Four Reasons to Ditch the New Year Detox

I stood in front of the fridge downing a glass of grape juice. I don’t know how many glasses of grape juice I had had that day, but it was a few.

It was day 3 of my 5 day detox and I was only allowed to drink the juice of one fruit of my choice for a whole day. I had noticed that I was less bloated and my legs looked slimmer and I certainly felt very virtuous having committed to only eating fruits and vegetables the past 2 days.

But apart from that, I can’t say it was really that useful.

I was 17 at the time.  I didn’t know any better.

I was literally just following the instructions from a book that I bought at the local book store.

Sure I felt good about myself now but this approach to eating was not going to really make any significant impact on my health or weight. I wasn’t creating sustainable habits that would last me a lifetime.

I had no exit strategy.

In fact, by the following week I would be doing as I always did.

It would probably take me another 13 years, 3 degrees and countless continuing professional development and self experimentation before I actually worked out what a healthy balanced diet and relationship with food looked like for me and what I want my body to be able to do.

In November I wrote a series on balancing hormones naturally. You’ll find most of this series on the blog. I actually wrote this blog about detoxification at the time and yet it seems very fitting that I should bring it back to life this time of year.


Detoxification is something that so many people get so wrong. 

It’s that time of year where the health industry will be trying to sell you the idea of a “detox” or a “cleanse”.

No matter who is selling it to you, these tend to be the common ingredients:

  • Low calorie
  • Low protein & fat
  • Likely to lack solids or large amounts of liquids – juices/smoothies/soups
  • May involve shakes, pills or supplements
  • May involve missing meals or fasting

I wanted to set the record straight and talk about why this approach may actually hinder detoxification, not support it and then, we can look at solutions to set you up for an awesome 2017!


Ditch the Detox Reason 1: Low Calorie Diets

Low calorie diets are a fantastic way to drop weight quickly. That includes water and muscle weight too.

You may feel great because you feel “like it is working” but perhaps you also feel not so great because your energy is low and cravings are through the roof! Restrictive behaviour is likely to create hunger, excessive hunger is likely to create binge behaviour.

Binge behaviour is likely to create self-loathing and lowered self esteem.

Additionally, calorie restriction is a stress on the body. Under-eating is the biggest stress that we faced as man-kind before we learnt how to farm. I would also add that detoxification is incredibly energetically expensive. You need to have energy to be able to detoxify. That isn’t going to happen if you are starving.

I understand that you might be keen to drop a few pounds  and feel less bloated after Christmas. However, I would like to warn you that I have worked with so many women who are creating problems by their dieting behaviour in a pursuit for some self imposed body composition standard or magical number on the scale (and failing miserably!)

I prefer to get my client’s to lose weight in small energy deficits. This means that there is adequate energy for detoxification, hormonal balance, repair and recovery, good sleep and just every day living but, weight loss can still happen, just not at a million miles an hour (which increases the chances that it will actually stay off!).

Ditch the Detox Reason 2: Low Protein & Fat

We need to have enough fat in our diet to supply the building blocks for health hormonal balance, managing inflammation, making neurotransmitters, cell membranes and many other functions. 

Dropping calories by cutting fat may set us up for health imbalances, if not now, but in the future.

Additionally, proteins are used to make enzymes.

We need enzymes to be able to detoxify.

Detoxification is taking something that is not useful to the body or needs to be recycled, changing it’s chemical structure and composition so that it can be excreted and then excreting it.  ENZYMES do the changing chemical structure bit. Without them, you can’t do detoxification.

We get protein from our food, or we break down muscle tissue or gut lining or joint tissue or other fun stuff that you probably don’t want to be getting rid of, to supply it.

A low protein approach to detoxification just doesn’t work.

The final thing is, if you take out protein and you take out fat, that just leaves you with a pile of carbs.

Most women I work with have weight to lose. Having the majority of your diet from unopposed carbs (even if it is fruit and veg), is going to raise insulin and in doing so, potentially increase central weight gain.

Finally, fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is processed in the liver, as is any excess sugar that isn’t stored in muscle tissue. If the liver is busy processing all these fruit sugars and carbohydrates this will distract it from doing it’s other job, which is to detoxify.

Bottom line: A diet with balanced macros nutrients (proteins, carbs and fats) is for the most part beneficial compared to demonising one or any particular nutrient. In other words; when in doubt, go for balance.

Simple but effective.

Ditch the Detox Reason 3: Liquid Meals & Fasting

Now, liquid meals can actually be really great at times.

If you have digestive problems, having food which is already “chewed” so to speak, can be really helpful.

