Detoxification is a natural metabolic process your body undertakes every day to help eliminate the environmental, dietary, and internally created toxins we are all exposed to. This process changes toxins into less harmful substances, which are then excreted by the body.

If you feel tired, inflamed, suffer allergies, reproductive issues, or experience difficulty losing weight – these are all signs that your body may be struggling under an increased toxic load, or reduced cellular capacity to resist the damaging effects of toxins. Undertaking a customised detox may be the turning point to getting your health back on track.

Through dietary, lifestyle and supplemental interventions, you can increase your toxin resistance and improve your efficiency in eliminating wastes. A personalised approach is safe and effective and will enable you to achieve your best possible outcomes.

detox vegetable juice

Importance of a detox

A detox is not a fad. Our bodies carry out this process automatically every day. The problem with our world today is that we are in constant contact with pesticides and herbicides, heavy metals, Genetically Modified Organisms, personal care and make-up items full of chemicals, strong chemical household cleaners, xenoestrogens found in plastics and many other highly toxic elements. These toxins impact directly on our gut lining when they enter our digestive tract in food. Other toxins are absorbed via the skin and lungs, making it difficult for us to keep them at bay. 

Because of this onslaught, we have largely lost the ability to detoxify naturally and do it well. Fortunately, we have nutrients that can help us do this more effectively and provide support to our enzymes to help break down toxins better. Anyone who experiences adverse reactions while detoxing may be suffering from major digestive issues already. For example, people with heavy metal toxicity would be wise to work on a controlled clearance of these first.

Our experienced Adelaide naturopath can help the individual prepare correctly for the detox, so they experience little to no reactions along the way and can largely go about their normal daily activities while on a program. Avoid do-ityourself kits as they are not customised and fail to address the individual’s needs.

Our detox programs are scientifically backed and individually designed. They all involve the removal of highly refined, processed carbohydrates and added sugars. Sugars are replaced with fresh organic vegetables, fruit and other high fibre plant-based foods that will boost your health and wellbeing. Add in some high-quality clean protein and good omega-3 fats and it’s a recipe for healing, restoring energy and creating better health!

Goals of detoxification

What is involved in a detox program?

Merridy who is an experienced Adelaide naturopath will customise a program for you, taking into consideration your symptoms and health history. The program will include carefully selected nutritional and herbal formulas, together with dietary and lifestyle guidelines, and a Detox Recipe book to help enhance your detox efforts, and help you achieve great results. These dietary and lifestyle tips will help you learn how to decrease your toxic burden over the long-term.

Improving your health

Your tailored detox program may focus on one of the following goals:

A health reset: This program will typically be recommended for two to four weeks and offers a detox solution for those who want to return to wellness and live the healthiest life possible. It is also suitable as a regular ‘spring clean’ detox or for those who have recently overindulged and are eager to get their energy back; such as following the New Year period, Easter or a after a decadent holiday.

For gut symptoms or to eliminate pathogens: Along with the health reset, some additional recommendations may be a included for those with ongoing or extreme gastrointestinal symptoms. Antimicrobial herbs and essential oils are a welcome addition in these situations to eliminate digestive pathogens that might be contributing to your symptoms, with strain-specific probiotics further assisting to restore healthy gut function and rebuild a healthy intestinal microbial balance. As the gut is ‘the seat of health’ and has a strong influence over all aspects of wellbeing, a program such as this is often recommended for managing non-digestive related symptoms as well. Depending on the intensity of your symptoms, this program is likely to be recommended for four to six weeks in duration.

For liver support and chemical clearance: The foundational support provided in the health reset will optimise liver detoxification; however,
some individuals may experience a much higher chemical exposure than others due to their lifestyle habits, or living or working circumstances. Additional antioxidants and liver support for chemical clearance and heavy metal chelation may be required. Again, depending on theintensity of your symptoms, this program will likely be recommended for four to six weeks in duration.

