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To detox, or not to detox? And if you do, will you actually get the results you want, or will your detox of choice potentially make your body even more toxic?
At this time of year, after an overload of family time, which often comes with a side of wine and choccy eggs, this is the biggest question we get from our BUF Girls around the world. So this week, we thought we’d answer it en masse!
What do we mean by ‘detox’?
Our opinion is that the words ‘detox’ and ‘cleanse’ are often very confusing for people. The point is usually to get rid of toxins, but what is really toxic to the body? And in what amount? Is it different for different people? And can you actually eliminate all toxins from the body? Not really.
Others embarking on a detox plan think the point is to lose weight. But any weight lost on an extreme detox diet or fast is usually water, carbohydrate stores, and intestinal bulk. You finish the detox, and it all returns quick-smart. And cutting calories drastically, which is required for most programs like this, is not great for most people, particularly women of reproductive age.
The thing is, there’s no universal definition of what ‘detox’ or ‘cleansing’ really means, or who it’s useful for – one thing detox diets do have in common though, is that they will usually include increasing certain food groups, while cutting out others.
There are potential benefits to this – for example, most detoxes will encourage you to eat more of certain beneficial foods, such as veggies and fruit, Omega-3 fats, green and herbal teas, while cutting out foods it’s great to have a break from every now and again, like caffeine, alcohol, gluten and dairy.
On the downside, because detoxes often move you away from variety and towards an overdose of certain food types, like juices, some of the more negative side-effects people notice on a cleanse may not be from a positive ‘detoxing’ process, but rather from an overdose of certain foods or macronutrients!
At the end of the day, it’s up to you – and there’s some fun to be had in trial and error, when done safely, but our opinion is that there are better ways to help your body reset after a lot of indulgence, than to cut do something drastic like exist on only liquids, or a handful of foods for a week.
Your body is a serious natural detoxing machine, and while it does need a little help from you to do its job effectively, you don’t need to go too far to reap the benefits.
Obviously, a medical or Naturopath prescribed cleanse is another thing altogether – please listen to your health pros over us, as these kind of cleanses are a different story, and usually consider your specific health needs and outcomes.
But for the general punter, here’s our guide to cleansing your beautiful body, without the extremes.
Some steps you can take to score a detox, without the restriction!
Watch your portions
More food means more work for your digestive system to do, and too much of any one kind of food means your body may not be able to use everything you’re putting in. Eat a variety, and watch your quantities.
Eat the rainbow
This means your base for any meal should be plant-based foods – yep, that age old “eat your fruit and veggies” advice. But why? Because plants contain a lot of antioxidants that help the body deal with eliminating chemicals and toxins the natural way. Go organic where possible to increase the effect!
Why? Because less body fat = less space for potentially harmful chemicals to be stored in your body, and more natural detoxing as you sweat it all out via your biggest detoxification organ, the skin!
Leave about 12 hours between dinner and breakfast
Obviously it’s only a good idea to stick to this rule if you’re in good health (and not pregnant!). But leaving a decent amount of time between these two meals gives the body a nice break from digesting food in every 24-hour cycle, and can also improve your sleep, which is a great way to boost your body’s recovery.
Don’t over-use supplements
Make sure you’re only putting in what your body needs, and not more! Just like food, too much is, well, too much.
Ditch problem foods
If you just can’t seem to stop at just a few squares of chocolate, one biscuit, one scoop of ice-cream, or one piece of toast, then it might be an idea to put the foods you frequently overeat aside. Too much of a good thing is definitely what builds toxins in the bod, so be aware of that!
Be aware of what your beauty and body products contain
Your skin is your biggest organ, so any chemicals you slather on to it will be absorbed, and can enter your blood and circulate in your body. One of the easiest ways to lighten the chemical load is to check your products.
Get out in the sunshine
Walking in nature is one of the best ways to detox your body, mind and soul. Not only will you breathe in fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D, you’ll also sleep better, feel happier and encourage your body to naturally eliminate toxins via your skin and digestive system. Triple points!
Want to know more?
Tune in to our Facebook LIVE chat this Thursday 5 April at 1:30pm over at facebook.com/bufgirls for a Q&A with BUF Girls founder Libby Babet – all questions welcome for a serious dose of #GirlTalk 😉
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