A detox is a re-connection to whole foods, and should leave you feeling energized, refreshed, and glowing. Our body neutralizes and eliminates toxins every day, however, sometimes we loose track and eat foods that aren’t exactly good for us, we eat sugar, junk food and refined carbs, and our body has a harder time metabolizing it, nutrients are consumed in the process and the liver gets tired. This is when you should reconsider a nutrient-dense diet, to fuel the cells with everything they need for a healthy activity.
A week prior to your detox, observe your dietary habits. You may want to write down what you eat. Then choose three things—caffeine, sugar, and chocolate, for example—that you want to avoid or limit during the days leading up to the detox. It’s important, too, to replace the “bad” stuff with more healthful choices; simply removing foods from your diet can leave you feeling deprived.
This quick, easy cleanse will make you feel better in your belly, body, and brain. It is universally known that proper elimination is an important link in the digestive process and is necessary for overall health. It is important to cleanse your system from time to time, to help support, tonify, and cleanse the colon daily, add these tips to your supportive diet.
1. Before you begin, do an intermittent fast
Just like you, your gut needs a period of rest and rejuvenation to function optimally. Giving your gut a break can reduce inflammation, shed water weight, and reduce bloating.
Studies are coming out all the time supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting, which gives the body a break for a set number of hours so that your gut can repair, reset, and rest. The night before you start your cleanse, I want you to plan to fast for 12 to 16 hours. This is easier than it sounds—a 12-hour fast simply means ending your consumption at 7 in the evening and not eating breakfast the next day until 7 a.m.
2. Start your morning with water
Drinking water, especially adding half a lemon in warm water on an empty stomach, is one of the best things you can do for digestion. Warm water takes less energy to digest and stimulates digestion while detoxing the system and aiding digested food through the digestive tract. Start your day with at least one full class of room-temperature water before you consume any food.
Sip hot water frequently throughout the day, as it will help to dissolve the sticky and greasy nature of the bowel. The lemon will kindle the digestive fire which can set you up for good digestion and metabolism for your whole day.
3. Have a sugar-free breakfast
Fruit sugars are OK (berries are best), but make sure they’re accompanied by plenty of fibre and fat, so you don’t have a blood sugar crash. Try a green smoothie, soaked oats, or quinoa.
Cinnamon Banana Smoothie
In a blender, combine a medium banana, ⅔ cup unsweetened almond or rice milk, a pinch of ground cinnamon (a natural anti-inflammatory), 2 teaspoons coconut oil, and 2 scoops vanilla or chocolate protein powder. Blend until smooth.
In a blender, combine 1 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk, ¼ cup frozen chopped pineapple (pineapple is good for digestion), ¼ cup frozen mango, 2 teaspoons coconut oil, ½ banana, and 2 scoops vanilla protein powder. Blend until smooth.
In a blender, combine 1 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk, 2 scoops vanilla or plain protein powder, 2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, and ½ cup spinach or kale. Blend until smooth.
4. Midmorning, cup of chai or fresh ginger tea
Boil 1 cup of water, then add in 1 heaping tablespoon loose chai tea. To this, add additional gut-boosting spices: ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. You can also add nutmeg or clove. Strain tea and add a splash of almond or coconut milk for creaminess if you’d like.
There is an old Indian proverb that says, “Everything good is found in ginger.” Ginger tea can do the trick if you are having colon issues, and reduces inflammation.
To make a cup of tea, take a piece of whole, unpeeled ginger root and grate 1 heaping teaspoon. Stir the ginger into a cup of hot water and let steep for 2 minutes. Strain it or let the ginger settle at the bottom of the mug. You can add half a teaspoon honey if you wish. During these cool weather months, sip on this tea throughout the day.
5. Have a broth-based meal with probiotics for lunch
Not only is broth mentally soothing, but it aids in the production of gastric juices and strength of intestinal lining, soothes the gut, and aids liver and kidney function. Choose bone broth from high-quality animals or a vegetable broth, and add some vegetables to it for a filling, gut-friendly meal.
Adding 1 tablespoon of kimchee, sauerkraut, or some pickles to your meals is an easy way to work gut-friendly bacteria into your lifestyle. Try 1 teaspoon of miso in your soup or sip on Kombucha, or non-dairy kefir with your meal.
6. Don’t snack between meals
If you’re feeling peckish, have another glass of chai instead.
