brain of the body.
The liver detoxifies by sticking things on to them (enzymes) so that they are ready to be eliminated from the body in a process called conjucation. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in supporting the liver in this process. The majority of our diet is full of refined foods unfortunately depleted by nutrients and not enough plant based foods.
7 SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DETOX POTENTIAL
1. Keep calm and drink water
We can survive without food for several days but we can survive without water only for a few days. Without water our organs start to fail, because water helps circulate nutrients around the body and flushes out toxins. So the more we drink the more we flush out the bad stuff…
I tend to drink filtered water in the morning and early afternoon as this helps cleanse and flush the system and mineral water in the afternoon to deliver minerals to the body and give me a revitalising effect.
In 24 hours we lose 1.5 litres in urine, 750ml through skin, 400ml in the breath, 150ml in faeces. A total of 2.8 l per day. So drinking 2 l of water per day (8 large glasses) is optimal according to research (Source: S.M. Kleiner, Journal of American dietetics association).
One way to make water a bit more fun to drink is either by using a fruit infuser water bottle or just add a few drops of lemon or orange juice for a citrus kick to your plain water. The rule is: pick a fruit and add a herb or spice or both to create your personal combination. Some of my favourite combinations are Cucumber and Mint, Grapefruit and Rosemary, Lemon, ginger and green tea which are known to also help detox your body.
2. Eat plenty of …fruits and veggies
More and more research shows that eating plant based foods is beneficial to our health. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals which as I shown you before are vital in helping your body, specifically your liver to properly eliminate toxins. More around the benefit of fruits and vegetables will come in my future sessions.
Some of veggies known for their detoxifying properties that you can get your hand now in the UK as they are still in season: chicory, broccoli (try some purple sprouting variety too which you can find in Whole Foods or at farmers markets or tender stem and normal broccoli which are widely available are fine too), red cabbage, beetroot, horseradish (which works amazingly grated over beetroot), chillies, garlic and sprouted tops (which are actually the leafy tops of Brussel sprouts which unfortunately I haven’t seen in supermarkets but I get them through my Abel and Cole delivery).
3. Eat in moderation…
Grains – like quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc. These are important sources of complex carbohydates or slow releasing carbohydrates which provide more sustained energy than the refined grains. Also most of these contain no or little gliadin, a known intestinal irritant which means it gives your body to focus on what it needs rather than fighting allergens. Not to say they contain more nutrients compared to refined grains.
Oily fish – important source of complex fats from the omega 3 family fats (EPA and DHA) which are converted in the body in prostaglandins, essential for brain function, control blood cholesterol, increase immune function, reduce inflammation. Mackerel contains 10 times more EPA and DHA per serving than swordfish or white fish.
Cold pressed olive and seed oils – good sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats again essential for brain and nerve function. These are very unstable at heat and light so keep in dark bottles away from heat and only use as salad dressings. Olive oil is best for cooking as more stable and doesn’t oxidise as much.
Seeds and nuts – as above but in addition to their oils they also contain minerals.
The protein gluten contains gliadin, a known intestinal irritant. A small amount can be tolerated but post people in Britain consume wheat in the form of biscuits, toast, bread, cereals, cakes, pastry, pasta at least 3 times a day. There is also the problem of phytates found in the outer hull of the grain – helping it not sprout until confiditions are right. These block the absorbption of calcium, magnesium, zinc in the gut.
Protein: the average Briton eats over 900g of meat in a week. Animal protein puts a lot of strain on your digestive system. It takes 24h sometimes to completely digest protein. Also, unfortunately due to the current intensive farming in order to ensure high yield animals are fed antibiotics and hormones. Another issue with animal protein is also the high content of saturated fat.
Dairy: although the UK represents only 20% of the EU population we consume 40% of it’s dairy products with an average weekly intake of four pints of milk. Think about yourself: first thing in the morning is a latte or cappuccino (at least 250ml of milk), porridge or cereal with milk and or yogurt, lunch will be soup which contains cream or milk for taste or salad or a main meal which will contain either cheese, or cream or milk, another few coffees and teas and then dinner. The truth is is that many minerals are found in higher levels in fruits and vegetables and also it has also higher levels of oestrogen than normal. Hormones are good for us, but diet reliant of food that is pumped with additional hormones brings imbalance through oestrogen dominance.
I know myself how difficult it is to limit or not eat at all some of these….so here I’ve put a simple list of swaps.