Benefits of a detox

candid studio shot of A hungry man biting a delicious pizza
Cravings reduce and can disappear

Experts (food engineers) exist in the food industry to design processed foods that encourage cravings and addictive eating so that they can sell more product. It’s true, we are taken hostage by processed, refined foods because they impact on our
hormone production, brain chemistry, metabolism and even our taste buds. It is not our poor willpower that lets us down. Sugar has been found to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. A detox will release you from the addictive clutches of sugar and over-processed refined, palatable food-like substances that are making us sick.

Weight loss

It’s not quite as simple as eating less and exercising more. Many factors combine to halt the process. But the biggest culprit by far is sugar. This includes refined, processed carbohydrates like cereals, bread, pasta, biscuits & crackers, cakes, pastries and other flour-based goods. It also includes added sugars such as in soft drinks, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, honey, table sugar and maple syrup, etc. 

Here is the reality – refined sugar is addictive. It causes a spike in insulin and inflammation every time it is eaten. This encourages the body to store belly fat and stops you from feeling full. When you detoxify, you eliminate sugar and break this nasty cycle. Did you know that if you detox with a friend, chances are you will drop more weight than going it alone!

Young woman after weight loss on color background
More energy, better sleep

During a detox, two of the most often reported benefits are improved sleep and increased energy & vitality. This is a wonderful experience and the reasons many clients return for a detox reset each year. Feeling great is really only a few days away.

Eliminate food sensitivities

A customised detox program will help identify and eliminate foods you may be reacting to, resulting in inflammation and other symptoms. Dairy and gluten are two of the most common and also most harmful food sensitivities. Many people don’t realise that they are sensitive to or intolerant of these often for many years. When they are removed from the diet, the gut can heal given the right nutrients and foods.

Improve libido

Mood disorders in men and women can stem from sugar overload, smoking, drinking alcohol, exposure to toxins, poor sleep and chronic stress. It stands to reason that when you detox, you remove the culprits that create hormonal  imbalances (including our sex hormones) and impact on your metabolism. Once you have experienced how it is to feel great again, get rid of cravings, joint pain, excess weight and other more chronic problems, you will then reap the full benefits of a detox and understand why people come back for more! There are many more benefits to doing a detox.

Have a reboot

The best way to swap the daily experiences of low energy, poor sleep and energy-draining foods is to reset your life with a detox. Without toxins like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, flour and processed foods, taking steps towards better health is easy. With simple and delicious foods, dedicating 7-8 hours a night for quality sleep, some regular exercise and practicing relaxation, your mind and body can reboot and you can very quickly begin to feel great again!

Woman hand holding glass jar of green smoothie

Environmental toxins and their impact

We are constantly exposed to toxins in our everyday lives. Calculate your current toxin load by completing our Toxicity Questionnaire. Biotoxins or mould spores can also impact the health of many people. Living or working in a damp building where mould is entrenched will affect the health of some people. The mould may not always be apparent as it can be hidden in cavity walls or behind a leaky fridge or dishwasher. Having an expert test and analyse for potential mould is a worthwhile investment if you suspect there is a moisture issue. 

Take our Biotoxin Questionnaire if you feel you may be impacted by mould, to check on your symptoms.

Common impacts on our health and ways we can offset these:
Disrupt hormones – exposure to toxins can disturb the delicate hormonal balance. Eliminating toxins is critical to reduce hormonal imbalance.
Energy – toxins disrupt normal energy-producing mechanisms in cells. Regular exercise helps improve energy production and offset the negative effects of toxicity upon health.
Inflammation – toxin exposure creates inflammation in the body leading to tissue damage. Specific nutrients can reduce the proinflammatory effects of toxins and prevent toxin-induced damage.
 Free radicals – toxins produce free radicals, which cause damage to cells. Taking antioxidants, such as zinc and selenium, can off set thisdamage.

The detox diet

A major source of ongoing toxin and allergen exposure can be found in the diet, through the intake of substances such as coffee, alcohol, refined and processed foods containing additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavours. The combined effects of these substances place additional burdens on your detox organs, and therefore should be minimised during your detox program. The detox dietreduces these harmful substances and is an easy-tofollow dietary program.

