“Detoxification” seems to be the latest buzz word these days. Everywhere you turn it seems somebody is talking about being on the latest “detox diet” or “cleanse”, and the number of products designed to help you detoxify your body are cropping up on store shelves every day. It seems it is almost trendy these days to be on a detox!
The word detox likely conjures up a number of different images for different people, such as running to the toilet 10 times a day, living on nothing but vegetable juices and herbal concoctions, or perhaps even going to some remote island where you meditate for hours on end while chanting to the Sun Gods.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do support a good detox diet that includes limiting certain foods, eating lighter fare, and adding specific supplements or herbs to your diet that increase the body’s natural ability to detoxify. My only concern is, how can you expect to rid your body of toxins that have built up over your entire lifetime in a detox program that lasts 3, 5 or even 10 days?
Whereas you may decide to take a break from some toxic habits such as eating sugar or drinking alcohol, the fact of the matter is, there are many things that can be (and should be) incorporated into your life each and everyday to support detoxification and promote optimal health – not just for a few days a year before returning back to your regular bad habits.
So what exactly does the word detoxification mean? Simply stated, detoxification is the removal of toxins from the body. However, it’s not that simple!
We are exposed to a barrage of toxins daily through the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, and products that we put on our skin. In the past 75 years alone over 80,000 new chemical s have been introduced into our environment!
Then there are the internal toxins which are created inside our bodies. These include the by-products of metabolic processes and bacterial wastes.
When there is an increase in toxic build-up in the body, numerous illnesses and health complications can ensue.
With that said, there is no better determinant of health than a body that is able to detoxify effectively. A body that cannot detoxify properly is paving the road to a future of ill-health.
The major organ systems involved in physical detoxification include the digestive, urinary, dermal (skin), respiratory and lymphatic system. However, the primary organs are the liver, kidneys and intestines. And based on the number of toxins we are exposed to daily, it is likely these organs need all the help they can get!
The focus of this post is to talk about “everyday” things that you can start doing right now, that can help support your body’s natural ability to detoxify.
The quality of our life and health is greatly affected by the choices we make every day; from the food we choose to put in our mouth, the products we purchase, the activities we decide to participate in, the people we choose to spend time with, to the thoughts we think.
Recently I gave a series of nutrition talks on the topic of detoxification along with my fellow nutritionista friend Joy. We gave our “top 10 tips” for everyday ways to detoxify your life. For the purposes of this blog however, I decided I would focus solely on the “diet” portion of our talk and break it down to 5 tips instead.
Other tips that we talked about that I’m not going to cover here were: ditching toxic habits like smoking and drinking excessively, getting adequate sleep and exercise, supporting your body with supplements and limiting toxins in your home.
So with that said, here is tip #1 of my “top 5 diet tips” you can incorporate into your life everyday to help detoxify your body!
Tip #1 – Boost your intake of natural detoxifying foods
Yes, that’s right! There are foods that exist which actually increase your body’s natural detoxifying properties.
1) Cruciferous Vegetables: such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips.
Photo credit- Flickr:tibchris
2) High-sulphur containing foods: such as onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and eggs.
Photo credit – Flickr:mullica
3) Bitter and leafy greens: such as arugula, watercress, endive, Swiss chard and dandelion greens.
Photo credit – Flickr:muffet
4) Other natural detoxifying foods include: beets, carrots, apples, artichokes, lemons, limes and spices such as turmeric.
Photo credit – Flickr:heathervescent
All of these foods mentioned help to protect the liver from damage, improve liver function and increase detoxification pathways in the body.
Note: Some of the foods fall under more than one category
The key is to try and incorporate as many of these foods into your diet each and everyday!
Here’s a simple and easy recipe that you can make for dinner tonight!
Recipe: Liver Lovin’ Veggie Sauté (4 servings)
Approx. ½ a small red cabbage chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 beet peeled and chopped
2 cups of broccoli
5-6 leafs of swiss chard (or leafy green of your choice)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 TBSP Coconut Oil (for cooking and added flavour)
Splash of water
Splash of Tamari (optional)
Cooking time: Approx. 20 minutes
In a wok or saucepan:
Heat oil over medium temperature.
Add all veggies except leafy greens and garlic
Sauté until vegetables soften a bit – approx 7-8 minutes
At this point you may want to throw in a splash of water – helps the veggies cook faster
Add leafy greens – sauté for another 10 minutes or so until veggies are tender but still crispy
Throw in a splash of Tamari
Serve over Quinoa and sprinkle with fresh raw garlic (optional)
Yes – that’s right. RAW garlic! In addition to enhancing flavor and being a natural detoxifier, raw garlic has so many other amazing health benefits including boosting the immune system. More to come on this in another post!
There you have it – a simple and delicious recipe that will help kick your body’s detoxifying powers into gear!
Click here for a Liver Lovin’ Smoothie recipe
Check back soon for Tip # 2