The word detox is often used especially when marketing something that’s considered natural and beneficial for your health. Many people often ask, “Why should I detox my body?” and “How should I do that?”
Firstly, let’s explain why we should consider embarking into a detox program. Our body comes into contact with toxins through our food, environment, and lifestyle choices and through chemical exposure. Even the most careful, diligent person can’t avoid toxins completely; however it’s nothing to be worried about. A simple detox 1-2 times a year will keep you fit, and healthy.
Foods We Eat
Certain heavy rich foods put a lot of stress on our digestion system, especially if the food is not prepared well, or not fresh. Foods such as fast foods, high GI and refined carbohydrates are very taxing on the digestive system. It takes the body a lot of effort and time to process these foods into viable nutrients and excrete the toxins through our intestinal tract.
The other silent killer (without trying to sound too dramatic) is insulin. Our diets a plagued with foods that cause massive insulin spikes which result in inflammation and effect the normal rhythm of hormonal regulation. Foods that are refined and highly process are the biggest problem however large quantities of low GI foods result in the same insulin spike which results in the same problem.
Environmental Factors / Chemical Exposure
Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about this one, unless you decide to move to the rural regions of Australia (which I’m sure many of us would love to do but isn’t feasible). This is the only cause of toxic build up in our bodies we can do little about. However the influence on our health can be minimal if we manage the other contributing factors well. Chemical exposure is everywhere from the cleaning products we use at home and work to the plastic containers that contain our food and drinks. There are many websites that provide recipes for making natural cleaning products that can be used at home and also provide information on food preparation and how to store our food with minimal contamination.
Many people often argue, “well I’ve gotta live, what am I to do? Become a rabbit and eat carrots all day”. This is often a dramatic response to people that fear change. You definitely can have a fun, and an exciting life being health conscious. The obvious things smoking, alcohol, caffeine, excessive amounts of sugar and little exercise wreak havoc to our bodies. As to whether we feel it immediately or later on depends on our genetic make up. No one is immune to a lifestyle of excess consumption of irritants with minimal physical activity.
The other major factor to initiate toxins in our body is stress. Stress is a natural response and does serve some benefit to us. The stress that causes the release of toxins in our body that can cause disease is the continual stress especially when it affects sleep, relationships and diet. No one wants to be around a miserable person so often people can feel alone and isolated too.
Obviously in these circumstances a detox program won’t simply rectify the problem however the damage to one’s health can improve if they seek assistance from a mental health professional in conjunction to improving lifestyle factors.
How Should I Detox?
So now that we understand the why, here are a few ideas on how to detox. Here is a brief overview on how our body eliminates toxins.
We all know our gastrointestinal tract eliminates toxins through our stools and our kidneys through our urine, but our skin is a major organ that eliminates toxins too. That is why often people who can’t digest certain foods will break out in various skin presentations such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.
The other major organ is the liver as it is involved in the metabolism of fat as well as the removal of toxins in our body. The one thing that will compromise the optimal functioning of the liver is alcohol consumption. When an excessive amount of alcohol is consumed the liver cells swell and this initiates the liver to stop doing its usual activity and instead aims to efficiently eliminate the toxicity of the alcohol.
A great detox program will enhance the natural detoxifying process of our GI tract, kidneys, liver and skin while promoting energy to keep up with daily activities. The program I like is quite mild but easy and effective to do. However, some people need to prepare beforehand as it requires the complete cessation of smoking, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. These addictions can be helped through acupuncture especially sugar cravings as they indicate a poor digestive system.
Follow your blood type diet
Where possible consider consuming organic meats, fruits and vegetables and only small quantities of low GI foods (¼ – ½ cup) 1-2 times per day.
Drink 2-3 litres of warm filtered water daily
Stop all sugar, alcohol, caffeine and smoking
Relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation will help calm the mind and promote the detoxifying process
Mild to moderate exercise as it’s a great way to promote circulation as well as promoting the elimination of toxins through the bowel. The large intestine is a muscle and exercise tones all the muscles of the body. The result is improved peristalsis and regular bowel movements.
In addition, I provide acupuncture and herbal support weekly to promote maximal detoxification so if you can, seek assistance from a qualified practitioner that can guide you through this process
This detox program should be done before starting to try to conceive and should be done by both partners for 1-3 months (depending on each individual circumstance).
Other detox programs on the market
As many of you would know, there are thousands of companies promoting their products as being the best process to detox your body naturally. The general consensus should be anything that eliminates basic food groups such as proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates should not be done. Anything that promotes a loose or watery bowel motions (such as colonic irrigations) should not be done and here’s why. If you are depleting your body of necessary nutrients such as proteins, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates your body will prepare for a famine.
Initially, you may feel healthier because your body isn’t being taxed by heavy, rich foods. However, as you continue it may become more difficult and many people over indulge in those lifestyle factors that got them there in the first place. Also loose bowel motions are indicating a poor, sluggish digestive system and often nutrients and good bacteria that keep our gut healthy are lost through the bowels.
So the point for detox isn’t momentary relief, it’s for long term benefit to your health for whatever reasons you may have.