Detoxing 101: What is it? How to do it? Is it worth it?
There are many reasons you may be interested in detoxing:
Scenario 1: You’ve broken your routine and had a blowout. You’re feeling low and sluggish and the thought of your next meal makes you feel psychically sick.
Scenario 2: You’re wanting something to kick-start your system into gear and get into a healthy mental state.
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Scenario 3: All of the above.
You’re not alone! Detoxing is a great way to get a fresh mind and body that is more positive.
You can skip ahead to read what you need help with most:
Harmful products that the body needs to detox from can be things like foods or chemicals we ingest, breathe in or put on our skin, or by-products of natural processes in the body.
Our bodies naturally detox every day, the body’s natural detoxing processes are a vital and daily function that supports our overall health. The natural process works by our body taking products that we consume and converting them to less harmful things and then removing the bits we don’t need. Most of the detoxing processes occur in our liver.
Considering our body does this every day, day in and day out, do we even need to detox?
However, a gentle detox is great at certain times of the year to give your body a break from chemicals, processed foods, too much sugar or alcohol (summer soirees), feeling stressed or seasonal changes.
What can you expect?
The official term when someone has a rough time during detoxification is called the ‘herxheimer reaction’. It’s really common and can take a few days to get through.
The reactions range from a slight headache or nausea to flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea, chills, and joint pain. Some also call these reactions ‘die-off’, not because you feel like you’re dying, but because through detoxing, you’re starving nasty bacteria of their food sources like sugar and they are not happy about it.
They will try to trick your brain into feeding them by sending messages to it so it thinks it really needs some “insert junky food craving like chips or chocolate”.
Planning to take it easy during your detox will help alleviate symptoms if they occur. Don’t plan a detox in the middle of a busy week at work.
Ease into it
Many of the ‘14 day intensive detox in a box type products’ are just too full-on for your system and all you end up getting is a major headache and a whole load of diarrhoea!
You might be 4kg lighter at the end, but that’s mainly because of the amount of fluid you have lost and you will put it back on again when you start to eat normally again.
If you want to get a true benefit from a detox, plan and prepare.
Write a food diary
If you do get a headache or other symptoms, avoid ingesting more chemicals and try to treat it gently with cold compresses, lavender, peppermint tea, and rest.
After detoxing, the negative symptoms will go away and you’ll be left with clearer skin, sparkly eyes, shiny hair, less bloat, and weight loss, something we all desire!
Help remove unwanted toxins from the body and kickstart your energy levels!
10 ways to detox your mind and body
Many detox programs focus on the foods you should and should not eat but you should also detox your mind regularly.
Now, this is definitely a fundamental part of a good detox plan, however, there are other ways to promote a healthy clean body and mind.
1. Regular exercise
Although it may be tempting to do a workout for a good sweat, it may be better for you to do gentle exercise, especially if you’ve decreased your food intake while detoxing coupled with the increase in circulating toxins in your body.
You’re then less likely to be fatigued and more likely to feel energised and positive. A walk, swim or some of the resistance and weights workouts are great options.
2. Visit an infrared sauna
This can promote healthy sweat to ensure proper elimination of the nasty toxins. Plus, sitting down and relaxing in a peaceful sauna is good for the mind too!
3. Get lots of sleep
Your body is working hard at detoxing and cleansing itself, support these nurturing functions by getting plenty of rest.
Quality sleep is gauged by how you feel when you wake, if you are still tired, then you need more sleep. If you wake refreshed, then you are spot on.
4. Do a detox on your mindset
Your not-so-healthy eating patterns may be driven by or promoting an unhealthy mindset.
Practice meditation to give your busy mind a break.
Actively look for and emphasise those things and parts of your life that you are grateful for. Practise positive self-talk.
5. Baths are brilliant for detoxing
Not only are baths a great way to get in some self-care, adding things like clay or Epsom salts helps draw toxins out from your body.
Just keep the baths short when using them therapeutically like this so you don’t reabsorb the baddies!
Epsom salts are also great for belly fat.
6. What’s on your skin??
What’s in your shaving cream, your deodorant or your cologne? Now is a good time to see if what you are putting on your skin every day is contributing to your toxic load or not.
