Weekend detox

You don't need to drink smoothies for a month to give your system a jump-start. Our naturopath gives you the scoop on how to get a quick cleanse

detox diet

Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by toxins in the food we eat, the water we drink and through our environment. A good detox concentrates on cleansing the liver but to do that it’s necessary to focus on the stomach and intestines as well. “The idea of a detox is to give your system a break and decrease the body’s burden,” says naturopathic doctor Carol Morley of Zawada Health in Mississauga, ON.

The first step to a quick cleanse is easy. Simply squeeze half a fresh lemon into a warm cup of water or herbal tea and drink it before breakfast. It stimulates your digestion, cleanses your liver and levels out the pH in your body first thing in the morning.

Take out the trash
Sugar and alcohol create inflammation in the body so eliminating them from your diet for a weekend or longer will give your body a much-needed break. Caffeine is also high on the list of no-nos because it affects how your liver processes, says Morley. Coffee addicts beware – you may have to ease your way into a full detox to avoid withdrawal headaches and fatigue. Leading up to your weekend cleanse start decreasing the amount of caffeinated beverages you consume to avoid feeling sick.

You are what you eat
While cutting your alcohol, caffeine and sugar consumption are a good start, you may want to eliminate other foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy and red meat that have been known to cause headaches, constipation, bloating, fatigue and acne. Those with arthritis or chronic pain could also try removing certain vegetable families from their diets such as tomatoes, white potatoes and eggplant, recommends Morley. A weekend may not be enough to see if eliminating these foods affects how you feel in the long run but it’s a good start.

Hyper hydration
Most people don’t drink their daily-recommended intake of eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. To properly flush out your system you’ll want to consume about two litres of water a day for the whole weekend.

Get moving
Move it or lose it, they say. Get your heart rate pumping for at least twenty minutes a day to help your lymphatic system eliminate toxins. Not only will it deliver much-needed oxygen throughout your body but exercising is another way to cleanse your system by working up a good purifying sweat. You can also try dry skin-brushing to help with microcirculation.

Avoid quick fixes
A lot of detox supplements out there claim to clean the liver and colon but are really just laxatives, warns Morley. “They will leave you running to the bathroom and little else,” she warns. A detox done properly should leave you feeling energetic and lighter, and looking brighter, so beware of supplements.

Check up
Before getting started, always make sure to check in with a healthcare professional, especially if you want to do a long-term cleanse or have any underlying health issues.