So, the most difficult thing that I found giving up was bread…but then I found sourdough rye bread. It’s absolutely delicious and it has less gliadin than the wheat counterpart, as well as sprouting ensures that phytates (which prevent the digestive system absorbing several essential nutrients) are mostly neutralised. Also, always choose a product for a good bakery as this ensures you don’t have the other 20 ingredients to keep the bread on the shelf for longer.
How about pasta…I love pasta! The good news is that there are so many more alternatives out there which are making it onto the supermarket shelves. My favourites are sprouted spelt pasta or buckwheat noodles.
An alternative to the morning bacon sandwich? How about my mushroom egg breakfast?
Milk…I like having milk with my coffee (which I usually have as a treat) but everything else I like to choose almond milk. It doesn’t have the hormones but it has all the nutrients.
Cheese? I would always swap cheddar for goats cheese…goats cheese has less lactase and therefore easier to digest.
Refined Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol and Saturated fat. From a nutritional perspective these do not help your body but mainly are “chemicals” that your body is trying to remove once ingested.
Ok, sugar would be a tough one to avoid. BUT, so many great alternatives out there which are much better for you. How about swapping milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Or if you are stuck for a snack why not try my energy protein balls? Or Pip and Nut squeeze pack?
How to swap that morning coffee? Well…my new discovery is turmeric latte…a blend of amazingly fragrant turmeric, cinnamon, honey and almond milk with all the goodness that comes with it.
How about alcohol…well, again a new discovery but Seedlip is a drink using the art of herbal remedies to now produce a non alcoholic spirit from spices or from herbs.
5. Remove toxic minerals…
ALUMINIUM is widespread in food packaging and beauty packaging but not all aluminium will enter the body. It leaches into the water when we heat something acidic like tea, tomatoes or rhubarb. The more zinc deficient we are the more we will absorb. It tends to bind to essential vitamins and mineral and research has shown to be linked to kidney problems in babies and behavioural problems and autism in older children (Lodge Reese, 1979 – aluminium toxicity as indicated by hair analysis – journal of orthomolecular psychiatry). While plenty of studies have shown increased accumulation of aluminium in people with alzeihermer disease what isn’t clear is weather this is a cause or a consequence of disease.
CADMIUM – cigarette smoke (directly inhaled or passively inhaled, refined grains and have also been found in shellfish from polluted waters. Greater accumulation of cadmium is associated with reduced fertility in both men and women.
COPPER – is both an essential element and a toxic one. Exposure from copper comes from water pipes, jewellery , swimming pool anti-fungal agents – so we tend to have too much of it rather than too little. Excess copper can be good as it thought to be a stimulus for the uterus when a women falls pregnant but it is also thought to be linked with miscarriages, post natal depression, anxiety and paranoia when it’s found in excess in the bloodstream. Hair mineral analysis of student hair samples revealed that high copper concentration was in kids that had aggressive behaviour, hyperactivity and poor attention span.
LEAD – exposure from petrol (banning lead in petrol campaign by the institute of optimum nutrition), water contaminated by lead piping, flaking paint, paint dust, pesticides, cosmetics. Excess lead is related to behavioural problems and IQ (numerous studies studied this relationship).
MERCURY – exposure fish (the larger and fattier) and tooth fillings (Sweden have banned mercury fillings for pregnant women).
You can easily test for your own mineral level with a hair mineral analysis.
6. Move your achy bones
At least 15 min per day and keep it gentle…ease into it. Exercise is like an oil to a machine. It helps improve blood flow and send those vital nutrients to your body and then collects the toxins from the liver to push them quickly out. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial. To begin with, focus on getting regular exercise into your routine. Get off the tube station a station earlier and walk home, walk to the train station or to the office from rather taking the bus, take the stairs in the tube or in the office. When I feel stressed and I don’t have the energy to do a HIIT workout I love doing yoga. The beauty of the digital world which we live in currently is that you don’t need to have a personal trainer or attend classes if you don’t have the time or money. Here’s a quick link to a yoga session I sometimes do.
But most importantly breathe….
Take 5-10 min to go out and take some really good breaths, inflate your chest and belly and exhale either with your mouth open or through your nose (whatever works for you).
Escape into a meeting room or the wellness room and put your feet up the wall and breathe. Breathing is the most powerful way to de-stress and clear your mind. This in turn lower the cortisol level to enable your body to function properly rather than thinking it’s in fight mode every time.