Spring Detox


Spring is a time of renewal and as the weather starts to get warmer it can be a good time to detox our bodies. Detoxification can help to alleviate the sluggishness we can feel after eating too many comfort foods over the winter months and to help get our weight back on track. It can also help to lift our mood. 

Detoxification involves the removal of toxic substances from the body. The main detoxification organ is the liver, but our bodies also detoxify through the through the skin, digestive system and lymphatic system.

Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate toxins from our bodies.

A typical detox diet involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Sometimes a detox also includes herbs, teas, supplements, and colon cleanses or enemas.

Detoxification is said to stimulate your body to get rid of toxins that build up over time.

Detox protocols can vary with some involving at least one of the following:

  • Fasting for 1–3 days.
  • Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, water, and tea.
  • Drinking only specific liquids, such as salted water or lemon juice.
  • Eliminating foods high in heavy metals, contaminants, and allergens.
  • Taking supplements or herbs.
  • Avoiding all allergenic foods, then slowly reintroducing them.
  • Using laxatives, colon cleanses, or enemas.
  • Exercise or sauna’s
  • The elimination of alcohol, coffee, cigarettes and sugar

Some of the above approaches are quite extreme and can cause more harm than good, especially if there is not a build-up to the strenuous portion of the detox approach. Any change in homeostasis (balance) is stressful for the body and drastic changes change can cause what is known as a healing crisis or herxheimers reaction, which produces some very unpleasant side effects. These can include serious headaches, confusing mental fog, insomnia, constipation or digestive upset, lethargy, respiratory problems.

It is not necessary or beneficial to stress our bodies for the sake of a detox. I prefer a gentler approach to detoxification – ideally one that incorporates phases over a few weeks and that is nourishing for the body. We are all different so it is also important to remember that we may respond differently and that various approaches need to be adapted for the best results.

Start by eliminating the obvious baddies like sugar, sweeteners, refined carbs, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol for a few days, then eliminate other starchy carbs, grains, then proteins and legumes. Continue eliminating foods until you are only eating non starchy vegetables and some fruits. Do this for 3 – 5 days then slowly start re-introducing healthy foods in reverse order. Ideally you would want to continue to limit or avoid the sugar, refined carbs, sweeteners, coffee and alcohol for maximum benefit.

During the detox process you may also want to support your body with a medical food, bone broth or some other non-dairy protein supplement.

It’s also vitally important to drink enough water daily, but especially so during a detox period.

Gentle exercise is good to support your body during detoxification, but if you are doing a fast it would be best to avoid strenuous exercise for the duration of the fast.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 19 October 2023 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.