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What you probably do not know about weight loss

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Detox: Diet or something more?

This word that gets us to cringe, be hesitant or eager. Which do you feel when someone mentions a detox to you?

*the image represented above is not an ad for the book nor is it a recommendation. It is purely to portray the words diet and detox.

Let’s look at the link between detoxification and weight loss today! Many of us have no idea of the various factors which affect weight loss. We can only bring to mind calorie counting, portion sizing, limiting carbohydrates, staying away from sugar and increasing physical activity in order to counteract weight management issues.

Guess what, there are more that can affect your inability to lose those pounds right now.

Other factors include chronic stress, hormonal imbalance, thyroid deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies and toxic buildup in our body.

Our bodies are amazing machines and it includes in-built detox organs that are doing the best that they can to remove waste products and toxic molecules from our insides on a daily basis.

Where can detoxification happen?

  1. Lungs that are responsible for our breathing every single second.

  2. Digestive System especially our colon and intestines that have the roles of excretion. Foods that can help with improving the detoxification process happening in the digestive system includes Matcha Green Tea and cruciferous vegetables like organic spinach or kale. You can find out more food swaps to help you thrive immediately here.

  3. Liver, a huge player in the detox game that is in charge of two processes called conjugation and elimination.

  4. Kidneys that help excretion via the process of urination. There is a need to alkalise the urine using foods like sparkling water, stinging nettle and those which contain magnesium and potassium.

  5. Skin helps us excrete toxins through sweat. Everybody’s love for exercise comes into play here and there are other skin detox options such as infrared-saunas and dry skin brushing.

  6. Cell membranes that are made up of lipids also have role in detoxification! This is at the level of cellular level excretion and our nutrition affects this process the most. Foods like walnuts, avocadoes, fish oil supplements and almonds are great to consume in order to have a more fluid membrane for the cells to excrete toxins. It is thus important for us to get good oils and avoid a trans fat diet.

  7. Elimination Diet: The diet which focuses on removing inflammatory food groups or allergens (especially wheat, dairy, soy, corn), caffeine, sugar) to help our bodies realign and reset to its natural state of non-toxicity.

  8. Mind: Meditation and breath-work here is important because our body is not only made up of the physical but we have to pay attention to our mental health and emotions too.

  9. Home Environment: Toxins are all around us in our homes, namely our cleaners, skincare and cosmetic products.

Information is provided by Dr Libby, a well known nutritional biochemist and speaker.

What are toxins to us?

  1. Aromatic Hydrocarbons from vehicles

  2. Arsenic

  3. Cadmium 

  4. Mercury

  5. Pesticides in our food

  6. PFCs in nonstick cooking surfaces

  7. BPAs 

  8. Sugar

  9. High Fructose Corn Syrup (very hidden in packaged foods)

  10. Artificial Sweeteners

  11. Trans fat (hydrogenated fats)

  12. Refined grains

  13. BHA - butylated hydroxyanisole

  14. Home products like air fresheners

  15. Dry cleaners

  16. Caffeine

  17. Alcohol

  18. MSG 

And three ingredients to avoid in skincare and makeup according to The True Spoon,

  1. Parabens

  2. Petroleum

  3. Thalates (endocrine disruptors which means they cause hormone imbalances)

How do you know if you need to detox?


  • Fluid retention - Lymphatic system congestion occurs when cells excrete their waste and it builds up in the system. Lymphatic flow in the lymphatic system occurs because cellular waste needs to move away from the cells. When waste is being built up in the system possibly due to the lack of good fats that help to sustain the cell membrane, the cells are unable to excrete their waste properly and congestion occurs. This congestion leads to what is known as fluid retention. Fluid retention can also be due to a lack of efficiency in the kidneys that causes unnecessary water weight.

  • Skin breakouts and congestion - Our main elimination pathways are through the bowels and urinary systems. However, if those systems do not function well, our skin steps in to help eliminate waste and can become inflamed.

  • Stinging eyes

  • Waking constantly hot during 2 to 4am

  • Lumpy breasts that swell and consistent PMS symptoms every month

  • Ravenous hunger

  • Not hungry for breakfast ( this remains controversial)

  • Presence of cellulite because the body is unable to keep up with problematic substances in the organs. The body moves these waste away from vital organs like the brain and the heart and stores them in the fatty tissues in the skin. 

  • Low and poor energy levels

  • Short tempered and easy to snap (liver is linked to the anger emotion in Traditional Chinese Medicine) - a sign of congested liver

  • Constipation, diarrhoea, IBS symptoms, bloating

  • Increase in body fat with no apparent reason

Where to pay attention to:

People need to start reducing the toxic load into the body rather than look for solutions such as detox teas and products. The whole idea is that the body already has detox processes happening via various organs on a daily basis and it is because these organs are failing or unable to cope with the incoming toxic load which leads to symptoms. It does not mean that the person needs to do detox by purchasing external products, one should look at reducing toxic load and increasing nutrient dense foods into the system first amongst other lifestyle changes to enhance the organs to do their jobs more efficiently. (sleeping well, hydrating, exercising, regular bowel movements, releasing suppressed emotions especially anger, choose organic skincare and change home environment)

- Dr Libby

Our liver is responsible for taking substances and transforming it into something less harmful.