It ensures you have something that is easy on the digestive system and may help with nutrient availability.

However, living off liquid meals, especially if low in fat, protein (as already discussed) & fibre may have a negative impact on insulin levels meaning that you are more likely to crave sugar, gain weight around your mid-section and experience hormonal disruption. 

Solids keep you fuller for longer.

Protein, fat and fibre do too.

Many people claim they feel “better” on a detox diet but is it because they are detoxing or is it because their digestion is working better?

When digestion is off, it is a huge drain on our immune system, selfishly pulling energy away from our brain.

So would we benefit from perhaps doing a “digestive reset” (something I advise all my clients to do), instead of a detox diet?

The next piece of the puzzle is fasting or missing meals.

Again, this is something that does have it’s place from time to time. I DO recommend:

  • a reduced meal frequency: 2-3 meals per day instead of 3 main meals and snacks
  • time restricted feeding: not eating very early and very late but allowing at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast


This approach should NOT be combined with low calorie, low protein, low fat or liquid only diets.


Ditch the Detox Reason 4: Shakes, Supplements and Pills

Someone selling you some sort of product without talking to you about your current diet, your sleep, your stress, your exercise, your digestion and your ability to self care is just selling your something!

Supplements are what they say on the tin…

SUPPLEMENT-ARY to a foundation of good diet, getting enough sleep, attempts to manage stress, move your body, digest well and breathe!

Detoxification requires certain nutrients to support the “biochemical transformation” and there are certain supplements that can help, but food always comes first.


But I feel It Working!?

I know a lot of people will read this and think – I hear what you are saying, but, I’ve done a detox before and I felt it working?

Now I’ve already covered the “do you feel better because you are eating better and being kind to your digestion piece?

But sometimes people can also experience lethargy, headaches & weight loss and think they are detoxing.

If you are experiencing negative symptoms like headaches and fatigue, it could be that you are actually becoming more toxic.

As you shed some body fat with your calorie restricted approach you will likely also be liberating fat soluble toxins into circulation that create an extra burden on the body (a burden that you have limited resources with which to cope, due to said reasons above).

If you are experiencing weight loss, well, that’s great BUT you may likely be losing a lot of water, some muscle and yes, some fat too BUT is it sustainable and what happens afters?

If you have done a detox before, did you rebound after? If you didn’t, let me know.

As I have already eluded to above I did 2 when I was 17 which involved just eating fruit and vegetables and put the weight back on again within a week.

Detox is a life long journey. It’s not something that you achieve in 7 days of juicing or a 28 day sugar fast. 

So in 2017, instead of jumping on to the next detox, juice fast or calorie-restrictive diet, what do you do?

Here’s what… Build Habits That You Can Sustain.

  1. Carbohydrate: Lower carbohydrate intake by focusing on root vegetables, plenty of greens and gluten free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat & brown rice. Limit fruit to 1-2 portions per day and if you really want a January kick-start maybe leave the grains and fruits out for the first week and pick them up in moderation from week 2.
  2. Protein: Increase lean proteins so that you are eating fish, poultry, venison and eggs at every meal. I recommend 1.5-2.0g/kg (or 0.75-1g per pound) of pure protein per day. Just start with a decent palm size portion and you will be fine!
  3. Fats: Add good fat to every meal and think Mediterranean; avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds and olive oil. Ditch the fried foods & confectionery.
  4. Eat the rainbow; aim to get a variety of colourful vegetables every day
  5. Love your gut: Add fermented foods to your daily diet – choose from sauerkraut, kimchee, kefir or kombucha
  6. Reduce alcohol and drink more water, green or herbal tea and good quality coffee
  7. Move your body every day, even if it’s just a walk
  8. Make a habit of buying fresh produce, cook from scratch and prep in bulk to save time in the week
  9. Get outside more
  10. Meditate or pick an activity that helps you manage stress and do it daily!
  11. BONUS TIP: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Stop aiming for perfect, but just choose better and be more mindful as often as you can

And if you want to be guided through creating these changes one step at a time, there is always the Sustainable Slim Down! :)

The Sustainable Slim down is my online weight loss course that I created to help women form sustainable habits, one step at a time, to create healthy weight loss and an improved understanding of what it actually means to eat a balanced diet.

It is a database of the exact tools my high end coaching clients are using to drop pounds and inches (without restrictive or obsessive behaviour) and cultivate self love.

For more information and to claim the special New Years Offer (which ends at 11:59pm on January 1st!) Just follow the link…





A New Years Resolution With A Difference

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote this.