Detox diet principles

1) Plant-based foods: encourages liberal amounts of fresh and raw greens, fresh vegetables, fruits and spices, legumes, nuts and seeds, and some grains such as rice and oats.
2) Wholefood: Eliminates refined, processed or packaged foods that tend to be high in various chemicals such as additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavours. These foods also tend to be high in calories, but low in essential nutrients. High intake of refined carbohydrates can also negatively impact the balance of digestive flora.
3) Gluten and dairy free: Two of the most common allergens, gluten and dairy, increase inflammation and the production of potentially harmful free radicals, which may impact health.
4) Low fructose: With the exception of fresh fruit, this diet discourages intake of foods sweetened with fructose or high fructose corn syrup, which at certain levels may cause digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals.
5) Organic: By opting for organic food choices wherever possible, your exposure to insecticide, herbicide and pesticide residues known to impact health will be limited. Organic fruits and vegetables have also been shown to contain higher levels of phytonutrients, which are beneficial for cellular health and offer protection against toxin damage.
6) Alkalising: Diets high in reined grains and animal protein, and low in fresh vegetables and greens, can be quite acidic and ultimately impact cellular function and health. A lower intake of these foods and a higher ratio of alkaline, plant foods reduce acid load within the body.
7) Hydrating: Effective detoxification depends upon water. Consuming two to three litres of pure water daily assists the kidneys to remove wastes
through this important eliminatory channel.

The dirty dozen

Here is a list of fruits and vegetables known to contain higher residues of pesticides and herbicides, so purchasing the organic options would be far healthier: Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, capsicum, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and potatoes.

Fruits and vegetables that contain less chemicals

Avocadoes, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, sweet peas (frozen), onions, asparagus, mangoes, paw paw, kiwi fruit, eggplant, grapefruit, rockmelon, cauliflower and sweet potato.

Healthy summer fruits vegetables berries

Detoxifying your environment

During your detox it is best to avoid unwanted or unnecessary exposure to chemicals, pollutants and other harmful substances. Your detoxification program can help to detoxify your internal environment, however it is equally important to review your lifestyle habits and consider the external environment around you, including your home, workspace and even your car. We spend so much time in these spaces, but how often do we actually stop and consider how toxic our living environment may potentially be?

  • Avoid recreational drugs: Coffee, alcohol and cigarettes are the most common recreational substances that can impact on your body’s capacity to detoxify. These substances are generally eliminated on a detox program.

  • Appropriate use of medications: The use of prescription medication may be important to manage your health effectively. Discontinuing your medications without the advice of your GP is not recommended. However, during a detox you may wish to limit the use of non-prescription medications, and only use on an ‘as needed’ basis. Any additional medications place additional burdens on your detoxification pathways.

  • Avoid unnecessary chemical exposure: Attempt to minimise exposure to chemicals and pollutants during a detox. Opt to use chemical-free dry cleaners and natural insect repellents if required, limit exposure to air and traffic pollution; and avoid solvents and surfactants used in glue, plastic and rubber. If possible, avoid getting the carpets professionally cleaned or the house painted during your detox program.

  • Recognise bad plastics: Plastics are a common source of well-known toxic chemicals such as BPA, phthalates and diethylstilbestrol (DES), amongst others. These chemicals can leach from the plastics, especially when heating and should ideally be avoided. Plastics are often categorised by numbers and these codes can usually be found displayed on plastic bottles. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 have no known health hazards except if ingested and are the best choices.

  • Check your cleaning products: Avoid cleaning products or air fresheners that are fragrant or made using chemical ingredients, opting for more natural products. Make your own natural cleaning products using ingredients such as bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, tea tree and clove oils.
  • Review your personal care products: Personal care products and cosmetics are another potential source of chemicals that may not be ideal during a detox. For example, aluminium is used in commercial anti-perspirant deodorants, Bisphenol-A (BPA’s) are used as nail polish hardeners, phthalates are used in cosmetics labelled as synthetic fragrance or ‘parfum’ and hairsprays, parabens are used to inhibit microbial growth and extend the shelf life of cosmetics, triclosan is an antibacterial agent found in cleansers, toothpastes and anti-perspirants.


