Every day we are exposed to toxins. From our environment, the foods we eat, and waste from metabolism. These toxins accumulate in our body and cause irritation and inflammation making our bodies more susceptible to disease. Removal of waste material through detoxing is key to maintaining healthy body function. Detoxes can strengthen your immune system, retrain your taste buds to appreciate healthy foods, stabilize blood sugar levels, and increase overall health and vitality.
Kombucha is an ancient house remedy that originated in Asia. It consists of a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) that feeds off a nutrient solution of tea and sugar and produces glucuronic acid, lactic acid, vitamins, amino acids, antibiotic substances, and other products. Glucuronic acid is particularly helpful in a detox because it conjugates toxins in the body making them water soluble to be excreted through urine.
Other benefits include the regulation of intestinal flora, blood cleansing, improved metabolic function, supporting pH balance and improved general condition.
Your body is detoxing every day through your five main detox systems — lymphatic, respiratory, urinary, the gastrointestinal tract, and the skin. They work together to neutralize and excrete harmful substances.
The most important element of a detox is to eat a simple and healthy diet to ease the toxic burden while your body removes toxic buildup. To further aid in the process, you should incorporate bitter foods (such as greens) into your meals during the detox. Besides taste receptors on the tongue, there are receptors for bitter foods throughout the entire GI tract. Including bitter foods can encourage elimination of toxins, improve digestive tract function, and can act against overeating.
Movement is also important during a detox. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and relies on the milking action of muscles to transport waste filled fluid to the liver for processing. Bounding exercises are especially beneficial; such as brisk walking, jump roping and rebounding on a trampoline which can increase lymph flow up to 2 to 3 times more than when a person is at rest.
Other important components of a detox are to reduce stress and increase sleep. Stress increases activity of the sympathetic nervous system that shuts down digestion and impairs immune system function. Ways to reduce stress include regular deep breathing, clearing your schedule of unnecessary clutter, stretching, letting go of bitterness, and practicing contentment.
It is important to give these overloaded organs a break and help clear the backload of toxic buildup through eating a clean diet, increasing intake of bitter foods, incorporating daily movement, reducing stress and maintaining adequate amounts of sleep
During the detox, consume Kombucha 30 minutes before eating lunch. Start with a dose of 2 to 4 ounces and work your way up to a 16-ounce serving.
Note: If you notice any gas, bloating, or flu-like symptoms make sure you drink lots of water to help your body flush out toxins, and decrease the amount of kombucha you consume until your body adjusts before increasing the serving size.
Lots of vegetables, bitter greens (arugula, collard, dandelion, beet, mustard, etc), legumes, root vegetables, nuts and seeds, gluten-free whole grains (buckwheat, millet, quinoa, etc), poultry, wild caught fish, healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, organic butter), and low glycemic fruits (Granny Smith apples and berries).
Any processed foods, gluten, corn, soy, dairy, red meat, pork, processed meats (hot dogs, deli meat), vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, peanut, margarine, and shortening), alcohol, caffeine, and ALL forms of sugar (white sugar, evaporated cane juice, honey, artificial sweeteners, high sugar fruits, etc).
1 vegetable and 1 side.
• Leafy greens
• Swiss chard
• Brussels sprouts
(AND) (1) Side
• Sweet potato with salt and cinnamon
• Brown Rice
Lunch & Dinner: 1 vegetable and 1-2 sides.
- Leafy greens
- Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
(AND) (1) Side
- Brown Rice
- Steel cut oats
- Sweet potato
(AND) (OR) (1) Side
- Chicken (No deli meat)
- Fish (wild caught)
- Hummus (Homemade)
- Peanut butter (Natural)
- For fruit consumption stick with berries and sour apples due to their lower sugar content
- A cup of Ginger Spice Decoction before breakfast and after dinner can help tighten heal, and reduce inflammation of body tissues, improve circulation, improve digestion and help with sugar cravings
- While you are detoxing, evaluate how your lifestyle choices and habits are supporting or undermining your health and use this opportunity to set the standard for a healthier lifestyle going forward
- Focus on nutrition, not counting calories
- Eating more protein and fat will help curb sugar cravings and keep you satisfied longer
Ginger Spice Decoction
- 20 bay leaves (must be Laurus nobilis)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ginger root (about 4-5 inches long – longer if thin, shorter if fat)
- 4-5 quarts water
Add all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for several hours.
Follow the Detox Journey of MD Publishing Creative Director Jon Riley as he begins the two week detox challenge. Starting Jan. 30th, Jon will be giving updates on how he is handling the detoxification process.
Noelle Fuller is a senior majoring in nutrition science at the University of Georgia.