When I read it back, it all holds true and you should read this as you think about what 2017 will bring…


Running an online business marketed almost exclusively via social media you have to portray an image of what your target audience wants to be.









I have prided myself also on being authentic. You will not see me completely shredded, showing my abs and glute gainz, wearing next to nothing on Instagram. If this is the look you are after, well then I am probably not for you.


I still have my wobbly bits and cellulite that quite honestly is never going to go anywhere. If I bend over or sit down there will still be some (small) fat rolls that appear.


These are the things that I can’t change (or at least I am not prepared to change due to the massive social sacrifice for minimal contribution to my happiness).


But there are things about me that are not perfect that I CAN change.


Things that would add to my life, not subtract from it, if I did.


I consider myself to be a balanced person. I think I have my sh*t together (well… at least most of the time).


I eat well, I exercise regularly, I practise yoga, I get enough sleep and I (mostly) manage to think about stressful situations in a rational way.


But I also…


Spend too much time sitting at a desk


Indulge too much on social media


I travel a lot (what has recently felt like too much) but don’t take enough holiday


I work almost every day (even if it’s just a little bit, its never a “day off”)


Although I get enough sleep, it isn’t good enough when you are “switched on” in every waking minute


I forget to moisturise because I am rushing to check my emails. My skin is always dry!


My legs always seem to be 2 weeks (or 4!) overdue a wax (not to mention my bikini line!)


I don’t chew my food properly (this is one of my character flaws I dislike the most but can’t seem to crack)


I eat at my desk


I don’t take breaks (even when my productivity declines and I am not achieving anything!)


The nail polish on my toes always seems to be in need of a touch up


I always book to go to the hairdresser when it is way overdue


I haven’t been to the dentist in almost 3 years! (Edit – I have in fact been to the dentist three times this year! A habit which I finally cracked thanks to my hygienist, who is awesome, who came me some straight talking tough love about my inflamed gums – “You have great teeth Miss Marsh but your gums are not good!”.


I check my phone too much (sometimes at the expense of being present with those people who are most important in my life)


So, although I look after myself in terms of eat, sleep and exercise, which are excellent foundations, there are some MASSIVE gaps in terms of my self care regime.


Perhaps YOU are not even as far as the eat, sleep and exercise part.


Perhaps you are thinking about a New Years Resolution…


Perhaps you are thinking that this year you are going to diet and exercise and lose weight?


How about we think about this a little differently?


Bear with me for a second…


Ask yourself:


Is going on ANOTHER diet and depleting your body of energy and good food self care?


Is beating yourself up in the gym every day and then burning yourself out after two weeks because you actually needed a hot bath and a good night’s sleep self care?


Instead of putting your New Year’s Resolution in the “weight loss box” this year, what would happen if we put it in the “self care box”? 


Could it be possible that in the first place, your eating problems could be coming from a lack of self worth, self confidence and self care?


Why not choose this year to nourish your body with good food?


Good food that in the right amount that gives your body what it needs to thrive but not hold onto excess weight?


Why not choose to breathe deep into your lungs, go outside, get some fresh air, get your blood pumping into the nooks and crannies of your body that it hasn’t been to in a long time!


Move your body in a way that builds strength, tone and a confident posture and doesn’t leave you broken and dreading the next session, but rather get’s you excited about tomorrow.


Why not choose to put sleep first?


To cut out the people who bring you down and embrace those that make your laugh and feel awesome!


To take a bath, catch up with all your medical appointments, paint your toenails and treat yourself to a trip to the hair dresser or maybe a massage or acupuncture session for all the work you’ve done in the gym.


To chew your food properly and pop your mobile away and be present with the people you love?


So instead of choosing “I want to lose weight” as your New Year Resolution, why not choose to love yourself, to look after yourself and to listen to your body and put it’s needs first?


If you want some help with this, I’ve got your back with all of it and much much more in The Sustainable Slim Down.


The Sustainable Slim down is my online weight loss course that I created to help women form sustainable habits, one step at a time, to create healthy weight loss and an improved understanding of what it actually means to eat a balanced diet.


It is a database of the exact tools my high end coaching clients are using to drop pounds and inches (without restrictive or obsessive behaviour) and cultivate self love.

>>> More information via this link <<<


Wishing you an amazing 2017 filled with health, happiness and tonnes and tonnes of love!


You are enough, a 1000 times enough!


Balancing Female Hormones Naturally: The Selfish Immune System

My previous post looked at loss of metabolic flexibility, created by poor food choices and not enough physical activity, and the potential influence this has on female hormones.

I finished off by saying that there was a final really interesting reason why this was the case…

I’d like to share that with you today.


