January 22, 2019 / Nutrition / Source: Nutrition
With the New Year many people are focused on cleansing and detoxing, but I find that many have questions on what to do because there are so many ads and programs out there that tell you to do this, or that…or buy this, or that! So, I decided I would do a quick blog to share my personal thoughts about what I’ve learned and what has proven to work the best for me.
Let’s start by discussing what it means to detox. Detoxification as defined by Merriam-Webster is, "to remove a harmful substance (such as poison or toxin) or the effect of such from." It’s essentially your body’s ability to get rid of waste. I believe detoxification is a continual process that our bodies need to constantly be doing to rid toxins from our bodies, not just a program we do once or twice a year. We are exposed to toxins on a daily basis with the foods that we eat, the personal care products that we use, and environmental toxins. Plus, factors such as chronic stress and physical inactivity can also have a big impact on our body’s ability to detox properly. Additionally, even if we are careful to use products without all the junk it’s hard to avoid toxins completely…which is why it’s important to reduce the toxin load as much as possible and to implement activities to help reduce stress and keep us active.
If our body systems are functioning optimally then our bodies naturally detox through our sweat, kidneys/bowels, lungs, and our liver, which plays a huge role in clearing toxins from our bodies. However, if our body systems get so bogged down with a bioaccumulation of toxins then it is not able to do its job appropriately. This is why we need to focus on keeping our systems running optimally. A more extensive detox protocol may be necessary on occasion if we need to do a total reset of our system, but the best case scenario is to have a system that is always working with us to detox on a daily basis.
So, what can we do to help our systems be better at detoxing? In a nutshell…remove toxins and add key nutrients! I could go through the long, scientific explanation of what has to happen for our bodies to detox, but to put it simply, we need to remove the bad and replace with the good. Removing the bad is pretty cut and dry, but what do we add that helps to support our body’s ability to detox? Did you know that your body actually needs a high-quality protein in order to detox? It’s an important piece that is often overlooked. Yes, our bodies need a plant-heavy diet as part of a detox protocol, but protein is necessary to carry the toxins out of the body. Without it, the toxins continue to build up…placing a heavier load on our livers. Our liver is a key organ for detoxification…so it’s vital that we don’t overtax our livers and provide it with the nutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and protein that it needs to perform its key role in detoxification.
- Remove processed foods, including all artificial sugars, colors, and flavorings (and reduce sugar intake) – eat REAL food; choose more fruits and vegetables (choose organic when possible…especially with the ‘dirty dozen’) and organic, high-quality protein.
- Decrease stress – get more sleep, meditation/breathing exercises, use essential oils, and exercise more.
- Ditch the products with toxic chemicals – choose products without harsh chemicals.
In summary, we need to take a look at the foods and products that we are using and determine the changes we need to make to support a healthy detoxification system. Ditch and switch to healthier lifestyle choices! Choose to avoid toxic products whenever possible, include activities that help you reduce stress, get more sleep, and eat a diet rich in plants and organic, high-quality proteins. By adopting all of these principles you will be helping your body do what it’s supposed to do and your system will function better and your body will thank you.