It is hard to believe but there are still skeptics out there who consider detox protocols completely unnecessary. The reason they give is that apparently “our bodies can get rid of toxins naturally without any input from us”. It is true our bodies are equipped with some incredibly sophisticated detoxification mechanisms. The problem is that over the last century or so we have been introducing toxic chemicals into our lives at such a ridiculous rate that our bodies are now struggling to cope with the toxic overload.
The beautiful thing about the human body is that it is able to adapt to changes but adaptation takes time and, as I said, that change is happening too rapidly. As a result, we are getting clogged up with toxins as our bodies are working very hard trying to mitigate that. Toxic body means inflammation and that is bad news because inflammation is linked to every single chronic condition, including autoimmunity.
Toxins are omnipresent. They are in the air we breathe, in our food and water, in products we put on our skin and use in our homes, in containers we store our food in, even in our clothes and furniture! In order for the body to be able to detoxify effectively, it needs many different nutrients to be present (numerous vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.) at sufficient levels. So unless your diet is nutrient-dense, that process will be compromised.
There are hundreds of ways to assist our bodies with neutralising and detoxifying harmful chemicals but you should definitely do your research before getting any detox supplements that promise miraculous transformations. As much as it is true that there are many foods and natural supplements that can support the detoxification process, it is also true that the internet is full of scammers so you should be careful.
So what are the top four mistakes people make when embarking on detox programmes?
For some reason, many people think that they can habitually put rubbish in their bodies, on their skin, etc. and then “do a detox” once or twice a year in an attempt to make up for that. Based on the principle that anything is better than nothing, this is clearly better than having a “dirty” diet and lifestyle all year round and do nothing about it at all. However, this approach will not do if you want to function at an optimal level. It certainly will not do if you already have an underlying health problem, such as an autoimmune disease.
In other words, if you want your body to function optimally, or even just free of disease, you need to support it all year round, not just detox occasionally. Because, the world we live in is as toxic as it is, it is not possible to avoid toxins 100% of the time. But what works well for most people is adopting the good old 90/10 or 80/20 rule, i.e. having a clean diet and a clean lifestyle 80-90% of the time, and occasionally allowing yourself a treat.
There are passionate advocates of juice and water and other types of fasting out there but before you go down that road, you need to consider very carefully if this is the right approach for you. Many people with autoimmune disorders can make themselves worse by jumping in without considering their individual circumstances. For example, if you have weak adrenals or compromised thyroid function you need to seriously think about shocking your body with a fast. So think carefully before you rush into doing what your body may not be able to handle and be sure to consult a relevant practitioner if you are not sure. Remember, the whole point of assisted detoxification is to support your body, not to shock and stress it!
Many people embark on detox protocols without even thinking about preparing the body properly. If you decide that a juice fast, water fast, or some other protocol is right for you, make sure you include the preparation phase that allows your body to adapt gradually to the demands you are placing on it. I do realise that some people can jump right in and feel good but that is definitely not the case for everyone.
The amount of time you need to spend preparing depends on the current state of your diet. You may have to spend some time cutting out junk food, sugar, alcohol, etc. If your diet is already free of those things, you should first try eating mainly vegetables and small amount of fruit, ideally in liquid form (soups, smoothies, etc.) before progressing to just juice and/or water. If you choose to go on a drastic regime without giving your body an opportunity to prepare, you will most probably experience some form of a healing crisis, i.e. a combination of symptoms such as headaches, nausea, flue-like feeling, brain fog, etc. result in more severe withdrawal symptoms.
This is a big problem and probably the worst thing you can do when trying to detox your body, yet many people do exactly that! Many take all sorts of wonderful and not-so-wonderful supplements to support the detoxification process (because they have heard it is good to detox) and then they completely overlook the elimination channels. This means that they completely miss the point.
When the concentration of toxins in the bloodstream increases, the body has to work extra hard to neutralise them in order to stop them from damaging vital organs. Causing an increase in cellular toxin release is only step 1. If we want to use assisted detoxification to support the body and aid healing, we have to make sure we remove the toxins out of the body.
The liver is the main site for detoxification in the body and our channels of elimination are: the skin, colon, lungs, and the urinary tract. We need to support all of these organs when detoxifying. Some of the best ways include: drinking plenty of filtered water; gentle exercise, or using a sauna (sweating is very effective for removing heavy metals out of the body). You should also try dry skin brushing, as well as hot and cold showers and/or Epsom salts baths. When it comes to effectively binding and removing the toxins present in the digestive tract, Zeolite or Enterosgel can do a great job. Some people use psyllium husks or slippery elm but these supplements are not suitable for everyone. Finally, remember to get adequate sleep and manage your stress, as stress has an incredibly toxic effect on the body.
If you would like a personalised detoxification programme, designed especially for you and based on your specific nutritional/biochemical status and requirements, contact me to arrange a free 15-minute no-obligation consultation to see how I can help you.