I don’t know about you, but after the Holidays and fun summer period, it starts to really take its toll on the body and mind.
If you are feeling a little rundown, susceptible to colds or feeling a little sinusy or having more allergic reactions than usual, it might be a sign that your liver and body is a little overwhelmed and could do with a little helping hand and some TLC.
Now I know it’s a little overwhelming knowing where to start with cleansing, and knowing which diet to follow or which supplements to take. It’s also important to get support since we are all different and thus have different requirements according to our constitution, types of foods that work for us, how we tolerate the cold and wet. Also the health of our gut is important.
Whilst I can certainly delve deeper on an individual consultation basis, here are some tips in the meantime to help you get started with your cleansing.
Some simple things that can really make a difference:
– Lemon in hot water upon rising
We all know it, but it’s not always easy remembering to do it.. but simple lemon juice in some hot water first thing upon rising is amazing for the liver and digestion as it stimulates the digestive enzymes and thus helps us to much more easily digest our first meal of the day so we can benefit from the nutrients.
The acid can be abrasive to tooth enamel so drink it through a straw if possible (and of course try to use the straw again, or you can get those non-disposable ones).
– Apple cider vinegar before meals
This really helps to get the gastric juices flowing so will help you to absorb your food more effectively. You can also add it to meals as a dressing or add it your hot lemon above with some anti-inflammatory turmeric to really get the digestive going.
– Drink lots of water
Again, it’s not rocket science, but life gets busy and we forget to drink and then eat more since we think we are hungry when we are simply dehydrated. An easy way to increase your uptake is to drink a good couple of glasses first thing in the morning, after cleaning your teeth (so as not to absorb the toxins in the mouth that accumulate during the night). This will hydrate the body to start the day craving free.
– Temporarily cut back on grains (especially gluten), dairy and starchy vegetables and sugars including alcohol
Even if only for a week or so, try to cut out refined, processed foods and even grains. If you overindulged over the holidays, it is likely that any bacteria or yeast in our guts have had a party on the sugar and starches and thus started to multiply and cause some inflammation and irritation in the gut. This can manifest as bloating, gas, feeling a little groggy, heady, lack of concentration/energy… Therefore having a break from any sugary foods will really allow your body to have a rest and flush out the toxins to reduce the bloating and sugar cravings.
Ideally don’t consume any sugar during the detox, even if only for 7 days. If you need something sweet, berries are the best fruit to have, or unsweetened pomegranate juice or cranberry juice can be used. A sweet herbal tea also help sugar cravings. I love licorice tea after dinner as it naturally sweet and also great for the digestion and adrenals and satisfies any sugar cravings.
– Avoid coffee
Coffee is a stimulant and addictive and is also irritating to the gut lining. It can also exhaust the adrenals so it would be good to have a break from this after the busy end of year as it can really overstimulate the nervous system.
– Nuts for nuts?
Nuts are yummy and full of nutrients, however, they are also a little hard on our poor digestive system. During this time, try to reduce your consumption and only eat activated nuts, preferably almonds, as these are the least acidic and mouldy, and ideally consume in nut milks or ground into meal to help digest them more effectively. They contain phytates so they can bind to key nutrients and can cause bloating. So breaking them down first by activating them can help minimise them. Simply soak them in water (I also add apple cider vinegar and salt) for up to 8 hours and then dry out in an oven at 60oC.
– Introduce some fermented products into your diet to help reintroduce some good gut bacteria into the body.
We are going back to basics and full circle to what our grandparents used to eat! Sauerkraut is yummy and full of probiotic goodness and a great complement to any steamed or raw vegetables. Kefir and Kombucha are also fizzy, fermented drinks that are refreshing and can help as a probiotic does to the gut and also helps to reduce sugar cravings.
Caution if you have more serious gut dysbiosis, as this might cause some bloating and discomfort to start. If preferred, you can introduce these later once the gut has healed and released some of the toxins and overgrowth of yeast. Frequent enemas can also help to release any die off of yeast when first introducing fermented foods to reduce any symptoms. See my point below on enemas. 
– Drink lots of vegetable soups, fresh green vegetables juices, eat lots of vegetables plus good quality protein.
These can be the mainstays of your diet for a week or so. A little boring, but so yummy if you get creative. Broccoli is particularly great for the liver and detoxing with its sulphur content. By adding a bit of sauerkraut as mentioned above this can give it some zest. Ideally a mix of raw and steamed/stir fried is good to get the enzymes from the raw diet. However, if colder, eat more cooked food, and if gut very sensitive and reactive, cooked foods will be easier to absorb.
