Redefining Detox

Does the word “detox” make you cringe? When someone says detox do you think deprivation? Avoidance? What if we could redefine detox? What if detox was about more not less?

So often when it comes to our health and wellbeing we get overwhelmed. We blame, shame, and resign ourselves. We are motivated by negation rather than affirmation.  The focus is on what we ought to get rid of, do less of, avoid. What if detoxing became less about “I should” and more about “I can” and “I want to”? What if we reframed the idea of detox to mean adding in rather than taking out? Doesn’t this sound like a more satisfying and sustainable model?

I take the “holistic” part of being a “holistic nutritionist” to heart. Ultimately, if we are going to look, feel, and do our best – be our best selves- we have to take care of our whole selves. That means looking out for our hearts and minds as well as our guts! Here’s where the power of reframing comes in. Food is powerful and making dietary changes can do wonders. But it can also become an enemy, something to fight against. Rather than getting upset about what we should avoid we can get excited about what we can include. Crowd out the toxic troublemakers with healthy and delicious alternatives. Here are some ways to reframe common detox demands into health inspired goals.

Ditch sugar – Discover new and exciting fruit

Fruits, while being a source of sugar, are also full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Mother nature knows best; when you eat whole foods you get the whole package! When eaten fresh fruits are also a delicious way to hydrate. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue. So next time your energy is lagging and you’re craving a sugar sweet try an apple instead. Or a bowl of watermelon or a cold-pressed juice.

Another great way to ditch sugar is to focus on eating more protein. This is especially important for those needing to avoid fruit sugars. Check out my review of the great resource I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson.

Eat less processed food – Throw more parties!

Eating too much take out? Celebrate a sunny weekend by going grocery shopping with a friend and having a dinner party. Make lots and you’ll have leftovers for the week. Or host a soup-swap party. Everyone brings a different soup and no one gets bored!

Seem like too much work? Start simple. Buy a box of prewashed lettuce, a lemon and some olive oil. Even if you end up ordering take out you’ll have an easy side of greens to add.

Eat less carbs – Enjoy awesome fats

Fat is delicious! The great news is lots of fatty foods are actually super healthy and they will help satiate your appetite so you don’t crave refined carbohydrates as much. Avocados, olives, coconut milk, ghee, nut butters and nut flours are some of my favourite daily fats. Chocolate avocado mousseanyone? How about some almond flour pancakes?

Drink less alcohol and caffeine – Plan more fun, feel amazing

This is a tough one for a lot of people. We use caffeine and alcohol to energize and de-stress. Unfortunately these substances have the opposite effect. They strip our bodies of nutrients, stress our systems and perpetuate a cycle of dependency. We don’t have to sacrifice these vices entirely but limiting our consumption might actually expand our experience and provide an opportunity to get creative. Plan a movie date after work instead of going home to a glass of beer or wine. Check out a yoga class or an art gallery with a friend instead of going to a coffee shop.

Reframing “detox” as an exercise in inclusion rather than exclusion makes for a far more positive and sustainable experience. It’s a chance to get excited about new tastes and new experiences. The more we fill our lives and our bodies with healthy deliciousness and fun the less “tox” there will be to “detox” from.


Kate McMurray, Certified Holistic Nutritionist

www.katemcmurraynutrition.com