#360fit: To Detox or Not To Detox (and what does it all even mean?)

FitnessLink 15:16 19/04/2015
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Is it time you do a detox? Find out how below.

Detox. Cleanse. Juice Diets. They’re all the rage these days, but are they really necessary?

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Before trying to choose a detox of any kind, give the whole thing a second thought. The colon, kidneys, and liver naturally remove most toxins that enter the body through everyday processes – like breathing and drinking water from the body.

If you follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, avoid toxin intake, get plenty of sleep and deal with stress appropriately then the body will effectively detox itself daily.

The problem is however, that modern life means that pollution, poor dietary choices, contaminants in food and water, stress or an inactive lifestyle can all compromise the body’s ability to naturally perform the detoxification process. The result is a toxic ‘build up’ and leads to weight gain, development of diseases and the loss of our energy and vitality.

You can be kind to your body and assist it to naturally detox with a diet that isn’t depriving by focusing on eliminating excess processed foods and incorporating more nutritious foods to your daily routine. But first, here are some common signs that indicate you might be in need of a ‘detox’ or, better yet, change of lifestyle:

  • Fatigue. Your day is a struggle with or without proper sleep. If you’re feeding your body a lot of toxins and lacking nutritious meals your body works hard to deal with the effects. When you turn to coffee or high sugar foods to deal with this, the matter is worsened.
  • Weight gain. That stubborn 5kg that has crept on and does not want to budge.
  • Skin problems. This can be in the form of acne, rashes or redness.
  • Muscle aches and pains. Not recovering well after training.
  • ​Constipation or headaches

If the signs above sound familiar then I recommend you start to follow these guidelines:

  • Reduce alcohol, coffee or carbonated drinks. Instead drink green tea or herbal tea. If you normally drink a lot of tea or coffee you may experience some headaches in the first couple of days. This is normal and will soon pass.
  • Eat mostly vegetables, lean protein sources, some fruit, raw nuts and seeds, gluten free grains such as rice or quinoa and healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocado.
  • Avoid dairy and dairy products. And introduce high quality dairy back in after one week.
  • Avoid refined sugar (biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolate, table sugar).
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water every day.
  • Dinner should be small and based around vegetables with your meat on the side, especially if you have a large lunch. You shouldn’t be overly full after dinner.
  • Have a light snack at least 1- 2 hours before training and always make sure to eat within 1 hour post training.
  • ​Avoid commercialized vegetable oils: cook with coconut oil, dress salads with olive oil.

The key to making your dietary changes a success is to change your mindset. Don’t think of this as a ‘detox’ that lasts 1-2 weeks and don’t focus on all the food you need to restrict. Focus more on making every single meal the most nutritious and nourishing meal possible.

Juicing as a form of detoxification has become a popular in the world of dieting. In part, I think a cleanse in the form of juicing designed to detoxify the body is a good idea. Why? Because when you do a ‘juice cleanse’ you cut out all the processed high sugar and fat foods.

However, you do not need to drink juice alone to achieve this, and it is not healthy to rely solely on juicing for all your nutrient requirements. Nutrient rich foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, high quality sources of animal protein and healthy fats can help to heal the gut, detoxify the organs and strengthen the immune system.

By all means include juicing (or even better, smoothies) into your daily routine as it is a great way to boost your intake of nutrients on top of your balanced diet.

If this is all new to you, reach out for help! Personalized advice from a qualified nutritionist can go a long way and may just be the kick-start you need.

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