I feel sluggish and bloated after the holidays and feel my system needs cleansing.  Can you suggest some ways I could cleanse my body, whether by diet or supplements, without having to starve myself?

Detox's come in all shapes and forms, but your best basic detox without starving yourself is to take out all the things that add to our toxic load in the first place.  We all know what those things are, they include: Trans-fats (switch back to good ol butter), processed foods (yes that's anything in a packet, jar, container, tin, sachet, tube, bottle...etc), alcohol, sugar, flour, drugs, caffeine. 

This also includes reducing any unnecessary supplements and medications you're taking.  And then start looking at minimising these things once you are starting to feel better.

So that leaves us with a diet of: fresh fruit and veges, lean meats and/or vegetarian proteins, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, flaxseed oil, olive oil, unrefined wholegrains (wholegrain bread is not an unrefined wholegrain), plain water (at least 2L per day), herbal teas and low fat dairy.  In just 3 days of eating like this you should be feeling much less sluggish and you will have probably lost about 1kg already of bloating.  And in terms of portions sizes, stick to the size of your hand or fist for proteins and carbs and about a tablespoon for fats.

The other thing you will want to add to boost your minerals and also to alkalise your body (buffering toxic acidity) is a supergreen supplement.  Something like Chlorophyll, Barleygrass, spirulina, Wheatgrass etc.  Magnesium is also a good alkaliser.  There are plenty of others - best to talk to a naturopath or a nutritionist for other options.  A probiotic will help to repopulate the good flora in the gut, which will also assist in making you feel better.

Slippery Elm or Psyllium Husk are two good fibre supplements to help with the elimination process while detoxing.  I recommend you include either of these to keep things moving along and out of the body.

If you want to do a complete detox using supplement based products, I recommend you talk to a good naturopath or a nutritionist who deals in detoxes.  You can buy off the shelf products of course, but there's no way anyone can recommend which product is best.  A complete detox should include cleansing of the intestines, liver and kidneys.  This will include plant based herbs (eg Milk Thistle), vitamins, minerals and amino acids (Taurine is important for liver health) and may also include things like colonic hydrotherapy and a gallbladder flush.

There are those who believe we don't need to detox, as our systems can handle the detox process themselves.  This is true.  But when we burden our bodies excessively or for long periods of time, or upset our intestinal flora balance and become overly stressed then our detox organs struggle and we start feeling sluggish and unspecifically generally unwell.  These things don't show up in blood tests.  It's only until the organ is diseased, or in a pre-diseased state that blood tests will start showing up things.  Do we really want to wait for our organs to be in this state before we start looking after them?

And of course we need to get moving, especially stretching.  Movement and stretching helps to get nutrient rich blood flowing through the body to repair cells and have you feeling better.

Very simply put, if you are feeling slightly "toxic" then take out what is making you feel this way, improve your diet and then decide if you want to do a proper detox.

Stacey Hancock
28 Jan 11

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