Archive for the ‘Detox’ Category

Marilyn’s 24 hour summer detox

Friday, August 1st, 2008

There’s no better way to jumpstart a healthier routine and boost your confidence this summer in your swim suit or bikini than with my 24 hour summer detox. Unlike its stricter cousin the fast – which I don’t recommend because fasting for long periods can make your metabolism slow right down and deprive your body of vital nutrients – this gentle detox won’t slow your metabolism or leave you starved. It simply boosts your nutrient intake and helps cleanse your body of toxins naturally.


Detoxing for 24 hours will make you feel lighter in yourself and reduce your susceptibility to bloating, stress and illness but the most immediate and striking improvement you may notice after detoxifying is that you will have much more energy. Other benefits include: shinier hair, clearer skin, better sleep, improved digestion, sweet breath, a more sensitive sense of smell, a clearer brain and a calmer state of mind.


Although I wouldn’t recommend it on a weekly or monthly basis, every now and then, say every 3 to 6 months, I do recommend a 24 detox to give your digestion a rest and to help your body rid itself of accumulated toxins. Remember, rather than starving you of nutrients, which will just cause your blood sugar levels and your mood to sink really low, on my 24 hour detox you will be eating plenty of cleansing, natural foods and drinking lots of water to support your body’s own in-house detox system, which is so effective that even the most sophisticated detox product can’t compete with it. You’ll also be encouraged to relax as much as possible as stress can affect your digestion and trigger weight gain, especially around your waist.


Try to choose a day when you can be sure of as much peace and quiet as possible. The day before starting your detox, try to cut out as many as possible of the following stimulants: tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol and tobacco. Meat and processed food should also be avoided. Then on the day take as much rest as you can and drink pure water, little and often. It also helps to spend as much time outdoors as possible in the fresh air, which should be easy in the summer, but keep your activities gentle.


After your 24 detox summer try to stay off stimulants and processed foods for a week or, even better, for good. Take stock of your diet, chew your food slowly when you eat and listen to your body at all times – it instinctively knows what foods are good for you and what are not.


Note: If you are taking medication or have any chronic health condition; it’s very important to check with your doctor before following any detox plan.


On waking: Don’t lie in when you wake up; fling open your curtains, let the sunlight in and start your day. Lying in upsets your body clock and gives you symptoms of jet lag without the holiday. You should always aim to get up around the same time each day. If you think you aren’t getting enough sleep try to catch up on your sleep by going to bed earlier. As soon as you get up, drink one glass of warm or room temperature water, mixed with the juice of one lemon. This will flush your kidneys out and stimulate peristalsis, the contractions that move food through your digestive tract.


Breakfast: About half an hour after your glass of lemon juice have your breakfast. Eat plenty of summer fruit, for example peaches and strawberries, and combine them with a little protein, such as nuts and seeds. If you eat fruit on its own, its high sugar content will set you up for a crash later on. I also recommend oat porridge with chopped almonds and apple slices. Sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg, spices that will help stabilise your blood sugar.


Mid morning snack: Have an apple plus a handful of sunflower seeds.


Lunch: Prepare a seasonal soup: Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 diced onion with some extra virgin olive oil. Add summer vegetables like carrots, squash, celery and peas and enough water or vegetable stock to cover the vegetables. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Check after 15 to 20 minutes to see if the veggies are fork tender. Serve hot.


Mid afternoon snack: Have a bowl of mixed berries with some raw, unsalted nuts followed by a pot of live, natural yogurt.


Dinner: Steamed fish or tofu with as much green bean or lentil salad as you like dressed with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin oil. You can eat any kinds of beans and lentils, including red kidney, haricot, black eye, pinto and red, green and brown lentils.


During the day: Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered or mineral water. You can also enjoy diluted fruit juice and herbal tea; like chamomile, both will help cleanse your body. 


Exercise: Try to get at least 40 minutes of exercise. Break into a sweat if you can. If you don’t want to go for a walk or run put some music on and dance around for about half an hour or in two or three sessions of fifteen minutes. Best to get your exercise as early in the day as possible, as working out before bedtime will keep you awake. (Making love is, of course, an exception to that rule.)


