I have started to noticed it at the clinic. My clients are feeling the need to detoxify and cleanse, loose weight, and get back into exercise after what seemed like a long cold winter.
At one of my favourite bookstores I recently found a cute book called A new Religion? H+ How to live your life positively through Happiness, Humanity, Help, Hope, Health by Edward de Bono. I wanted to share a quote with you from that book.
“Health is a baseline on which everything else is built. If you are not healthy you are not able to help others and may absorb help that could be better used elsewhere.
If you owned a motorcar, you would bother to put fuel in the tank. You would bother to put air in the tyres. If you are capable of being healthy, it seems careless not to try to be healthy”
I believe we are all capable of being full of health and vitality when we try. The rewards are definately worth it.
Is a detox right for you?
It is estimated that every year western adults are exposed to over 6 kgs of food additives, colourings, preservatives, waxes and agrochemicals such as fertilisers, growth hormones, pesticides and herbacide residues. Top that off with alcohol, prescription drugs, air pollution, and things like our chemically loaded skincare, hair products and perfumes, and you have a very busy if not overwhelmed liver.
Food is one of my favourite things. I love to eat it, cook it, read about it, and buy it.
Mostly I eat fresh, nutritionally balanced food that tastes great and makes me feel fantastic. But sometimes I eat rich, sugary, naughty food (that tastes great and makes me feel fantastic!). And, like most people, although I enjoy a trip to the clean green country, I always come home to the smog of the city, a reminder of the pollution we live and breathe everyday. So, until I give up city living and bubbly wine, a detox will have to do!
Many of my clients are in the same boat. That is, they believe life is about balance and enjoyment as much as sprirulina and carrot sticks! Depending on the health and commitment of a client I will adjust the length and intensity of their detox. It can range anywhere from 2 days to 3 months.
Apart from the above (i.e we live in a toxic world), a period of avoiding certain foods and looking after your liver can really help those aspiring to more energy, clearer skin, healthy digestion and healthy weight.
Many disorders have been linked to toxin exposure from chronic dermatitis and allergies to certain cancers and reproductive disorders.
When to detox?
I personally look after my liver every day with a herbal formula that specifically up-regulates my liver detoxification, but it is a nice idea at least once a year to take the burdon off your body and do a proper detox. Spring is the perfect (and traditional) time to do this.
Pick a time that is free from too many commitments, birthdays, etc so that you are more likely to stick to the program. Your energy levels may drop for a few days as your body harnesses all the energy it needs to detoxify. It is not a time to be superwoman or man, and not a time to work on your physical fitness either. A gentle half hour walk daily is the ideal, and more is not a good idea.
How to detox?
Ideally you should have been weaning yourself off coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes (none of you still smoke do you?) in the week leading up to your detox period. If, like for most of my clients that is too much to ask, prepare for a few withdrawal headaches and cravings for your vices.
This is what a gentle 7 day detox looks like:
Say goodbye to: alcohol, coffee, tea (the gumboot variety), added salt, refined sugar, dairy products, white rice, pasta, bread, baking, pastry etc.
Avoiding the above, have three meals daily consisting of the following: any vegetable except potato, any fruit, and any fresh fish. At least 8 glasses of water (including herbal teas), organic nuts and seeds up to 1/2 cup daily and two serves of brown rice, quinoa or legume such as lentils, chickpeas etc. Skipping meals is never ideal but even less so when detoxing. Make sure you are well organised before you start to avoid becoming desperate and finding yourself with flailing blood sugar and scoffing a chocolate bar.
This stage is not recommended for everyone. It requires a juice only diet and can be dangerous for some people.
If you are safe to do this part you will need a juicer and a whole lot of (preferably organic) fresh fruit and vegetables. It is very important that the juice is 80% vegetable and only 20% fruit. My favourite recipe is cucumber, carrot, parsley, ginger and apple. Divine. You need to have 4 juice ‘meals’ daily and make sure you drink water in between. At least 4 glasses daily. Another important part of this stage is the potassium broth.
Put in a big pot 3 carrots, 1 brocolli (stalk and all), 2 large potatoes, 2 large onions, silverbeet and spinach………..you get the picture, and simmer with the lid on for 3 hours. Organic would be better. Add any herbs and spices you like too. When done, discard the solid material and voila! There you have your potassium broth. A mug of this liquid must be taken on the days you are only having juices.
Day six is time to break the ‘fast’ and re-introduce solid foods. This should be done with a very small meal of steamed vegetables, paying special attention to not overeat. This is my favourite part of a detox because it is like experiencing food for the forst time after having a tastebud transplant! The sweetness of cabbage, the nutty taste of brocolli, all these foods suddenly taste sensational in the absence of salty, sugary junk food. Remember to drink plenty of water on this day aswell.
Day seven is the final day of this short gentle detox. You can have fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, aswell as grains (ie brown rice etc.)
Throughout a detox I recommend a number of supplements and herbs. Although the liver is the main detoxification organ, the kidneys, bowel, lymphatics and skin are all important too.
The overwhelming feedback I get from clients is that their relationship to food changes over the course of a detox. They often keep up some of the food habits for many months afterwards.
So, use spring as a motivator to tweak your habits by doing a detox. Your body will repay you with more energy, a clearer mind (not to mention skin), weight loss if needed and healthy digestion.
Tuna fish pie
This is a family recipe and a favourite of mine. I tend to make enough for 2 nights and just serve with a green salad in summer and steamed vegies in winter. A great pie for those avoiding wheat, as the pastry is replaced with rice.
3.5 cups cooked basmati rice
2 onions thinly diced
5 large eggs
2 tins of 425g tuna
1 cup of chopped parsley
2 cups grated cheese
1 heaped teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
2/3 cup milk (rice, soy or cows)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease an oblong pie dish with oil.
Mix the cooked rice with 1/2 of 1 diced onion, salt and pepper and 1 egg. Press into the dish and up the sides.
2. Make a layer on top of the rice with half the tuna, half the remaining onion, half the cheese, and half of the chopped parsley. Repeat for a second layer.
3. Whisk the remaining eggs with the yoghurt, mustard, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the pie and pop in the oven for 1 hour. Let cool before slicing.
Thanks for reading!