As we head into December, a time notorious for over-indulgence, the idea of ‘pretox’ is worth considering. Some people think they will ‘make the most’ of the festive season, ahead of a punishing detox they intend to embark upon in January. The more toxic we are, the more difficult the detox and the more stress we place on our bodies, whilst often being miserable at the same time. I have heard people describe extreme and debilitating ‘detox’ symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and dizziness. This is NOT healthy! We do not advocate extreme detox.
Sometimes the term ‘pretox’ refers to preparing the body for a binge of some sort in order to build some resilience into the system and protect the liver. This may mean B vitamins or the herb, St Mary’s Thistle. Whilst it is obviously preferable to be moderate in festive consumption, it is important to remember that if we are drinking more alcohol, consuming more sugar and getting less sleep than usual, there will be a toll on the body. There is very likely to be dehydration and nutrient depletion. Therefore to minimise accumulation of toxic burden, remember to also increase water intake and take a good quality nutritional supplement (we prefer superfood powders, our favourites listed below).
Another meaning for pre-tox though is preparing the body for detox. That is, if detoxification is a resolution for you, by all means, begin the process on January 1, but gently. This may mean reducing alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, sugar; whatever combination of toxins you have decided to eliminate, over a period of a week or two, before cutting them out altogether. And, very importantly, begin to prepare the organs of elimination, by drinking plenty of water, consuming fibre etc. This is a critical part of detoxification.
Just by being a little more mindful and taking this care, there will be less stress on the body when it comes to detox to whatever lifestyle resolutions you have in mind the new year, and by bringing this more into consciousness now, we are more likely to be able to maintain changes.
Even with a clean lifestyle without December indulgences, the body may still accumulate toxins in the tissues and extra-cellular matrix. Examples could be mercury from fish; other toxic metals from a variety of sources; herbicides which can be difficult to completely avoid; plastics; environmental toxins; toxins from skin and hair care products; xeno-biotics, xeno-oestrogens and of course our own endogenous toxins, being by-products of metabolism.
Remember as well, that is is not just the toxic load itself, but the individual body’s response to the load. We may be lacking in important detoxifying substances, perhaps the best known one being glutathione. Or, we may not have the enzyme systems or transport systems to ensure these are properly utilised. It is for this reason it is recommended to seek professional help if embarking on a more rigorous detox programme.
Here are some things to consider to reduce toxic load and prepare the organs of elimination:
- Drink plenty of filtered water
- Start your day with lemon and water
- Get enough good quality sleep (this is when many detox and restorative processes take place)
- Exercise (being careful not to over-exercise if you are not used to it, as this can promote inflammation in the body)
- Avoid/limit fast foods, processed foods, sugar and alcohol
- Pay attention to fat balance (good ratio of omega 3 to omega 6) and avoid transfats – another post coming on this soon
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, ensuring at least some are raw
- Ensure there is plenty of fibre in your diet
- Eat organic as much as possible (to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals in herbicides etc.)
- Practice stress management (stress hormones also need to be detoxified)
- Choose organic skin care and personal hygiene products, an important source of external toxins. That is everything from your skincare, haircare, make-up, toothpaste, sun care products and deodorant. There are a number of brands now producing high quality organic products. Some examples of products we use and love are Tailor skin care; Zk’in; Kora organics; A’kin; Ecocare; Devine by Therese Kerr; Pai Organics (London); Luk beautifood (great Christmas specials!) – More on skin in January
- Dry skin brushing (this helps stimulate the lymphatic system)
- Chlorophyl or chlorella (available in concentrate form from most health food stores). Mix and drink throughout the day.
- Take a good quality nutritional supplement/superfood. Our favourites include Elemental Wizdom, matcha green tea (Matcha Maiden), baobab powder (Rawsome foods), the Power Superfoods range and Acai (Amazonia).