Happy New Year everybody! So today I’m chatting about the concept of ‘detox’.
Please don’t be seduced by fancy products- there’s so much you can do to help your gut naturally-without spending money.
And let’s be honest, most of them are just another word for a laxative.
So let’s learn about natural detoxing-and ways to gently help your gut detox this year without irritating it.
Ideal if like me you struggle with IBD or other digestive conditions such as IBS.
What is Detoxing?
‘Detox’ is one of the most overused words in our vocabulary at the moment.
I see it attached to everything from smoothies to foot stickers to overpriced supplements.
Unfortunately, we’re so far removed from it that so many of us want a quick fix and engage in all kind of crazy diets and potions in a bid to ‘cleanse’ that many of us don’t know what it actually means- giving it a terrible reputation!
So what does detox mean? Well, it’s actual definition is to ‘abstain from something or get rid of toxins from your body.’
Newsflash: our body has always, and will continue, to do this for us- through the liver, the lymphatic system and several other routes of elimination.
For example-did you know during your period your body naturally gets rid of ‘toxins’ through bleeding?.
So if that’s the case, what’s left for us to do ourselves?
Well, sometimes our body’s ability to detox is hampered. For example, if we’re constipated, it can’t excrete toxins through our poo!
Contraceptives (whilst vital!) can also hinder our body’s ability to detox via menstruation.
If we drink too much, our liver may feel overworked and not do its job as effectively.
You get the idea! Therefore, detoxing should be about supporting these elimination routes to get them working again rather than lots of unnecesary treatments.
So how can you help naturally detox your gut?
1.Detox in small, achievable steps.
Remember the process is on giving up something that’s unhealthy- not a complete diet overhaul.
In fact, extreme steps can ‘shock’ the body and lead to all sorts of side effects which will make you feel a whole lot worse.
So think about what ‘detox’ really means to you.
For one person this may be as simple as switching to a meat-free Monday if they eat too much red meat.
Yet for a vegetarian, it might be adding a green juice to their breakfast.
These simple steps can naturally support your gut. Even, swapping caffeine for lemon water each morning may help.
2. Up the bone broth.
I am a massive fan of bone broth so if you are looking for a liquid replacement for one of your meals- then look no further than bone broth.
Bone broth contains gelatin which can support your gut in its healing process; it’s also very nutrient dense.
This means it can give you a range of nutrients in a small cup- everything from Iron to protein.
3. Introduce Probiotic Foods.
If your body is depleted in bacteria- which can happen if you are on antibiotics or if you have previously done a longer, restrictive detox .
It’s important to support your body by adding probiotic foods back in.
My biggest success has been with Sauerkraut (read my sauerkraut tips here).
I’ve found it really beneficial for gut health. There are more probiotic foods to experiment with which I discussed in my probiotics blog post.
4. Go Herbal. There are lots of ‘Teatoxes’ out there that are nothing more than strong laxatives!
Make sure you avoid all teas that contain Senna-these will make you rush to the loo but will not help your gut in the long run!
Yet there are some natural herbal teas that can support your gut detox.
Mint and Fennel can soothe the gut while Nettle has a slightly stronger (but still natural) effect on the colon (should you be suffering from constipation).
5. Consider a retreat.
If you are serious about detoxing, it could be worth dedicating a few days to it and giving yourself some rest and relaxation!
There are many ways you can do this at home but sometimes the chance to escape your everyday life, spend some proper time by yourself and really commit to something can really help.
Taking time out can help massively
6. Epsom Salts. Simply add to a bath to draw toxins out through the skin- helping with things like joint pain and fatigue.
My tip is to experiment with the amount you use since you may feel a little lightheaded at first.
You can also use magnesium salts-many people are deficient in magnesium and struggle with things like achy joints.
I also use these in a foot bath, if I don’t feel like having a regular bath (and the detox is less intense).
7. Breathing Exercise.
Yes, proper breathing routine is actually a form of detox!
A simple deep breathing exercise can help rejuvenate the body and help stress (which has a massive impact on the gut) The NHS website offers some simple breathing exercises.
8. Massage and Natural Therapies. The jury may be out on natural therapies and that’s fine.
I’ve tried reflexology and reiki and my viewpoint remains that they are very relaxing, help deal with stress and can naturally stimulate the lymphatic system through massage and unblocking channels.
Whether that can help significantly with the gut remains a personal issue but since they are super relaxing there’s no harm in trying!
So those are my 8 tips for detoxing the gut.
I hope this post has given you an idea of how detox doesn’t have to be scary and how some simple steps can actually boost your gut health!
If you’re struggling with diarrhoea specifically, why not read my 10 tips for dealing with diarrhoea next?