Deep breathing: Most of us breathe shallowly from our chests rather than from our stomachs, depriving our bodies of much needed oxygen. Oxygen is a potent detoxifier. It not only feeds your muscles and cells, it detoxifies your organs and is just as important as eating healthy food. The way we breathe can have a big impact on our health so throughout your 24 hour detox try to incorporate deep breathing into your normal activities. Take deep breaths from your stomach, filing your lungs with air. (See ‘Deep Breathing’ in this newsletter for more tips on improving your breathing)


Before you go to bed: Be sure to have a relaxing, warm bath with aromatherapy oils. If you feel hungry after your bath try nibbling on some celery sticks as they are loaded with magnesium, which is a calming nutrient. Try to be in bed before 10 pm. A good night’s sleep is a detox and weight loss essential because lack of sleep disrupts hormones and triggers metabolic changes that mean you don’t process food well; between six and eight hours a night is considered optimum. Remember, you need your bedroom to be dark for chemicals in your brain to recognise that it is time for sleep so buying some black out curtains is a good investment for your health, especially during the summer months when it stays lighter for longer.

Keeping your lymphatic system healthy the natural way

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Your lymphatic system is your body’s second circulatory system and forms a network through your body. Its job is to clean up the mess made by other systems and to return excess tissue fluid to the blood.

From the natural viewpoint, it is understood that a healthy lymphatic function supports every other system in your body, including the immune, digestive, detoxification and nervous systems. If your lymphatic system isn’t working efficiently it gets over loaded with toxins and increases the risk of poor health. In fact many believe that poor lymphatic function underlies many health conditions from acne to cancer.

Lymph is a clear, alkaline fluid containing proteins, substances like urea and glucose, and particularly water. It’s formed in tissue spaces all over the body and gathered into small vessels that carry it around. These lymph vessels look like small veins and have a one way valve system, which unlike blood can only flow in the direction of your thorax – the area below your neck and above your waist. The lymph drains through a number of nodes before returning to the blood. These filter out bacteria preventing it entering the bloodstream. When lymph does enter the blood, it is thought that it can cause serious health problems. The reality is that you have twice as much lymph fluid in your body as blood. The lymph continuously bathes each cell and drains away the detritus in a circulatory system powered only by your breathing and movement. If the movement of the lymph stopped entirely you would die in a matter of hours.

Most of us don’t think much about our lymph function until something goes wrong – usually when an infection causes a swollen lymph node – but there are things you can do to avoid this and ensure your lymphatic system stays healthy. The following natural ways to support your lymph function should be a part of every woman’s health habits:

Clean up your diet: Reduce your body’s toxic burden by avoiding processed food, eating organic when possible, and eliminating simple sugars, saturated fats found in dairy, pastries and red meat. The idea here is that the less waste your lymph has to deal with, the more easily it will flow.


Drink plenty of filtered or mineral water: At least six to eight glasses per day. Your body needs hydration to keep the fluids running!


Consider regular visits to a lymph drainage massage therapist: This is a wonderful and healthy way to pamper yourself (and your internal organs).


Practice deep breathing:  Breathing deeply from the diaphragm, not shallowly from the chest, and through the nose rather than the mouth, is one of the best ways to move lymph fluid through your body.


Get regular physical exercise: Unlike your heart, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump action and depends on your body’s musculature movement (the lungs, muscles etc) to shift lymph around your body, which is why regular exercise is so crucial. As well as exercise in general, specific activities such as trampolining and shaking your body as in dancing are beneficial. Jumping on a rebounder, or mini-trampoline, just five minutes a day is a great way to get your lymph system pumping. Walking, stretching, t’ai chi, yoga, Pilates, and other activities are helpful, too — especially if you do them every day. Or find an activity that suits you. Some women prefer ballroom dancing, others swimming. What’s important is that you make it a regular part of your life.


Don’t be afraid to sweat! A weekly sauna or steam bath is a pleasant way to facilitate a healthy sweat, and sweating helps detoxify the body and so supports lymphatic function. Avoid aluminium-based antiperspirants (they block sweating and add to your toxic load) and choose natural deodorants instead.


