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Pre-Christmas Jumpstart

Christmas is fast approaching and that means your liver is going to work overtime. So the question is how can we best protect it to make sure you are going to have enough energy in 2018? I am often asked what are some simple things that we can do and incorporate into our lives without doing a full-on juice fast.

Let’s face it who has time at this time of year to do this? But at the same time we want to fee and look our best!

MYTH: Detox = deprivation

MYTH: Detox = restriction

MYTH: Detox = boring and tasteless

MYTH: Detox = results

A regime I like to call a jumpstart has many benefits. As it cleanses your body in preparation for the party season and the bonus is those few extra kilos that you may have gained through out the year can disappear with just a few steps. I am a realist and I know that this time of the year is the party season where you need to be able to incorporate the best routine to fit in with all those social engagements.

The word detox I believe has had a bad rap and instead I like to use the word cleanse. You may not realise but your body is constantly ‘cleansing’ each and every cell are working hard to make sure that toxins and impurities are moved through our elimination channels. Unfortunately, there are times when we experience an overload. This is when we need a jumpstart to give that little extra push to help cleanse those cells.

Now there are devotees of the regular detox ridding their bodies of impurities, and the reasons are varied for some it is to achieve clearer and brighter skin, lose the bloat, regular bowel movements etc. We often use the word toxin and this word strictly speaking means ‘a poisonous substance by a living organism’ like venom from a living organism (spider, snake), or a parasite residing in our gut for example and generally needs a plan to be devised by a health practitioner to achieve a long lasting result. But how do we achieve this if we just want to give our liver a boost before the Silly Season?

In general, a good detox program can last from 1-6 weeks depending on what the end result is your achieving. This gives the liver, kidneys, bowel and the skin to eliminate the impurities that have built up over the months or even years. Did you know we can simply begin to help this process by just cutting out some of those refined foods, ditching the sugars, fried foods, caffeine and alcohol?

Have you ever tried to lose weight only to put it straight back on? This can be a sign of toxic excess in the system and gently cleansing at the beginning and the end may actually help you to keep the weight off. Even better if you try the cleanse you may not have to go on a restrictive calorie diet to achieve your desired result.

The liver the main detoxification organ in the body works so hard constantly for us. There are two detox phases on the liver (actually there are three, but we will discuss the main two). Phase one is where the build up of impurities and toxins pass through the liver and are converted into intermediary substances that will be easier to break down in Phase 2. Sometimes these can actually be more harmful than the original compound. This is where it is important to consume foods high in antioxidants to help the conversion and reduce damage to our cells.

The next phase called Phase 2 is where the substances become water soluble so that the kidneys and the bowel can eliminate these easily. Sometimes this can be a bit slower for some people and they may need some help with supplements, but generally eating foods high in phytonutrients are beneficial.

So how do we achieve this?

Really the obvious is to begin to include more raw and unprocessed foods that are preferably organic to limit the amount of toxic substances being consumed. I love to include foods in the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, kale etc.), onions, garlic and chives (phase 2 helpers). Include antioxidant rich fruits daily like berries, clean proteins including legumes, fresh fish, organic eggs, nuts and seeds.

Adding a green juice or smoothie daily gives an extra boost of cleansing and alkalising greens that your body will love. Getting enough good fats like olive oil, nuts, coconut oil etc. is essential for good brain health.

Headaches can be a side effect of the body releasing toxins into the system for processing. If this happens you need to increase water intake, adding a fresh squeeze of lemon can also help.

A typical example of a cleanse day might look something like this:

Breakfast: A serving of fruit e.g. handful of blueberries and an organic egg omelette with fresh herbs

Snack: handful of almonds

Lunch: A large green salad with avocado, cucumber, sprouts, steamed broccoli (cooled), a small portion of organic chicken with a lemony turmeric dressing and topped with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds

Snack: Vegetable juice (beetroot is great to include as it is a blood cleanser, ginger, carrot, parsley and a green apple)

Dinner: Stir fry vegetables with white fish. Include onion, garlic, and any brassica vegetables you choose. You can add some brown rice if you want but make sure you have washed it thoroughly before rapid boiling it.

Supper if desired could include a square of 70%+ dark chocolate (it is choc-full of antioxidants plus magnesium to help with sleep) Make sure it is dark as you will be achieving nothing if it is any less.

If you are taking medications, you need to consult your health professional before beginning any cleanse.

Fiona is a registered Naturopath with Australian Natural Therapists Association. She runs cleansing programs, the next one begins on 24th November and runs for two weeks. If you want to know more, please register here

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