The Diet That Works

Detox DietYour body is a wonderland… so sings songwriter John Mayer. Your body is capable of wondrous things, among them self-detoxification.

For good health and efficient toxin removal, regular bowel movements are essential. Y ou should drink plenty of filtered water, or ginger tea, lemon water, herbal detox teas, fresh vegetable juices, or an alkaline broth. And your everyday diet should include sufficient fibre from food.

But, from time to time, it could do with some outside help.

Enter the detox – a short-term diet aimed at lightening the body’s natural detox workload. Relieved thusly, the body can focus on self-healing. Benefits include raised energy levels, better digestive health and immune system, as well as improved concentration and mood.

A detox could well be in order if you identify with several of the following:

  • sluggish digestion
  • diminished energy levels
  • difficulties concentrating
  • low immune system
  • skin flare-ups
  • feeling bloated after eating
  • bad breath/body odour

Detox diets steer clear of processed and pre-packaged foods as well as other foods that are high in toxins or low in nutrition. Foods high in saturated fats – such as beef, fried foods, baked goods and other fatty meats – are avoided in favour of healthier fats such as fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds.

Certain foods enhance the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself. Fruits and vegetables – dark, leafy green vegetables especially – garlic, shallots, onions and water are welcome, as are whole grains, such as wheat, barley and oats.

Food intake overall is generally reduced.

Detoxing will help maximise the efficiency of all body systems but it is not a cure.

Preparing for detox
Your liver will love you if you progressively cut down during the fortnight leading up to the detox, on sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, gluten, refined carbohydrates (such as white rice and white pasta), trans fats, and processed, packaged, canned, or fast food.

For caffeine lovers, withdrawal can mean headache and/or fatigue. Gradually decrease your caffeine intake leading up to the detox. Coffee substitutes include swiss water decaffeinated coffee (in gradually decreasing amounts), lower-caffeine green tea, white tea, matcha, or oolong tea.

During the detox, your body needs water to flush out toxins. Over the course of a day, drink at least 2 litres of filtered water.

If you take on a detox diet that requires fasting, it would be best done when you can break away from your daily routine – perhaps at a retreat. That’s because the side effects of an intense detoxification process can result in short-term headaches, energy loss, dizziness and sometimes nausea.

Detox Don’ts

Caution is advised before starting a detox diet. Interrupting prescribed medications is not advised. To do so could have serious consequences, possibly life-threatening.

Also not to be taken lightly: fasting, colon cleanses, entire food group restrictions, special herbs or medications.

Some medical conditions are reliant on special dietary needs. Detoxing can be a health risk for, among others, anemia, diabetes, kidney disease, and pregnancy. Consult your health professional beforehand.

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