I add apple cider vinegar, liver supporting turmeric, olive oil and avocado to jazz up the vegetables.
– Liver / gut herbs
A good supplement support is also to protect the liver from the toxins that are released when starving the yeast and candida.
St marys thistle is brilliant for rejuvenating and protecting the liver. Flordis Legalon is a great brand. Otherwise drinking dandelion coffee is also great.
Turmeric is great either in root form in juices or simply add the powder when sauteeing vegetables or sprinkle over salads.
Slippery elm is also great for lining the gut and preventing any irritation and inflammation. If you know you might have a few drinks, a great preventative measure is to take 1tsp in water in a closed top jar, shake well and drink it down. It forms a gel like consistency lining the gut.
Zinc is important in many enzyme reactions throughout the body, and in particular, by the liver enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, to break down alcohol into less toxic substances. If you drink, you need zinc. 
– Eat sea vegetables
Sea vegetables are also yummy to add to vegetables and are packed full of minerals and iodine, which is great for a sluggish thyroid. Minerals are essential and if depleted can lead to sugar and carb cravings.  Nori flakes are perfect to sprinkle onto salads.
If you must, you can have a little bit of fermented, sprouted bread made from seed-like grains, amaranth, quinoa and millet or buckwheat to get your carb fix. These are pre-digested so easier on the gut and a lot of the sugars have been used for the fermentation process so lower GI. I recommend Radley’s Spring Wellness loaf that you can get at The Health Emporium in Bondi. 🙂
– Dry skin brushing
This is a technique that helps to release toxins via the skin which is a strong eliminatory, detoxing organ. Light strokes close to the surface of the skin where our lymph is located helps to keep our circulation moving and thus move the toxins out of the body that may be stuck. Light exercise and using a trampoline does a similar action. You can read more about this in a previous blog post on Ayurvedic rituals.
– Drinks lots of herbal teas
I love my herbal teas and I find they are great to have when you are feeling hungry. They fill you up, quench your first and you can have liver flushing dandelion, appetite stimulating and digestive peppermint and I also love licorice or fennel teas as they are great for digestion but also sweet so a great substitute when you are about to reach for the chocolate or biscuits.
If you are starting to detox the body, you might be killing off some bad guys as you starve them of sugar, therefore it’s a good idea to do an occasional flush of the system to release the toxins.
This can help to alleviate some of the typical symptoms of detoxing:
– Headaches, fogginess
– Skin irritation/rash or itchiness
– Fatigue, mood swings, irritable
– White tongue, mucus
Detoxing can bring up some old, suppressed emotions as well as you remove toxins. This can make you more reactive, especially if anger, frustration is present. Therefore, sitting for 15 minutes once or twice a day can be really beneficial to really become more present and aware of any changes in the body or mind. Just be kind and watch any emotions and watch where you can feel the pain/heat, anger arise and as you bring awareness to it, it will more easily dissolve.
Be kind during this period and rest and read nice books and give yourself a well deserved rest.
If you really find sitting still hard, you can simply add a count to the breath, counting to 5 as you inhale and then as you exhale. Or even repeat a mantra of your choice, or a simple one used by my lovely teachers at Jivamukti Yoga, simply say “Let” on the inhale and “Go” on the exhale. 
Really feel yourself surrender and let go of anything no longer serving you as you exhale. Very healing.
Meditating can also help you bring awareness to when eating and potentially slow down your eating. Try being mindful while eating and chew your food properly and slowly to help the digestion process and activate the enzymes.
Simple but effective. You need 7-8 hours sleep if you are really going to allow your body to detox properly. Getting to bed by 10pm and getting up at 6am allows you a great sleep at the most effective time for healing. Important healing and restoring processes in the body take place which can’t occur if you stay up late.
Switching off computers and phones, and putting on some relaxing music, lighting candles and incense can signal to your body it’s bedtime so you can start to unwind. Breathing at this time will also help to slow down the mind.
On that note, I need to log off myself. I hope you find the information useful. If you need any further advice or consults, please feel free to contact me for further information on my naturopathic consults, yoga classes or massage treatments.
1. The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Hay
2. Body and Soul – Mim Beim
3. The Whole Journey, Candida
4. Jivamukti Yoga