So we were talking about metabolic flexibility and how a diet high in refined and processed carbohydrates and low in physical exercise can create an environment which disrupts female hormones.

I wanted to talk about something today which is your immune system or more specifically, if you read the title of this post – the selfish immune system.

Why is it selfish?

The body has 3 major systems which compete for energy.

  • The muscles
  • The brain
  • The immune system

As you can imagine, when one system is dominating, it pulls energy away from the others.

The immune system, when it is inactive, does not cost the body a lot of energy. However, get a virus or infection and how do you feel?

  • Foggy brain
  • Very tired
  • Aching muscles
  • Completely out of breath when you walk up even a small flight of stairs
  • Low in mood or even depression
  • Lacking in motivation

This is a classic example of the immune system pulling energy away from the brain and metabolic system.

Our survival relies on the immune system to create a large response to resolve a threat from a foreign invader.

Although we know that insulin resistance can develop across time from poor diet, stress and lifestyle choices, many do not know that we can become insulin resistant in any moment should we be exposed to an infection.

The evolutionary benefit of this is to prioritise all energetic resources to the immune system and therefore shut down systems which would otherwise compete for energy.

Wow. The body is an amazing thing!

Now here is the problem.

A lot of modern disease is not due to acute infection, but chronic (long term) activation of the immune system.

A lot of modern disease comes from what we call low-grade inflammation.

This means that the immune system is switched on, but it’s not the raging fire we get when we have a really bad bout of the flu or a stomach bug. It is smouldering under the surface at a level that most wouldn’t even realise is there because it is the new “normal”.

How does this smouldering start in the first place and what does this mean for your health, weight and hormones?

It always comes back to the same stuff:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet (too many refined carbohydrates and not enough beneficial fats, proteins and colourful veg)
  • Use of medications, pain killers, asthma pumps, oral contraceptives, ant-acid medications, antibiotics etc.
  • Poor digestive health (influenced by the poor diet, stress, medications)
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Not enough sleep
  • Not enough time spent outdoors
  • Never experiencing evolutionary stressors; food is always available, if we get cold we turn the heating on, if we get hot we turn the air con on, drinking water 10 times a day
  • Disconnection / lack of physical touch / loneliness

A combination and any or all of the above is leading to chronic, low grade activation of the immune system that can create poor health.

This is why you cannot out exercise a bad diet.

And it might be worth doing some fasted exercise from time to time.

This is why stress management and prioritising basic needs like sleep and love are so important.

This is why “carbs are bad” and I am not a fan of low carb diets but I do think almost everyone needs to moderate their carbohydrate intake.

This is why you could take a walk on your lunch break.

This is why you could walk barefoot, go hiking and occasionally get an open wound or stung by some stinging nettles (it brings the immune system to the surface)

This is why you could stop being a body builder and trying to eat 6 times a day – 3 times is plenty – you don’t “need” to snack

This is why you could avoid using any medications unless absolutely necessary. A little pain won’t kill you, it will literally make you stronger (please do not take this as medical advice, always consult your doctor).

And all of the above helps to draw energy back into the metabolic system and the brain and away from a chronically activated immune system.


Which means…

  • Better metabolic flexibility and being able to use fat as fuel
  • Better satiety and feeling full after eating because energy is going to the brain
  • Lower insulin
  • Weight loss, especially central
  • And of course… better hormonal balance and everything that comes with that.


You are welcome




I run a small Online Women’s Weight Loss Program that offer a personalised nutrition and exercise support to produce life changing and life-lasting results.

If you want to give up the guessing game and have someone just tell you what to do and hold you accountable to actually doing it then this is probably exactly what you have been waiting for.

Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by choice. Now you have a moment where you can choose to take a step towards a very different future and join the community of like minded women who are not just losing weight, but transforming their lives, filling them with happiness and health.

To find out more about how my coaching program can help you, please fill out the application below to book a complimentary breakthrough call and find out out about working with me in more detail.





Balancing Female Hormones Naturally: Insulin Resistance & Metabolic Flexibility

I hope you enjoyed the previous two posts looking at detoxification.

Myself and my husband (Ben) are buying our very first home. We move in this week. EEK!

It is exciting to finally have somewhere to call our own. However, I love the flat we rent at the moment. It really feels like the first place I’ve truly been able to call “home” since leaving South Africa almost 9 years ago.

The good news is, I will no longer have a kitchen the size of a shoe box and there should be some scope to film some cooking videos to help you.

It does feel really unsettling to think about all the changes. And as much as I hate to admit it, I like change just as much as the next person.