Lifestyle tips during detox


The benefits of exercise are endless, particularly during detox. Regular exercise not only helps you feel good; it is a great way to assist with detoxification, promoting the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body. This enhances the elimination of waste products and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your organs and muscles. Our lymphatic or waste system relies on the movement of muscles during exercise to pump internal waste from the body. Aim for:

  • Approximately 30-40 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise, three to four times a week, will raise your heart rate. Activities such as brisk walking or swimming or bike riding are perfect.
  • One to two sessions a week of strengthening exercise (eg. weights, yoga or Pilates).
  • Try something new, whether a dance or fitness class, a team sport such as netball, football, basketball, boot camp or whatever makes you move and have fun.
  •  Exercise in nature is good for the soul – enjoy the green spaces around you and go for a bike ride in the park, bushwalk or run along the beach.

Pure water
An undeniable mainstay of effective detoxification is water! With so much of our body being made up of water, it is no wonder that water helps with the elimination process, encouraging clearance of waste through the kidneys. Drink two to three litres of water daily during your detox, and more if it is hot when you are exercising. A good rule of thumb is that if your urine is not almost clear, then you need to drink more. Carry a one litre BPA-free plastic, glass or stainless-steel bottle with you at all times and sip throughout the day. Add some interest to your water by adding a little lemon juice or zest, ginger, mint or even frozen raspberries for a cool treat.

Sleep and rest well
Your body uses sleep as an opportunity to heal and rejuvenate. Seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night will complement your detox program. Your sleeping environment can impact your sleep. Ensure your bedroom is dark, well-ventilated and a comfortable temperature. Keep a regular bedtime routine, turning off the TV, computer and mobile phone at least an hour or more before bed to allow your body time to wind down and prepare for a restorative night’s sleep.

Dry skin brushing
Your skin is a major organ of elimination and as dead skin cells accumulate, they reduce the skin’s ability to detoxify effectively. Before your shower, spend 5 minutes with a firm bristle brush or loofah and brush the skin of the arms, legs and back quite briskly. Brush in an upward motion from wrist to shoulder, ankle to hip and down your back. If you are doing this correctly your skin will be slightly red and tingly when you are finished.

Spa treatments
Spa treatments can be a great addition to your detox program. Saunas and skin wraps can be powerful detox tools, encouraging your body to sweat and remove wastes through your skin. Massage can also support detoxification by stimulating lymphatic and blood circulation, and enhancing wellbeing.

Avoid toxic emotions and stress
Negative energy, emotions and reactions often influence our health more than we realise. Choosing to be positive and focused presents the opportunity to detoxify your life from negativity. Find positive affirmations and quotes that inspire you. In some individuals, cleaning up their diet and lifestyle may result in past thoughts and emotions resurfacing. The practice of creating a journal and reflection may help identify emotional stressors, so you can process them and clear them from your consciousness.

Occupations that are at higher risk of chemical and toxin exposure

Living close to areas of high pollution or working with hazardous chemicals or substances will increase an individual’s overall toxin burden. Some professions that have been associated with increased toxin exposure include, but are not limited to:

A specialised heavy metal detox may be required for people in such occupations. Our expert Adelaide naturopath has helped customise programs for many people with heavy metal toxins that are impacting their health. A regular annual detox will help reduce the overall burden of these chemicals and promote more optimal health.

After completing a detox – now what?

Now that you are feeling fresher and healthier after completing your detox program, it is not the time to start ‘re-toxing’. Wellness is about achieving balance in all areas of your life to stay healthy and active for as long as possible. Completing another detox program in the future may be a key strategy for you to maintain the balance between any future exposure, and sustaining your toxin resistance. A health reset can be completed at regular intervals to give you a quick spring clean as needed.