With a New Year approaching, some of us will be considering a healthy detox to rid the body of harmful toxins. If you’re looking for a safe detox program that you can do at home, you’ll love this seven-day detox plan by Karina Stewart, who has a Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is the co-founder of Kamalaya.
At Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Thailand we offer a range of Detox programs that include a synergy of Eastern and Western philosophies and therapies to address both physical and emotional needs, pairing elimination with nourishment; providing a gentle approach rather than a punishing regime.
I’ve created a home detox plan that is based on the same principles, offering a nourishing and nurturing form of the deeply cleansing process. Our research-based detox approach supports the body’s ability to eliminate toxins and accumulated waste while re-establishing inner balance for the long term.
Asian healing principles that see fasting as potentially depleting and as medical research shows that high levels of nutrition are required for the body to detox efficiently, Kamalaya’s Detox concept features a supporting menu of inspired healthy cuisine that is both delicious and deeply satisfying.
In this seven-day detox plan, I’ve outlined a menu plan to optimise nutrition and reduce inflammation.
The aim of a detox diet is to minimise toxic intake, reduce the load on the digestive system and provide key nutrients that support detoxification. This means low inflammatory, low glycaemic, and low allergenic foods. I recommend avoiding animal products, alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, sugar, bread and most other grains. Peanuts, soy products, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, capsicum and eggplant are also off the menu as they contain micro toxins that can be inflammatory.
Sweet fruits like mango and watermelon should be consumed in moderation and only a minimal amount of healthy oils such as olive oil or coconut oil are allowed. The liver loves certain foods like green leafy vegetables so eating an abundance of these during a detox will help support the process.
It is not necessary to stick to a raw diet – in fact, it is beneficial to include some cooked foods as these are easier on the digestive system. Soups, salads and steamed vegetables are perfect for a detox diet, but you should stay clear of microwave cooking.
This eating plan will give the tissues of your body a kick-start to build more energy and cleanse each organ. The kidneys will filter waste more effectively resulting in a more neutral state and an increase in minerals available for the body to function on a more optimal state. In this condition general aches and pains may be alleviated, the digestion improves alleviating bloating and gas, the whites of the eyes will be brighter and you will have more energy and mental clarity. When the liver does not have the burden of filtering unnecessary sugars and fats your metabolism will run at a higher rate, excess weight will drop off and the skin will glow. By the end of the week after a break from difficult to digest foods, the unburdened immune system will improve and you will feel an overall increase in wellbeing.
It’s very important to eat fresh and organic produce as much as possible. Most conventionally grown produce has pesticides and herbicides remaining and can slow down and even impede the detoxification potential. Caution should also be taken if you have unmanaged diabetes, are on blood thinning medication or are pregnant or planning to conceive in the very near future.
Green smoothies are a key part of the menu plan and are a great way to flood your body with large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes essential for the health of every cell and to further enhance your detoxification potential. Keep them as simple as you like – add to one cup of fresh filtered water approximately three large handfuls of a selection of greens such as kale, spinach, arugula (rocket), cos lettuce, parsley, cilantro, basil and any other leafy greens you enjoy. Add ¼ avocado, some cucumber, fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and either half a banana, fresh pineapple, berries or apple to sweeten a bit. Consider adding either raw hemp or pea protein powder to your smoothie to ensure that you are receiving sufficient protein to support efficient liver detoxification and regulation of blood sugar levels.
Incorporating some complex carbohydrates like brown or red or wild rice and quinoa will ensure that you do have the energy to continue with your daily activities.
- One full week prior to your Detox, reduce or eliminate coffee, cigarettes and alcohol to reduce any withdrawal symptoms.
- Begin each day with yoga or gentle stretching followed by a shoulder stand (if you can) to stimulate the thyroid gland and regulate your metabolism for the day.
- Experience a daily sauna to increase the elimination of toxins via the skin.
- Before having a shower or bath, undertake a simple dry skin brushing routine to increase circulation and remove dead skin cells. Use small strokes moving from your feet upwards and brushing along the body towards the heart to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid and break down fatty deposits beneath the skin.
- Every morning or evening, before breakfast or after dinner, soak one tablespoon of chia seeds in a glass of water for 8 hours before drinking. This assists in binding toxins and excess hormones eliminated from the liver to be effectively excreted and can also assist in reducing headaches.
- If you are continuing with your regular routine during the week, you may need to snack on small handful of nuts (about six almonds) or a protein smoothie (no sugars) to boost protein intake and provide more sustained energy.
- Try to eat before 7pm and enjoy a full eight to nine hours of sleep per night to allow the body to heal, restore, and rejuvenate, especially when detoxifying.
- Sip on a calming herbal tea like chamomile, rooibos, or mulberry before bed and try burning lavender oil before you go to sleep.
- If you are hungry on experience headaches, drink an extra vegetable juice with carrots and celery. You can also supplement juices with teas, such as green tea, which is full of antioxidants beneficial to the liver and can assist with caffeine withdrawals. Mulberry leaf without caffeine is also very high in anti-oxidants and calming.
- If you have an extreme headache, take the time to rest, place a cool washcloth on your forehead and practice 10 deep diaphragmatic breaths. MagPhos tissue salts can assist in reducing headaches.
- If you find there is an event that you simply cannot miss and need to eat out, opt for a steamed side of vegetables, large leafy green salad sans dressing and a piece of steamed fish.
When you have finished your detox, it is important not to rush to reintroduce the foods you have been avoiding for the last week, like wheat, dairy, red meat and sugar.
Often, we think we are hungry, but in fact we are just thirsty. By drinking at least two litres of clean, filtered water in small amounts at regular intervals throughout the day, you will support the detoxification processes naturally occurring via the kidneys, bowel, lymphatic system and the liver and you will feel less inclined to reach for a naughty snack.
I regard a regular detox program (at least once per year) – one that targets the liver – as an essential foundational health practice. Our liver is the primary organ for detoxification and filters the blood continuously, so its function has a great impact on our overall health. It’s so important to give the liver regular support and rest to clean out, reset and recharge.