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Detox guidelines Why detox? Our bodies have a natural in-built detox system (made up of the digestive tract, the urinary system and the liver) that helps to process all the chemicals modern life throws at us. These chemicals are called 'toxins' - they are basically poisons that have harmful effects on your body. It's not just alcohol and tobacco that are loaded with toxins; pesticides and food additives and pollution all play their part, too. A detox plan has many benefits. It gets you thinking about how eating habits affect health and wellbeing. It encourages you to make a special effort to change your eating habits and to cut down on fatty, salty and sugary foods and to eat more fruit and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and fish. It inspires you to cut back on caffeine and alcohol. And it gives a 'I'm taking charge of my health' buzz, which boosts self-esteem, confidence and motivation to follow a healthy lifestyle. Some detox programmes are little more than fad diets or fasts – be balanced and try to incorporate the principles of balanced healthier eating into your lifestyle rather than simply on a specific detox or ‘system springclean’. When should you detox? Ideally you should be eating a healthy balanced diet most of the time so an actual detox would not be necessary or beneficial. But there are times we will need a little boost in the right direction to get back on track after over indulging or needing a kick start on a healthier eating plan. Who shouldn't detox? If you suffer from any illnesses, are pregnant, or have problems such as heart disease, diabetes, low blood sugar and kidney problems please consult your doctor or dietitian before doing a detox plan. How does detoxification work? We all differ in the way that we deal with toxins. Some remove them from their body quickly and effectively while other may allow them to linger for a dangerously long time. Here’s how it works: Phase 1: Preparing to remove the toxin. In this phase the liver will activated the toxin making it a highly reactive molecule (free radical). If phase 1 detoxification does not work effectively then toxins build up in the body. This can cause strong reactions to caffeine and/or medications. Phase 2: This reactive molecule is then chemically modified to yield a more soluble toxin. Phase 1 can be said to position the toxin on the playing field and phase 2 kicks it through the goal posts. Principles of a balanced detox: • Eat light and eat often. Have light meals for ease of digestion. • Plant foods as much as possible (high in antioxidants and phytochemicals). • High in fibre to facilitate colon health and to increase feeling of fullness. • Focus on unsaturated and essential fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olives). • Low Glycaemic Index choices to promote proper blood glucose control. • High in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants). • Focus on liver and kidney friendly foods to facilitate detoxification process (cruciferous, allium and diuretic). • High in hydrating fluids (water, pure juice, fruit or herbal teas). There are vegetables that are known to enhance the detoxification process. Include one or more of these foods at almost every meal. Cruciferous vegetables: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, watercress Allium vegetables : chives, garlic, leeks, onions, spring onions, green onions, shallots Diuretic foods: cucumber, celery, cranberries, watermelon, parsley, fennel, celery, green beans, asparagus. Stay hydrated Even mild dehydration results in reduced concentration capacity, false hunger, headaches, joint pain, poor digestion and lower energy levels. Remember that fresh fruit & vegetables tend to be high in water content so having many of theses foods in your diet will also boost your water intake. Aim to keep your urine lightly straw-coloured and copious. A good estimate of how much water you should drink per day is to take your body weight in kilograms and divide by 10 and this gives you the number of glasses of water you need per day. For example, a 60 kg woman would need about six glasses of water per day. One glass of water is a minimum of 200 ml. • Start your day with a glass of hot water. For extra zing, add lemon slices, fresh ginger or mint. • Fruit infused water that is available all day makes for a delicious thirst quencher. • Keep water with you at all times - a jug or bottle of water on your desk and at all meetings, bottled water in your car, filtered water in the kitchen, etc. In summer, freeze water overnight and enjoy ice-cold. In short, keep water visible so that you actually drink it. • Herbal teas, hot or chilled, make a delicious source of water. • When you think you are hungry, have a glass of water first as you may simply be thirsty. What to avoid: • Alcohol • Caffeine • Sugar in all forms including high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetners, fructose, invert sugar, honey, syrup, etc. • Dairy such as milk, cheese, cream, etc. • Avoid packets, boxes, tins, bottles. • Chocolate, cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed meats, sweets, crisps, cream, deep fried food, fizzy drinks • Fried foods • Meat, particularly higher fat meat such as mutton, processed meats, lamb, sausages, etc. Avoiding toxins from meat: • Cooking temperature is the most important factor in the formation of toxic substances in meat. Frying, char grilling and barbecuing produce the largest amounts of toxins because of the high temperatures that are reached and this affects the fat in the meat. Time is also a factor so the longer meat cooks, the more chance there are more toxins. • Smoked foods make use of chemicals that may form potentially harmful compounds. Similarly, the nitrates used to treat meat such as ham, polony, processed sausages and bacon to produce their characteristic pink colour also produce harmful compounds. Minimize your intake of foods treated with nitrates. • Use lean cuts of meat and poultry and pay attention to how you cook it. When possible, pre cook meat in the microwave and then finish off on the braai or grill. • Keep meat portions small so that they need less time to cook. The ideal portion is that which fits into the palm of your hand. • Avoid eating charred or burnt meat. Suggested supplements: The following supplements may be effective during the detox plan: • A good multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant supplement(s) • Essential fatty acids – omega 3 (providing 500 mg or more of EPA/DHA per capsule) • Digestive support: Glutamine and probiotics (friendly gut bacteria). • Optional: Milk thistle, Dandelion root. Detox meal plan ideas On waking - Have warm water with fresh lemon, mint and ginger. Take supplements. Each meal should be made up of the following: 1. Fruit, salad and/or vegetable ( all – include a cruciferous, allium and diuretic vegetables as much as possible) 2. Low GI, higher fibre carbohydrate (legumes, beans, lentils, barley, sweet potato, oats, sweet corn, wheat free bread) 3. Healthy fat (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, cold pressed oils) BREAKFAST IDEAS LIGHT MEAL IDEAS Fresh fruit smoothie using 2-3 fresh Roasted veggies using leeks, Brussels Vegetable soup made with turnips, fruits; handful of nuts; lots of ice; sprouts, sweet potato, squashes, etc. leeks, sweet potato, pumpkin and/or oatbran. roasted with fresh herbs, garlic and butternut. Serve with low GI wheat free TIP: Use frozen or fresh berries olive oil. bread or add barley or lentils to the soup. Fresh fruit salad with natural muesli and Large rocket and watercress salad with nuts. spring onion, sweet peppers, cherry COOKING TIPS: tomatoes, olives, etc. Toss in chickpeas Prepare meals using garlic and onions. or sweetcorn or serve with wheat free Use fresh herbs (coriander, parsley, Sliced apple wedges and banana dipped bread. mint, etc.) into peanut butter. Accompanied with oat cakes or high fibre crackers. Barley or sweet corn salad prepared with selection of chopped allium and SNACK IDEAS Seedloaf toast topped with mashed diuretic vegetables such as spring onion, Fresh fruit, fruit bars, small amounts of banana and handful of nuts asparagus and cucumber. pure fruit or vegetable juice or dried fruit. Vegetable stirfry using cabbage, carrots, Selection of crudités and hummus dip. Oats muesli sprinkled with cinnamon Nuts, trail mix, seeds. onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, etc. and served with grated apple or berries.
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