Nutritionist Megan Crockart discusses Detoxification
What is a toxin?
“A toxin is basically any substance that creates irritating and/or harmful effects in the body, undermining its health or stressing the biochemical or organ functions or actually damaging the tissues and organs.” (Haas, E 2006) A toxin can come from internal and external factors including drugs (recreational and prescribed), poor digestion (“leaky gut syndrome”) thought patterns and negative emotions/stress, environmental exposure to pollutants, dietary choices and even water. Generally our bodies deal with exposure to toxins on a daily basis but it is beneficial to help your body “detoxify” or eliminate more effectively these toxins.
What is detoxification?
It is the process of clearing toxins from our body either by neutralising or transforming toxins and eliminating them properly. Detoxification therapy is one of the oldest known medical treatments and even better, it’s a completely natural process. Simply reducing the exposure to toxins by changing what you eat is a form of detoxification.
Most people are familiar with the term “liver detox” as this is because all levels of detoxification involve the liver. It is the main organ that neutralises toxins and does so in two phases know as Phase I and Phase II pathways. Phase I is activation of the liver cells to produce enzymes to help break down fat soluble substances (most chemicals and toxins are fat soluble rather than water soluble and can’t be as easily eliminated). Phase II is the combination or conjugation step which occurs once the fat soluble substances have been activated in Phase I are then attached to other molecules which render them water soluble and easier to transport out of the body. The liver is not the only organ involved, also importantly involved is the digestive tract and colon, which are responsible in proper elimination. The skin and kidneys also play a role in helping in the elimination process.
There are so many benefits from doing a detox/cleanse including:
- Gives your organs a rest
- Clear Skin
- Slows aging
- Provides more energy
- Helps with relaxation
- Can help you be more organised, creative and motivated
There are many levels and extremes of undertaking detoxification and can range from simply cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol to only consuming juices or even water fasting (although generally not recommended). Time frames can range from a couple of days to a month or 2 going through all the stages of detoxification.
Almost anyone can do a detox and there are many options to suit each individual in what level of detoxification they need. Simply increasing water intake, eating more vegetables and fruit, eliminating sugar, caffeine and alcohol, dairy and deep fried/processed foods can be all that some people need. Of course ensuring organic products are eaten and reducing stress means less exposure to toxins for the body to process.
Here are 2 great recipes to get you started with cleansing your body:
Green Morning Starter
Serve – 1 large glass
1 green apple, cut into chunks, skin on (organic)
Mint (to taste)
1 stalk of celery, sliced (organic)
A handful of baby spinach leaves (or use Kale if you want a stronger flavour)
1 cup coconut water (add more if needed)
1 teaspoon Vital Greens
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds (also called linseeds)
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon goji berries
- Put in a blender or a food processor apple, mint, celery, spinach/kale, Vital Greens, flax seeds, lime juice and goji berries. Blend until combined and chopped up.
- Adding coconut water until a juicy consistency or to taste (filtered water can also be used). It will be a little bit chunky with great fibre enjoy as your breakfast.
Spring Detox Salad
1 teaspoon coconut oil
300g Tofu cut into cubes marinated in 1/2 cup Tamari overnight
2-3 handfuls lettuce mix
1-2 handfuls sunflower sprouts
1/4 cup grated beetroot
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/2 red capsicum, cut into chunks
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 small Lebanese cucumber, sliced
Small handful Snow peas
2 mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1/2 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
Pinch of sea salt
- Marinate cubed tofu in a glass dish with Tamari, coating it well. Marinate for at least half an hour, but overnight if possible.
- Heat coconut oil in frypan until hot and add marinated tofu, turning so all sides are browned. Fry in batches if need be. Drain on paper towel.
- Meanwhile combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
- Top with cooked tofu and dressing.
- Dressing: Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until combined, serve.