When our bodies are deprived of optimum nutrition they must work even harder to keep our systems clear and clean. Everything from our sleep to our digestion and energy levels can suffer from the influx of fat, sugar and alcohol we typically consume around this time of year.
If you’re feeling a little tired and sluggish after the holiday break, it’s likely you’re in need of a detox! And what better way to welcome the New Year than with vital health and abundant energy?
However, there is one key element that we should always keep in mind during any detox program…the healing of our gut, which is our center for good health, immunity and vitality. Therefore, every detox should include a focus on restoring and optimizing your gut health.
When your gut health is compromised, all the goodness you put in struggles to be absorbed. So while you think you’re nourishing your cells, the reality is that it’s likely passing straight through, or even causing you some discomfort e.g. aggravating a leaky gut.
Here’s how to ensure your detox includes a gut healing regime so you’re making the most of your time and efforts:
Our friendly gut bacteria play a massive role in our health and gut function. These busy bugs digest some of the fiber that cannot be broken down by human digestive enzymes. As they munch away on these, our gut bacteria produce all sorts of marvellous compounds that strengthen our digestive and immune systems!
Sadly, many factors such as pesticides, antibiotics and other unnatural chemicals in our environment destroy our gut flora. A good quality probiotic can boost your good intestinal bacteria and is an essential aid to any detox program.
2. Fermented Foods
Offering similar benefits to probiotic supplements, fermented foods are a wonderful wholefood approach to support a healthy gut. Fermented foods go through a process of lacto-fermentation, whereby friendly food bacteria convert the natural carbohydrates in food to lactic acid, enzymes, vitamins, fatty acids and healthy probiotic strains – all of which support detoxification and gut function!
Fermentation also makes food easier to digest and preserves the nutritional quality of foods. Therefore, a good detox should include some fermented foods, such as:
3. Anti-inflammatory Foods
When you think of inflammation, do creaky joints and arthritic aches and pains spring to mind? While musculoskeletal pain can definitely be caused by inflammation, in the context of a detox we must take a different view of inflammation.
Sugary and processed foods, combined with chemicals in our environment, cause inflammation across our whole system (not just in our joints) as our body metabolizes and eliminates them. As a result, our body produces inflammatory markers that circulate around our system and promote disease.
The good news is that a detox can reduce this inflammation! And thankfully, Mother Nature has provided us with some super anti-inflammatory foods to include in a detox. We recommend:
- Fish oil (or flaxseed/linseed oil if you don’t eat fish),
- Olive oil
- and plenty of crunchy cruciferous vegetables
If you’re looking to heal your gut and reduce inflammation, then this is one supplement that may work wonders. First developed for athletes to assist in muscle repair, the benefits extend far beyond its protein recovery actions.
L-glutamine has an important role in the gut, where it is needed to heal and build healthy intestinal cells. This enhanced intestinal health can improve health issues such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A good L-glutamine supplement can also enhance metabolism and assist with detoxification.
You may also like include foods which are naturally high in L-glutamine within your detox program. Vegetable sources include:
- Red cabbage
- and spirulina
If you’re okay with eating animal protein, wild caught oily fish, turkey, bone broth and grass-fed beef are also excellent sources.
5. Gelatin (not vegan friendly)
This may sound like an unusual ingredient to include in a detox, as many cleanses tend to eliminate animal products. So what sets Gelatin apart from everything else? Gelatin is incredibly rich in collagen, which is essential for healthy connective tissue, vibrant skin and mobile joints. The main amino acid in gelatin, glycine, also offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
Many experts believe that our traditional diets were a lot higher in gelatin. As our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not have the luxury of throwing away meat, the whole animal was utilized more fully. This meant that the whole suite of minerals, amino acids, connective tissue – and gelatin – were gained by eating meat.
As part of a detox program, a high-quality gelatin supplement can support your gut as it heals, metabolizes the wonderful nutrients from your cleanse and reduces inflammation. But beware, as gelatin must be premium quality from a free-range bovine source, such as Great Lakes Gelatin.
6. Always Learn More
Our digestive system (and bodies for that matter) are incredibly complex. We discover more about how it all works literally every day.
Whilst a wholesome, nourishing detox such as our 3-day detox program can help to clear out the toxins from our gut, restore our vitality, and boost our radiance, some of us may benefit from adding a specific gut protocol to the mix.
The book ‘Heal Your Gut’ by Lee Holmes offers an effective gut healing protocol to restore health and vitality to your gut. This protocol invites you to work with your natural gut flora in a positive way, rather than fighting against your gut issues. And once you’ve finished the protocol, this beautiful book will show you simple steps to balance your diet and make lasting changes that will transform your entire wellbeing! It's the perfect pairing to your detox program!