Detox has been a widely used buzzword for many years in the wellness sphere. And it is loosely used and fairly widely misunderstood. This article looks at the important facts to know. It includes how to do a basic and safe natural detox cleanse for optimal well-being. And we look at what NOT to do to avoid doing more harm than good.
Toxins are still a vitally important topic to talk about since toxin overload is becoming an epidemic in today’s western culture. Along with chronic infection, it is a main underlying driver in just about every chronic disease process known to man.
Why is this happening? Why is our drinking water contaminated, our air & seas polluted, our food full of chemicals, why are toxic synthesized chemicals patented and called ‘medicines’.
These questions raise some interesting issues which I won’t get into here, but we CAN do something about it.
What can we do?
We can make some necessary and common sense changes to the way we eat, and the products we choose in our homes.
We can say no to buying pharmaceuticals (or take action towards another way), cleaning & personal products full of chemicals and processed foods.
And we can support our bodies with a good regular cleansing protocol.
It’s important to point out that what we are talking about when we refer to toxicity is different to actual poisoning. When a pesticide is deemed safe at certain amounts, what they have measured is that it won’t poison you. It won’t kill you overnight.
That doesn’t mean it won’t accumulate in the body over time! And that is a phenomenon now widely known and demonstrated scientifically.
BUT slow poisoning is still poisoning!
People are dying of chronic diseases like cancer. These could be prevented very early on, by making better lifestyle choices and using good regular detox protocols.
Fix the leaky tap before you mop the floor!
So first we need to make choices to reduce the number of toxins we are exposed to by making dietary changes and detoxifying your home.
Here’s a list you can use to begin to identify where your exposures are:
* food additives
* GM foods
* foods containing pesticides
* plastic and plasticizers
* canned foods
* cosmetic and skin care, beauty products
* dental amalgams
* farm-raised fish
* carpets, fabrics and furniture
* smog, cigarette smoke and other air pollutants
and the list could go on ….
The more of these you have in your life, the more at risk you are.
How do I know I have a toxic build-up?
A naturopath or integrative physician may measure and observe you for indicators such as urine testing for gut dysbiosis, live blood analysis, hair mineral analysis.
They will look at how many ‘risk factors’ you have. These could be: eating processed/junk foods, drinking unfiltered tap water, taking regular medication, smoking, cooking with Teflon-coated pans etc.
You may want to consider our Free 7-Day Toxin-Free Life Challenge
And check out our Toxin-Free Living Resources page for some great alternatives.
If you are REALLY serious I’m pretty sure I’ve found the best course out there to take you through this process IN DEPTH.
I’ve learned LOADS from Alexx Stuart of Lowtoxlife.com. She offers:
- Low tox kids course
- Plus a range of other Lo-Tox courses like Go Low Tox Basics, Go Low Tox Premium and Go Low Tox Lifer
Okay, so what do I do about it?
Generally speaking, if you eat a clean diet the majority of the time, your body naturally detoxes every day. Our body was perfectly designed to remove toxins.
In fact, if a person was in a perfect state, both physically and emotionally, we could walk through a nuclear radiation zone and not be affected adversely.
So we need to ask:
Why are our bodies accumulating toxins? And why are we struggling to remove them. They build up until they become a burden to organs and body tissue.
I believe there are 2 reasons for this:
- Nutritional deficiency’s, in particular, minerals & amino acids that drive our detox pathways
- Emotional ‘toxic build-up’ which I’ll touch on later.
We CAN enhance our bodies natural detoxification system.
Firstly I have to say that the single best way to detox and cleanse the colon is by simply removing harmful substances in your diet and eating nutrient-dense, real food, drinking plenty of filtered water, regular exercise, and spending time outside in the sun.
Go here for more on a healthy plant-based diet.
Let’s also touch on a few things NOT to do:
- Switching to a juice-only cleanse for longer than a few days, without guidance, can wind up doing more harm than good. Removing the fiber concentrates the natural sugars and can create sugar spikes, doing more damage to your metabolism. I’ve added an additional note on juice-fasting below.
- Fasting can have its place, and do wonders even, however for women it can really throw your hormones out of whack if it’s not done correctly. Read further for suggestions on this.
