To Detox or Not to Detox?
What comes to mind when you hear the word detox? When I see or hear of the word "detox" I immediately think, this is this is just another quick fix weight loss fad. If I had a dollar for every client or friend that has inquired about detoxing, or if I cleanse or detox, Id be rich! Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall detoxes; we hear about it, read about it, and eventually even try it for our own reasons and curiosities...but does it work?
Honestly, Ive never been an advocate of commercial detoxing. Why you ask? As a long time Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, I believe our body has the ability to provide “Natural Detoxing” through healthy eating, hydrotherapies, bowel regularity, exercise, meditation and stress management. Several commercial detoxing programs are too extreme and rob the body of essential nutrients and sugar needed for healthy brain and body function. And I think there needs to be more individualized detoxing programs to accommodate each person’s constitution or make up.
Take me for example, I lean towards having low blood sugar and need to eat about every 3 hours or I will get dizzy, agitated, and get headaches(not an ideal situation for staying energized for my clients!) So a “fasting” cleanse or detox wouldn’t work well for me as I am always active and require loads of vitamins and nutrients. A preferred detox program that could benefit an active person like myself with low blood sugar levels would be to eliminate toxins such as coffee, sugar, wheat, and alcohol for 3 weeks or even just 21 days, as these could cause inflammation in the body. A Juice Cleanse could also be appropriate for an individual who experiences low blood sugar levels but for a shorter time period, or other detoxing programs like intermittent fasting.
After conducting some research about natural ways to detox and gathering information from friends who detox yearly, I have learned that it is possible to “detox responsibly”! But first, let’s educate ourselves...
So what is detoxing?
Detoxing is actually the removal of toxins from the body. Or more specifically, “detoxification” means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin....” - Source: www.gaiam.com
What are the different types of detoxing? Methods of detox are divided into several different types:
There are organ detoxes, which focus on cleansing and building different organs.
You might also do a detox to focus on removing accumulations of heavy metals from your system.
Other detox types include those that work to eliminate specific organisms from your body, such as candida and parasites.
You may also want to detox by eliminating a specific substance that is troublesome to the gut, such as sugar, milk, or wheat, which this is the type of detoxing I practice!
Intermittent Fasting which is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn't specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.(Source:https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide)
Finally, there are detox diets that focus on flushing fat from the body.
Each detox type has its own specific purpose and benefits, but all benefit the body by eliminating toxins and helping your body to create new, healthier tissue.
**Keep in mind that you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a detox, cleanse or change in diet**
Choosing a detox method:
There is plenty of information out there regarding detoxing and your friends will swear by their favorite program, however, I would consult with a doctor, alternative health medicine practitioner, or registered dietician before engaging in a detox or cleanse. Your doctor or naturopath will have more insight into your health needs and be able to guide you toward the appropriate detox that will be most effective! I consulted with a local naturopath, Dr Sally LaMont, a few years ago and she was able to support and advise a personalized plan for my digestive and hormonal needs with blood and saliva tests. Definitely a good idea to get some tests done as you will be able to identify exactly what you NEED!
My favorite Mini-Detoxes!
Below is a list of my healthy ways to detoxify the body. These are a few practices that I recommend, which will allow your body to naturally detox without depriving yourself of essential nutrients. (As always consult with your Doctor or alternative medicine practitioner before beginning any detox or cleanse.)
1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods. Love spirulina, which you can find in many protein powders! My favorite protein powder with spirulina is Spirutein.
2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
3. Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
4. Drink at least 64 oz of water daily.
5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system. My favorite breathing exercise is Ujjayi breath, or ocean breath where you match your inhales to your exhales and create a hissing sound at the back of the throat upon exhalation. This works great during meditation, or even while you are driving in traffic!
6. Transform self limiting beliefs and negative thoughts by emphasizing positive emotions.
7. Practice Contrast Showers by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
8. Sweat in a sauna or even better, Infrared Sauna (my favorite way to detox) so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration. The infrared sauna also helps to decrease joint inflammation.
9. Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores. There are special brushes you can buy specifically for dry brushing. You can get my favorite dry brush here!
10. Ever try a Detox Bath? Uses only water! Detox Bath!
11. And last but not least, what is the most important way to detoxify? In my opinion, EXERCISE! Running, skipping rope, boxing are also good - 30- 60 minutes of sweaty exercise 5x a week. Also try Detox Yoga, or a hot yoga class which includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
I still believe that the body is able to naturally cleanse and detox itself, however, with the daily stressors of life, environment, and eating on-the-go, we could all probably benefit from participating in some sort of annual healthy safe detox practices that are APPROPRIATE for YOU and your “just move” lifestyle.
If you’re interested in learning how to incorporate a natural detox into your life, or have questions or comments on this topic, please feel free to reply to this email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Just Move Fitness offers customized Fitness Nutrition Coaching, private and semi-private Yoga and Fitness coaching sessions. Focused specifically for the busy adult who needs help with promoting healthy digestion, and overall feel good energy with daily movement and healthy food habits. Contact me today to learn more!**
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