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Integrative Family Health Clinic in Bolton and the Greater Caledon Area
4-22 Simona Drive
Bolton, ON

To Detox or Not to Detox?

 Is a detox a great way to feel confident in your bikini or a recipe for disaster?

Detoxing in my experience is considered extreme, and for lack of a better word, ‘fringy.’ But in the past few years, the word ‘detox’ has taken on a whole new meaning. Now, it seems to be a catch-all term to describe some sort of intervention that gets the junk out and helps restore the body to a better state of balance. It seems as if everyone is jumping on board!

What Counts as a Detox Diet?

Detoxes can be relatively basic, from simply cutting out alcohol, caffeine, and processed stuff (white flour, sugar, artificial ingredients, etc.), to downright extreme, like liquid-only regimes.

Advantages of Detoxing

The main advantage of a basic detox is that it eliminates things you should be trying to limit or avoid anyway. Committing to “banning” certain foods can be a great way to allow your body to experience what it feels like to take a break from things like alcohol and sugar. While you may not drop a lot of weight on a basic detox, you’ll probably feel lighter, more energized, “cleaner” and motivated to stay on a healthy track.

When Detoxing Can Become Dangerous

More extreme detoxes on the other hand, especially those that eliminate solid food, are a different story. Because you won’t be taking in enough carbohydrates, you’ll deplete your body’s glycogen stores, the carbs socked away in your liver and muscle tissue. That alone can cause you to shed 5 to 10 pounds in just a few days, but that loss won’t be body fat, and it can come right back as soon as you revert to your usual routine. Another big problem with liquid cleanses is they generally don’t provide protein or fat, two building blocks your body needs for constant repair and healing. Consuming too little of these key nutrients can lead to muscle loss and a weaker immune system. Psychologically, the quick weight loss can be a real high, but eventually the lack of nutrition may catch up with you, usually in the form of an injury, catching a cold or flu, or just feeling run down and exhausted.

Do What’s Right for You

So my bottom line advice on to detox or not to detox: don’t feel like it’s is something you should be doing just because it’s popular. But if you could really use a clean slate and you decide to try one, follow these two basic rules:

  1. Think of a detox as a transition period or jump start to a healthy plan. It’s not a long-term “diet” or a way of making up for every overindulgence. Getting into a cycle of continuously overeating then detoxing isn’t healthy physically or emotionally.
  2. Listen to your body. You should feel light and energized, but a too-strict detox can leave you feeling weak, shaky, dizzy, cranky and headache-prone. If you don’t feel well, modify the plan to better meet your body’s needs.  Ultimately, any detox should feel like a stepping stone to a healthier path, not a punishment.

 

What’s the Deal with Detox Diets?

It seems everyone is talking about “detox” or considering a “cleanse.” Detox diets often are misunderstood, especially since your body already comes equipped with a detoxification system. Understanding how detox works may help clear up some confusion.

How the Body Naturally Detoxifies

Detoxification is a process that the body performs around the clock utilizing important nutrients from the diet. It’s the process that transforms toxins so they can be removed from the body. They fall into two main categories: toxins that are made in the body during regular metabolism, and those that come from outside the body and are introduced by eating, drinking, breathing or are absorbed through the skin.

Toxins that are produced in the body include lactic acid, urea and waste products from microbes in the gut. External toxins may include pesticides, mercury in seafood, lead from car exhaust and air pollution, chemicals in tobacco products and drugs or alcohol.

Detoxification also us the process by which medications are metabolized and removed from the body. Because toxins are potentially dangerous to human health, they need to be transformed and excreted through urine, feces, respiration or sweat. Each person’s ability to detoxify varies and is influenced by environment, diet, lifestyle, health status and genetic factors, suggesting some people may require more detoxification support than others. But if the amount of toxins to which a person is exposed exceeds his or her body’s ability to excrete them, the toxins may be stored in fat cells, soft tissue and bone, negatively affecting health. This is the rationale behind the use of practices that support the body’s own detoxification capabilities, but more research is needed.

Most detoxification programs recommend removing highly processed foods and foods to which some people are sensitive, such as dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and red meat. They also recommend eating mostly organically grown vegetables, fruit, whole non-glutenous grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein. Other programs recommend fasting, a potentially risky practice for some people, which may actually suppress detoxification pathways in the body. This is why many health practitioners advise against this practice.

Many non-credentialed people claim to be experts in detoxification; however, there is a lack of research at this time to support its use. Plus, detoxification programs can vary widely and may pose a risk for some people (such as people with health problems, those with eating disorders, those who take multiple medications, and pregnant or breast-feeding women).

