Retreats are places to nurture mind, spirit and body. The effects of modern day life such as pollution, processed foods and overindulgence often prompt us to seek out an experience that will bring our body back into balance and nourish our internal systems. The word detox is thrown around a lot in health blogs and marketing campaigns, but how do you know which ones really work? The key to finding the right cleanse is looking at liver health.
When our body feels out of alignment it is often due to poor liver health or having too many toxins in the body. Just think about how you feel when you’ve had too much to drink the night before. Nausea, incoordination, fatigue, anxiety and pain – these are all signs that your body is struggling to metabolise substances it recognises as poison. You might feel these side effects (albeit more subtly) as a result of poor diet, exposure to pollution or other lifestyle factors.
The liver is the largest internal organ and quite possibly the hardest working. It has over 500 functions; It is responsible for filtering blood, digesting fats, making and storing glucose and producing proteins to clot our blood. The liver also stores vitamins and minerals such as iron and copper and releases them into the blood when required. So it is vital to keep it functioning at its peak. Blood containing nutrients, medications and toxic substances (such as alcohol) are carried from the digestive system to the liver to be processed, stored, altered, and detoxified and either passed back into the blood or eliminated through the bowel. So reducing the number of substances for our liver to process has a tangible effect on our general wellbeing.
Even if your main focus for a health retreat is to lose weight, it is the liver that needs to be supported with a cleansing diet as it is the processing centre for our fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Liver cells change amino acids in foods so that they can be used as energy or be transformed into carbohydrates (sugars) or fats, so it plays a key role when it comes to weight loss. The best way to support the liver and optimise detoxifying results is to have a balanced diet that isn’t too high in one particular food and also abstain from the substances that cause harm to your body and put extra pressure on your body’s elimination system.
The benefits of being on retreat mean that you have carefully considered meals planned for you and no access to the things that are harmful to your liver such as alcohol, trans fats and medications. Although there are some exceptions, while on retreat you should limit your intake of medications when it’s possible. For example, try natural pain relief instead of paracetamol or aspirin. If you suffer from nausea or inflammation, ginger and turmeric can offer relief for mild symptoms. Magnesium powder can help to ease muscle tension and stiffness from exercise or immobility.
Keeping regular meal times or selective fasting will also take the pressure of your digestive system and bring you back into balance. When choosing a detox retreat, look for a menu that is high in liver loving foods and low in salt and sugar. Nutrients should come from a wide variety of foods that provide adequate vitamins and minerals. Too much vitamin A and an overload of iron can be detrimental to the liver, so try to minimise supplements and instead focus on a natural, wholefood diet.
Foods that are good for your liver include coffee, beetroot, garlic, onion, broccoli and pure coconut products.
Look for recipes such as Kamalya retreats detox soup that include lots of green vegetables, especially broccoli, onions and garlic that are good for the liver. https://www.kamalaya.com/thailand-organic-vegetarian-restaurant.htm
You should also consider coconut products for good fats and cleansing properties, so for a happy liver try this detox smoothie.
Not all detox programs are created equal, so keep your liver in mind when embarking on a program or experience and be wary of anything that offers a quick fix – as you can see, the liver is a complicated, hardworking organ and the best way to ensure its health and longevity is to maintain a healthy, varied, wholefood diet that is low in processed foods and toxins.