So you have decided to detox your body! Great idea! You will not regret it. Whether you decided to cleanse with a detox diet, a traditional juice cleanse or a complete fast, the benefits you will get out of it will be extraordinary. You should not be afraid of the possible detox symptoms you may go through.
In the world we live in, we are constantly surrounded by toxins, air pollution and chemicals from the food we eat and the products we use. Doing a cleanse not only permits to purify the body, it allows us to reset our habits and achieve greater health.
Once the cleanse is over, people report feeling better than ever, being more focussed, energized and rejuvenated. Suddenly the food tastes better, digestion is more efficient and the bowel movements are regular. The skin is clearer, the eyes are whiter and the body is toned. This feeling of general well-being is a reward anyone can experience if they want to put some time and effort towards a detox program.
During your detox, you will feel lighter and cleaner than ever. However, the first few days of your cleanse might be more difficult. You may have to go through different detox symptoms that will make you feel pretty crappy. But this is a good thing. It means that your detox is working!
When your body is eliminating toxins, you will feel it. While the toxins circulate in your bloodstream, you will feel their poison and experience different detox symptoms. This will only last a few days, maybe 1 to 3 days, but this can differ from one person to another. Some people may not have any detox symptoms and feel awesome the whole time. Others may have a harder time throughout their cleanse. The more toxic your lifestyle is, the harder it may be for you.
Here are 8 detox symptoms that show you that your cleanse is working:
Different pooping habits
When you engage in a detox diet, you may notice a change in your bathroom habits. This is because you are eating way more fibre than usual and drinking a lot of water. Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of fibre, while meats and dairy contain none. That can be a huge change for certain people. It will stimulate the digestive system and encourage more bowel movements. Expect to visit the bathroom 1 to 3 times per day.
Your stools may be softer too, due to the sudden change of your diet. Your gut bacteria need some time to adjust to the new food you are providing them.
You may also experience diarrhea if you are taking herbs and supplements that generate bowel movements. These have the ability to flush the content of your intestines, so expect to visit the toilet often.
On the other hand, if you are limiting solid food and you omit to drink enough water, you may experience constipation. It’s important to stay hydrated during your cleanse.
If you are fasting with juices or water only, you will have a few bowel movements in the beginning, but they will stop after a couple of days, once all the food you ate before the fast is eliminated. This is not constipation. Bowel movements will resume once you start eating again.
Is your poop normal? Take the test
Strong body odour
It’s not unusual to have a strong body odour as a detox symptom. This is due to the cleansing of your gut. Accumulated waste and toxins are being evacuated. The body does not only eliminates toxins through urine, you will also sweat them out. The more toxicity you have in your body, the stronger your body odour will be.
Just think of people who drink a lot of alcohol or consume drugs. Their skin tends to smell really bad. Just like those people who work hard at the gym but have a very bad diet. You can smell them from a distance.
During your cleanse, make sure to drink a lot of water to encourage more urination and sweating, while helping your liver and kidneys to filter all these toxins. You can visit a sauna as well. Drink green vegetable juice to maintain good electrolyte levels and counteract the acidic load from the toxins.
Swollen lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system who carries lymph fluid, nutrients and waste products within the body. It is an important part of the immune system because it defends the body against diseases. Lymph nodes are like a filter that traps bacteria, viruses and toxins before they are destroyed by our white blood cells.
People whose lymph nodes suddenly swell up during their cleanse were either very toxic, or were infected by a bacteria, yeast or a dormant virus. Swollen lymph nodes can be felt underarms, the neck or groin.
So if you have swollen lymph nodes during your cleanse, this is ok. This is a detox symptom that is telling that your immune system is fighting for you. Your detox is working!
Just like lymph nodes, allergy symptoms can arise when the immune system is fighting to eliminate toxins. You may experience detox symptoms like body aches, a sore throat or a runny nose.
This is like when you are in contact with an allergen. Your body’s defence mechanism fires up against this invader and provokes an allergic reaction.
Similarly, when the toxins are released during your detox, they are also perceived as foreign substances, provoking an immune response and allergy symptoms.
Gas and bloating
Gas and bloating are not detox symptoms that normally happen during a fast, but rather during a detox diet. Because of the high volume of fibre you are eating, your digestive tract may take time to adjust to this new diet. More fibre encourages the growth of good bacteria, which can provoke more activity in your intestines.
Chew your food carefully, this will start the digestion process. Anything that you don’t chew properly, your stomach will have to do it for you!
Eat slowly to avoid swallowing air. When your intestines are not able to move the air efficiently, it provokes gas and bloating.
Avoid yeast and animal products if you want to limit the putrefaction in your gut and the rotten egg farts. Take probiotics daily to help your digestion.
Nausea and vomiting
If you are fasting or following a keto diet (ketogenic diet = high fat & low carb), you may experience nausea or even vomiting. This is usually due to the presence of ketones in your blood.
Ketones are dumped in the blood by the liver when its glycogen (sugar) reserves are depleted. This happens after 24 hours of fasting, or between meals on a strict low-carb diet.
When your body is deprived from carbohydrates, its main fuel, it must turn to fat for energy. Ketones are produced by your liver from fatty acids, and will be used to feed your brain and the other cells in your body. Ketones will substitute glucose for the duration of your fast, on which your cells normally survive.
You will notice that you are in “ketosis” when your breath smells fruity or like nail polish remover.
Nausea can also be caused by a large amount of toxins circulating in your blood. This should pass after a few days. The best homemade remedy for nausea is ginger tea.
Mood swings are very common detox symptoms in the beginning of a cleanse. While your metabolism adjusts to your dietary changes, you might be grumpy and irritable. Several factors can provoke irritability, like the waste that is circulating in the bloodstream, or the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine and sugar.
If you are suffering from a candida overgrowth, you may experience die-off symptoms that will affect your mood. When many fungal organisms are destroyed at the same time, it releases a large load of toxins that can overwhelm your detox organs and provoke all sorts of reactions like allergy symptoms and irritability.
Using bentonite clay during your detox is a great way to eliminate the toxins faster and reduce detox symptoms. When it passes through the intestines, the clay molecules absorb the toxin molecules and expels them on the way out.
Normally, you should feel better after 3 days on your detox.
Headaches are usually caused by the withdrawal of caffeine. This usually lasts 2 days and can be quite intense for heavy drinkers. This is why it’s recommended to stop consuming caffeinated drinks a couple of days before you start a fast.
Quitting smoking, alcohol, drugs, medications and sugar can also be responsible for your headaches. All these substances are very toxic so just like tobacco, their elimination from the bloodstream can be painful.
Headaches are also one of the numerous detox symptoms caused by the elimination of toxins. Once toxic waste is liberated from your tissues, it circulates in your body before being eliminated. These toxins are felt like a poison and can cause discomforts such as headaches or migraines.
Being tired in the beginning of your cleanse is normal. It can be caused by the liberation of toxins or an increased metabolic demand. You would think that eating healthy food would give you more energy, and you are right! But detoxing from caffeine, sugar and fatty foods can cause you to go through a few rough days, before you feel energized.
If you are doing a fast, the absence of calories will also cause fatigue. The first 3 days are the worst. After that, energy will rise and you will feel awesome! Stay hydrated, sleep when you are tired, practice gentle yoga, go for walks, meditate. Just take it easy and enjoy the ride!
So now I turn to you…
What type of detox program did you choose? Did you experience any of the symptoms I described? How long did it last for until you started feeling awesome?