how to detox for good skin (and a detoxing juice recipe)

I’m not much into trendy detoxes involving copious volumes of lemon water and a truck load of cabbage leaves. Nor do I like prescriptive diets. But it’s spring and the perfect time, symbolically speaking, to clean out the ol’ pipes. And after a winter of heavy beef stews and enough cups of earl grey to drown a brown rat, I reckon a little sensible spring detox isn’t going to do any harm.

via farmerk'skitchen

Detoxing is also an important part of keeping your skin in tip top shape. And since you’re all well in to my natural beauty program, I thought now is the perfect time to ask a clean food guru to share some detoxing tips, to help complement your efforts.

For this, I asked Lee Holmes of Supercharged Food. Lee’s a bit of a super star in the healthy whole food world herself. She’s a personal health and wellness coach, a qualified chef and nutritionist. Her website provides easy to prepare and yummy recipes which are all gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar free. JOY! Her detoxing philosophy isn’t about restricting your diet down to what you can get through a straw – no , no – it’s about packing your body full of goodness so the body’s natural detoxing processes can do their job. Which I like. See what you think of her tips...

Lee’s spring detoxing tips:

This is Lee

If you’re embarking on a detox, and wondering what to eat, then the golden rule is to enjoy a simple whole-foods diet which eliminates processed foods, gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar and caffeine (or at least pick two or three of these to avoid - say, sugar and gluten). Consuming easily digestible foods along with good fats such as extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil and fish oils which contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, will help to eliminate toxins and heavy metals from your body and assist you by drawing out nutrients from food, enabling the healing process.

One of the most important vitamins to include when detoxing is Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body break down toxins, allowing them to be flushed out of the body. A diet high in Vitamin C rich foods also works to stabilise free radicals, lowering the risk of chronic diseases. You can enjoy delicious foods on your detox, and foods which are rich in Vitamin C include:

•         Red and Green Chilli Peppers
•         Capsicums
•         Dark leafy Greens
•         Kale
•         Mustard Greens
•         Brussels Sprouts
•         Broccoli
•         Cauliflower
•         Citrus Fruits
•         Papaya
•         Berries
•         Tomatoes

Be prepared...

Have you ever commenced a detox after going through a phase of partying like it’s 1999, only to find that within the first few days your symptoms seem to have actually increased and you’re feeling worse than ever?!  Trying to reverse the damage of an excessive lifestyle can be daunting but it’s comforting to know that this is a fairly common reaction to the detoxification process and one that is only transitory, like that caftan that seemed like such a good idea at the time or the marble wash jeans and hyper-coloured tee that once hung proudly in your wardrobe.  So yesterday.

The increase of symptoms we feel when embarking on a detox is known as a Detox Reaction or a Herxheimer Reaction.  These reactions occur when the body tries to eliminate toxins at a faster rate than they can be properly disposed of.  Often times, you may feel worse, like you are majorly hung-over with additional flu-like symptoms and headaches, and conclude that the treatment is not working. However, these reactions are in fact signs that your body is beginning the process of cleansing itself of impurities, toxins and imbalances. The increased reactions are temporary and can occur immediately or within several days or weeks. In some cases, the symptoms can be identical to the health issues you may be experiencing at the time so it can be really confusing.

The type of detox reaction you’ll experience will depend on your level of health or the severity of your present health condition. As old bacteria die off and are replaced with new tissues, the toxins within the bacteria (endotoxins) are released into the body. The more severe the initial state of the body, the more bacteria present. With larger quantities of bacteria come an increased number of endotoxins and hence a stronger cleansing reaction.  This is when it’s really important to rest and try and help the detox process along.

You can avoid Detox Reaction...

A very simple method for avoiding or decreasing detox reactions is to ensure adequate hydration and mineral consumption. It’s important to drink as much water as possible to flush the toxins from your body.  The addition of a green juice will provide needed nutrients which can be absorbed easily by the body.  Commencing the day with a hot water and lemon will kick-start your metabolism, alkalise the body and help with water retention.

