Have you strayed from your healthy habits? Get back on track with a body detoxification to cleanse and nourish your body this spring!
After a long, cold winter, following the rush and stress of a holiday season filled with changes in our diets, many of us are still feeling sluggish and out of synch. If you’ve strayed from your healthier habits for a period of time — eating right, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management — then it may be time for a body detoxification.
Cultures around the world have practised body detoxification for centuries. Its aim is to cleanse and nourish from the inside out, removing impurities from the blood and the liver and eliminating toxins from the body’s organs. Detoxing helps the body’s natural cleansing process and renews its ability to maintain optimum health.
A typical annual detoxification involves a seven-day cycle to cleanse the organs. During this detox, consume no coffee or alcohol, take a daily vitamin C to help your body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins, and manage your stress by emphasizing positive emotions and making time for relaxation and meditation. Before you begin your seven days, lighten your toxin load by eliminating sugars and saturated fats for a few days.
If your health permits (check with your doctor if you’re unsure) begin your seven days with a 24-hour fast. You must avoid dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water — at least two litres. Begin and end the day with a drink of hot water with fresh lemon juice. It’s best to do the first day of detoxification when you have a light day with fewer physical challenges.
Fruits and vegetables
After your initial fast day, continue the water and add a half-litre of fruit or vegetable juice. Carrot or apple are excellent choices, made fresh from the actual fruit and vegetable. You can combine the two juices if you prefer, and mix with a third part water. Drink this every day during the week.
For the week of detoxification, you’ll also be eating fruits and vegetables (preferably raw). They are the easiest foods for the body to digest, are loaded with nutrition, and have a wonderful cleansing effect. Uncooked food enhances the metabolism while it strengthens the immune system.
Best detox choices
The flesh of watermelon is high in beta-carotene and Vitamin C, and the seeds are loaded with vitamin E and antioxidant minerals zinc and selenium. Blending fresh fruits, seeds and all, in a blender is a healthy and cleansing antioxidant cocktail! Also try using berries, oranges and kiwi.
Eat your vegetables raw if you can — kale, spinach, lettuce, red cabbage, snap peas, bell peppers, carrots and cucumbers — and buy organic whenever possible. If raw is not appealing, don’t overcook. Vitamins and minerals that are essential to detoxification can be destroyed by the heat in cooking. Gently steam broccoli, cauliflower and green beans just until tender. Fresh herbs are also full of healthy nutrients so feel free to use them generously.
Other cleansing and delicious choices: fresh apricots, cantaloupe, papayas, peaches and mangos. Red grapes make a yummy snack option. Especially beneficial vegetables for detoxification include artichokes, beets, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, tomatoes, watercress, red cabbage and bean sprouts.
After your seven-day detox, keep eating these nutritious foods in abundance. Now you can add appropriate portions of grains, fish and lean proteins back into your diet. You have a spring-clean body!