Detox! Full of zeal and vim, you intend to clean up your act, banish the seasonal bulges, and get started on a new and virtuous regime of vigorous health.
But how? What’s the best way to achieve this laudable aim? There are so many possible regimens, it becomes a mite confusing.
Here’s a simple programme that you can follow with ease, enjoying better health without too much pain or too many adverse effects.
it’s really important to get the exit routes working well, so that toxins that you release from storage in the tissues and organs will actually leave the body. The primary exit routes are the urinary tract and the bowel, so the first two weeks are devoted to ensuring that they work perfectly, which will make the whole cleansing process more effective and less unpleasant.
Increase your water intake to two litres daily. If you aren’t used to doing it, remember not to drink any large amount 20 minutes either side of a meal (to avoid diluting your digestive enzymes), and remember not to count fizzy water or flavoured water in your two litres.
Cut down your caffeine intake to two cups per day maximum, and instead increase herb teas such as Golden Rod, Fennel, and Nettle, which are all very good for the urinary tract.
If you already do all of this then you can skip straight to week two.
It’s important that your bowel moves at least once per day - preferably more, especially if you eat two or three meals every day. Without this exit route open and functioning well, you are more likely to experience bloating, abdominal discomfort, wind, skin problems and general sluggishness.
This week, if your bowel is not moving at least once per day, take a mild laxative containing herbs such as frangula and cascara until it does so. If your bowel is very slow, you may need a stronger laxative containing senna -don’t take more than the recommended dose.
Many people find that drinking more water and less caffeine helps improve bowel function, so if this has been a side effect of your first week’s work, well done and keep up the good work.
Also this week, start implementing a better diet.
- Reduce the amount of red meat, white flour, refined sugar and fatty fried food in your daily diet
- Increase your intake of vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, wholegrains such as brown rice or wholemeal couscous, and wheat-free alternatives such as millet pasta, rice cakes and oatcakes instead of normal bread and pasta.
- Chew your food really well - this makes a huge difference to how effectively your digestive system works. Try chewing each mouthful at least 20 times, and if this feels like immensely hard work then you probably routinely inhale your food rather than eating it, and you will benefit greatly from slowing down and actually masticating…
WEEKS 3 and 4
Look for kits to help you clear some of the clutter from your system. Make sure that the focus is on the bowel and urinary tract, with herbs that cleanse and strengthen your bowel, liver, bladder and kidneys. My favourite kidney herb is Solidago (Golden Rod), with Uva-ursi strengthening the bladder and Dandelion root doing wonderful things for the liver and gallbladder. Calendula is a herb I have started using frequently, traditionally known as having a very positive effect on congested lymphatic systems.
Really, once you get started you’ll be surprised how little unpleasantness can attach to a sensible detox programme and how good you feel as a result.
To increase the beneficial effect for your lymphatic system, do 10 minutes brisk walking or skipping with a skipping rope, or 20 minutes on a step machine (available in mini versions for very moderate amounts from sports shops) each day.
Cut Out: red meat, burgers, fried food, wheat, refined sugar, dairy products, alcohol, coffee, tea, biscuits, cakes, chocolate and sweets
Include: fresh fruit and vegetables, chickpeas, aduki beans, butter beans, kidney beans, green or red lentils, tofu, wheat-free pasta, rice cakes, oatcakes, corn cakes, humus, dairy-free milk, dairy-free yoghurt and cheese, coffee substitutes such as Bambu, herb teas, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
That’s it. You’re cleansed and refreshed, your digestive system has had an overhaul, and you probably don’t feel like going back to bad old habits such as mainlining caffeine and sugar. You can repeat this programme whenever you feel the need, but spring and autumn are particularly good times to choose.