A Guide to Detoxing

A Guide to Detoxing

Okay, so you want to do a detox? That’s great! But it’s going to take more than just drinking green smoothies or expensive shots of wheatgrass. Sorry kale!

Read on if you want to understand the ins and outs of detoxification and some helpful guidelines to get you started. If you want to do a guided detoxification program to target specific symptoms like chronic or severe digestive symptoms, allergies and food sensitivities, eczema and other skin conditions or if you suspect you may have a heavy metal toxicity then please get in touch with me via my contact link.

What is detoxification?

Detoxification is a process of removing a build-up of toxicity in the body. This toxicity accumulates due to a number of factors. These can be dietary or environmental, produced normally by the body, due to a build-up of pathogenic organisms in the digestive system, or due to a reduced efficiency of the body’s natural detoxification pathways.

Dietary toxins include herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, artificial colours, flavourings and hormones from non-organic meats/dairy products.

Environmental pollutants include herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, plastics, industrial and vehicle pollution and heavy metals.

Reduced efficiency of the body’s natural detoxification pathways can occur due to a build-up of dietary and environmental toxins; infections; chronic inflammatory illnesses; vitamin and mineral deficiencies; food sensitivities; chronic digestive issues; intestinal parasites and/or infections; constipation; intake of coffee, alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs; and a lack of exercise.

Requirements for a detox

Symptoms that would indicate a need to detoxify include fogginess, lack of focus and mental clarity, lowered immunity, reduced energy levels, generalised aches, pains and muscle weakness, sleeplessness and/or waking between 12-3am, allergies, skin conditions, headaches, chronic constipation and/or diarrhoea, and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Detoxification is most effective if it is done in a particular order. This is to ensure that toxins are actually eliminated from the body and not just re-circulated. This order is: the bowels, intestines, stomach and digestion, kidneys, lungs and lymphatic system, liver and skin.

Sometimes symptoms may worsen for the first few days while on a detoxification program, but usually passes without any detriment. Introducing the detox slowly over the first week usually prevents this from happening. Other symptoms including general fatigue, digestive upset or cold/flu like aches and pains may be experienced. This can be greatly reduced and improved by (1) increasing water intake, (2) increasing dietary fibre, and (3) reducing the doses of any herbal supplements prescribed.

What to avoid on a detox plan:

  • Any food that causes allergic or sensitivity reactions
  • Gluten, especially if you are sensitive to it
  • Processed foods or junk food
  • Dairy products
  • Margarine, deep fried foods or anything that contains rancid ‘trans-fats’
  • So called ‘refined’ foods- white sugar, pasta, bread, biscuits, pastries
  • Non-organic meats
  • Coffee, black tea, alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Deodorants that contain aluminium
  • Chemical fumes (such as paints) and cleaning products


What to include on a detox plan:

  • Gluten free wholegrains such as buckwheat, quinoa, millet, brown rice or amaranth
  • Plant proteins such as nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Raw vegetable juices
  • Broths and soups
  • Vegetables and salads
  • Fresh fruit (no dried fruits)
  • Organic eggs or at least free range
  • Organic white meats
  • Small fish such as whiting, snapper, sardines, river trout etc
  • Herbal teas especially dandelion, peppermint, fennel and ginger
  • Plenty of filtered water with a little lemon juice and Himalayan or Celtic sea salt added to assist with hydration. This will help to flush out toxins
  • A fibre supplement such as psyllium husks, slippery elm or flaxseed meal
  • Aim for a diet of greater than 50% raw and less than 50% cooked foods for the duration of the detox program


Other guidelines:

  • Eat lighter than usual with smaller portion sizes
  • Chew food properly; take the time to eat slowly and without the distractions of TV
  • If possible eat organic foods (see image: Dirty-dozen/clean-15)
  • Chlorella is a good detoxifying algae that can bind and eliminate heavy metals and pesticide residues. Start with a small dose of 3 tablets and gradually increase over a week to 10-15 tablets daily
  • Bentonite clay is excellent for binding toxins in the digestive system for elimination
  • Exercise gently, it increases circulation and sweating to assist with toxin removal via the skin
  • Practice deep breathing through the lower abdomen; many gaseous toxins are eliminated via the lungs and breath. It also increases the body’s oxygen levels so will make you feel very energetic
  • Take a good quality antioxidant
  • Green tea and roasted dandelion tea can be included particularly if withdrawing from coffee. Green tea contains some caffeine that can help with caffeine withdrawal headaches
  • Dry skin brushing (using a loofah or brush) before showering increases blood flow to the skin, helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and assists with detoxifying via the skin
  • Sauna’s also assist with detoxifying through the skin

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce