The human body was designed to detoxify itself. We have a series of internal ‘filters’ that help separate the good from the bad, and push it out of the body. The liver, the spleen, the kidneys and other organs help filter what our body needs from what it doesn’t, with what we don’t need being forced out of the body through the bladder, colon, lungs and skin with the help of the lymphatic system. If our bodies are so good at this on its own, why detox?
Our bodies change constantly. The human body’s ability to adapt is truly amazing, but even it can become overwhelmed by habitually poor diet, chronic stress, and decreased activity. This article hypothesizes that our body’s ability to handle what we put into it changes from generation to generation. A detoxification period can be a great time to reflect on your health choices and re-commit to a healthier lifestyle.
The biggest indicator that your body is not working as well as it should is what’s commonly referred to as “Feel Like Crap Syndrome”. You generally don’t feel “well”, but there is no defining illness contributing to it. You may be tired all the time, have frequent headaches, digestive issues, brain fog, or a whole host of other “symptoms” that combine to make you not feel well.
Detoxification has become synonymous with consuming high quantities of juice or soup and little else. Most people associate it with a period of deprivation, with the hope of some ‘reward’ at the end. Usually, the end goal is weight loss.
But society’s view of detoxification is probably skewed somewhat by the constant inundation of “miracle cleanse” products designed to make you drop weight quickly. People generally go into these cleanses knowing that they’ll be deprived of everything but their chosen juice or soup, and they know that it will be awful. The ‘detox’ may help them achieve their quick weight loss goals, and they may eve feel better for having completed it, but shortly thereafter, the weight returns and with it, Feel Like Crap Syndrome.
A detoxifying cleanse does not necessarily need to mean you need to deprive yourself. Good health is a balancing act, and a good detox program might just be eliminating what we know is bad for us, while increasing the consumption of what is good for us.
- Helps increase efficiency of your body systems and functions. Think of it this way. Food is fuel for your body. By eliminating crap fuel, and substituting it with high-efficiency clean, whole foods, your body doesn’t have to work so hard to eliminate all the sugar, bad fats, cholesterol, salt, chemicals, etc. in convenience foods.
- Boost your immune system. Completing a detoxification program may help immune function, and in turn, help ward off colds and flus.
- Kick your sugar cravings. There are several things that we put into our bodies that we know we shouldn’t. Everyone will have their own food sensitivities, but some of the worst causes of Feel Like Crap Syndrome are sugar and wheat products. Sugar and wheat products have been scientifically proven to be biologically addictive – the more we eat them, the more want to eat them. A detox is a great way to break yourself of this addiction.
- Improve your over-all feeling of well-being. When you fill your body with low-quality and potentially toxic foods, all of its resources are placed towards getting rid of the toxins, and cells are denied the essential energy they need to function. By eliminating these toxins, you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel. If you’ve struggled with an inability to focus or concentrate, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by an increased ability to do so.
Ways to Help Your Body Detoxify.
There are many ways to help your body. You may choose to just make some lifestyle changes by incorporating some of the steps outlined below, or you may choose to complete a detoxification “program” that usually lasts between 3 and 10 days. Only you can decide what is best for you.
- Eliminate all consumed ‘toxins’ entirely. We often can’t help the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, but we can control the amount that we put into our bodies, most of which we are physiologically addicted to. Its common knowledge that the only way to overcome a physiological addiction is to quit it entirely without looking back. Eliminate all forms of sugar, flour products (which convert to sugar in the body), artificial sweeteners, MSG and all its alternative names. Cut out caffeine, alcohol, and any other recreational drugs. Trans fats and hydrogenated fats are particularly harmful and should not be consumed regardless of when. Ideally, eliminate all prepackaged convenience foods for 10 days. Skipping grains, beans, and most fruits for 10 days is also beneficial.
- ‘Supplement’ with whole, real food. Protein and healthy fats are key to balancing blood sugar, cutting cravings, and fueling your cells. Eat eggs, fish, chicken, or other lean meats for protein, and seeds and nuts (which also contain protein), coconut butter, avocados, olive oil, or flax seed oil as healthy fats at every meal. Eat as many ‘good’ carbs as you want throughout the day. Round out your meals & snacks with non-starchy vegetables. Eliminate potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets for 10 days.
- Take a Detox Bath. Soaking in hot water has long been ascribed as a relaxing enterprise, but it can also help your body eliminate toxic buildup. The hot water opens pores and increases circulation, which all on its own can help improve your toxic load. Adding sea salt, Epsom salts, baking soda, a peat bath like Naked Mud™, or essential oils like peppermint, lemon, or rosemary will boost the detoxifying effects of your bath, and a combination of these things will supercharge it. My personal favorite is baking soda (which neutralizes chlorine and softens the water), Epsom salts, (which helps soothe tired, achy muscles with Magnesium), and a combination of lemon, grapefruit, peppermint & vanilla oils.
- Dry Brushing. Your skin, your largest organ, is responsible for eliminating a LOT of toxins through the pores & sweat glands. Help it along by brushing away dead skin cells to help keep pores clear, allowing your skin to “breathe”. Dry brushing has long been used to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating cellular waste. For more on Dry Brushing, Wellness Mama has a great article here.
- Use your light system to help support your efforts. Think of your veins as the highway of your body, your blood as the transport vehicle. Everything we put into our body travels through the blood stream, whether it is going to be absorbed (like nutrients) or eliminated (like toxins). When circulation is slowed, it can be difficult to transport toxins to where they need to go to be eliminated. If they’re not eliminated, they can be stored in fat cells to be eliminated later, and potentially cause issues. Applying LED light to the body improves circulation, which in turn helps get the toxins where they need to go to be eliminated.
As you see, there are many benefits to helping your body detoxify, and many easy ways to do so without depriving yourself. Detoxifying your body can be simple and enjoyable, but ultimately, is healthful.
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