Home ContentThe D Word - For women who think Detoxing is Boring

The D Word - For women who think Detoxing is Boring

Published : June 14, 2015

When the word ‘detox’ is introduced into the conversation I am the first to get a glazed look and reach for a bottle of chardonnay.


by Serena Nathan

Some people just go on and on and on and quite frankly, while it seems like a good idea, there are just too many changes to make and life starts to look...well...hideously boring.

So I talked to some interesting people, tried some fun ideas that were easy enough for me to fit into my busy life (which includes lying on the couch with a book when I can) and decided to let you in on a few free and easy ways to make life gentler, easier and just as fun as the bad old days. When I say ‘free’, I mean it.

You’re welcome to add some gorgeous expensive oils and foods to your efforts and it can really help the whole pamper experience, but it’s not necessary. There are a couple of things I would suggest you buy, but none would make a difference to the weekly grocery bill.

Why detox at all? Why is it only when suffering a killer hangover does it seem like a really good idea?

Detox guru Jane Scrivner sums it up on the first page of her book Detox Yourself: “Two more hours a day, glowing skin, weight loss, high energy, high threshold for stress, no cellulite and a feeling of being relaxed,” she writes. This all sounds pretty good.

The biggest reason for me to try a few easy detox steps, the best answer to the “why should I?” is this: Why not?

Adding instead of subtracting

We all know what we should give up, but if the whole idea of detoxing is repulsive to you because you are just not in the right headspace to do without your morning coffee, evening wine and a couple of ciggies at a party, then consider just adding some good stuff and not ‘giving up’ anything you really don’t want to right this minute.

Sometimes the unintended side effects of adding a few good habits is the growing lack of desire for some of the less healthy things we indulge in.

Breathe – and clean your insides right this very minute

The first and easiest thing to do is breathe.

If this is as far as you get for the rest of your life on a detox program, you’re doing well.

The lymph system in our body is activated by a combination of two things; deep breath and movement.

This doesn’t mean getting into an impossibly hard yoga pose and saying Om (although that will do the trick too). It simply means taking some deep breaths and having a stretch at the same time.

You can do it while clicking through Flourishmag.com, on the phone with the mother-in-law, watching House . . . the opportunities for breathing are endless!!

The lymph system is the body’s rubbish bin. It is also the only system in the body not powered by the heart.

The body naturally produces toxins, waste, and the lymph system sweeps it all up and gets rid of it. Sometimes it gets overloaded and we feel a bit sluggish and off centre, so we need to either reduce the toxins we put in or get the system working better.

Let’s assume for now that we’re not going to reduce our toxin intake.

The best way to give it a jump start is to breathe as deeply and slowly as we can and do a few simple stretches at the same time. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ll know what to do, if not, try reaching your arms up very high as you breathe in, then bending at the waist as you breathe out and hanging there for a bit. It’s that easy.

Now we have lovely clean blood we can have a little rest!


Resting is something we all think we do, but how often while we are ‘resting’ are we going over what we really should be doing, worrying about the kids/grannies/fleas on the dog/the fact that it’s 39 degrees out and the dryer’s on/the cost of the item ending on eBay in ten minutes?

Tamara Graham of Tamara Yoga calls these ‘rittis’ – fluctuations of the mind. When we are unable to still the mind at all, we are in danger of producing too much adrenaline, which in turn can cause recurring episodes of sweating, headache, and a feeling of high anxiety. Not nice.

It’s better to learn how to turn the stuff off so we have it at hand for when we really need it, such as getting the kids ready for school in the morning, or going for the run you said you would go for eight years ago.

The easiest way is to sleep.

Sleep is actually a form of meditation. Even better, learning how to switch off during waking hours is very helpful (something that men are excellent at when you ask them to do the gutters).

It’s easy to do it in very, very small portions.

Try looking at a candle (or a star) for a few seconds and just see the star, empty your mind. If you can manage three seconds you can do it!

Just practice for a little longer each time. Or a little more often.

