Note: Suggestions in her columns are merely from Sitara’s own personal experience and are not intended to treat, prevent or diagnose any disease. Check with your health care practitioner before starting any new health regimens.
My husband and I are currently trying out a detox. We’re not in the habit of it, in fact our general credo about living healthfully is that it should be fun, varied and not restrictive at all. Having said that, we both discovered there may be a time and place for a ‘detox’.
Why? Well for some it’s to lose weight, and it will help with this, though not because you’re supposed to starve yourself – there are programs which involve little or no eating; you’ve probably heard of the Master Cleanse which is only drinks of lemon, cayenne, maple syrup diet made famous recently by Beyonce.
But for most people something less radical and more….nourishing is the best way to cleanse, detoxify and fortify the body. So yes, people usually lose weight on a cleanse, but there are countless other health benefits. Strong immunity, increased energy, decreased sugar cravings, clear glowing skin and great digestion all result from a good detox.
So why are WE on a detox? Our reasons differ.
For me, it’s because I had an infection after minor foot surgery – and so was put on Major antibiotics. Like, horse doses. This killed the infection but left my system very weak and without all my healthy bacteria, the yeast took over and I got a candida problem in my gut – (man I love to self diagnose. ) So how DO you know if you have a candida overdose? Sugar cravings, constant tiredness, bloated belly and gas, irritability, foggy brain, frequent yeast infections, colds, sinus and acne problems are the major giveaways.
Chances are if you eat sweets regularly and have ever taken antibiotics then you’ve got an unhealthy balance of yeast lurking throughout your system. And since i was guilty of both those things, and then got a sinus infection – which I hadn’t had in years! – i knew the strong antibiotics were the culprit and that I needed to do a little spring cleaning in my gut to get back to optimal health. Even though I was taking probiotics it seemed a deeper cleansing was needed.
For Jessie, it was all the international travel and work he had been doing for the last 6 months. Long haul flights, restaurant food, lack of sleep and stress all downgrade the system and once the craziness stopped he knew he needed a little cleanse so he could rebuild his health to where he likes it to be – vibrant! Being a fitness and well-being expert himself he likes to live what he teaches, and since wife-y over here feels the same way we jumped on board the detox train together, but last week!
So how & what are we doing?
We cut out sugar. And bread. And white flour. And dairy. While I was a little bored and maybe sad at first, this requirement has made me get really creative with my food – ’cause goodness knows I love to eat – and so I have filled the void left by gummy bears with all kinds of healthy and satisfying foods that normally I miss out on.
Here’s an example of a detox meal day per mi casa:
Breakfast: Fruity Green Smoothie (recipe here)
OR oatmeal cooked stove-top with coconut milk, walnuts, cinnamon and a few raisins for sweetness
Snack: Half and avocado drenched with lemon, olive oil, cayenne
OR banana with almond butter (or other sugar-free, raw nut butter is good too)
Lunch: Squash and Kale Soup w/ slice of Ezekiel Bread
(OR I grab a soup at the Jamaican restaurant near my house – so good)
Snack: Bowl of “Qia” cereal which is essentially chia seeds, hemp heart, ground flax seeds and a little dried apple and cinnamon which I cover with almond or coconut milk
OR carrots & red peppers with hummus
Dinner: garlic sauteéd nettle leaves with a quarter roast chicken and brown rice & Cucumber salad (cucumber, lemon, cayenne, olive oil, Herba Mare seasoned salt, chilli pepper)
Alternatively beef, fish, tofu are all great instead of chicken, and any veggies you like to cook up on the side are fine, even a nice baked potato with a little butter.
Dessert: Ezekiel Bread with butter and raw honey (which, by the end of this day, tastes like pound cake with caramel)
Drink lots of water, lemon water, green tea. The most refreshing treat is soda water with lime and a little stevia to sweeten. Tastes like pop.
So basically while it’s really clean and free of processed foods we are not starving, and you can keep discovering lots of clean, whole foods to mix it up each day. I also snack on some raw almond with a couple of sugar-free carob chips – like chocolate chips but carob is naturally sweet on its own – or raisins tossed in whenever I get hungry (Too much dried fruit isn’t good but a little here and there is fine)
Along with this we are taking some herbs that help the body to get rid of built up toxins. Jessie’s favouring the entire “Wild Rose” detox kit but there are many out there that work, I’ve enjoyed “Candi Gone by Renew Life” before too. I myself am just taking some dandelion and milk thistle to detox and nourish the liver and dosing up on probiotics like crazy. Magnesium helps keep you regular and relaxed, so that toxins flush out regularly. We use Natural Calm because it’s a tasty drink and easily absorbed.
Make sure you’re taking some extra fibre too in the form of ground flax, chia or psyllium so the toxins your organs and tissues are releasing have something to bind to and get fully pulled out of your body. You can drink a ‘smooth move’ or senna leaf tea for the first few days because all those toxins do need to be coaxed out fast so you don’t feel a ‘die off’ effect. Most packaged cleanses contain laxative herbs but you can just buy an herbal tea w/ senna for the desired effect.
Chances are you’ll notice glowing skin, a flat tummy, less sugar cravings and awesome feeling of clarity and will power! It’s only day 3 for me and it’s very liberating not to be burying myself in pastries and chocolate every time I’m bored. It’s forced me to get outside more, drink more water and herbal tea and enjoy other things besides just the comfort of treats.
And it’s not forever, though something magical happens when you’re done a detox….you just don’t like the junk food as much and when you do eat it you tend to notice how crappy it makes you feel, so it’s easy to cut back. Before trying a detox I could eat a whole piece of cheesecake (or two) and now one or two bites now and then satisfies my curiosity and gives me a little variety. You can do it!
**NOTE: a detox can sometimes make you feel temporarily worse before you feel better, because you’re releasing toxins that have been stored for years. Stick with it because very quickly once these toxins get flushed out you will feel better than ever!
Love these tips? Read more of Sitara Hewitt’s holistic living tips here.
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