- Fad-diets like the master cleanse. The master cleanse is basically consuming a concoction of water, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper regularly, and nothing else for 10 days. Just be mindful that for many this diet can cause constipation and bloating due to missing the fiber, which is essential for good digestive function
- Buying expensive detox products without really knowing what they are doing can also do more harm than good. Many of them have the potential to mobilize heavy metals and toxins, and if the elimination channels are not working well these toxins will recirculate and do more damage.
So here are a few ways we can safely boost our bodies natural cleansing capacities:
Salt water flush
This is a great kick-off to a cleanse programme.
Particularly if you are having a bowel movement less than once or twice a day, consider doing a salt water flush.
Constipation causes a backlog in the bowel that can make you very toxic over time, so this is the best place to start.
Toxins, heavy metals, and waste build up in the colon over time, due to insufficient and infrequent elimination. This leads to digestive issues and can contribute to inflammation, low energy and eventually chronic illness often develops.
You could also consider a course of colon hydrotherapy or doing an enema, but the salt water flush is one you can do yourself, easily at home.
The problem with using laxatives is that they are a stimulant, not a tonic, meaning they don’t tone (improve the function of) the bowel but actually over time can make the problem worse by creating a lazy bowel, that’s dependant on a stimulant to work.
Herbal laxatives are a better option since they nourish & tone the bowel so will improve its function over time.
Sodium and salt often get a bad name, but real sea salt is loaded with dozens of minerals.
Keep in mind there’s a big difference between regular table salt, which is iodinated, and pure sea salt. It’s the iodized salt that poses the health risks.
Real sea salt does have lots of sodium, but it’s balanced out with other minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and more than 60 other trace minerals.
Sea salt has many therapeutic uses and benefits.
Of course, if you did nothing but drink salt water, you would become extremely dehydrated. Actually, it would be fatal because eventually your kidneys and bladder would cause you to lose more water than you’re taking in.
But doing a sea salt flush or use pure sea salt in moderation along with an otherwise healthy plant-based diet won’t pose any risks.
Many people safely use a salt water cleanse to help clear up digestive issues like constipation, bloating and gas.
How to do a salt water cleanse:
The salt water flush is most effective done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Start with 2 teaspoons of sea salt, preferably pink Himalayan salt (Make sure it’s pure salt, NOT iodised salt!)
- Heat up 1 liter of filtered water. You want the water to be warmer than room temperature, but not boiling or very hot
- Use a glass jar with a lid and add the salt, warm-hot water, and around 2 tbs fresh lemon juice (which helps cut the taste of the salt, and has some cleansing benefits also).
- Shake it vigorously to fully dissolve the salt. Make sure no granules are visible, which will settle at the bottom of your jar/lid if they’re still undissolved.
- Drink it within a few minutes if possible (under 5 minutes is the goal), since it doesn’t taste great (it’s very salty!), you will probably want to drink it down as fast as you can.
- Lay down on your side and massage your belly on one side, then repeat on the other side. If you can manage to hold in the solution for about 30 minutes, this will help your body fully absorb the salt.
- Before long you should start to feel the urge to go to the bathroom. You might have to go more than one time, sometimes needing to use the bathroom for several hours before you’re fully “cleansed” and your colon is emptied.
- After doing a cleanse of any kind, it’s a good idea to take a probiotic supplement which helps establish healthy bacteria in your gut flora (microbiome).
I recommend consuming this drink three times daily 20 minutes before meals for two weeks, then once a day before breakfast or lunch.
- 1 glass of warm or hot water
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- (optional) 1 teaspoon raw, local honey
- ½-1 teaspoon ground ginger (also optional, blend in blender if you use the ginger)
Whizzed in the blender is ideal, and drink immediately. Can drink cold if preferred but it’s better to make with warm water.
Intermittent (Crescendo) fasting
Fasting gives the body a break from processing food, freeing up energy for healing processes. Other benefits include fat loss, improving inflammatory markers and increased energy.
Women are extremely sensitive to signals of starvation, so fasting will ramp up production of hunger hormones, which can result in throwing hormone balance out of whack and can even halt ovulation.
This is why crescendo fasting is a safer and a more gentle option for women, fasting a few NONCONSECUTIVE days in a week rather than every day (eg. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
Drink PLENTY of water, and do only light exercise or yoga on fasting days.
A lighter alternative to a fast is what is now being referred to as a ‘Daniel Fast’, which simply means switching to real food only diet – fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, nothing else!! If this would be a big jump for you then it is well worth considering to give your body a break.