A good rule is if you can’t eat it then don’t put it on your skin or choose products that are certified organic.
Top 5 foods to avoid when detoxing
Do you want to lose a couple of clothes sizes? Do you want to be able to run 5 kilometres without stopping? Do you want to lose 10 kilograms? 20 kilograms?
Well, the best way to make these sorts of goals a GO is by starting with a DETOX – to help rid your body of all the toxins it may have accumulated over the previous months.
When detoxing it’s best to avoid the following types of foods…
Alcohol is downright bossy on the liver. Your wine, beer, and spirits pushes everything to the side and demands attention. This means everything else sits around and waits.
Waiting = stagnation. Pretty much the opposite of what a detox is meant to achieve.
Another known inflammatory food that is commonly loaded with hormones is dairy.
More inflammation and more hormones means more stress to the body, which isn’t needed when detoxing. So reduce the cheese and try making Healthy Man Meal Replacement shake with nut-based milks or just water for a little while.
Yet another chemical for the body to break down!
The only way coffee is recommended when detoxing is for the very detoxifying coffee enema. Hahaha!
If you drink a lot of coffee, reduce your intake slowly so your body doesn’t have as many side effects from an abrupt change.
4. Processed and chemical-laden foods
Anything in packages not made by Mother Nature as well as soft drinks or energy drinks should be avoided. Fluid is so important during a detox so better to stick with filtered water and herbal teas instead.
5 reasons most detoxing for weight loss plans aren’t healthy
You will often see a range of advertisements for weight loss programs and how to lose weight in 5 days. Some of these programs revolve around various methods of detoxing for weight loss, but are these detox promises healthy?
Most nutritionists are pretty sceptical about the promises made in these detoxing for weight loss based programs or plans. Not just because they’re concerned about whether there are any weight loss benefits of detoxing programs but also if there are any health benefits of them.
Some reasons detoxing for weight loss may not be the best choice…
1. The weight loss is not long term.
The most difficult thing with weight loss is actually keeping it off. When you use any sort of detoxing for weight loss plan the weight loss is not sustainable and it is often a result of water loss from the body, rather than fat loss.
2. Our body has its own self-cleansing mechanisms.
Our bodies are constantly detoxifying themselves. Our lungs, kidneys, liver, skin, gastrointestinal tract and immune system all have roles in eliminating the toxins from our bodies 24/7.
3. Detoxing for weight loss programs often take drastic measures.
Some detoxing for weight loss programs suggest restricting food in its entirety or eliminating whole food groups such as dairy or meat. If you feel you need to give your liver a break, first try by reducing or cutting your intake of alcohol, caffeine, saturated fats and excess sugar. This is something you’ll be able to sustain for longer without any detriment to your long term health.
4. Detoxing for weight loss programs do not teach you a healthy lifestyle.
The most important learning curve when losing some weight is to learn about a healthy eating and exercise program. These two things will keep your lifestyle healthy for a lot longer than a quick ‘fix’ like some of the detox programs are.
They say that habits are made after around a month. A plan like our 28 Day Fitness Challenge and Plan eBook offers you a 7-day meal plan you can reuse throughout the month, a range of exercises and workouts to support your goals and overall tips and advice to help you change your lifestyle. We look at all factors to help you lose weight and get fit whereas these detoxing for weight loss programs are often short term solutions.
5. Detoxing for weight loss programs can become a cycle of purging.
Binging and yo-yo dieting is not ideal for our bodies and health. A detoxing for weight loss program almost promotes the idea that you’re able to binge for a period of time on unhealthy foods and drinks and then cure it with a short term detox. This is not a healthy lifestyle and not one which is beneficial for your body or your organs such as your liver.
The best way to lead a healthy lifestyle is by following a healthy eating plan which contains all the foods groups and one which is full of fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry (protein alternatives) and dairy (or alternatives).
A healthy lifestyle or weight loss is maintained by a sensible diet and exercise program and a lifestyle that can be sustained each day for your whole life.
A healthy lifestyle is not one that is speckled with drastic one-week detox programs consuming copious amounts of lemon and water or the likes.
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