If you type the words ‘detox’ and ‘Singapore’ into your internet search engine (Google lists 878,000 results!), the list of options, offers and promises that pop up before you is nothing short of mind-boggling. You’ll start off with a spoonful of the well-known cabbage soup diet, followed by a number of liver-cleansing options – things like a 35-minute ‘instant detox’, colonic irrigation for couples (the jury is still out on whether this procedure should be ventured into with a loved one) and green-tea hydrotherapy will all be on the menu.
So what works, and what doesn’t? One page that popped up stated that detoxification could be achieved by breathing deeply, exhaling slowly and whispering the word ‘peace’ – sounds relaxing, but it’s hard to imagine anything is getting cleaned out with this one (okay, maybe one’s nasal passages?) And then, of course, there are retreats all across South-East Asia that dish out a bunch of raw food, throw in a whole load of yoga and slap on a $2,000-a-day price tag.
To find some middle ground, we sought out professional advice from Singapore-based naturopath and homeopath Sharita Rowbottom. She explained that while week-long retreats can be a great way to relax and de-stress, detoxification can be achieved very simply, using raw vegetable and fruit juices, and all from the comfort of your own home.
Simple, natural and stay-at-home solutions all sound great, but before trying to clean out our insides, we wanted a better idea of what detoxing is meant to achieve. ‘The main aim is to reduce our susceptibility to disease. Detoxification involves placing your body in a state of nutritional distress in order to rebalance your body’s acid alkaline pH levels,’ Rowbottom says.
Fresh vegetables and fruits
She goes on to explain that our bodies are designed to be more alkaline than a modern diet allows, and that foodstuffs such as fruits and raw green vegetables will help us reach the right balance. Meats and sugars – two foods that flood most of our diets around these parts – are an example of staples that are taking us in the wrong direction. ‘When you do a detox, you’re aiming to reduce acid levels to become more alkaline.’
Rather than prescribing a course of tablets, Rowbottom says she actively encourages her patients to work with the raw foods nature has provided. ‘There is a lot of controversy about all of this, but basically if you eat your meat raw you’re actually doing yourself less damage than if you eat it cooked. When we cook food, we tend to “charcoal” it, which destroys the natural enzymes that aid digestion – so our bodies have to use our stored up enzymes to digest the food.’
A simple way to achieve a state of detoxification is to drink only raw vegetable juices for a whole day. ‘You can do a one-day detox, a three-day stint, or even go for a full seven days. Some people do 40-day detoxes. But if you’re going to do it yourself without professional supervision, usually a one- or a three-day detox is safest.’
Even if it is just for a day, it seems well worth the minimal effort it takes to give detoxing a try. If you decide that having a hose up your backside isn’t your idea of heaven, and you can’t afford a $2,000-a-day tropical retreat, why not have a crack at simply sipping on fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 24 hours? You’re not investing much and this might just put some sparkle back in your system.
- 1lb large carrots (washed and peeled)
- 1/2 lemon (peeled)
- A few vegetables such as red lettuce
- 1 apple
Put all ingredients in your juicer (a centrifuge juicer is easiest for carrots). Mix. Drink immediately.
From the www.thebestofrawfood.com
- Sharita Rowbottom, naturopath and homeopath, The Osteopathy Health Partnership (Tel: 6836 1754)
- Jay Hequet, holistic nutritionist and café manager, Fou de Fafa (Tel: 6327 9418)
- Clayton College of Natural Health, www.ccnh.edu