Time for a spring detox?


It’s this time of the year again: everyone is talking about starting a spring detox!

As you know, I’m not necessarily a big fan of detoxes and other tough cleansing programs, but I do believe that if you’re feeling tired, sluggish, heavy and foggy, it might be a good idea to look at a few gentle options.

Here are the 10 questions my clients ask me the most frequently about detox. I hope you’ll find the answers helpful!

Spring detox? Great tips from Food Matters TV.

1- What exactly is a spring detox if you don’t know?

Detox is about giving your liver and your digestion system a rest, eliminating toxins mainly accumulated from foods (but also from drinks, pollution, radiation, stress) and replenishing and boosting your body with nutrients, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins which many people lack, in particular after winter. 

Basically during a detox, you don’t have or you reduce the following foods that add toxins: wheat, sugar, alcohol, refined and processed food, dairy, coffee, sodas (diet sodas included), artificial sweeteners, and animal foods.

And you’ll stock up on organic, real, whole, fresh and local non-animal foods: a lot of leafy greens, onions, garlic, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, parsley, mint, basil, coriander but also raw nuts, brown rice, quinoa, and healthy fats. You can add organic eggs, wild-caught cold-water fish and grass-fed meat but only in small quantities.

 2- Can a spring detox be dangerous for your health?

 For some people, yes definitely. Always consult your GP before starting any type of cleansing, in particular if you have a medical condition, .

If you are run-down or anxious, a detox is not a good idea at all. Or at least not a strict detox that looks like punishment and goes with cravings, deprivation and frustration for many and which could be counter-productive if not harmful for your health. Listen to your body. Always. Never punish or you will see rebound effects weeks, months or years later.

 3- Why can a spring detox be necessary after winter?

During the colder months we all eat way too much while often indulging on alcohol, refined foods, a lot of meat, sugary foods and sweets: a very acidic diet, which promotes oxidation, inflammation and overloads our liver. The problem is this extra burden drastically reduces the liver key jobs: neutralising and eliminating toxins and helping burn fat! So it is very important to get our liver back on track.

4- What can you eat to help cleanse your liver?

It is critical to support our liver as its workload has increased dramatically over the last century: it is responsible for eliminating medication, radiation, air/water pollution, pesticides, personal care products, food additives, cleaning products, air freshener and 40,000 chemicals brought into our lives since the 1940s. To assist your liver detox, overcrowd your diet with these liver-friendly foods: avocados, green tea, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens (think kale, spinach, boy choy, rocket), artichokes, ginger, apple cider vinegar and lemon. 

5- Is there another way to detox than green juices…?

cosmo logoAbsolutely – I’m not a big fan of green juices myself, so I totally get you! My clients usually love this mild detox (only organic foods): a week of super clean diet with a limited amount of clean animal foods. It was featured in COSMOPOLITAN magazine (click here to read the article):

  • before breakfast: start your day with a hot lemon water with fresh ginger
  • breakfast: avocado, baby spinach + olive oil with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
  • snack: kiwi fruit with raw almonds
  • lunch: pear and rocket salad + organic poached/boiled eggs + Dijon mustard/olive oil/apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • snack: hummus, carrot sticks or fresh coconut juice and flesh
  • dinner: quinoa salad + pomegranate + walnuts /  strawberries for dessert
  • 2 litres of filtered water throughout the day and or herbal teas)

6- What is the ideal duration for a quick and effective detox?

One size definitely doesn’t fit all. Your health condition, your body type, your goals, your lifestyle are unique. For some one day of lemon/ginger water (see Q6) will be enough to feel better. Others will need to cleanse for up to 3 to 6 weeks as the liver replaces itself after 6 weeks and you start seeing real results after 2 weeks (glowing skin, better sleep, high energy, more focused, weight loss). For those who can’t detox for major medical reasons, it will be more about introducing cleansing foods (see Q1) in their daily diet with one day of fasting every month. 

7- What would a day’s food on a detox look like (drinks, snacks, meals)

If you really want to go for a 100% alkalising and super cleansing detox, consider this very simple yet highly purifying plan for 3 days. Start your day with hot lemon water. Eat nothing but organic or chemical-free green leafy vegetables (baby spinach, rocket, kale, bok choy…), avocados, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, mint, basil, and coriander. You can also add some fruits (not a lot!): lots of lemons and berries. One banana a day is also allowed. Be inventive and make juices, smoothies, soups, and salads. You’ll be surprised how easy it is (and if it’s not that easy for you, remember it is only for 3 days!). For instance you can have a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch, a soup for dinner and have juices for snacks. Use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with some olive oil as a very healthy dressing. A whole fresh coconut with the flesh and the juice is also a delicious, satisfying snack. Drink 2 litres of filtered water and as much as organic herbal tea as you want.

8- Give me one easy tip I can use now?

These foods (listed in Q7) are rich in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), which require fat to be absorbed properly. So each time you have your juice, smoothie, salad or soup, always add a good quality fat such as coconut oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, fish oil to make the most of these very important vitamins.

9- How much water or what liquids should you drink while detoxing?

Water, water, water! Quantity is important (I recommend to drink 2 litres a day) but quality is also paramount for a good detox. Filtered water is the best option or mineral water in glass bottles (to avoid chemicals from plastic bottles). Fat-soluble vitamins (C, Bs) enter your body with water so plenty of filtered water is definitely needed for a detox to work. If you find plain water boring, you have plenty of other options. Organic green tea is one. Herbal teas such as cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, or liquorice tea are fantastic to support digestion while minimising sugar cravings. You also can make your own vitamin water: fresh sliced whole fruits (with skins and flesh) such as lemons (help in the absorption of sugars and calcium and cuts down your cravings for sweets), limes (promote a healthy digestive tract), berries (full of antioxidants), sliced vegetables and herbs such as cucumber (acting as a diuretic and flush fat cells) and mint (natural appetite suppressant that also aids in digestion and helps to keep cool during warmer days), marinated in filtered water overnight and drunken throughout the day. It is delicious and one of my clients’ favourites!


Yoga and meditation: my detox of choice.

10- Is detox only about food?

My ‘nourish, don’t punish’ approach to really work needs to talk to the body and the mind at the same time: every day, practice yoga (so powerful to detoxify the livers, kidneys, gall bladder, lungs…), meditate (5mn a day is a good start), move to aid digestion and stimulate metabolism (an early 30 minutes walk in the park, a swim in the ocean), apply a detoxifying face and body mask, exfoliate and sleep a lot (our liver filters and purifies our blood at night). Stay away from BPA (in plastic containers and cans), pesticides, chlorine, fluoride, parabens/propylene glycol/aluminium (in personal care products), non-stick cookware, and nicotine. Try to get all screens (mobile, tablets, TV, computers) switched off from 7pm until the next day (or 2 hours before going to bed).

A great tip from my great grandmother, popular cook and health practitioner in the 1920’s: take a walk in the morning dew as often as you can. High in electricity and energy, it is very alkalising for the body… According to Asian traditions, it feeds the kidney meridian, essence of life.

Are you going to do a detox? Any tip to share? Let me know!

Talk to you next week.


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