7. Add prebiotics to your dinner
Hunter-gatherer societies ate 200 grams of fibre daily, while we get 15 grams with a typical modern-day diet. The best source of fibre is from complex carbohydrates from fermentable plant fibres or “prebiotics,” which are likely to encourage the growth of good bacteria already present in the gut. Endeavour to eat more cellulose fibres, present in the tough parts of veggies and fruit (think of broccoli stalks, the bottom of asparagus, kale stems, and orange pulp).
The following foods are especially rich in prebiotics:
• Yams and other tubers
• Leeks (green and white parts)
• Fibrous parts of fruit and vegetables
Try to include at least one serving (extra credit for two or three!) of prebiotic food in your dinner.
8. Minimize stress
Stress, as you can imagine, has a negative effect on the gut. When you’re stressed, you release peptides that lead to increased inflammation, gut permeability (leaky gut), visceral hypersensitivity, perception to pain, and gut motility.
Try one of the following to minimize stress:
• Try a mini-meditation: Take three long deep breaths, with five counts in, and five counts out. Try not to think about anything but the breath going in and then going out. Repeat two or three times a day.
• Move your body, through exercise, yoga or Pilates Moving and stretching your tight muscles can really help get you into your calm state.
• Think to yourself when you start to get rushed: “I have plenty of time; there is so much time.” This will give you the calm to do your task without being rushed. You’ll be surprised by how much faster you are when you’re calm.
• When you get angry, repeat this mantra: “I am peaceful. I am happy.”
9. Go to bed early
Getting adequate sleep—more than eight hours a night—helps overall physical and neurological health and has a significant impact on stress levels, which will give your body the rest it needs to heal and reset your gut.
10. Colon tonic herbs
Triphala is a wonderful herb and is a combination of three fruits. It is rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoid, and phospholipids. It has a laxative effect that help in the elimination of toxins and promotes bowel movement. It is best known for its ability to replenish and nourish the system while gently cleansing and detoxifying to help eliminate excess toxins and support healthy digestion and absorption. It works gradually to rejuvenate the digestive tract, as it increases the body’s ability to nourish all vital tissues and organs. This formula can be taken daily as a tablet or in powder form.
Senna is a potent Ayurvedic herb, which acts as a laxative. Senna relieves constipation and helps regulate the movement of the bowels. It also increases the peristaltic circulation of the colon. While it is available in the form of tablets that can be taken directly it can also be used in tea bags, but it is important to be careful when taking this herb and monitor your bowels.
Senna is widely accepted as a stool softener and a short-term treatment for constipation. Senna leaf may be recommended for people with haemorrhoids, anal fissures, or those undergoing surgery involving the abdomen, anus, or rectum.
Cape aloe (Aloe ferox) is native to Africa and is renowned for its remarkable natural colon cleansing benefits. Cape aloe is probably the strongest of the colon stimulating herbs.
Cascara sagrada has the key active constituents which stimulate peristalsis, the vigorous wavelike contractions of the large intestine that keep food moving through the digestive system. When cascara speeds the process up, the body produces a softer, quicker bowel movement because the intestine has had less chance to absorb the liquid from the stool.
Barberry rootbark aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver health, acts as a mild purgative, helps regulate the digestive processes, and improves insulin sensitivity. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract and reduces blood pressure.
Fennel seed is a carminative herb that helps reduce colic, gas, indigestion, intestinal disorders, nausea, and flatulence, while at the same time improving assimilation. It also can help break up kidney stones and uric acid in the tissues and is used in treating gout. Fennel seed will help clear mucus and phlegm from the lungs, and it will also help rid the intestinal tract of mucus. Its tissue cleansing properties have a cleansing effect on the gallbladder and liver.
Terminalia chebula is called the “king of medicines” in Tibet and is one of the prime Ayurvedic herbs used in India because of its extraordinary healing powers. Traditionally, it is used in natural colon cleansers to address constipation, digestive orders, irregular fevers, flatulence, ulcers, vomiting, colic, and haemorrhoids.
Repeat for another 2 days, then check in with how you are feeling.
If you can take away just a few of these changes, you’ll be setting yourself up for long-term gut success.
Continue to minimizing sugar, eating lots of fibre every single day, eating more fermented food, sleeping a lot, and getting dirty regularly. Remember pills, colon cleanses, hydrotherapy, enemas, and all these other quick fixes aren’t the answer. In fact, they can do more harm than good. The power is in your food and in your life choices.
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