Which is not very much.

One of the things I speak about a lot is the need to be flexible. A lot of people don’t realise how their mindset and approach to things is linked with their health.

Health is about metabolic flexibility – for the body to be able to use the right fuels at the right time. Loss of metabolic flexibility causes us to become sugar dominant and not able to burn fat as fuel (which means it gets stored around our belly).

Health is about immunological flexibility – we want the immune system to react when it’s appropriate.

At times this can be life saving!

But we do not want the immune system to be chronically active or attacking tissues as we may see in low grade inflammation which underpins all chronic disease – including female hormone issues like PCOS, Uterine Fibroids or Endometriosis.

If we are metabolically flexible we are more likely to immunologically flexible – so improving metabolic flexibility improves immunological balance and therefore hormonal balance.

And we can improve metabolic flexibility by being my psychologically flexible and this means…

Getting comfortable with change.

So as I prepare for a period of time where I am expecting to be completely ungrounded, I keep reassuring myself that I am improving my metabolism and immune system 😉

All jokes aside.

Let’s talk metabolic flexibility today and female hormones.

I’ve summarised what it means to be metabolically flexible in a nut shell, but let’s look at this a little more closely.

Sugar and Fat two of our three primary fuel sources. The third is phosphocreatine which is an immediate and very short term energy source, but I want to keep it simple so let’s stay focused on sugars and fats.

[disclaimer: I will oversimplify to keep it understandable]

One molecule of sugar gives us less energy but it produces energy very quickly. One molecule of fat gives us lots more energy, but it takes a little more time to create.

When we need energy to be supplied quickly (for example a 400m sprint) we rely mostly on sugars. When we need large amounts of energy but more long term (for example a marathon or a long hike) we rely more so on fats.

Being able to burn sugar for short duration high intensity activities and being able to go for a long time without food (and therefore burning body fat), represent good metabolic flexibility.

Being able to use both fuel as and when is appropriate.

Have you ever exercised first thing in the morning before you ate or drank anything and felt really low in energy or maybe your muscles felt sore, stiff and sluggish, maybe you even felt light headed or nauseous? Or…

Maybe you are ready to kill someone by the time lunch time appears in the office.

You need to have “snacks” available in case you get too hungry or should I say “hangry”.

Maybe you also…

Carry excess weight around your midsection, have skin tags, suffer from acne, low energy, fatigue after eating or PCOS.

All of these are signs of loss of metabolic flexibility.

And what causes this? There can be many causes, some of which may relate to activation of your immune system, and I’ll be telling you about this later in the week.

For now let’s look at food causes.

Quite simply, over consumption of carbohydrates, particularly refined and processed.

Too much of the following:

  • Confectionery items
  • Bread, pasta, cereals and other refined grains
  • Fruit juices and high sugar fruit consumption
  • Fizzy drinks

Eat too many of these and your body is so busy trying to deal with all the sugar, it forgets to use all the fat.

If you have all this easy to use energy lying around (albeit low yield) why bother spending the extra time burning fat. What this can lead to is what most people may be familiar with as insulin resistance, the pre-cursor to diabetes.

Simply explained this means that the hormone (insulin) responsible for getting energy into cells, need to be produced in higher amounts to do the same job.

When insulin is high, we aren’t burning fat’s. When we aren’t able to burn fats we lose metabolic flexibility as our fat burning enzymes and mitochondria down-regulate (use it or lose it!).

And yes, this will cause weight gain and a whole host of symptoms listed above, but it can also upset female hormone balance for several reasons.

  1. One of the reasons is that with increased insulin we can get an increase in testosterone levels and this is typically one of the underlying imbalances in PCOS.
  2. Additionally, more fat may increase oestrogen levels and therefore play into oestrogen dominance.
  3. Higher insulin levels also reduce sex hormone binding globulin, the binding protein that binds hormones and keeps them inactive.
  4. This means that we potentially have more free circulating hormones in the blood stream which are able to bind to receptors.

The final reason, is the reason I find THE most interesting and you will have to wait until the next post to find out about that…



I run a small Online Women’s Weight Loss Program that offer a personalised nutrition and exercise support to produce life changing and life-lasting results.

If you want to give up the guessing game and have someone just tell you what to do and hold you accountable to actually doing it then this is probably exactly what you have been waiting for.

Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by choice. Now you have a moment where you can choose to take a step towards a very different future and join the community of like minded women who are not just losing weight, but transforming their lives, filling them with happiness and health.

To find out more about how my coaching program can help you, please fill out the application below to book a complimentary breakthrough call and find out out about working with me in more detail.