The body uses alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium to process cellular debris and counter increased uric acid production when fighting a detox reaction. It is important to ensure that you are consuming adequate amounts of these minerals when detoxing. If not, the body will remove calcium and magnesium from the bones and teeth to combat the lost minerals. Try and get all of your vitamins and minerals from your food but if you have mal-absorption issues then it is a good idea to speak to your local naturopath or nutritionist to give you a non-synthetic magnesium and calcium supplement and ensure that the amounts you are taking are balanced. If you’re planning on buying a detox kit, many of these contain synthetic ingredients, additives and laxatives that will do you more harm than good and burn a whole in your back pocket.  Remember that the best way to approach things is naturally.

After the initial detox reaction you should be feeling lighter and have more energy.  This is when you may feel like jumping off the wagon, and leaping headlong into your old eating and drinking habits, but once you have detoxed, it’s important to continue to make changes to your diet every day, however small and these will help you to achieve optimum long term health and heal your body at cellular level to prevent disease.

A delish detoxing juice recipe:

Lee's Cucumber, Spinach, Basil, Lemon and Lime Juice

Cucumber, spinach, basil, lemon &  lime detoxing juice, via superchargedfood

Refreshing and invigorating, this juice is an excellent way to start the day - cleansing, detoxifying and renewing health at cellular level.

Preparation Time: 5 mins    Serves 2

What You’ll Need
2 bunches English spinach
2 cucumbers cut in half lengthways
1 lemon (zest and pith removed)
1 lime (zest and pith removed)
½ cup of fresh basil leaves

Place ingredients through the juicer remembering to make them small enough to fit through the shoot.  Adding ice cubes once you have finished will make the juice even more palatable and reduce the acidity of the lime and lemon.  If you prefer a sweeter juice, why not add a small amount of carrot or apple? Remember too much fruit causes spikes in blood sugar levels.

Find more delicious detox recipes on Lee’s website here:


  1. Love this. Thank you. Love, Marita.

  2. I have a question. I am really wanting to do a detox - but I have a great suspicion that I fall into the category of folks who can't do it. I have Bipolar Disorder. Not only am I on 10-12 different medicines every day, it has been drilled into me how important eating habits are to someone with Bipolar Disorder. But with so many meds, so many mood changes, do much stress, can't you see why I might WANT to detox ?! Is there anything I can do to do a partial detox that would still keep me eating full meals, but I might get something out of it? Or anything you may suggest?

    1. Hi Barbara

      There's no need to worry, my whole philosophy around 'detoxing' is that it's as much about what you put in to your body as it is about what you eliminate from your diet. In other words, you can help your body detox (and deal with medication) better by making sure your diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables, legumes, quality proteins, fruit and nuts. Think about it as a long term eating philosophy. Don't worry so much about what you omit - make it easy for yourself and just try omitting one thing at a time, like sugar, for instance. You can check out my sugar-free posts for ideas on how to do this. Eating this way is going to help your body deal with the medication and the stress, not compromise it. You'll be eating full meals, full of nutrients and vitamins... just not any crap! Hope that helps. If you're still worried, speak with a naturopath or nutritionist (ask your GP for a referral).

  3. Hello! I have a question about detoxing with amalgam fillings still present: I been living with them for about 15 years and can't get rid of them (mainly because I haven't got the money for doing it properly - and a proper replacement!). I'm underweight (BMI = 14) and constantly living on the verge of collapse - is it possible to detox at least partially in spite of the remaining dental fillings? Which would be the most suitable ingredients for a strengthening AND detoxing diet at the same time (if possible)? I'm eating gluten free and avoid refined sugar - still being relatively high on sugar through Bananas (my staple smoothie base), Honey and Dates ... Further I don't seem to tolerate Coconut cream (only the water or virgin oil) and too much fructose, sorbit etc. ... Would be really happy about some effective advice ... <3

    1. Hi Anom.

      Firstly I have to say I'm not a health professional, but what I say to Barbara in the comment above I think applies with you too. Detoxing, for me anyway, isn't about eliminating whole food groups and drinking lemon drinks for 2 weeks... it's about making sure your daily diet includes plenty of fresh vegetables, especially green vegetables, some fruit, and quality proteins and nuts. You're already avoiding gluten and refined sugar, so now it's just about making sure you're getting enough veggies etc. Drinking green smoothies (made with vegetables instead of fruit) can help by making it really easy for your body to digest the vegetables and extract the vitamins and minerals. Hope that helps.



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