March 09, 2023
I feel a little like I am going to end up saying something like, increase vegetables (especially non-starchy), limit sugar, refined grains and processed foods. And of course I am.
I wanted to address detoxification in relation to eating well and recovering well because at the start of your recovering well process you may well feel tired, sluggish, fatigued and generally..well..like you need a detox or cleanse.
We live in a world where we are exposed to so many chemicals that the body has to process and avoidance of these is not truly possible. Added to this if you have had to have chemotherapy treatment your body not only has to process the chemotherapy drug itself but the other substances that were in the chemotherapy infusions (see medsafe information sheets if you would like to learn more about this), any additional medication you needed to take at the time (anti-nausea medication, steroids etc). It’s a lot to process.
Our wonderful bodies have a great system in place for detoxification. Blood travels through the liver for filtration and detoxification.
In the liver there are 2 phases of detoxification.
In the first phase of detoxification enzymes called cytochrome P-450 enzymes start to transform substances from your blood into more water soluble substances. Nutrients such as B vitamins and Short chain fatty acids are needed to support this phase of detoxification.
Ironically phase 1 can lead to substances being pro-oxidant (Reactive oxygen species or ROS), so having antioxidants in plentiful supply supports the body. Anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Co-enzyme Q10 are all thought to be important support, as well as the body’s own anti-oxidant enzymes.
Phase 1 detoxification can also make a substance more toxic than it started off being.
This means we need phase 2 liver detoxification to quickly conjugate (process) the metabolites produced from phase 1 so they are more neutral and can then be eliminated through the kidneys (urine) or bowel (via bile). Phase 2 detoxification is supported by sulphur-containing amino acids such as taurine and cysteine. Glycine, glutamine, choline and inositol are important for efficient phase 2 detoxification.
There are many nutrients needed to support the whole detoxification process.
So, my answer to my own question - How can we support the process of detoxification? Is a nutrient dense water containing diet.
If you have started supporting gut health and healthy microbiomes then you have already started supporting the elimination phase of detoxification (sometimes referred to as phase 3).
Drinking plenty of water will also support this process as your body eliminates the processed metabolites through your urine.
Food and herbs also contain phytochemicals which are considered helpful in supporting detoxification.
There is fascinating research into modulating metabolic pathways using food. What is more fascinating to me is that the combinations of whole food extracts rather than individual compounds had larger than expected results (Another vote for eating a whole foods diet).
It’s easy to get into habits with the foods we buy and eat. The following is a list of foods to consider, and perhaps add to your shopping list more regularly to include detoxification supportive foods and variety.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale.
Allium family such as onions, garlic, shallots, chives and leeks
Citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C - Oranges, lemons, limes
Flavonoid rich foods such as beets, carrots and berries.
Herbal teas such as green tea, chamomile, peppermint, Dandelion tea and Rooibos tea.
Spices such as Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger
Quercetin rich foods such as Apples, apricots, blueberries, onion, green beans, alfalfa sprouts
Apiaceous vegetables - carrots, celery, dill, parsley, parsnips
Fruits and Berries - Blueberries, pomegranate, grapes
Sulphur containing foods - Eggs, Lentils, Peas, Butter beans, brazil nuts, Almonds, Walnuts,
Antioxidant rich foods may also support the detoxification process (remember after phase 1 there is an increase in oxidative metabolites that needs to be attended to by antioxidant enzymes).
Antioxidant rich foods include - Green tea, Blueberries, Goji Berries, Cranberries, Elderberries, Cocoa and Cacao. Antioxidant rich herbs to include in your diet are; rosemary, clove, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cumin, parsley, basil and thyme.
As you can see there are a lot of foods that support detoxification and adding as many of these into your diet as you can is a supportive step in helping your body to process and detoxify all the chemicals that you come into contact with.
A friend asked recently why detoxification wasn't the first thing I talked about in relation to recovering well after cancer treatments.
In her lovely book “The Everything Guide to Adrenal Fatigue”, Maggie Luther, ND suggests different approaches depending on the level of adrenal fatigue a person has. The more depleted a person is the more they need regular meals and snacks to support energy being stable.
Protein is also supportive to prevent surges in blood sugar levels that often result in a person feeling more tired than before.
Using nuts and seeds to snack on and having main meals containing protein (fish, eggs, lentils, soybeans, legumes) will also ensure that the amino acids that are necessary for the detoxification process are available.
Whether it’s side effects from the treatments you went through or as part of focussing on your health if you are wanting to lose weight then supporting with detoxification is a good idea.
Environmental pollutants and other toxins are stored in fatty tissue. During weight loss, fat breaks down and toxins are discharged into the bloodstream.
