I believe in practicing what I tell others to do and adhere to a life style that promotes health and well-being. That includes doing a yearly detox of some type to clear toxins that can prevent my body from working in optimal ways.
Here’s my recent detox experience and some on the details of doing a detox, which I hope will inspire you to do a detox and get its benefits.
There are many reasons for getting started – maybe you want to establish better life style choices, you already appreciate the importance of a detox, or you want to improve your diet. Sometimes your body gives you signs that it isn’t working as well as you’d like – foggy brain, aches and pains, weight gain, stress and fatigue that shows in your face, etc…
The GI (gastrointestinal) system breaks down healthy and unhealthy food, absorbing the useful nutrients and eliminating the rest. The liver works in close association with the GI tract, and is the major detoxifier of the body – breaking down toxins that we get from our food, water, and metabolic processes. When the GI tract is not working well, the liver has additional work to perform. Then, with the ingestion of additional toxins, the liver’s ability to detox may be exceeded and this creates a toxic burden. An important aspect of that burden is that these toxins often disrupt the healthy function of hormones in our bodies. But, we can clear these pesky molecules out of the body with a periodic detox designed to help the body cleanse itself and actually get rid of built up toxins.
With current diets, our bodies often don’t get the nutrients they need to be able to perform the natural detox functions that are necessary for good health.
By following a detox program, we can give the body the tools it needs to restore healthy detoxification and rid itself of this toxic load.
A toxin is any substance that has a harmful effect on the body. They are unavoidable in our current life style of processed foods, prescription drugs, stress, and pollution. We get toxins into the body from 3 main sources: the environment, personal lifestyle, and the body’s own metabolic processes. These toxins create an added burden on our body, especially the liver, and they get into cell receptors for hormones with the resultant blocking of the hormones themselves.
Most toxins we are exposed to are fat-soluble, meaning they are in a form that easily stores itself within our fat deposits.
To get these toxins out of our body, we have to use a process called bio-transformation, which depends heavily on the liver. Phase I requires a series of enzymes, called cytochrome P450, that change these fat-soluble molecules into intermediary molecules (which are actually more toxic). They then have to be changed quickly in the Phase II of the detox. In this phase, specific molecules attach to the intermediary metabolites, making them both non-toxic and water soluble so they can easily be eliminated through the urine and the stool. These specific molecules are taken as capsules of vitamins and minerals during the detox.
I wanted to boost my liver, rid myself of toxins, and drop some pounds while I was at it. Well-formulated detox programs (including the one I did) provide good clean protein to ingest as a drink twice a day and also the vitamins/minerals we need to go through Phases I and II.
The detox diet has lots of organic, fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fats, grass-fed meats, and olive/nut oils.
You avoid foods that are processed and there are no sugars, starches, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, fish or shell fish, dairy or eggs, margarine, butter, salad dressings or anything artificial (including sweeteners).
Sometimes when you start a detox, you can have symptoms as if you were catching the flu, with fatigue, headache, and possibly a slight fever. I experienced some leg aches the first evening, but those went away by the next morning.
I had plenty of tasty healthful food and was not hungry while I took my protein shakes and specified supplements. In the guide book for my detox there are some great recipes, grocery lists, and menus which I used during the week. I did notice that I had less mucous production in my throat while on the detox – which could be a reaction to even the small amount of dairy and eggs that I usually eat.
Drinking plenty of water is really important during the detox, and I got about 3 qts per day. That helps you get the toxins out. And, the supplements stimulate good bowel evacuation throughout the detox.
As the week progressed, I felt lighter, could think more clearly, had more energy and felt really good.
And I shed a few pounds in the process. These are common results from a detoxfor my patients, and some even choose to go for 2 or 3 weeks to get more benefit.
It was a great week for me and I’m glad I did it! You can too and get the benefits of lowering your toxic burden and help your hormones work even more efficiently.
Into a healthy spring and year ahead,
Jane Kennedy, CFNP, MN, MPH