It’s really not a bad time to give your liver and system a rest after the excesses of the Christmas season, so many of us will try and knock off the booze and have a dry January. It’s also traditional for many of us to start to talk of doing a detox generally, and the traditional time for all the experts to get on the telly either evangelical about the benefits of detoxing or to say that detox is a load of tosh and our body is quite capable of “detoxing” itself and there’s no need to give it that helping hand.
The big problem lies in the terminology of detox which means one thing in conventional allopathic medicine and quite another in complimentary or alternative medicine – so never the twain shall meet.
It is quite true that we have powerful detoxification structures within the body – whether through the bowel, skin, breath or other excretion avenues. We have enzymes and mechanisms that handle the outside toxins and internal toxins (eg produced in the liver or through oxidation). On the other hand, the tasks we were built for millions of years ago, is not what the body has to deal with now. Each year more than £4bn of chemical compounds and pollutants from plastics, pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals and medications and other sources are released into our air, soil, food and water supplies (Welshons et al. Endocrine 2006; 147:556-569). We know that neonicotinoids (class of chemical) is killing our bees but what effects do these chemicals have on our human health?
In reaction, and despite what the experts are saying about detoxing being a sham and a waste of time, many of us choose this time of year to just clean up our act. The industrialised diet seems to have an impact on our health – you only have to have a look around at the exploding obesity issues not only here but whereever the SAD (Standard American Diet) has been exported.
If you can’t face the full monty (there are loads of books about going the whole hog on a detox) what are the MUST dos to clean up our acts and start having the bright eye and busy tail to face the new year? Here are a few tips:
1. Start any detox in February and Not January – (January 10th apparently is when most people have chucked in their new year’s resolutions) plus its dark and depressing and embedded in January is the most depressing Monday of the year. BAD time to start. It’s Chinese New Year in Jan/Feb so use that as an excuse – plus spring is just around the corner. Mooch into so called detox by getting a foundation in place first rather than going cold turkey – some mooching tips below:
2. Begin by substituting wheat products (with rye, spelt, Kamut) – Commercial wheat products just seem to be badly made and produced. As soon as you are producing wheat products in a factory you are having to compromise on health and quality (eg using baking aids (which you don’t have to declare on the label) and not proving the bread properly because you are compromised for time in the manufacturing process. Profit over health every time. There are good breads you can buy eg Village Bakery (I have nothing to do with Village Bakery commercially!) or your local Farmers’ Market might do a real loaf
3. Knock off the booze (obvious) – Alcohol is classed as an anti-nutrient… it steals our nutrients. There are lots of studies showing that very moderate consumption of alcohol may contribute to health – but in excess clearly there are no benefits. In the 19th Century beer drinking actually contributed to health and when the Temperance movement convinced the working poor to change to tea there were unconsidered health consequences as a result. Knocking off the booze helps us to stay on course too.
4. Knock off the Sugar – Sugar has been constantly in the headlines recently. It is thought by the World Health Organisation that about five added teaspoons a day should be our limit (a Red Coke has 27 grams which is over 5 teaspoons) – it kind of adds up especially if you are relying on any “industrialised foods” – So go clean and cook your own food. I have said this before but I love the Abel and Cole recipe boxes (they even do a green juicing box) – even if you invest in this for a month. Abel and Cole send the exact food and recipe in order for you to cook from scratch. (I have nothing to do with Abel and Cole – I should!! I love it – and it enables me as a busy working mum to be authentic in what I am telling everyone else to do.)
5. The Solution to Pollution is Dilution – so make sure you drink enough water – I like to drink warm water! Put a little orange peal in the water just to give it a little something! I love Water-For-Health (check out the Biocera jugs) – (I have nothing to do with Water for Health – I should!!!) Don’t drink out of plastic bottles – yes something else to worry about.. the plastics leach into the water.
Finally if you choose to go the whole hog (the juicing, the skin brushing, the steam rooms and the lymph drainage) great – but if you want to just want to make a step in the right direction that is fine too. You will find your level and slowly, slowly you will move in the right direction.