Through a lot of research and experiences I’ve learned a lot about detoxifying the body. I have had the opportunity to coach thousands of people through month-long detox programs. I truly believe that it’s very important for each of us to reduce our toxic load, especially in our modern, toxic world. In this blog I want to dive deep and talk about the WHY behind detoxification and toxins, so that you understand the importance behind reducing your toxic load. You may even decide to try a detox yourself sometime this year, or reduce your toxic load by making over your cleaning cabinet.
The practice of detoxification has been around for many centuries. Fasting was recommended by Hippocrates as a way to improve health and rid the body of toxins. Many religious groups still use fasting as a way to purify the body and spirit.
Detoxification is defined as changing, neutralizing, or clearing toxins from the body. Detoxification clears congestion and mucous buildups that can impair function of the heart, arteries, colon, liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. Anyone eating a version of the Standard American Diet (SAD) needs to detoxify the body at least once a year. Even those who eat a very clean diet need to reset the system due to environmental toxins. Many chemicals outside of food still end up in our tissue cells and create havoc. When our organs of elimination are too backed up with toxic overload, our immune system suffers and the body becomes more acidic on a cellular level. This damage causes greater risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer.
Now there are a lot of detox diets and programs out there and not all of them are safe. There are some that I would never participate in. I prefer a detox that contains food so that I know that I am still receiving nutrition throughout the process. I will be recommending my favorite detox program in the following blog.
You should know that your body is resilient and amazing! It must be to deal with the environment that we live in today! Take a moment and tell your liver “thank you!” for dealing with all the crap you give it daily. Your body, as a whole, deals with a constant wave of harmful toxins from within and without, and yet it still keeps moving along. The body is not entirely invincible however; it deserves some assistance in maintaining homeostasis and cellular vitality.
Let’s talk about the toxic assault that your body endures day in and day out. Our external environment lends to a lot of toxicity, from the air we breathe to what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Currently there are over 85,000 chemicals used in the U.S. and nearly 5,000 of them are approved as food additives and preservatives. Scientists estimate that you carry at least 700 toxins in your body and that most babies are born with over 280 chemicals in their umbilical cord.
Water, food, smoking, lawns, personal care products, makeup, cookware, pesticides/herbicides, cleaning products, cars, air, perfume, dental, oils, laundry, deodorant, EMW, radiation, additives/preservatives, homes, sunscreen, workplace, benzene, etc… The list is endless. These are all typical, everyday exposures. YIKES!
External Environmental Toxins:
The Air We Breathe
We inhale toxics every day, and these toxins include: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), air fresheners, cigarette smoke, paints, carpets, cleaning products, and dry cleaning. Inhaling these toxins can lead to respiratory issues and neurological concerns. Since we can’t change the air that we breathe outside, do your best at converting your indoor home into a toxin-free environment. Remove chemicals and toxic cleaners, and replace with healthy substitutes. We use powerful essential oils to clean our home and they are cheaper that store bought household cleaners. Check out my top 5 essential oils to reduce your toxic load here.
Heavy metals cause major oxidative damage on a cellular level, especially your genetic makeup. Heavy metals include mercury, aluminum, lead, nickel, arsenic, uranium and many others. Mercury is one of the most dangerous metals known to man and it’s found throughout the environment, especially in our water supply and produce. Heavy metals can be found in our food, leaded gasoline, drinks, cavities, vaccines and household cleaners. More often than not, people have been exposed to varying degrees of heavy metal and mercury poisoning. Heavy metals not only damage DNA, but they also displace important minerals and co-factors and act as endocrine disruptors causing hormone imbalance. Worse yet, heavy metals stay in the body accumulating in the brain, heart, liver, bones and other critical organs. Toxic damage tends to occur in the brain and liver. In the case of severe toxic load, seek out heavy metal testing and detoxification.
Our food sources have been increasingly manipulated with harmful consequences that we are just beginning to see in all generations. Genetically modified foods, such as soy and corn, may be damaging our cellular structures and DNA. There are possible links between GMO foods and food sensitivities as well as autoimmune conditions, especially gut related. Hybridization of our grains have created allergens and many other health conditions. On top of these changes, most of our crops are sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals are not well received in our bodies and create damage over time.
When it comes to making food choices, stick to real food. All of my published nutrition books are chock full of recipes containing real, whole food ingredients to get you started in the right direction. Also, organic produce is more cost effective than ever before. Buying organic is a very smart investment for your health. I recommend an 80% plant-based, whole foods diet to help combat toxic load. And remember to adhere to the “Dirty Dozen List”
Opportunistic infections are considered microbes that attach our body. These infectious agents are bacteria, viruses, mold, parasites, yeast and many other organisms that make a home in your body under the “right” conditions. Typically you must provide a toxic, acidic environment for them to thrive; unfortunately many of us do. Toxins such as pollutants, heavy metals, stressors and food toxins lower our immune system and gut health for these organisms to thrive. Maintaining a happy gut flora and healthy body is your best defense.
Emotional, chemical and physical stressors have a devastating effect on cellular vitality and function. Emotional stress powerfully affects our health and ability to combat disease. Many doctors argue that stress is one of the biggest factors in creating disease due to chronic inflammation. Chemical stressors such as water, toxic food, cleaners and personal care products only add to the insult. Becoming self-aware and removing stressors from your life will allow you to live a healthier and happier life. Antioxidant-rich foods help combat free radical damage and inflammation caused by stress. If you are looking for ways to reduce your stress levels, you are going to want to check out my natural stress relieving tips here.
Toxins Generated Inside the Body:
For some of us, the toxins that our body creates are a bigger problem.
Your Metabolism & Toxins
Through the process of turning carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy, we create free-radical damage. This damage is just as dangerous to our health as outside toxic exposure. A healthy body eliminates these by-products through powerful antioxidants and enzymes. If the cells don’t receive the right nutrients, you can become deficient in these powerhouse free-radical neutralizers and slowly develop chronic diseases. Eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods is the key to maintaining a healthy body from the inside out.
Sluggish digestion affects millions of people nationwide. Gut health is a hot topic, because so many people are suffering from allergens, food sensitivities and chronic inflammation of the intestinal lining. Digestive upset is a huge problem for the health of your body, because when inflammation begins there, it can then travel to other critical organs of the body, including your heart and pancreas. Sluggish digestion is one of the number one reasons to consider a detox.
Understanding the why behind detoxification is important, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself and your family moving forward. For some, simply removing toxins from the home and diet is the best way to get started.
If you reducing your toxic load is a priority, I recommend making over your cleaning cabinet and removing chemically processed foods (hint: foods with ingredient lists that a 3rd grader cannot pronounce). You can start to make over your cleaning cabinet with my Green Cleaning Recipe Guide & Checklist: