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After all that holiday feasting and with the start of the new year, you might be thinking about jumping into a popular detox diet. But before you begin your juice cleanse, Registered Dietician Nishta Saxena is here to bust some myths surrounding detoxes, and inform you on what you should do instead. Find her advice below, and click on the video above for more!

WHY ‘DETOXING’ IS A MYTH

It is scientifically completely false that we need to detox ourselves. A real detox is a medically-supervised removal of poisons and toxins such as in the case of drug and alcohol poisoning – healthy bodies do not require medical “detoxing”.

Our bodies are designed to take care of elimination processes very well. Each of our specific organs, such as the liver, kidneys, digestive system, lungs and skin, and conjugating enzymes, co-factors and our remarkable gut bacteria, work efficiently to make sure we are getting rid of these toxins constantly and without adverse effects. While a nice sweat in a sauna is wonderful and therapeutic, all of your “toxins” do not come out then through your skin either! The concept that we build up an accumulation of waste or toxic products is, for the majority, simply not true.

RISKS OF DETOXING/CLEANSING

If you continue any of these diets for a longer period, (more than 1 week, especially with liquid diets) you can potentially mess up general metabolism by reducing your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy you expend when you’re resting. That means you slow-down your own fat-burning ability! You also lose vital protein from skeletal muscles, because your body will begin to “eat” these to provide the enzymes required to keep your heart and brain working properly.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD OF DETOXING

1. Add a ton of fibre to your diet

  • Add at LEAST 30 to 40 grams
  • The tummy discomfort you felt over the holidays might be due to lack of fibre, movement and fluid, both of which changes digestion
  • Feed your gut bacteria and they will happily thank you by moving that stuff out!

2. Drink at least 2.3 litres of water every day

  • To assist with digestion and give you more energy, have 2 cups of fluid in-between meals and in the morning upon waking

3. Eat more diuretic foods

  • Some foods force our body to release more fluid, which can be helpful with regulating bloating and digestive upset
  • Try adding: watermelon, celery, fish, apples and ground flax seed to help to release (aka pee) some of that excess fluid out

4. Sleep!

  • Getting back into your sleep schedule is the best thing you can do to feel more energetic, reduce cravings and re-regulate your hormones
  • Aim for 7-8 hours per night

5. Move your body

  • We aren’t suggesting any extreme exercise routines here but getting 20-30 minutes of movement daily (so your heart-rate is higher than normal) is 100% effective to help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, improve digestion, hormonal regulation, blood pressure and stabilize mood

6. Eat healthy fats

  • Try focusing on some healthier sources of fat for now, such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil
  • Aim to have at least one to two tablespoons of high-quality olive oil daily, and at least 1/4 cup of nuts and seeds
  • Make fish a priority meal 2 times weekly for important brain fats

7. Try adaptogens

  • While cleanses are full of many herbs or laxatives or purgatives in large quantities (as pills, teas or potions) they can induce a lot of digestive distress
  • Adaptogens are small doses of evidence-based herbs such as Ashwagandha or Maca, that are meant to boost your body’s own healing abilities, instead of overriding them
  • Moringa, Chaga mushrooms, Ginseng, and Maca can be stirred into hot beverages, blended into smoothies, or added to your sauces and soups to provide energy and immunity benefits
  • Only adults should try this one

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