You don’t need to do a full juice cleanse to get the benefit of freshly pressed juices. Juices are one way to power in more nutrients and phytochemicals to your diet. The possibilities of what goes into a juice are endless, I usually use carrot as my base and from there add whatever else I want to, or have in the house.
Further options to enhance detoxification are:
A fast mimicking diet - I like this as I find it fits with self-compassion rather than more severe water fasts etc. The following link goes through one easy to do the 5-Day Fast mimicking diet. https://creativeinmykitchen.com/five-day-fast-mimicking-vegan-and-lectin-light-cleanse/
A variation on the 5:2 diet with a particular focus on cruciferous and other non-starchy vegetables on the 2 days can also support detoxification further.
Intermittent fasting is another popular option.
No detox support will replace long term healthy nourishing and supportive diet such as a nutrient dense diet rich in antioxidants and detoxifying phytochemicals.
Options for getting lots of variety of supportive ingredients are:
Soups (you can use loads of different vegetables, or have a few soup recipes you make and cycle through them).
Steam frys - an abundance of vegetables as well as herbs and spices can be added.
Salads - as well as using a variety of vegetables you can make your own salad dressings and add cumin or ginger or thyme etc to make variations on the same salad while still adding variety.
Jeremy Dixon in his first few Revive Cafe Cookbooks has a step-by-step guide in the back of the book where he shows how to make many different combinations of smoothies, breakfast bowls, stir-fries, curries, wraps, dessert pies and more so you can use the same food preparation systems to have a healthy varied diet. I love this approach.
Supporting other elimination channels will also support detoxification, and increased detoxification and elimination is one of the benefits of exercise, which I will begin to write about my next article.
The 5:2 diet: A good choice for gestational diabetes. (2021, November 1). ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/11/211101105412.htm
ADHD Diet Plan: Foods to Eat & Avoid to Help ADD Symptoms. (2023, February 8). ADDitude. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-diet-nutrition-sugar/
5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet Meal Plan (Do It Yourself). (2020, October 16). Creative in My Kitchen. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://creativeinmykitchen.com/five-day-fast-mimicking-vegan-and-lectin-light-cleanse/
Five Friends for fasting. (2021). Mimic Fasting Recipes: The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD): Meal Plan + Fasting Guide. Over 30 Recipes and Exact Doses. Amazon Digital Services LLC - Kdp.
Longo, V. (2019). The Longevity Diet: Slow Aging, Fight Disease, Optimize Weight. Penguin Publishing Group.
Make healthy meals with Canada's food guide plate. (n.d.). Canada's Food Guide. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/tips-for-healthy-eating/make-healthy-meals-with-the-eat-well-plate/#section-1
Nutrition for Improved Liver Function | The Detox Food Plan | IFM. (n.d.). The Institute for Functional Medicine. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.ifm.org/news-insights/detox-food-plan/
Recovery of adriamycin induced mitochondrial dysfunction in liver by selenium. (2014, October 18). NCBI. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4628925/
Understand Detoxification and Nutritional Support. (n.d.). Seek holistic Health. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://seekholistichealth.com.au/understand-detoxification-nutritional-support/
Hodges RE, Minich DM. Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application. J Nutr Metab. 2015;2015:760689. doi: 10.1155/2015/760689. Epub 2015 Jun 16. PMID: 26167297; PMCID: PMC4488002.
Balstad TR, Carlsen H, Myhrstad MC, Kolberg M, Reiersen H, Gilen L, Ebihara K, Paur I, Blomhoff R. Coffee, broccoli and spices are strong inducers of electrophile response element-dependent transcription in vitro and in vivo - studies in electrophile response element transgenic mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Feb;55(2):185-97. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201000204. Epub 2010 Sep 8. PMID: 20827676.
Bedognetti, L. Rivoltini, and F. de Braud Fasting-Mimicking Diet Is Safe and Reshapes Metabolism and Antitumor Immunity in Patients with Cancer Cancer Discovery (1 January 2022) Vol 12 Issue 1
M Percival. Phytonutrients & Detoxification. Clinical Nutrition Insights (1997) Vol 5, No 2
October 06, 2023
I have found with the people that I help that using minerals gives us a strong foundation to work with.
On a personal level I am extremely grateful for the support of minerals!!
September 01, 2023
August 25, 2023
When you start to think in a downward spiral, or become distracted or focussing on negative “unwanted” thoughts - of the past, the present or the future you simply tell your brain “Useful Thoughts Only”
The trick is catching yourself in the act, but I suspect you may have a few (or even many) opportunities each day to practice this technique. The great thing is, even if you realise after quite a while that you have been riding the unhelpful thought train, you can stop at any time and tell yourself - USEFUL THOUGHTS ONLY.