Ah spring is just around the corner! Time for renewal and rebirth right? Great time to do a Master Cleanse? Maybe a 7 day juice or lemon/maple syrup fast to " cleanse and detoxify"?
Can you sense a hint of sarcasm? Maybe just a little..
Let's explore the world of The Detox - what this really means to your body and why it has nothing to do with a bi-annual extreme diet. In fact we do need to detoxify...every day I fact ..with food.
Detoxification is a full-time job for your body; a natural, ongoing process that happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And with all the toxins and stress in the modern world, it is a lot of work. You may not be aware of it but we are all exposed to toxins- in the air we breathe, water we drink, and products we use. You may also not be aware that how well, or how poorly, your body is able to detoxify will in a large part determine how well or sick you feel?
Everyday exposure to environmental toxins can promote a wide variety of ailments and can contribute to a vast number of symptoms and conditions including:
- Eye, ear, nose, sinus or throat irritation,
- Dizziness or vertigo,
- Skin rash
- Liver Dysfunction
- Memory loss or confusion
- Weakness or fatigue
Your body needs to detoxify substances from outside the body and those made inside the body. Common External Sources:
Common Internal Sources:
- Toxins produced by intestinal microbes
Many parts of your body are involved in the process of detoxification. The liver is the most important organ that rids the body of toxins however the lungs, intestines, kidney and skin also play a big part in detoxification. Many aspects of every fay life affect our detoxification ability. Foods can Increase our ability to detoxify. They include:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
- Zinc also plays an essential role in -sources include wildcaught seafood, grassed beef/lamb, organic spinach, pumpkin seeds, organic pork/chicken and cashews.
- Liver detoxification is inhibited by nutritional deficiency, toxic exposures, and medications such as acetaminophen, alcohol consumption, and low protein intake.
- Detoxification relies on 2 very important amino acids - cysteine and methionine. These two amino acids are the main dietary sources of sulfur, and are found in meat, fish, poultry, onions, garlic, tumeric, eggs and dairy products.
- Bioflavonoids may also be beneficial for Detoxification.
- Bioflavonoids are abundant in organic fruit, vegetables and tea, and are the active ingredient in many herbs.
More importantly, the detoxification process entirely relies on the bodies pathways of elimination. Imagine you decide to hose down the interior of a very dirty house but every door and window was sealed shut. Initially toxins would accumulate and expand as they break down but given time something more insidious happens. Just as a filthy house will attracts wanted visitors - rats and cockroaches - they very process can occur in the gut via bacteria, yeast and parasites. Imagine how you'd feel attempting a detox if you are chronically constipated or perform minimal exercise limiting your bodies sweating and respiration capacity?
Have you ever attempted a detox only to discover your cravings for bad foods were worse at the end of the detox and any weight you lost promptly returned? Often the post detox elation people feel is not the detox itself but the elimination of processed and food sensitivities - reactive foods. The weightloss experienced is often a combination of inflammatory water retention, muscle and fat so when the detox is over the body seeks to restore balance from blood sugar imbalance and muscle wasting. As well, inflammation returns from the reintroduction of reactive foods.
Another important aspect is that thanks to the Human Genome Project we have discovered many of us do not detoxify effectively. As many as 40% of population have defective detoxification (methylation) genes and 100% of us are exposed to environmental toxins that affect this pathway.
So still feel the need for a spring "Detox"? It might be best to ask yourself what your really hoping to achieve as well as what is really driving your need to detox. Sometimes small permanent changes are far more effective than temporary drastic ones.