Detoxification: this is the buzz word this time of the year.

But what does it mean and do we actually need to detox?

Our poor bodies are constantly exposed to environmental toxins from heavy metals, drugs, pesticides, industrial compounds and all the things we put into our mouths (including the 10 000 chemicals added to our food supply!)

So the question is not are we toxic, but how toxic are we?. Research suggests that these toxins are responsible for many of the symptoms and conditions we suffer from daily. These might include headaches, dark circles under the eyes, feeling bloated and sluggish, lack of energy and body aches and pains. By reducing our incoming toxic load and allowing the removal of these toxins, we can bring our bodies back into balance and start to feel alive, energised and well again.

There are lots of ways to achieve this.

Many of you have tried the Master Cleanse:

This consists of a liquid cleanse for 10 days with the slow introduction of vegetable broth, soups and fruits. You make a lemonade mixture from fresh lemon juice, Grade B Maple syrup, spring water and cayenne pepper. Herbal laxative tea and a salt water flush in the mornings is used to aid elimination. The Master Cleanse Kit (Wellness Warehouse)) makes it very easy to follow.

This is quite a drastic program with minimal caloric intake and is not recommended for everyone but is a good way to kick start your weight loss regimen.

For every day detoxing that can be done quickly and is suitable for everyone:

By adjusting you daily meal pattern to include these basic detox principles, it is easy to start your own personal program. Simply focus on

*increasing fluid intake

* increasing soluble fibre intake: a good colon cleanse in the beginning can be very helpful

*start with a comprehensive probiotic that targets the upper and lower gut

*supporting the liver with nutrients like silimarin, dandelion, artichoke and aloe ferox

*keeping alkaline by- squeezing fresh lemon juice into your water , adding Spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, chlorella and all the sea vegetables daily

*avoiding all caffeine, (coffee and tea), alcohol, sugar, dairy, wheat and gluten

*reduce animal fats and protein and use fish or legumes

*use coconut oils, olive oils, herbal teas

*have small, frequent meals with lots of fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs and avoid commercially prepared meals

The more toxic you feel, the longer and slower you will need to detox: a quick 10 day approach can only be done if you are not suffering too badly, the 28 day approach is usually better tolerated.

Research has found that the alternate day low calorie intake regimen (600kcal/d) is very effective if weight loss is also required. This has also been shown to enhance your immunity.

Another detox to try is the Juicing detox.

Get on the Juice High!! This involves a combination of fresh fruits and raw vegetables put through a juice extractor and taken throughout the day. Various recipes are recommended many of which include the addition of green vegetables and various anti inflammatory spices.

Juices have a life force of their own. Apart from tasting good and being the ultimate thirst quencher, they rejuvenate and repair the body. By removing the fibre, the nutrients are almost pre-digested and can be assimilated with the least effort by the body, as extracted water and nutrients from raw vegetables is more easily absorbed. Raw juices are incredibly alkaline and can address the acidic imbalances set up by environmental toxins, poor food intake and lifestyle stresses. Juicing also irrigates the intestine, creating a chain reaction in the colon, encouraging elimination (slight laxative effect) and thereby helping the detoxifying process.

Suggested vegetables and spices for detoxing:

To increase the nutrient density of your juices, you can add powdered greens like spirulina, barley grass, wheat grass and you can add coconut water for sweetness. Artichokes contain silimarin and can be added to support the liver. Cayenne pepper is good after exercise as it assists with reducing inflammation. Coriander is an excellent detoxifier of heavy metals, especially mercury from amalgam fillings. Buchu is a well known diuretic and immune booster, so try using different ingredients for various effects. For example:

Green Juice:

4 sticks celery
4-6 kale leaves (can use spinach)
1 apple
1 handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
1 lime
1 lemon
chopped fresh ginger to taste

1 Tbs Aloe juice assists in cleansing the liver

Tropical Breakfast juice:

1 medium ripe papaya, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 small piece peeled fresh ginger
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 cup coconut water (stir in after juicing)

Apple Chilli Cleanser:

(Rawlicious recipe)                                                                                

2 apples

1/2 cucumber

1/4 lemon

1 small piece peeled ginger

1 pinch cayenne pepper

Liver Detox:

1 small beetroot – peeled

1/4 cup parsley

1 apple

1 whole lemon – peeled

1 cm piece of ginger

3 tsp chia seeds

2 cups water

For further information on how to get started with juicing, refer to the Rawlicious book by Peter and Beryn Daniel

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