It’s fall! While walking around downtown GR the other day, I wandered down by the river to check things out. I was staring into the water and noticed something. There is a LOT of garbage and junk floating down the river and being tumbled along bottom. In other words, there is a bunch of crap in the water that shouldn’t be there. Why is this important?
Like the river, we have thousands of miles of blood vessels that carry the blood in our bodies to and from the heart. When that blood is clean, it has the proper chemical composition and is free of damaging debris. Blood is supposed to flow unrestricted delivering oxygen and nutrients to EVERY cell in the body. However, just like the river, things end up in the blood that shouldn’t be there or at least shouldn’t be there in mass quantity. Cholesterol can start to oxidize, like a rusty pipe, and begin to clog your blood vessels, especially the ones supplying the heart, leaving you more susceptible heart attacks. Heavy metals from our food and our environment can stay in the blood for long periods of time and have a compounding effect as we grow older, which has been linked to many diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. These diseases are put into motion long before they are diagnosed usually between ages 60-85.
Have you ever felt sluggish or out of sync? Have skin issues, aches and pains, or digestive problems? Straying from your healthier habits lately? Having trouble kicking off your weight loss? It might be time to detox your body!
Contrary to what modern medicine says, your body actually has the ability to heal itself without the need for Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, etc! (If it has the proper, organic nutrition and clear communication from the brain to the body and back again.)
Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
How does detoxification work?
Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
How can it help?
1) Resting the organs through fasting;
2) Help the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin
4) Improving circulation; and
5) Rebooting the body with tons of healthy nutrients down to the cellular level.
How do you know if you should detox?
The average person should detox at least once per year. Some people do it quarterly. A short detox or cleanse is generally safe; in fact, scientific studies show that a detox is beneficial for health. However, for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis, I wouldn’t personally recommend it. Please consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.
Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere around us, especially in the environments we live and work it. I believe it is CRITICAL to detoxify your body, even if you think you are eating only the right things, exercising, and are generally healthy, bad things from our environment continue to build up over time. You could try detoxing for symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, sluggish elimination, irritated skin, allergies or low-grade infections; bags under the eyes; a distended stomach even if the rest of your body is thin; menstrual difficulties; or mental confusion (main reason why I detox).
Where to start?
First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes, and make-up!), and substitute some natural alternatives. Check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ for more info.
What about stress? Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can push your body to the “fight or flight” state that it needs to gear up for war or to get the heck out of dodge, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. So it’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body. Yoga, deep breathing, meditation and exercise are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
Which detox program is best for you?
There are many detoxification programs and cleanses available depending on your individual needs. I usually recommend that people start with replacing breakfast for 2 weeks with a healthy, fresh, organic vegetable juice, made at home from all organic ingredients and a slow-juicer. It is a great way to start your day with a flood of awesome nutrition that is quickly absorbed into your system. Also, it is a great way to prepare your body for a 10 day juice fast.
Other popular detoxing programs and natural body cleanses include:
- Cleansing supplement packages, which generally contain fiber, vitamins, herbs and minerals. There are several safe products on the market, with easy-to-follow instructions.
- A routine water fasting (drinking only water one day each week)
9 Ways to Aid Detoxification
After a detox, you can continue to cleanse your body daily through diet, supplements and lifestyle practices.
1. Eat plenty of fiber, including organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
3. Eat foods rich in vitamin C (kale, bell peppers, cherries, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, etc.), which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
4. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. (200lbs = 100 oz. water)
5. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
6. Dissipate stress by focusing on the positive side of things.
7. Try sweating in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
8. Try detox foot baths and exfoliating your skin to remove toxins through your pores.
9. Most importantly…EXERCISE at least 30 min. per day but shoot for an hour of combined strength training and cardio exercise to reap the full benefits of dissipating stress (but don’t go kayaking down a flooding river).
Remember, detoxing can be tough. Some people are incredibly toxic because of where they live, what they eat, the amount of stress in their lives, and their lack of willingness to exercise. These people will likely have a difficult time due to the amount of unnecessary junk built up in their systems. So take things slow. It will take some time but your body will remember what it is supposed to do when it has proper nutrition and a little time to heal.
Health & Happiness,