Avoid restrictive clothing that press on your lymph nodes: Under wires and over tight bras, jeans, and skirts can impede lymph flow. Try to go bra-free for at least 12 hours a day, and don’t sleep in one. If this is uncomfortable for you, consider buying a camisole.


Skin brush: A five minute skin brush before a bath or shower will reduce congestion. Always brush towards the heart – the direction of lymph flow.


Consider acupuncture: Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine are far ahead of their Western counterparts when it comes to ‘unsticking’ the lymph system. As a treatment or preventative, acupuncture can be a great way to keep things moving. It can also help alleviate discomfort that may arise while you are detoxing.

Detox on Sunday and feel lighter on Monday

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Recent research on Mormons who fast once a month for religious reasons suggests that fasting regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease. I’m not suggesting here that fasting is good for weight loss because study after study has shown that skipping meals on a regular basis upsets blood sugar balance and sabotages weight loss plans but what I am saying is that spending one Sunday out of four gently detoxing could be an effective way to redress the balance of toxins in and toxins out and by so doing boost your health and energy levels.


The word detox is a common buzz word for those who want to lose weight but before you panic about rumbling stomachs and spinach smoothies the one day detox I am going to recommend is not about fasting or dieting as such and more about re-educating your body on how and what to eat. It is also about nourishing your body with nutrient rich foods that can boost liver and kidney function so that the toxins that cause fatigue, bloating, skin breakouts, constipation, headaches, irritability and weight gain can be cleared out.



The day before you start:


Go shopping for the foods and supplements recommended below and a body brush. On your detox Sunday remember to only eat the foods recommended below.


Detox Sunday:


Start the detox day by drinking half litre of bottled water within 30 minutes of waking. Add some lemon juice to give your digestive system an extra detox boost


Thirty minutes after waking have a light breakfast of naturally high in fibre cereal like porridge oats or soaked muesli with a handful of nuts and seeds for energy and a glass of organic fruit or preferably vegetable juice. If you never eat cereal you could have a boiled organic egg with a slice of rye bread.


After breakfast keep drinking mineral water, and try to drink about half-litre every hour or preferably three-quarters every hour. If you keep drinking this amount for a few hours of the day you’ll notice the need to excrete will become regular, the passing will also become clearer during the day. This is simply because you are drinking more than required but this is necessary to enable your kidneys to flush out the waste products.


At some point during the day make time to do some type of activity, maybe a walk or some type of light exercise for at least half-hour, again remember to keep drinking water before, during and after the best exercise.


For your mid morning snack have a warm mug of herbal tea with a piece of fruit and a few almonds. Take 500 mg of vitamin C to encourage cell regeneration and repair detox damage.  (see Vitamin C Plus, an alkaline form of vitamin C on the Resources page).


For lunch have a quinoa salad with chopped beetroot, red onion, chickpeas, mint and rocket. Drizzle with cold pressed olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Chew your food thoroughly as this will help with digestion.


If you start to feel a bit tired and irritable now sip some organic green tea to perk you up.


For your mid afternoon snack go for a selection of berries to improve your circulation and reduce inflammation; and take a second 500 mg of vitamin C.


After your snack try some dry body brushing (or if the timing is inconvenient then do it as soon as you wake before you have a shower). If you have not done this before,  work from the feet up, in a circular motion, clockwise direction up from the heart. From your chest upwards start brushing in a downward movement as if encouraging the blood towards the heart.


Start to slow on the amount of water you drink 3-4 hours before bed.


For dinner have a warm salad of watercress (blanched), fresh (wild or organic not farmed) salmon, broccoli, green beans, and olives. Dress with olive oil, garlic, pepper and lemon juice. Take a supplement of milk thistle to support the liver.


Have a warm bath with some relaxing aromatherapy oils before you got to bed and try to be in bed before 10 pm; studies show that your body does most of its physiological repair work before midnight so if you want your skin to look great in the morning have an early night.


Well done!


After your detox Sunday you should feel lighter and may even have lost weight naturally without trying. Your digestion and absorption will have improved and your skin will feel softer and more elastic. Your body should be more in tune now with its own needs so keeping listening to it and continue to feed it the quality, healthy diet it needs to help you look and feel your best.