How to Safely Detox

Toxins in our bodies wreak havoc!

Person with Face MaskWe are bombarded with toxins – in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the products we use on our bodies (soap, hairspray, make-up, etc.). These toxins get into our body and our bloodstream impacting our organs, immune system and our overall health and well-being.

Even if we’re focused on a healthful lifestyle, and we eat “clean” and exercise, we still ingest products (both in our food and in our environment) that introduce toxins into our bodies.

So while we all should do our best to remove toxins when we can from our exposure, it is essential for those not feeling well to take action and reduce your body burden.

What physical benefits will you reap from a detox?

Physical changes are the biggest and most noticeable benefit of your detoxification. When toxins are stored in the body, they negatively impact major organs including:

1. Stomach
2. Liver
3. Kidneys

When your body is loaded with toxins, it works harder and isn’t working as efficiently. Following the detoxification, you may feel “lighter” and have more energy.

Your body’s immune system benefits because, during the detox, you are clearing away free radicals. When free radicals are removed from your body, you may lower your risk of developing certain forms of cancer.

Blood will circulate better throughout your body following the detoxification.

What mental benefits will you see following the detoxification

Free radicals and toxins that accumulate in your body impact brain function as well as organ function.

Prior to a detox you may experience:

1. Chronic fatigue
2. Insomnia
3. Trouble concentrating

Following your detoxification you will find you sleep better, have better concentration and a clearer head.

How will your lifestyle change and/or benefit from a detox?

Detoxing CoupleA lifestyle change isn’t something people typically equate with a detox, but because you will feel better physically and be more mentally clear, you may find you’re “addicted” to feeling better and you will want to make changes in other aspects of your life.

Once you’ve cleared out the toxins dragging you down you may look at other areas of your life and consider:

1. Quitting smoking
2. Getting more exercise
3. Eating a healthier diet
4. Taking supplements

Any, or all, of these changes will protect your body going forward and help it continue to reap the rewards of the detoxification effort you put in. Remember, a detox isn’t always a walk in the park and your body may feel as though it’s rebelling against it, but when you power through you may be motivated enough to adhere to a healthier lifestyle.

A detox isn’t a one and done event. Until we no longer breath in pollutants – from household chemicals to car exhaust fumes, use toxic products, etc. – you will need to make detoxification a part of your lifestyle. Additional detoxes will help avoid any build up of toxins and it should be simpler going forward.

When should you detox?

There may be no exact “right” time to do one, but you can look at how overwhelmed your body is and whether it’s in need of the support a detox can provide.

If you’ve been:

1. On prescription meds
2. Overeating
3. Consuming too much alcohol
4. Under extreme stress
5. Recovering from illness

This is when your body may be crying out for a cleansing. Remember, a detox is not a quick fix that gives you free rein to overindulge every weekend with the idea in mind that your detox will “make it all better” – it isn’t.

A detoxification program should be part of your overall, long-term commitment to healthier habits and a healthier lifestyle.

How to choose a detox program

Committing to a detoxification is just that – a commitment. It’s not easy and you may struggle to stick with it. I urge you to not give up. Power through the initial stages and you will come out the other side feeling better. Your body will thank you for it.

Choosing the correct detoxification program is a matter of understanding your body’s needs.

Gauge these items:

1. Your age
2. Your physical activity levels
3. Your weight
4. Your overall general health

There are three main ways to detoxify.

1. Daily nutritional support using supplements: These are added to your normal daily life to aid in removal. They include probiotics, NAC, lipoic acid, B vitamins, green foods such as spirulina and broccoli sprouts.

2. Herbal detoxification regimens: These protocols contain a variety of herbs to support blood, liver, kidney and gastrointestinal health.

3. Fasting and cleansing diet protocols: These range from elimination diets, to veggie and juice or soup diets to lemon water to periodic daily lemon water fasts, low protein diet days to 5 day Fasting Mimic diets (which I have discussed in the past).

Eliminate unhealthy lifestyle habits

Regardless of the supplemental detoxification program you choose, you won’t reap the benefits if you don’t commit to reducing exposure to toxins in the long-term. This means you will want to commit to scaling back alcohol consumption, giving up cigarettes, eating whole foods, eliminating processed foods and sugars from your diet and using supplements regularly to make up for dietary deficiencies we all suffer.

When you’re undergoing a detoxification you may not feel like moving, but it is important that you do. Moving – exercising – will help remove toxins from your body. Bike, jog, walk, swim or do other exercises that get your heart pumping to help increase the oxygen in your body. Exercise will also help keep your digestive system working properly to, again, eliminate toxins in your gut.

Water intake is essential to a detoxification and essential especially when undertaking a liver detoxification. Water will flush the liver tissue and aid in removing toxins from the liver and the kidneys. If you add lemon to the water it enhances the detoxification process by stimulating bile to eliminate and remove toxins.

If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to commit to a detox, here are a few more reasons to do one:

1. You will eliminate toxins that you ingest and breathe in
2. You will reset your body and the foods it craves
3. You will have increased energy
4. You will curb food addictions and better control your cravings
5. Use supplements during and after the detox to give your body the micronutrients it needs to function properly. Micronutrient deficiency is a leading cause of disease.

Choose a time for your detox when you know you won’t be put in a situation where you’re tempted to stop the process (ie going to a food- or alcohol-centric event). Commit to the detoxification even when the going gets tough. Know that once the detox is complete that to keep the hard-won benefits progressing by your commitment to a whole-food, fruit and vegetable, supplement rich and exercise-filled lifestyle.