The arrival of spring inevitably brings with it an influx of web articles and ads promoting the famous spring detox.
The collective message is: “spring” = “renewal” = “cleansing” = “DETOX”! »
Many critics claim that detoxing simply isn’t necessary because our bodies are designed to detox all by themselves, through the liver (and other organs and bodily processes). They are also quick to add that this type of cleansing is nothing more than a passing fad. And, I must admit that there’s truth in what they say.
Yes, the body can get rid of toxins on its own.
However, we don’t always give it the necessary tools in needs to achieve this.
What is a detox?
Essentially, doing a detox means reducing the number of toxins that enter the body and increasing the number of toxins that are eliminated.
I would not recommend an intense detox regimen, like taking laxatives (which can cause intestinal irritation), or prolonged fasting (which is extremely taxing on the body).
If you want to do a detox, I would advise you to be gentle on your body! Also, let’s remember that it’s normal to have toxins in your body; the goal is not to hunt down and get rid of every single toxin.
However, a gentle detox may be considered when toxins accumulate in large quantities and the body is unable to eliminate them naturally.
Some toxins are absorbed by the body from external sources beyond our control, such as:
- air pollution
- chemicals (dyes, drugs, solvents, additives)
- processed products
- animal products in large amounts
Whatever the body cannot digest is stored in the form of toxins.
This is not really a problem because, most of the time, the liver naturally eliminates these toxins. The liver has two vital functions: it breaks down nutrients and filters out wastes.
However, sometimes, it has difficulty doing its job, for various reasons. For example, the liver can become sluggish or congested because it can’t keep pace with the buildup of toxins.
Why are detox regimens typically done in the spring?
According to Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ related to spring energy! Like nature, it reawakens after a period of dormancy: the liver doesn’t like the cold, so it hibernates in winter and then replenishes its stores of energy as the warmer weather arrives!
What are the signs of a congested liver?
- difficult digestion
- sluggish elimination
- dull complexion
- white coating on the tongue
- bad breath
- feeling exhausted upon waking
- drowsiness after meals
- waking up around 1 a.m. (when the liver’s energy is at its peak)
How can you detox your liver gently?
There is no need for fasting or any other extreme regimen. First, you have to reduce your intake of toxins. To do this, you can:
- Replace processed foods with healthier homemade alternatives.
- Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
- Eat organic foods when possible.
- Eliminate refined vegetable oils, in favor of cold-pressed oils (like olive oil).
- Incorporate “living” foods into your diet: sprouts, seaweed, juices, smoothies, etc.
- Drink green vegetable juice.
- Swap your cosmetics for products containing natural creams and oils.
Next, to help your body eliminate toxins, you should:
- Drink natural spring water.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Incorporate fermented products into your diet to support a healthy gut microbiome (kefir, yeast, sauerkraut, pickles, miso soup, yogurt, cheese, etc.).
- Dry-brush your skin.
- Take deep breaths (at home and, whenever possible, in the fresh country or forest air).
- Engage in moderate physical activity.
My favorite “detox” foods:
- natural spring water
- spirulina (to add to your smoothies)
- sprouts (to incorporate into your dishes)
- chlorella (to add to smoothies)
- beets (in beverages and in food)
- ginger (in beverages and in food)
- curcuma (in beverages and in food)
- aromatic herbs (coriander, parsley, basil, thyme, mint…)
The bottom line
The word “detox” is often misused, especially by the diet industry. It is too often associated with fasting and purging.
Detoxification should be a gentle, gradual process.
Start by adopting a slower pace, take time to live in the present, breathe, and reconnect with yourself.
Important note: if the above recommendations are very different from your current lifestyle habits, just go at your own pace, step by step. Radically changing the way you do things can be extremely hard on your body. Check out the Nutricoach app to help guide you through the basics or to get some healthy recipes!