Although the body has its own natural detoxification process, many people believe the increased exposure to environmental toxins, stress and food sources of the modern day lifestyle can create an excessive buildup of toxins in the body. Detoxing and cleansing is a great way to help your body eliminate this foreign debris and toxins from your system.
However before before starting any detox program, it's important to understand the basics, particularly if it's your first time. Here are 6 essential tips to read before you get started.
1. Eliminate All Trigger Foods and Stimulants
Detoxing your body is all about helping your body's natural detoxification process by feeding it the right nutrients. However this won't be effective if you don't reduce your exposure to toxins and artificial compounds.
You should completely eliminate caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, processed sugar, fatty foods and unrefined wheat products. This will not only help reduce your toxin exposure, but also relieve the strain on your digestive system. This means no coffee obviously but also try switching your tea to a herbal caffeine-free alternative.
Cutting out complex carbohydrates, such as wheat, gluten and dairy will help improve your digestive function by removing the strain of breaking down complex sugars for energy.
2. It's All About Timing
Choosing the right time to detox is something not everyone considers. Sometimes the best time to start is when your body has been overwhelmed by toxins and may be in need of additional support. For example, a detox might be most beneficial after overeating, consuming too much alcohol, eating unhealthy foods, during times of stress, after recovering from an illness, or when you have engaged in other unwholesome habits.
Think about your events in your calendar in which you might undergo a period of indulgence such as Birthdays, Christmas or a friend's wedding and plan your detox directly after those events.
3. Chose The Right Detox Program
Not all detox regimes are right for you. Everyone's body is different and will react differently to detoxing. The type of detox program you choose depends on so many factors like your age, weight, physical fitness, activity levels and general health.
Advanced detox regimes such as water fasting are only recommended for healthy, active individuals that are experienced in detoxing. If you're just starting out, go for something a little less restrictive like a juice cleanse, sugar detox or fruit and veggie detox.
4. Make A Meal Plan
No matter what detox plan you go for, you're going to need a comprehensive nutritional plan. Most detox programs will last anywhere from 3-5 days and will most likely restrict your calorie intake. Whether it's a fruit and vegetable detox, sugar detox or juice cleanse, it's important to feed your body the right nutrients to help promote detoxification naturally. Create a detailed food plan of specifically what you will be eating/drinking at what times. Also take some notes on why you have chosen a given meal/juice and how it will contribute to your program.
Since your calorie intake will be significantly lower than usual, it's important to intake nutrient-dense food sources that are not only alkalising but also rich in antioxidants. Superfoods are an excellent way to go to help supplement your whole food intake. Check out our 5 Essential Superfoods To Include In Your Detox Diet for a list of of detoxing superfoods.
5. Don't Just Focus On Nutrition
While following a nutritional plan is an excellent start, detoxing is not just about nutrition. A more holistic approach should include other more alternative sources of detoxification such as sauna treatments, hot salt baths, colon cleansing, acupuncture, meditation and teas. All these treatments have long-running traditional medicine histories specifically for their ability to help detoxify the body. Do your research and include at least one form 'physical' detoxing treatment. A simple salt bath in hot water can help the body eliminate toxins through the skin, while diffusion will feed your body additional magnesium, a mineral that many of us are deficient in.
6. Exercise and Stretching
As noted above, detoxing is not just about nutrition. Exercise plays an important role in not only bringing more oxygen to the body but also promotes sweating which helps flush waste through the skin.
Yoga is believed to be a particularly good form of exercise to help the body detox. There are certain yoga poses that can help stimulate the organs involved in digestion and detoxification. Whichever way you go, include at least one form of regular exercise in your detox program even if it's just regular stretching during the day or walking.