A note on Juice Fasting
As I noted previously, as a general rule it’s best to avoid long-term juice fasting unless under guidance, or at least minimize fruits/high sugar fruit & veg.
Courtney Pool is a Nutritionist who specializes in ‘Juice Feasting’. She has some excellent videos here if you are interested in learning how to Juice cleanse the right way.
Candida flareups are SO common after binging out on sugary treats and drinks, which we often do this time of year.
Symptoms include: brain fog, fatigue, mood swings, bloating, IBS, eczema, rashes, nail fungus, and sugar cravings
The best way to get rid of candida is to take pure, virgin, organic coconut oil.
Take one teaspoon per day for a week, increase to two spoons the next week, one in the morning, one in the evening.
If it makes you feel terrible at first, reduce to one teaspoon at night, but keep doing it, and you should be able to increase back up to the teaspoon twice daily after a few days to a week.
Take this regimen for two months and your intestines will be cleared of the candida overgrowth.
The Missing Link
Now I need to mention an essential element that is SO often missed.
I regularly hear from & talk to mums (and people in general actually) who say that they just can’t give up the foods they know are bad for them because it feels like an addiction.
They are in a cycle of craving/yearning for certain foods, resisting them because they know they are harmful to their bodies which makes them feel terrible, agitated etc. So they eventually give in & have the food, often binging compulsively and this triggers feelings of guilt and shame.
They vow not to have the food/s again, until … and the cycle continues.
Sound familiar to anyone?
This is something I’d like to explore in a lot more depth in the future, but for now I just want to mention the work of a friend of mine Courtney Pool who I mentioned previously.
Courtney is a nutritionist who specializes in supporting people to actually heal the cause of food addictions.
Food addiction is the result of the desire to suppress our emotions. To heal our relationships with food and cease our overeating, we must examine our beliefs about emotions and begin to feel them rather than eat to numb them. Courtney Pool
Courtney has loads of helpful info on this on her website. Go here to check it out.
Here’s a good place to start exploring the cause of compulsive eating.
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Heavy metals are a bigger issue and can be a bit trickier to remove:
It is extremely common these days to have a build up of heavy metals in fatty tissue and areas such as in the nervous system and brain tissue.
This is because heavy metals are found in
- amalgam fillings
- vaccinations & pharmaceuticals
- stainless steel, aluminum, and Teflon cookware
- fish (some will contain traces of mercury)
- bone broth (has been found to contain lead since when animals are exposed to it they store it in the bones)
- would you believe some brands of chocolate have been found to contain heavy metals!
These are just to name a few.
Detoxing heavy metals out of the body requires special caution.
Since different heavy metals require different methods to get them out of the body, professional testing and supervision is definitely recommended for the safest and most effective detox.
Basically, you don’t want to get heavy metals releasing into the bloodstream unless you also have a way to eliminate them from the body or they can cause even more serious problems.
There are two important steps to keep in mind when it comes to eliminating heavy metals:
Step 1: Mobilize
Certain supplements and detoxification methods “unlock” heavy metals where they are accumulating in body tissue, and get them moving into the bloodstream. However, releasing heavy metals without Step 2 can cause oxidative damage as you are re-exposing the body to these toxins:
Step 2: Bind and Eliminate
Bind them and safely eliminate them from the body. It is important to boost the bodies elimination channels before you do this.
An excellent way of supporting this is to increase Glutathione production in your body through Nrf2 activation. Once you have checked it out & are ready to purchase please contact me for wholesale prices.
This is an important piece of the puzzle (I personally believe THE most important) and I feel it isn’t talked about enough.
Both positive and negative emotions are part of being human. But when negative emotions are suppressed and allowed to build up they are extremely toxic and damaging to our health.
Having regular time-out for emotional detox prevents emotions being suppressed and allowed to build up so that you feel lighter, more in tune, positive emotions can flow freely again and you can enjoy a fuller, more abundant life.
Not to mention you will feel so much more vital! – it takes a LOT of energy to suppress all that emotion. Many of us don’t realize how exhausting it is!
Create a private safe place where you are not distracted and can just be with yourself, whether that be in a special place in your home or in nature.
Go here to read more about emotional health and releasing emotion.
So I wish you all a happy year ahead that starts with a nice clean slate!
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