 

8 Ways to Support Your Body’s Natural Detox

Detoxification support doesn’t need to consist of a rigorous plan; doing some or all of the following can support your body’s natural detoxification:

  • Stay hydrated with clean water.
  • Eat five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Consume dietary fiber each day from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains to help maintain bowel regularity.
  • Include cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and brussels sprouts, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks and green tea. These support detoxification pathways.
  • Consume adequate amounts of lean protein, which is critical to maintaining optimum levels of glutathione, the body’s master detoxification enzyme.
  • Consider taking a multivitamin/multimineral to fill any gaps in a healthy diet, since certain vitamins and minerals enable the body’s detoxification processes to function.

Eat naturally fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut — or take a high-quality probiotic — to help promote a healthy gut.

If you have questions about your eating style and its role in supporting the body’s detoxification, check in with me.

By: Niki Vlachou, RHN

 

Wildflower Health and Wellness Simple Ways to Plan and Prepare Meals Even When You’re Busy

Simple Ways to Plan and Prepare Meals Even When You’re Busy 

You want to eat healthier, but you’re super-busy. 

You eat out several times a week because that’s what you have to do. That’s what works for you and your family (when it comes to time and convenience). But you probably realize it’s not working great when it comes to your health and fitness goals.

[bt_highlight]You want better health. You want to eat better. You don’t want the extra calories, fast food and junk food as much anymore. And you DO want to save time and money.[/bt_highlight]

 

I get it!

So, as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I am here to help you. I have a simple strategy that I’m more than happy to share with you. It will help you to plan and prepare healthy meals for the week.

Now, you don’t need to completely abandon your regular meals out. You can use my strategy to help you eat out just one or two fewer times per week. It’s up to you.As with any lifestyle change, start gradually so you can build consistency. The key here is to make it easy, doable and rewarding enough to do again and again.

Let me walk you through my simple meal prep system, and how this can work for you.

 

PLAN MEALS FOR THE WEEK

I prefer to do this on the weekend. I’ll flip through my recipes and choose a bunch to make that week. I’ll even pick which days to have which meals if I’m feeling overly ambitious, but that’s not necessary if you’re new to this. I’ll bookmark the pages and write my chosen recipes down in a notebook or even a sheet of paper to put on my fridge. I like to have at least one crock pot meal each week because they’re so easy, and dinner is ready and waiting when you get home. 

Then I create my grocery list. I take a quick look in my fridge, freezer and pantry, and list the recipe ingredients that I need to buy.

[bt_highlight]Pro Tip[/bt_highlight]: If you’re not sure you have enough of an ingredient already, consider buying a “backup” one just in case. I’ve had times where the tomato sauce I planned to use was a bit short of what I actually needed. Having to run out in the middle of meal prep can be very frustrating.

Another thing to consider is doubling the recipe(s), so you can prep and cook once, but have twice the meal at the end. The extras can be taken for lunch, or frozen to pull out the night before a busy day, so you just need to heat it up when you’re ready. 

[bt_highlight]Pro Tip[/bt_highlight]: If you’re doubling a recipe, don’t forget to double the amount you buy from the grocery store.

Once you have your handy-dandy grocery list ready, hop on over to the store and pick up your essentials. If you don’t have enough food storage containers for your meals, now’s the time to pick up some of those too.

[bt_highlight]Pro Tip[/bt_highlight]: If you’re not a fan of washing and chopping produce, then consider buying them already pre-washed and pre-chopped, or even frozen. You can make your meal prep even easier if you don’t mind spending a couple of extra dollars.

 

PREPARE MEALS FOR THE WEEK

Since you’ve already chosen your recipes and have your groceries, let’s get started on prepping some of the ingredients.

I like to book off 2-3 hours one afternoon for this. Get your recipes ready, clear off your counter, and play some music (if you’re so inclined). This is a great way to get your water intake in, have a glass of water, perhaps in a “fancy” glass and sip away (or your beverage of choice).

At this point, depending on time, I’ll either prep the ingredients, or pre-cook the entire recipe. Sometimes just washing and chopping produce and putting it in containers is a huge time-saver for weeknights. Or, you can go through and make a whole meal, and divide it up into portions and refrigerate or freeze. It’s really up to you, because the more you do now, the less you’ll have to do when you’re hungry.

 

AWESOME MEAL PREP TIP

There is one meal that is easiest to plan and prepare in advance. It’s one that’s also often the most difficult to eat at home if you’re busy. 

That’s breakfast. 

Planning some overnight oatmeal is a great start to any day. Simply place ½ cup rolled gluten free oats, ½ cup your choice of nut milk, 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds into a container (or make 5 for the whole week). Then place the lid on, shake them up and put them in your fridge. In the morning you can quickly heat them up or even eat them cold (the oats will have absorbed the nut milk). Top with berries, chopped fruit, cinnamon, nuts or seeds and enjoy.

With a little planning, you’ll be able to eat healthier while you save money and calories. 

This may take some getting used to, so if I can be of help, please reach out and let me know!