A lot of people recognize the need to detoxify the body and undertake actions accordingly. Too often, however, these actions are too drastic and do more harm than good. Below are some common mistakes to avoid while doing a detox:
Mistake No 1: Drinking too much (cold) water
Drinking plenty of water is considered beneficial for flushing toxins. However, if the water is cold it actually slows the lymphatic drainage. Slow lymphatic drainage, in turn, compromises the process of detoxification as most of the toxins are supposed to get flushed through the lymphatic system. Cold water can also lead to constipation, and if you don’t empty your bowel you certainly can’t get rid of some of the toxins either. To make matters worse, cold water disrupts the digestion. In fact whatever the temperature of your beverages, if you drink too much fluids (especially too close to meals), you will make less digestive enzymes and your digestion will become compromised. As a result, you can expect a lot of fermentation in the gut which leads to even more toxicity.
Water is best drunk at room temperature (or slightly warm in winter) and never during your meals. Sipping on hot water (with some optional lemon) throughout the day is an excellent way to melt toxins. Drinking lemon, ginger and honey mixed in warm water first thing in the morning is also great for detoxification. Add ½ tsp of fenugreek powder to this mixture to stimulate lymphatic drainage and burn excess fat.
Mistake No 2: Eating too much fruit
Fruit is beneficial because it contains fibre and therefore promotes regular bowel, which is essential for detoxification. In addition, fruit has vitamins which act as antioxidants and can thus assist the process of detoxification. However, too much fructose (the sugar found in fruit) can be very harmful for the liver and is therefore a bad recipe for detox. In addition, when too much fruit is combined with other foods, it can compromise the health of the gut. You should especially avoid combining fruit with dairy (e.g. yogurt, cheese, etc). When fruit combines with anything in the gut, it quickly leads to fermentation and therefore raises the toxicity levels. Note that tomatoes are also fruit!
Ideally, fruit should only be eaten in moderation, on its own, and always between meals. Allow at least 30 minutes before and 2-4 hours after a meal.
Mistake No 3: Raw Foods
Raw foods are great if you have strong digestion. But if your gut is weak (especially if you have IBS), raw foods can be a killer. Your body has to cook all the raw food you are ingesting before it can be assimilated. If your digestive system is depleted, raw food will only weaken it even more. In order for your body to be able to detoxify, you have to eat foods that are light and easy to assimilate. For many this means only cooked food. Yes, some vitamins are easily lost in the cooking process but the same process makes most minerals more available than they are in the raw food.
If you are unwilling to give up your salads, eat them at lunch rather than dinner. Add some lemon and black pepper to your salad mixtures to make them easier to digest and assimilate.
Mistake No 4: The Lemon Master Cleanse and Salt Water Flushes
Your gut has somewhere between 1.5 – 4.5kg of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are harmful and create toxicity (e.g. Candida). However, believe it or not, some of those little buggers are not simply good for you; they actually account for up to 75% of the function of your immune system! Without the good guys in the gut, the bad ones will overtake easily and the level of toxicity will rise accordingly. Along with helping your immune system and your digestive system, the good bacteria also help you make vitamin B and K.
Now, anyone who has done the Master Lemon Cleanse has also experienced the notorious salt water flushes administered each morning for many days in a row. It is a process considered beneficial for cleansing as it literary rips your gut out by causing it to flush its contents thoroughly through forceful (and often painful) contractions. I’ve done it myself, so I am talking from experience. If you opt for such flushes you are totally eliminating the good bacteria together with the bad. Colonic irrigations can have a similar effect, though they act mainly on the large intestine and spare the small intestines.
After any drastic form of purgation, be sure to take tons of high quality probiotics over a long period of time to restore the gut flora. A high quality probiotic is one that has billions (not millions) of bacteria per capsule and has been stored properly so the bacteria are actually active. After 通渠佬 purgation, you should also adopt a strict diet regime for several days where you eat only light, cooked food. The gut is very depleted after purgation, so eating normal food can be equivalent to addition salt to your wounds.
Mistake No 5: Post-Detox Regime
By far the most serious and the priciest mistake is often made straight after the active phase of a detox. Very few people have the patience, the knowledge and the self-discipline to introduce normal foods gradually. Very few people realize that eating McDonald’s straight after you have been on a strict detox regime will make you sicker than you were before you started the detox.
If you know you can’t maintain self-discipline to break out of a detox gradually, don’t even bother with the detox. Adopt a more gradual and common sense approach instead. Change your eating habits slowly over time and look at it as an investment project in yourself. Cut out take-aways and processed food. Cut down on the refined carbs, sugar, coffee and alcohol. Increase your exercise. Try to obtain as much nutrients from your food as possible and cut down your supplements. Long term this will be far more beneficial for you than doing a 10 day diet and then going straight back to your usual rubbish.