With all that stress, haste, processed food, not even mentioning our little addictions like coffee and sweets, detox seems almost necessary. And spring is the best time for carrying it out for this three reasons:
- According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), our liver is most active in the detoxification process during spring.
- We eat more and heavier food in winter – now it’s the time for spring cleaning (alike in our house!).
- In the spring we have more energy – pleasant warmth, more time spent outdoors and overall spring optimism will help us carry out the detox as well as cope better with changes to our eating habits.
Why to detox
Body detox means removing toxins from the body through the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. It can help you with soothing or even eliminating the following health problems:
- Indigestion, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation
- Skin rashes and outbursts
- Fatigue and irritability
- Muscle and joints pain
- Difficulty with gaining or losing weight
Fasting is just one of the detoxifying methods. Refraining from eating for a few days or longer should be, in fact, done after a consultation with your doctor. For example, it is not recommended for nursing mothers, children, and patients with some chronic diseases. Best option for doing a proper fasting cure is taking part in a specially designated fasting retreats, for example in a wellness holiday destination. However, you can also conduct another form of detox at home. It’s easy and it brings huge health benefits!
Struggling with various digestive problems like bloated stomach, which eventually led to a fructose intolerance and stomach aches, I’ve tried to cure it in many ways. Especially food allergies and intolerances are real beasts, that are not only not fully known by doctors yet, but also not easy to get rid off. In fact, I’ve learned that I have to take my health into my own hands. It’s not that I don’t trust traditional medicine, but I’ve realised that doctors don’t know everything, especially regarding the so-called lifestyle diseases, that sadly seem to increase. This is why I’ve read a lot about these subjects, talked to other people, including natural health practitioners, and I still keep on trying out various natural methods myself. One of the hardest things I’ve done recently was living a month without coffee (and without caffeine at all) and sweets (meaning refraining from sugar). I admit that it was not easy, especially at the beginning. Caffeine and sugar habit is so strong that in the first days it’s hard to get focused, not to mention getting motivated to work, which is not always easy anyway! After a week, however, I got tempted and started adding a teaspoon of honey to my morning porridge. In any case, our brain needs glucose in order to function properly and honey contains at least some nutrients. Despite this, cleansing the body from caffeine and the processed sugar, which is often present in sweets and beverages helped me a lot. It cleansed my body of toxins and thus contributed significantly to diminishing of the stomach pain. I highly recommend you such an experiment!
How to detox at home
- Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars and saturated fats from your diet for a week, two or even a month if you’re brave enough.
- If you smoke – try to quit it, or at least do so for the time of your detox cure. Health problems are a reason enough to quit smoking. Another thing is that surviving a few days without a cigarette is supposedly already half way to quitting it altogether.
- Eliminate stress from your every day life as much as possible. Walk to work, look at nature and animals, spend time with positive people, get more sleep instead of going out at the weekend, try practices like meditation, yoga or Qi Gong.
- Start your day with drinking a glass of warm water with a squeezed lemon (a half or even better a whole). Lemon is acidic, however not once digested. In fact, it promotes alkaline environment in the body since it changes bloods pH to 7. It also activates the liver.
- Eat a lot of fibre (oats, brown rice, quionoa, flax seeds) – it helps the food move along your intestinal tract.
- Eat plenty of possibly organic fruits and vegetables – make a freshly squeezed juice or a green smoothie. Carrot greens, kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, beetroot and aloe vera are real detox stars! Notice that if you suffer from indigestion you should refrain from fruits! Or drink no more than 150 ml of fruit juice per day. Fructose is the type of sugar that is fermented by the colon bacteria, which may contribute to the formation of abdominal bloating and pain (exactly my case). Vegetable juices or green vegetable smoothies are fine.
- Include herbs and spices that promote detoxifying effect such as garlic, fennel, anise, fresh ginger, turmeric.
- Drink a lot of water – more than usually, herbal teas, especially with fennel and caraway, decaffeinated green tea (Kukicha green tea is naturally very low in caffeine i.e. without any industrial decaffeination) and fresh ginger tea. The last one helps to cleanse bowel and kidneys.
- Make a homemade body scrub that will not only cleanse the skin pores, but also stimulate the lymphatic system encouraging the proper flow of lymph and thus helping getting rid of toxins lingering in it. Try this simple coffee grounds scrub. For a home made lymphatic drainage rub the scrub into your skin in the direction of the heart i.e. from palm towards the shoulders and from the feet upwards.
- Get sweaty in a sauna or take a revitalising bath infused with rosemary oil or Epsom salts.
- Spend at least 30 min per day outdoors. Getting fresh air might not be the easiest thing to do in the city, but at least let it motivate you to go to the park.
- Even moderate exercise stimulates the lymphatic system. A brisk walk, swimming, jumps on a trampoline or skipping rope and yoga are just perfect during the detox.
After the detox
You can supplement your detox cure by taking natural remedies like:
- Food rich in probiotics like sauerkraut, kefir or homemade water kefir.
- Herbs that protect the liver, like milk thistle and dandelion.