This is the natural detoxification process which needs to be efficient and happen daily.

 The liver: a transformative organ

Our liver is incredibly important and severely underrated as a health organ to pay attention to. It is in charge of metabolising fats, proteins and carbohydrates, bile production and excretion, storage of glycogen and blood purification.

What substances can affect the liver?

  • Alcohol cause a heavy load on the liver and it is actually quite poisonous. Our headache hangover the next day is caused by changes to acetaldehyde taken in excess. Alcohol really affects the detoxification process and it could affect hormones synthesis and breakdown inducing poor sleep etc.

  • Medications/Pesticides

  • Caffeine in coffee, tea and energy drinks can affect absorption of calcium, thus affecting bone development in children. 

  • Our skincare products (this can have a direct route to our blood supply)

  • Trans fats

  • Fructose refined sugars

  • Food additives like chemicals, food dyes, artificial sugars

  • Viruses (herpes, hepatitis)

  • Estrogen

  • Cholesterol

If the liver is congested, overtaxed or fatty due to a poor diet, anything else you try to put into your body to improve your health will not be any good. This is why it is so important to take care of this huge detox organ.

- The Spa Doctor

2 phases of detoxification in the liver:

think about using your hand as a physical analogy

  1. First phase (Conjugation)

Something arrives at the liver n goes down a single road into the liver (molecule travels down your forearm up into your palm).

  • Nutrients needed for this process to occur: Vitamin Bs (B12 only found in animal products), Magnesium, Vitamin E, Selenium (brazil nuts)

  • Foods needed here: Cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts,  kale, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

    Toxic fat soluble metabolites result from this phase.

2. Second phase (Excretion)

These toxic fat soluble metabolites are changed at a certain road and excreted as water soluble compounds. (molecules move through the palm and through one of the fingers.).

  • Foods needed here: high plant diet including brassica vegetables, lemons and beetroot

Before excretion though, the toxic metabolites are attached to another substance to make it stable in order to be excreted by the body. 

  • Nutrients needed at this stage: Glutathione, Antioxidants, Amino acids (taurine, glycine, glutamine found in whey protein isolate/hydrolysed whey). However, this is controversial and we have to stay sensitive to people with lactose intolerance because whey protein is derived from milk.

For a lot of people, the second phase has a lot of roadblocks. Any molecule that is unchanged by the liver is excreted not out of the body but back into the bloodstream. This indicates that the liver cannot take the load of all the rubbish entering its front door. For example, if this was cholesterol, blood cholesterol levels can go up because it gets recycled once it is being put back into the bloodstream. Another substance that can be sent back to the bloodstream is oestrogen. 

At the moment, the condition of fatty liver is no longer only due to chronic consumption of alcohol, but also the consumption of processed foods. The liver cells die off and cannot be replaced and so, they get replaced by globules of fat molecules instead. This results in non alcoholic fatty liver disease and is prevalent in teenagers, which leads to their livers not being able to perform its function properly. 

How to improve detoxification in order to help with weight loss

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  • Avoid inflammatory foods such as dairy, soy, wheat, gluten, sugars.

  • Avoid processed foods and refined sugars and trans fats at all costs.

  • Exercise! A sedentary lifestyle leads to your body holding on to fluids contributing to water retention and also leads to an accumulation of waste products in your body. This could in turn result in skin rashes and all kinds of physical breakouts.

  • Introduce wholesome fruit and vegetables into your diet, especially high fiber ones and sulphur containing onions and legumes.

  • Ensure a wide variety of whole ingredients in order to maintain biodiversity and bacterial harmony in your gut. The digestive system is linked to detoxification as well so we need to make sure this process is efficient and working!

  • Avoid harmful ingredients in your skincare and beauty products. Do you know dental floss contains carcinogens such as teflon and petroleum?There are many sites that stock clean beauty products and gives you information on which ingredients to avoid - e.g. Follain, Credo which offers makeup product swaps if you bring your old ones in, MadeSafe, Safe Cosmetics, Among The Flowers.

  • Changing up your skincare routine for a cleaner one

  • Reduce alcohol intake

  • Focus on bowel movements: poop needs to be easy to come out. I am not talking about those big business sessions which take you half hour in the bathroom!

  • Detox emotionally - release suppressed emotions and identify stress and anger triggers.

What else can help with weight loss?

Besides detoxification, hormone balance and gut health play a huge role in weight management too.

Check out this friendly guide which introduces you to foods to get that stubborn weight loss you deserve.