The term detox has been used quite heavily in the last couple of years. When I speak with new clients, so many questions and misconceptions come up regarding this topic so I decided to write an article simplifying what detoxing is really all about.
Our bodies are constantly working to eliminate anything that doesn’t serve it well. These toxins include things that we come in contact with and are harmful to us. Our bodies use many different mechanisms to detoxify (through the liver, our lymphatic system, our breathing, our sweat, etc.). Whenever people talk about detoxing, they are talking about practicing a type of regimen that will aid the body to do its job in a more efficient way. A good detox program will involve decreasing the load of toxins, chemicals, and allergens while introducing easy to digest foods and self care practices that support your body’s natural detox pathways. You don’t detox with a magical potion. It’s a series of things you do to make it easier for your body to do a great job at taking out the things that could make it sick.
To explain the concept of detoxing in a very simplified way, I usually tell my clients to compare their bodies with a household. Let’s say that everyone that lives in your household enters the house with very dirty shoes and clothes. They also buy groceries and other things, unpack the goods and leave the wraps and empty packages all over the house. They also eat and leave the dirty plates laying around. You are the person responsible for the household maintenance and you are the only one that is working to keep the house clean. You wash dishes and clothes all day and keep taking the trash out. Some days, you are too busy taking care of other work that it’s more important at the time than cleaning (remember our bodies have to perform many other functions beside detoxing). Maybe there’s a door or window that needs to be fixed so strangers will not get in (your immune system needs to fight viruses and bacteria constantly), or maybe one day you become sick and could not do any cleaning (your body will need to focus on getting better). You get better but now the drains in your house are clogged (your body’s lymphatic system). You spent another day trying to resolve this issue and in the meantime, the piles of garbage, dirty plates and clothes keep getting bigger.
Well, the dirt and garbage becomes too much, it gets out of control! Pests start showing up. You then have to start using chemicals (medicines) to get rid of the pests. Since you are busy spraying insecticide and cleaning to try to re-establish balance in your home you become exhausted and start neglecting other very important things that need to be done around the house. Some appliances stop working because of lack of proper maintenance, the paint in your house starts chipping…you’re still trying to keep the house clean, de-clogging drains, fixing appliances, etc. but you can’t keep up. Life would be so much easier for you if people would enter the house without muddy shoes (toxins), and try to leave garbage out before coming in. This way you would have much more time to do everything else that needs to be done around the house besides cleaning (clear mind and skin, inflammation, good digestion, good defenses, etc.).
Well, something similar happens in your body if you are constantly (sometimes without realizing it) being exposed to chemicals and toxins in the air you breath, in the food and water you consume, and in the make up and personal hygiene products like soaps, shampoos, hair dyes, moisturizers, sunblock, etc. that you use. Your body starts working harder trying to take all the garbage out and starts neglecting other important functions. If you keep toxins to a minimum, your body will be able to keep everything running quite well. After years of putting more toxins in than your body is able to take out, health problems start to arise. Your immune system starts to become weak; you start getting sick more often, you start needing more medicines, which your liver needs to process. Your liver cannot keep up, you start to see signs of inflammation, your lymphatic system may become sluggish, etc. Once you get into that cycle, it’s very hard for your body to get out without you making changes. You start thinking that it is normal to have certain pains and conditions. You think it must be part of normal aging. It’s not. There are many things we can do to make it easier for our body to detox better and maintain a healthy balance between all the functions it needs to perform daily. Toxic overload in our bodies can result in many different conditions that go from chronic illness and disease to weight gain, cellulite, premature wrinkles, allergies, gut problems, blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, lack of energy, and more.
I have done my share of detoxes that have gone from juice fasting for a couple of days, to eating a very clean diet filled with wholefoods and detox drinks for a month. The more I learned about detoxing, the more I move towards a mentality of support, self love, and appreciation for my body for a longer period of time instead of doing something very extreme for just a couple of days. The best detox programs are the ones where you not only get rid of toxins, but leave with a lot of knowledge about things that work for your body and things that could be harming you.
I made a list of some easy things we can do to support our body’s detox pathways:
- Substitute processed foods for whole natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Drink more water.
- Sweat more (by doing exercise or using a sauna).
- Decrease the amount of toxins you put in your skin and hair (switch to natural brands that are free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic colors and fragrances, toluene, SLS/SLES and other chemicals).
- Switch between cold and hot water when you shower (contrast showering).
- Add detoxing teas (dandelion, nettle, ginger, turmeric).
- Drink water with lemon, lime or grapefruit.
- Take probiotics daily.
- Sleep at least 7 or 8 hours starting at 10:30pm the latest.
- Use a trampoline to bounce for some minutes daily (you can also jump without a trampoline but this could be hard on joints for some people).
You can design your own program by eating easy to digest foods and by implementing self care detox habits that will support your body’s detox efforts. It is not that complicated but requires certain amount of knowledge about detoxing foods and practices and a lot of planning. This is why most people prefer to do some type of guided detox program where all the guesswork is eliminated. There are different types of guided detox programs. Some are one-on-one, some are done in groups, and others you can get from a book or e-book. In my opinion, the best detox experience is through a detox program were you can have the guidance and feedback from an expert.
If you want to read a review I wrote about a very comprehensive and effective detox program developed by a team of professionals, you can read it here. There, you would read about what a great integral detox program should look like. This type of guided program is great for busy people that want to detox without feeling deprived and that need the support of experts to make sure they are doing it right. A comprehensive detox program like the one I reviewed will help people that want to work on any of the following:
-Have more energy.
-Discover food intolerance and/or allergies.
-Incorporate easy healthy recipes to your diet.
-Take control of your health.
-Learn easy to follow detox habits.
-Start feeling better in just a couple of weeks.
If you would like to give a guided detox program a try, you can sign up for it here.
Detox programs could be done many times a year and what you’ll learn is that the more times you do them, the more you start implementing good daily detox habits as part of your normal lifestyle. Once you learn how powerful our food choices and habits are on the way we feel, you naturally will want to do more of what’s good for you.
Healthy Wishes and a big hug to you!