It’s when we think that in order to relax we have to meditate for hours that it becomes unattractive.

Tiny portions of time is all it takes.

Add good yummy stuff

Going on the premise that we’re detoxing without removing any of the fun stuff (whether it’s killing you or not; that’s not the point right now), let’s look at food.

We are told so many contradictory things about what foods are great and what aren’t, that we’re in a total spin.

Eat no carbs, they say; eat more fibre, they say next.

My philosophy is that different foods suit different people to differing degrees, but there are a couple of good basics that we all seem to get some benefit from.

  • Chuck out all your oils that are not cold pressed.

The toxins that get into heat-treated oils are dynamite on your poor lymph system. And use your cold pressed oils daily.

  • Drink your water – and use a water filter if you can. I have a Brita jug that sits on the sink (saving up for an under the sink thingy).
  • Switch your white sugar to raw 
  • Switch your other white foods to wholemeal/brown. I swear they taste just as good. 
  • Buy your chocolate dark as it carries some antioxidants 

The following doesn’t fall into the category of ‘yummy stuff’ however if you can possibly bear it, take cod liver oil every day.

I mix mine with apple cider vinegar and honey in a shot glass to make it not so completely disgusting.

It is SO good for you, I won’t bore you here with the details (Google it), but it’s a super brain food and can even help when you are called upon to help with your little darling’s times tables or algebra (feed it to the kids and they won’t even be needing to ask you).


I have become a fan of Dry Skin Brushing.

It feels wonderful and I am certain that my skin is looking fresher and younger than it was three days ago. I got my body brush from Jane Scrivner (Etain Beauty at 937 Beaufort Street Inglewood stocks her products) but Jane told me that you can get them in most health food shops (you can pick up your cod liver oil at the same time).

If that doesn’t grab you, have a good scrub in the shower (just mix some salt with sorbolene or whatever’s handy and maybe some honey).

You will feel like a dead layer has been released from your body - because it has - and a weight has lifted from your shoulders. This adds about 45 seconds to your routine so no excuses.


You’ve probably heard that it takes more muscles to frown than it does smile.

If you’re not totally botoxed to the eyeballs, you can practice this and see that it’s true.

The other wonderful side effect of smiling is that it sends a message to the brain telling it to release endorphins into the system.

This is that fabulous feel-good stuff that people have been trying for centuries to copy and sell in a little pill (see, I said every detox suggestion would be free. . .).

The amazing thing about this free high you get from smiling is that it doesn’t even have to be a real smile. A fake smile will do the trick just as well. It’s the movement of the smiling muscles that trigger the release.

So if you’re having ‘one of those days’ just fake it and let the endorphins do their thing.

Sleep on it

Lastly the mama of them all. Without a good night’s sleep nothing else seems worthwhile.

There is little more depressing than trying to face the daily trials of life while exhausted. We all know that so again, I won’t bore you by preaching.

There are many suggestions around for helping with getting to sleep. For me the very simple act of Making The Bed has helped. I know; it’s crazy! But whenever I get into a made bed I feel much calmer.

This is something I learnt at 40 which was a tip from the Fly Lady.

When we go into REM sleep we actually process much of what has happened in our day and sort a whole lot of stuff out. After I lost my youngest son I learned that a great deal of grief work is done while asleep – and this is the same for life work.

Sleeping pills knock us into a state that can bypass REM sleep, so while we do sleep, we don’t do the unconscious work that enables us to feel rested the next day.

It’s that old saying: ‘sleep on it’ – it has a strong and important basis in science, not just what your Mum kept telling you. While there is a place for sleeping aids, it shouldn’t be done blithely or without thought and medical advice.

If there is something (or some one such as a small but powerful member of the family) who is keeping you up, you will have to put some processes in action that encourage everyone to stay asleep.

If you are still with me (and not doing Oms or another load of laundry by now) you have some seriously easy and seriously free options here to make a significant difference to how well your body works for you and how to detox without the boring bits.

Time for a chardonnay, darling.

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