Spring is a wonderful time of year, the sun is shining, flowers and green life are bursting through, and our natural instinct is to stretch ourselves out, open up and let the sunshine and fresh living flow through us. However, for many this natural instinct and seasonal phase of life is tarnished by congestion, headaches, infections, weight gain, spasmodic pains, hormonal problems, IBS, bloating, fatigue and the list goes on. These are all signs that it's time to detox - and there's no better time than springtime to cleanse your life, energise your body and banish all those toxins ready for the summer season.
Over winter it is very common for people to do less exercise, choose carb-rich comfort food, and lead an overall sluggish life. This coupled with alcohol, junk food, takeaways, stress, smoking, increased sugar and starchy carbohydrates all lead to weight gain and a build up of toxins in the body. Toxins accumulate through the diet we eat and the environment we live in. Our 'modern living' is now full of chemical & pesticides in our food chain and in our environment. Although you may not notice the daily impact of them, over time they build up in the body and slowly break down the body's natural defenses for immunity and protection. You may notice increased nasal congestion or a runny nose, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, digestive problems and/or hormonal disturbances or changes in your monthly cycle. These can all be attributed to the slow but persistent accumulation of toxins in the blood as well as in the cellular tissue.
In the health wellness industry, 'detox' is one of those words that means many different things and has many connotations. Instantly the mind jumps to extreme dietary changes, persistent hunger or fasting, hours of exercise and copious litres of water to drink! But a truly naturopathic and holistically minded detox is none of these things. It involves gently supporting the body by allowing it to function in the harmony that it is constantly trying to achieve. Making slow, gentle and consistent changes will give your body a better chance to clean and detox more than any hard and fast, aggressive "detox" will give it. Even making little changes can make a lasting and substantial difference to your wellbeing - like for instance, drinking more water.
The major organ for detoxification in the body is the liver. Your liver works non-stop to process all the harmful substances that enter your body. It works by breaking down the toxin, rendering it safe to the body and then seeks to eliminate it through all the body's channels of elimination - urine, feces & sweat are the main ways but breastmilk and semen are also channels of elimination for the body. This is why it is critical for you to maintain comfortable, complete, daily bowel motions and have a good water intake so your kidneys can eliminate the water soluble toxins easily and efficiently.
There are a number of key nutrients and herbs the liver craves in order to keep doing its job - these include nutritional antioxidants (vit A, C & E, zinc & selenium), or herbal antioxidants, like St Mary's Thistle & Globe artichoke. For a healthy bowel motion you need decent amounts of fibre in your diet. Eating plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates (brown basmati rice, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc) and nuts and seeds are all foods rich in fibre and dense in nutrients.
Kimberly's top tips for a gentle, healthy and life-changing detox:
1. Choose filtered water and aim to drink 8 good-sized glasses daily. If this sounds like much more than you are used to, start slowly by adding an extra glass of water each day for 1 week, then increase by another glass the following week.
2. Eat lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables - raw, lightly steamed or stir-fried. Aim for at least 7 servings daily of vegetables and 2-3 servings daily of fruits. When looking at your meal before eating - are you seeing colour? Include lots of red, orange, green, purple vegetables! The more colourful your plate is the more life and energy your food has in it and the more goodness and nutrients you will get out of it.
3. Eat breakfast everyday without fail! Many people skip this most important meal. A healthy high fibre, protein-rich breakfast (without refined sugar) will set you up properly for the day and get your body started in the best way possible. Like the saying goes - eat breakfast like a king and dinner like a serf.
4. Cut down on (or cut out) alcohol, smoking, caffeine and other social/recreational drugs. These all put added toxins and stress on your body and increase the demands on your liver and all organs tremendously. Reducing or eliminating these social poisons will do your body a world of good!
5. Get at least 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Poor sleep equals poor ability to detox. It is vital to get a decent night's sleep and if you're not sleeping well and make this your number 1 priority to sort out! The health benefits are enormous!
For more information on herbal and nutritional detox, women's health, fertility and more, please contact Kimberly Taylor at her Natural Fertility Clinic today.