The purpose of doing a detox is to clear unwanted waste from your body that can otherwise accumulate, making you sluggish, run down and prone to sickness and dis-ease.
Periodic detoxing is a smart insurance policy for your health and longevity because it allows your body to re-set, and your digestive system to take a break form the constant rigours of digesting food.
The best type of detox is a "fast" where you abstain from solid food for a few days. When you fast, your body becomes very efficient at recycling cells and strengthening your immune system.
Detoxing has been practiced for thousands of years - and it offers both mental and physical health benefits. However, when you detox it's common to experience discomfort, particularly during the early stages of your fast as your body begins dumping metabolic waste.
Everyone reacts differently to a detox or fast, however generally speaking, the more toxins that are inside your body, the more unsettled you'll feel for the first couple of days.
Just know that these symptoms are completely normal and will subside if you apply common sense to manage your way through the process. The good news is that usually after a few days, you will be feeling lighter, brighter, more energised and focussed than before.
What is a Detox?
Before we go into what symptoms to expect from a detox, it's first important to know what a detox is, exactly.
Your body can actually detox itself, but often, we get in our own way and overburden our bodies with too many toxins, making natural detoxification difficult.
Your body naturally detoxes through four main eliminatory channels which are; defecation, urination, perspiration and respiration.
When all of these channels are working effectively, your body efficiently releases waste. However, over time and distance due to diet, lifestyle and environmental stressors, a build up of toxicity can occur - and this is the number one cause of discomfort and dis-ease in the body.
The most obvious contributors to toxins in your body include excess:
- Processed Food
- Animal Products
- Refined Sugars and Grains
- Chemicals in personal care and household products.
The goal of a detox should be ingesting either liquids; in the form of water, raw juices and broths, or a combination of these together with a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and raw smoothies.
The duration and degree of your detox depend largely on why you are detoxing and what you are trying to achieve. For instance, someone who wants to detox from a weekend-long indulgence may only do a quick detox for 24-48 hours using fresh raw juices.
If a juice fast is your style and you don't have the time to prepare your own fresh juices at home, our Raw Juice Powders a great way to go for convenience. These powders are prepared using a light evaporation technology to ensure that they remain bioactive and nutrient rich for the cells.
Someone who is overweight and would like to kick-start their weight loss may opt for week-long raw, whole food detox, wherein they eat fresh foods and drink plenty of water and herbal teas, combine with fresh juices or smoothies.
The point is that there are a number of ways you can do a detox, and which way you choose to go, really depends on your goals and level commitment to the detox diet or fast.
Learn more: 5 Ways to Detox Without Having to Fast.
Another person, trying to get back-on-track after a holiday of over indulgence, might do a liver detox, where the focus could on raw green juices and leafy green salads for 3 to 7 days.
Again, the amount of time you detox for and the type of detox you do will depend on you and your detox goals.
Learn more: 5 Signs You Need a Detox and Where to Start.
The Benefits of Detoxing
Detoxing has been shown to help you improve mood and energy, while also strengthening your immune system and the function of all your internal organs (especially your liver).
A clean and clear system is also a system that's less prone to chronic dis-ease and has lower blood pressure and less inflammation.
Detoxing is also great for your skin, resulting in brighter, clearer, and more supple epidermis.
Signs you need to consider doing a detox can include:
- Low energy
- Regular Headaches
- Flu-like symptoms (aches and pains)
- Frequent Gas
- Skim Blemishes and Rashes
- Constant Bad Breath
- Fast Food or Sugar Cravings
- Anxiety and Stress.
These symptoms are a sign that your body is out of balance and needs to re-set. And a detox can help you achieve this.
Managing Discomforts During Your Detox
Feeling a little lousy is part of detoxing. However, there are a few ways to minimise the discomfort so that you'll feel better during your detox.
- Drink plenty of water. This will help flush your system. The recommendation is 8 glasses per day, but during your detox, aim for closer to 12.
- Get lots of rest (and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night). Your body is working hard expelling toxins, so give it the downtime it needs to recharge.
- Do some light exercise. Your system is busily unburdening itself of toxins, so you don't want to stress it out with intense training. Instead, aim for a moderate walk, some relaxed swimming, or gentle yoga. By getting your body moving a little you will also help your lymphatic system (your body's natural detox/cleansing stream) to release the toxins as part of the process.
- Take detox baths. Detox baths are hot baths that use Epsom salts to help your body detox through your pores - remember the skin is the largest channel of elimination you have, so the more you can support the release of toxins through the skin during your detox the better. For convenience, we also handcraft a signature range of Detox Bath Salts featuring pure Magnesium, plant floral extracts and essential oils.
- Steam Rooms & Saunas - If you have access to a steam room or sauna, these can be very beneficial to use during your detox to support the release of toxins out of your body via the skin.
Learn more: Relieve Stress & Inflammation with Detox Baths.
- Herbal Teas. Herbal teas are natural diuretics and will support the detox process by flushing your body and strengthening the liver. Some of the best herbal teas for detox include: Ginger, Peppermint and Chamomile.
The Main Takeaway
As mentioned, when it comes to detoxing there is no hard and fast rule that applies to every one.
Every one's health, goals and ability to manage their way through a detox or fast is going to be different. So, the key is to apply common sense and to listen to your body along the way.
Rest when you need to, hydrate regularly throughout and take it easy during the process. If you find you're doing a juice fast and feel that you need to break your fast and eat something, don't beat yourself up.
Simply go with a smoothie, a piece of fresh fruit or slice a ripe avocado in half, squeeze fresh lemon juice on it, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy. It's best to choose something sensible that is super light on your digestive system, before returning to your fast so that you can still get some fantastic benefits.
If you're having withdrawals, it can help to get away from the kitchen - go for a light walk on the beach or in the park or take a dip in the ocean.
In a perfect world with a perfect diet, lifestyle habits and an always perfectly functioning body, we would not need to consciously choose to detox. However, that is not a realistic situation for life, for even the most health conscious person.
The cleaner your diet is and the more you support your health and wellness with the 7 principles of health (Air, Water, Sunshine, Walking, Wholefoods, Non-Toxic Relationships and Passion), the less the signs of needing to detox will appear, and the more manageable a detox will be when you choose to do it as an insurance policy for your health every now and then.
Tolman Self Care.