You may have felt bombarded with January wellness content whether you stayed ‘on track’ throughout the post-Christmas month or ignored it altogether. Whichever approach, achieving long-term balance and consistency is the true key to health. Explore an alternative perspective on detoxing – one that encourages you to rethink small habits rather than radically adjust.

Read on for the first wellness instalment with nutritional therapist Sam Bloom.

Hi Sam! Can you give us a description of what you do, and how you came about it? 

I am a nutritional therapist with a special interest in mental health. I have always loved food and had a strong propensity to want to help people. So, helping people to make smart choices in how they approach their diet seemed like a good combination. Although, interestingly, as things have progressed and I have trained in functional medicine, my work seems to be less about actual food and more about individuals’ biochemical make-up and encouraging smart lifestyle choices for metabolic balance. I now consider myself more of a Health Detective looking for root causes of imbalance in the body!

I’ve always been interested in food and how it can mean so many different things to people. How cooking a delicious lunch, rather than picking up a perfunctory sandwich, can be a sign of love and affection. During the pandemic, I became much more connected to my environment, and being out of London made me more conscious of the providence of my food and the soil in which things are grown. I knew from my clinical experience that it is common to have to supplement certain minerals such as magnesium and selenium that are now no longer found in the soil. But I became interested in what that means for the land and the quality of our food. Being a city dweller for so long, I’d lost any physical connection with how and where our food is grown as well as how the maintenance of the soil affects the produce we buy. I would always buy seasonally where possible and more likely from the farmers market than the supermarket, but I hadn’t made the connection to the soil - which is the beginning of so much - or to the flora and fauna that inhabit the land. We’ve lost our connection to food and where it comes from, but I think there is a new, slowly growing consciousness about this.   

Tell us about ‘detoxing’ and why we do it…

The idea of doing a detox at the beginning of a year has become commonplace. After the lovely indulgence of the holiday season, a detox to lighten and brighten our bodies and minds can be appealing. However, the reality is that our bodies are constantly detoxing. Our skin, the largest organ in the body, acts as a barrier to various toxins from heavy metals to bacteria and viruses as do our intestines, the respiratory system, immune system, liver and kidneys.

That said, the systems churning away within can always use a helping hand. Here is a list of some everyday actions we can take to help these processes along. It is now estimated that women use over 100 chemicals on their skin on a daily basis. This number of chemicals we are exposed to, and therefore potentially absorb, has increased over the last century, so taking an active role in detoxifying at any time of year is a useful self-care tool. 

How to get started? 

In order to ensure a healthy and balanced approach to detoxing, it’s great to incorporate approachable daily habits with a detoxing benefit over time. These should all feel simple and readily available because it’s the positive cumulative effect we’re really after. 

Drink Enough Water 

An average of 1.5 to 2 litres to 2 a day is a good way of flushing out toxins - ideally not out of a plastic water bottle! This can be done through herbal teas too, adding two bags to hot water and steeping it is a therapeutic dose.

*A note on plastic water bottles: Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but other potentially harmful chemicals are still present in plastic bottles. They can leach into the water if exposed to heat or left to sit for long periods of time. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disrupters that could disrupt the hormone levels in the body. 

Keeping it Regular

A daily bowel movement is a powerhouse when it comes to detoxing! Pooping is a super important way of excreting toxins. If they remain in the colon for longer, they they can be reabsorbed in the body. 

Power up with Protein

Eating a form of protein at every meal sitting helps the liver detox. Whether it comes from animal products or plant-based is up to you – it’s still an invaluable support to liver function. 

Eat the Rainbow

Our microbiome is something you may have read about recently – it’s finally getting more well-deserved study! You can support your gut microbiome and healthy gut bugs by eating the rainbow and having more than 30 different food sources a week. Variety is the spice of life.   

Peaceful Slumber

A restful sleep is so beneficial for your body’s internal detoxing systems. If you struggle to sleep, try going to bed earlier and make sure you have good sleep hygiene. A useful tip: try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bed. 

Cut Down on Chemicals

Of course, not all chemicals are bad, but avoiding or reducing exposure to toxic chemicals from products such as air fresheners, candles, perfumes, body lotions, face creams and hair dyes is a healthy pursuit. A common place to find some of the most insidious? The kitchen! The simple fix is to make sure you’re using non-toxic cookware.

Perspiration for Elimination

Getting a sweat on is a great way to eliminate toxins. Whether through a trip to the sauna or steam room - and of course exercise – you can flush out the bad and enjoy a rush of positive endorphins. Go for a run or fast walk!

Remember to Breathe

Breathwork is an essential part of our wellness but is often overlooked. Deep belly breathing gets more oxygen into the system, and it only needs to take 5 mins. This is a quick, anytime action that can calm and soothe as well. 

Support Your Lymphatic System

Simply put, the lymphatic system regulates the fluid of the body and has incredible influence over the toxins we either release or retain. You can improve its function by dry body brushing and trampolining! Keep your body moving.

So rather than trying to starve yourself with extreme diet changes or cut out coffee and alcohol - why not try to incorporate these practices into your day... And remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect!   

Sam's Detox Soup Recipe

Food remains an integral element in our overall wellness. In addition to the actions listed above, incorporating this light and tasty lemon detox soup recipe can help support the drainage and detox pathways of the body. ⁣

⁣The Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and electrolytes which help to improve circulation, lymphatic movement, liver, and kidney function. ⁣

The avocados provide healthy fats and micronutrients that improve the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and help you feel satiated after consuming this.⁣

The herbs enhance the immune system, support healthy digestion and microbiome balance and strengthen the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic circulation. ⁣

 

Method

It's super simple...

Warm the stock in a pan with water. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add to the heated stock and heat through. 

Ingredients 

2 avocados

475ml veg stock 

8 fl oz water

3 tbsp lemon juice

A small handful of coriander leaves 

1 garlic clove, crushed/minced

1 tsp ground cumin 

1 tbsp fresh basil 

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1 small handful of fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Find out more about Sam and her recipes at @thesamanthabloom