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What is a 'detox'?
A detox is a regime designed to reduce the toxin levels in our bodies. This may be achieved by: reducing the levels of toxin taken into the body (i.e. cigarettes, alcohol and chocolate); increasing the elimination of the toxins within the body; or both.
Spring is traditionally the time to detox, when the days are getting longer and there are plenty of fresh salad vegetables available. The New Year however, is rapidly becoming a more popular time. This appears to be due to two reasons: New Year's resolutions often include reducing many of the toxins we live with and getting into a healthy regime; the excesses of the Christmas period having left many of us feeling sluggish and slow. Others decide to fit a simple detox regularly into their regime (for instance not drinking alcohol, tea or coffee one day a week).

How you go about a detox depends on what you want to achieve and what you think you will be able to achieve.
  • A simple detox may involve cutting out toxins (coffee, alcohol, cigarettes etc) and increasing your water intake for a few days. This is very simple and probably easier to achieve than more complicated detox programmes. It may even result in a permanent change in habits.
  • More complicated detox regimes often include a more radical change in diet. Some people will gradually cut out meat, dairy and cooked foods and eat raw fruit and vegetables for a few days, before reintroducing the other foods slowly back into the diet. This is often accompanied with herbs or supplementation to assist with the elimination of toxins.
  • These are not weight loss regimes (although a detox regime can often result in weight loss) and it is important that the body still receives an appropriate calorie and vitamin intake.

There are many different detox regimes discussed in books and magazines. If you are thinking of detoxing keep these points in mind:
1. Will you be able to keep the regime up? - completing a simple detox will be more beneficial than not completing a complicated extreme detox.
2. It does not matter how many supplements and herbs you take, reducing the toxin intake is important.
3. If you are on medication or suffer from a medical condition it is best to discuss your plans with your doctor.