April is the time of year when we start to think about the summer months ahead; the clocks have gone forward, we have lighter evenings and spring is definitely in the air. It's also a great time to cleanse, detox and reset our bodies to be summer ready!
These days there are many detox diets and juice cleanses on the market, usually with a hefty price tag attached. In truth, these are often marketing ploys. Yes, we need to detoxify but this is an ongoing process that occurs at a cellular level throughout our body, all of the time. There are things we can do to support this process but in my opinion a 10 day juice cleanse just isn’t going to cut it!
Not only do we detoxify the chemicals that come from pesticides on our fruit and veg, fumes from cars and cleaning products in our homes but we must also detoxify endogenous products such as used hormones like oestrogen and pathogenic bacteria lurking in our gut.
It is important to get our bowels moving before undertaking any kind of detoxing protocol, otherwise the toxins are coming out of the cells and going right back in again. Optimising secretion of stomach acid, bile, pancreatic juices is key as well as restoring the microbiome and addressing any gut issues. Taking these steps ensures good digestive transit and elimination and supports liver phase 1, 2 and 3 detoxification.
Remove as many toxins as possible. These include sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
Ensure you are drinking 2 litres water per day to keep hydrated and encourage good transit through the gut.
Increase fibre intake. Ensure half of your plate at lunch and dinner is made up of vegetables, with the majority being dark green and leafy, such as kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts. These will provide important nutrients required for chemical processes within the liver and antioxidants required to combat the toxin load.
Protein provides amino acids integral to detoxification in the liver so ensure you are having a palm sized portion with each meal. Sources are good quality grass-fed/organic meat, beans, lentils and chickpeas.
Include bitter foods before a meal to stimulate digestion. Mix up some rocket with a dash of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and chili for a delicious amuse-bouche if you will! Enjoy 10 minutes before your main meal.
Include chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, berries, beetroot, raw chocolate (not Dairymilk!) and Brazil nuts in your diet. These all provide antioxidants needed in the detoxification process.