Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spring Detox time!

As the weather starts to warm up and the cherry blossom starts to appear (although I have noticed some sneaky ones in bloom already!), our thoughts turn to summer and how on earth we will squeeze into those dreaded bathers. Now is the perfect time to focus on your health to get you looking and feeling fit for summer. It’s a beautiful time of year so make the most of it and enjoy yourself!

The main player: When most of us think Detox, we think of the liver. This is one of our most important organs as most things we consume will pass through the liver for processing. The excesses of modern living can put a strain on the body as a whole so it’s no surprise that liver function can be compromised with the ongoing work load that it has.

Symptoms of a compromised liver include:

  • Menstrual irregularities: due to an oestrogen dominant environment that the liver can’t process efficiently. Oestrogen dominance is seen in conditions such as PMS, Fibroids and Endometriosis
  • Weight gain: due to hormonal imbalance and sub-optimal digestion
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Digestive upsets
  • Nausea
  • Reduced or non existent morning appetite
  • Poor sleep

Following are some easy Spring Detox tips to give your liver a helping hand and to get you on the road to good health:

  • Spring clean your fridge and cupboards. Eliminate refined carbs and processed foods containing trans fats, additives and preservatives. Apart from having the potential to be toxic to the system, these foods can really disrupt digestion
  • Eat more raw, fresh foods including fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, beans, legumes
    Include moderate exercise 3-4 times a week
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. I know you probably hear this all the time but this is a reflection of how important it is. Our bodies are 2/3 water and it is essential to many body processes. Not only will it help you remain hydrated, it will also help eliminate toxins
  • Start your day with the juice of ½ lemon in warm water. This is a fantastic way to cleanse your system and will get your day off to a fresh start
  • Increase your intake of bitter foods – endive, chicory, silverbeet, radicchio, outer leaves of cos lettuce, dandelion root, and grapefruit. These foods stimulate the liver by increasing bile flow, which will assist in removing those substances that your liver breaks down.
  • Limit chicken and meat intake to 1-2 times per week. Synthetic hormones used to farm these animals can interfere with our own hormonal system, adding to an already oestrogen dominant environment and contributing to weight gain and menstrual irregularities
  • Have a break from wheat and dairy to give your digestive system a much needed break
  • Ensure you are getting adequate amounts of fibre in your diet to assist regular bowel function. This will help bind toxins and hormones to get them ready for elimination
  • Limit alcohol consumption. In order to prevent liver damage, it is recommended to have no more than 2 standard drinks a day. 2-4 drinks per day are thought to be a hazard and 4+ drinks per day are thought to be harmful.[1] If weight loss is a priority, the extra calories alcohol provides should be further reduced to a maximum of 3-5 drinks per week
  • Reduce your coffee intake. Try herbal tea instead
  • Reduce your exposure environmental toxins where possible. Buy green/environmentally friendly cleaning and beauty products, reduce exposure to pesticides and plastics (glad wrap, plastic drinking bottles, plastic food containers)
  • Put some fresh flowers in the house or office to remind you of the new beginning that Spring brings and work towards turning over a new leaf

* It’s important to mention that a “healing crisis” may occur when beginning a Detox. This happens when you start to feel worse before feeling better and symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, digestive upsets and moodiness are not uncommon. This is a normal reaction to change and usually passes within a few days. Please also keep in mind that it is important to contact your health care practitioner before commencing a specific Detox program to make sure it is well suited to your needs.

The road to Bikiniville may not be a constant downhill slope but by adopting some healthy, positive changes today, you can start to get your body geared up for the summer months ahead. With the warmer weather fast approaching, now is the time to take control of your health and show yourself you can do it. You’ll be sparkling, inside and out!

Emma Scasni is a qualified naturopath at MassAttack Health Clinic and has a keen interest in women’s health. Emma is passionate about all aspects of natural health and is happy to offer support and advice to new and existing MassAttack members. MassAttack specializes in natural treatment programs for women with hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis & thyroid imbalance. Narelle Stegehuis, CEO of MassAttack, is the recipient of the Australian Naturopathic Excellence Award 2006 and can be contacted at narelle@massattack.com.au

[1] Ruth Trickey, (2003) “Women, Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle”, Allen & Unwin NSW, pg 384