07 Sep Detox: the good, the bad, and the ugly
There is a small problem with the “detox culture” that seems to be prevalent in the healthcare industry. This notion of “dirty-then-clean” and that a 3 or 5 day cleanup will improve all things in your life is problematic. There is no overall picture of how the body works.
Well, I’m not saying we should push detox plans into a dark corner and never talk about them again. I say there is a smarter way to understand your unique needs, support your liver, and improve your body’s natural detoxification processes.
The detox process goes smoothly in a healthy body. But the truth is that our bodies may not be fully equipped for the toxic stresses of modern life. Today we are bombarded with toxins more than ever. From pollution to preservatives, pesticides, hormone disruptors … the list goes on and on. And while we may want to avoid additional toxins and look for non-toxic alternatives, it is unrealistic for us to believe that we can avoid every single toxin that gets in our way. In fact, our bodies produce theirs have Toxins as part of our daily metabolism and it is completely natural. That is why we have wonderful organs like the liver and lungs that get rid of these toxins.
Although we cannot always control the world around us or our exposure to it everything Pollutants and chemicals allow us to make strategic diet and lifestyle changes that can help counteract their effects by supporting the liver, healing the gut, and reducing our overall toxic burden.
This is a healthy detox plan should do. And the slower and more consistently this happens, the better for your body.
Why You Need to Find the Right Detox Regimen for Your Genes
Have you ever wondered how one person can drink coffee at 9 p.m. and fall asleep at 9:30 p.m. while another person can’t drink coffee after 3 p.m. because they are up all night? Well, it’s probably because of her genes.
And you might think that the person who can have coffee anytime without worrying has hit the genetic jackpot, but the same person might have trouble getting rid of excess estrogen or medication.
Genetic variations from one person to the next lead to a high degree of individualization in the detox, which is why short-term, mass-market detox programs aren’t the smartest choice if you don’t know what’s going on at the genetic level. You are unique. You are complex. There are hundreds of genes involved in detoxification, and your genes don’t work in isolation – they work with each other and with your surroundings. What we eat, how we move, our stress levels and our emotional life affect how our genes behave.
We can not change our genes, but we can influence how our genes express themselves.
Do you actually need to create a detox plan?
A seasonal detox might be a must as every person you know does a 5 day juice cleanse in September. And while the detox industry is booming, there is actually very little clinical evidence to support it. A handful of clinical studies have shown that commercial detox diets improve liver detoxification, but these studies have flawed methods and small sample sizes.
To reiterate, there is very little clinical evidence for this commercially Detox diets. This doesn’t necessarily mean detox plans don’t work and are a waste of money, but they should be well thought out with the guidance of a qualified health care provider.
The question you should ask yourself is “Why do I feel like I need a detox?”
Most of all, never do a detox just for weight loss. We often feel pressured by what we see in the media or how people we know have had such great results after three days of “cleansing” and feel energized, lighter, healthier, etc. But did you know that there is a serious risk? Your sanity? Always keep in mind that any type of restrictive eating can lead to an eating disorder in the long run.
I would love to sit here all day and delve deep into the diet culture and how we have been programmed to believe that there are some foods / diets that are better than others and that if you go on a certain one, you will never do it Eat wisely to achieve optimal health, but that is not the point. But maybe it’s something to think about when doing detox. Could diet culture be the reason you want to undergo an extreme detox plan?
Physical signs that you may need a detox
Do you remember when I said we shouldn’t just put detox plans in a dark closet? This is because many people actually struggle to eliminate toxins on a physiological and genetic level. BUT THAT’S NOT EVERYONE.
If at any level you think you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, check with a professional healthcare provider before buying any off-the-shelf / internet product. There are some excellent products and supplements available, but they are not for everyone.
- Constantly waking up around 2-3 a.m. and having difficulty falling asleep
- Exhaustion (mental or physical)
- Digestive problems like IBS, indigestion, constipation
- Hormonal imbalances (signs and symptoms can be found here)
- Skin conditions (eczema or dry, inflamed skin)
At the end of the day
Anyone can go on an extreme diet for a short time and experience “improvements” in their health. But when we take the longer term and begin to fully understand our own bodies and the food we eat, then true healing takes place.
The bottom line is that you can trust that your liver and kidneys are more than capable of eliminating (detoxifying) any substances that are not needed for healthy functioning in your body. Any substance that your body cannot naturally eliminate causes medical problems and requires consulting a health care provider.
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