Detoxing: what is it and do we really need one?
Detox. It seems like this word is thrown around a lot lately without much knowledge of what it actually means. I often hear it used in phrases like, “My body needs to detox from sugar” or “I’m going on a detox this weekend”. The word detox actually means to remove toxins from the body that have built up over time and is a system of cleansing the body of these harmful substances.
Detoxing is not an easy feat and surely cannot be done in a weekend alone! Our body is bombarded with toxins each and every day whether it is in the form of pollution from the air, pesticides from our food or harmful substances like alcohol. Our body is constantly trying to filter out toxins each and every moment. So the good news is, our body is naturally detoxing on its own every day. The bad news is, it cannot keep up with the amount of toxins that we are putting into our body or are experiencing in the world around us today. To help rid our body of toxins, we need to give it a little extra help and push to give our body a rest so it’s not working over time and eventually exhausts itself. With a little support from diet and lifestyle change, we can help our body detox and avoid harmful buildup of every day toxins that could eventually make us sick.
How does our body detox naturally? Well, the machine behind our detox system is our liver. The liver is the powerhouse that works to remove toxins from our blood stream and cleanse the body by excreting toxins as waste. For example, when we drink alcohol, our body recognizes that as a toxin and it will put all other metabolic functions on hold for about 4-6 hours per shot or per drink of alcohol just to metabolize it out of our system! That’s a lot for just one drink. So, you can imagine the stress that one drink puts on our body to prevent toxin build up. So if you have 4 drinks in one night, your body will be detoxing for at least 16 hours if not more. This is a long time for the liver to be stressed and working to cleanse our blood. Alcohol is not the only culprit, there are so many other little things that we do not even realize are toxins that we put into our body. Pollution from cars, medications, processed foods and even dust and mold from our houses are pollutants and toxins to our body. Every once and a while we need to give our body a rest and lend a helping hand to assist in her detox process.
Before I explain how we can help our body detox, I want to target exactly where our body stores excess toxins that it cannot clear out of our system. Of course, our liver can only filter out so many toxins before our body has to store excess. These excess toxins are stored right in our fat cells! So as efficient as our detox systems in our body are, we still have toxin build up in our fat cells. Too many toxins within our cells can lead to illness and disease long term so naturally we should try to rid our bodies of these toxins as often as we can. This is where we can help our body to detox through dietary and lifestyle change.
Here are a few different remedies that we can incorporate into our daily or weekly routine to help our body cleanse naturally.
1. Get some fresh air
As I had mentioned, pollution in our air is a big toxin for our body to process. If you live in the city or a densely populated area with a lot of cars and factories, try taking a week vacation in the great outdoors like a hiking trip or a lake trip or a beach trip. Fresh, clean air does wonders for our body and leaves out all of the junk produced from carbon monoxide producing vehicles and factories.
2. Incorporate occaisional intermittent fasting
Now, this might not be for everyone and that is okay. Intermittent fasting is when you go at least 10-12 hours without eating to help give your liver a rest. Every time we eat, our liver is working to break down the food we just ate and remove any toxins from the food. By fasting, we are letting our liver rest and optimizing it’s overall health to help it work more efficiently when we really need it. I would only recommend to intermittent fast when it FEELS RIGHT. You never want to go hungry or starve yourself. My advice is to eat an early dinner and then go to bed and if you wake up hungry, have breakfast, but if you do not wake up hungry don’t eat until you do feel hungry! Just the amount of hours you spent sleeping will start the detox process in our body and it’s the easiest way to intermittent fast.
3. Limit or avoid alcohol
Alcohol and our liver are lifelong enemies. Excess alcohol intake can lead to a large variety of diseases and poor nutrition because of the damage it does to our liver and overall health. It over works our liver and can lead to a fatty liver and it will also mutate our cells which has been researched and proven to cause cancer in various forms. If you chose to drink alcohol, straight liquors or red wine would be best at about 2-4 drinks per week maximum. Straight, unflavored liquor has no sugar and red wine has antioxidants which help our body detox as well!
4. Balance your hormones
This one might be surprising to some people but too much stress is a toxin too! Stress increases a hormone called cortisol and too much of this hormone stresses our body out and puts it into the fight or flight mode. Our liver will work to process out hormones as well and too many hormones can clog our liver and stall it’s detoxing process. We can create a sluggish liver with a hormone overload.
If you are on the pill, consider an alternate form of birth control because the pill will continuously pump hormones into our body to mimic a pregnancy. Long term affects of the pill lead to extreme hormone imbalance because the pill is controlling our hormones from an external source. Once we get off the pill, our body needs to learn how to regulate hormones again which is where our liver comes into play by cleaning the body of all excess estrogen that had been pumped into our system.
5. Consume lemon water
Water is always the golden key when it comes to healing the body! It not only helps to flush out toxins and waste, but it keeps our cells fully hydrated. We want to try and consume a minimum of 32 ounces of water per day and optimal intake would be around 64 ounces per day. It is even more beneficial to add some lemon juice to our water because of the detoxing properties of lemon. Lemon juice increases an antioxidant in the body called glutathione. This is a strong antioxidant that can increase toxin excretion from cells. Try to add lemon to your water every day!
6. Have a cup of coffee a day
Coffee is not only great for getting us off our butt and giving us the energy to start our day, but it also acts as an antioxidant as well. It helps to stimulate the liver and rids our body of toxins. Coffee can help to stimulate a bowel movement (BM) by drawing the water out of our cells and into our intestinal tract to help move our bowels. We all know what’s in BM’s; the left over, toxic stuff that our body is excreting as waste. So, enjoy your cup of coffee a day and also be thankful for the time you may end up spending on the golden throne as well!
7. Lose weight
If you have 100 pounds to lose or only 5 pounds to lose, weight loss can help to heal so many ailments in our body. With each pound loss, we secrete toxins that were being stored in our fat cells into our blood stream and then excrete these toxins as waste. Fat storage is a natural process our body loves to do for survival to prepare for that moment if we end up on a desert island. So, if you feel like you gain weight easily, you are not alone. There are so many easy and healthy ways to lose your excess fat. Whether it be to make a goal to walk an extra half hour every day or cut back on sweets after dinner; these changes will help your body detox in the long run.
There are so many more remedies that we can do to help our body detox from day to day but for now, I hope these remedies can help get you started on your detox journey today. Remember, detoxing isn’t something that we can simply do in a weekend or overnight. Detoxing takes time, effort and patience. Even by making a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can start to gain more energy, better sleep and feel more balanced with an efficient detox system.
Wondering what else you can do to detox your body now and gain amazing life changing side effects? Contact me today!