It is that time of the year when everyone is seemingly on a new diet or cleanse. And every year, there is a new diet, a new detox, or a new way to lose weight -- each one touted as being better than the last. It is easy to become overwhelmed with all the options available, or to know which one is the right one for you...or, is there a right one?
In this article, we aim to answer this question for you.
Let’s start with defining ‘detox’.
A detox is simply a method employed to rid the body of harmful substances. In more recent times, before the wellness ‘craze’, it was a medical treatment used to rid the body of substances such as drugs, poison, or lethal amounts of alcohol.
Why should we detox?
Today, we are bombarded by chemicals and toxins in the air we breathe, the food we consume, and the water we drink. This has contributed to an increase in health issues such as diabetes, allergies, and gastrointestinal upset, to name a choice few. Detoxing, as we know it today, is a way to remove and reduce the overall toxic load, allowing the body to heal and thrive in an optimal way.
The truth is, detoxing is not a modern invention. Ancient Egyptians have used the process of detoxification for everything from decalcifying the pineal gland to improving digestion. Many indigenous cultures around the world have a way to rid the body of unwanted, harmful toxins. While some methods are unorthodox, they worked.
Some modern schools of thought shun the idea of detoxing, primarily because they believe the body naturally cleanses itself. The liver is the second biggest organ in the body (skin is the first). It is vital for many processes, with detoxifying the body being one of the most commonly cited. Many in the medical field believe that the liver and lymphatic system can already efficiently do this job.
They aren’t wrong about the role these systems play in removing unwanted waste from the body, but they miss one important point: Because of our modern lifestyle and diet, many people’s body’s cannot do this properly.
Think about a car that is repeatedly given low quality oil. After a while, it does not run as efficiently anymore. The same happens to our bodies. After years of stress and processed foods and drinks laden with chemicals, the body’s ability to efficiently work becomes compromised.
Keeping this in mind, the way in which you detox matters. A LOT. Before you commit to any one way, consider:
- Your symptoms. Are you experiencing chronic fatigue? Gastrointestinal issues? Allergies? Skin issues? The symptoms you’re experiencing will influence the type of detoxification necessary.
- What alterations to your diet are necessary during and afterward. If your diet is already clean, there may not be much to change and perhaps a less stringent detox is warranted.
- What alterations to your diet are you willing to make? The effects of the detox are temporary if you go back to the same way of eating. Be realistic about what you are willing to commit to.
- What alterations to your lifestyle are needed? A high stress life or job can exacerbate physical ailments. Are you able to relieve any of this stress, permanently or temporarily.
After these considerations, what detox method should you do?
I could spend time listing the various methods of detoxification, but in the spirit of keeping things clear and simple, I will share the system that works best across most needs. Keep in mind that it is paramount to consult your primary health care provider before starting any cleanse or making any drastic changes to your wellness routine.
That being said, this is the step-by-step method to follow:
1. Eliminate harmful foods. For the time allotted for your detox, eliminate sugar, added salt, processed foods, processed low-quality fats, dairy, caffeinated products and any artificial flavors or colors. Examples include but are not limited to coffee, sweet baked goods, meat, candy, soda, boxed meals, etc. Removing these products completely from your home is the easiest way to safeguard ingesting them.
2.Include more nutrient-dense organic fresh foods. One of the misconceptions about detoxing is that you will be hungry, or, you cannot eat. While fasting is a method, including these foods into your diet can provide the nutrients necessary to support the body in the process of detoxification. For example, organic non-starchy vegetables and fruits, healthy fats (flax seeds, walnuts, avocado), and fresh herbs. If your diet is primarily processed, low quality foods, it is likely that you are experiencing nutrient deficiencies which can manifest as weight gain, allergies, fatigue, and digestive issues, to name a few.
3. Hydrate with room temperature water. Cold water can shock the digestion, making it sluggish. Room temperature or even warm water is easier to digest and absorb. And since hydration is a huge issue for most people, drinking more high quality water is always a good idea. Adding ginger and lemon to water can aid in the detoxification process.
4. Include organic medicinal herbs. While the first 3 points seem self-explanatory, many people forget about herbs. Including herbs either solo or in combination can make any detoxification more potent. We honestly do not utilize them enough. Fresh raw herbs added to your meals, in tincture, tea, or capsule form are ways to include them in this process. Many herbs provide the body with a substantial amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When in combination with nutrient-dense foods, you can expect clearer skin, improved digestion, more natural energy, and better focus (depending on the combination).
There are other systems for detoxification that you can obviously try. This one is simple, and one of the more potent ways to instill the proper nutrients your body needs to eliminate toxins effectively.
If you’re interested in detoxing this month and you want support, reach out to us for a consultation. We can give you a personalized plan of action.
If you’d like more info on our herbal combinations, visit our site.