From ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal practices to modern day health trends, detoxification has been utilised as a way to remove toxins from our bodies, improve our health and lose weight. Here we examine how toxins get in to our bodies and whether or not a detox is the right move for you.
What is this detox thing anyway?
Detoxification or detox, for short, is a natural process of the body occurring mostly in the liver, kidneys gut and lungs, that converts toxic substances to highly reactive metabolites and then removes them. In alternative medicine as well as in this modern world of health trends and diets, detox is meant as a way to purify the body and cleanse it from toxins by cutting down on specific foods, drinking juices or fasting.
In this article I want to focus not only on the physical aspects of detox but also on the involvement of our mental and spiritual wellbeing towards the production and later elimination of toxins from our bodies.
We live in a world where physical appearance is thought to be an important and sometimes decisive aspect of our overall wellbeing so it's easy to lose track of what is actually beneficial for our health and what can truly optimise our body's natural detox procedures.
It's crucial to understand that each organism is unique in its needs and reactions to specific environments, foods and diets. The most important factor is to listen to your body and pay attention to its reactions towards changes in your diet or emotional state.
Here I share some panoramic ideas on what congests our bodies with toxins and simple steps we can take in order to reduce and eventually eliminate them.
Where do toxins come from?
Whether caused by the lack of self-worth, our workplace or domestic environments or by our relationships with others, stress is one of the most powerful toxin producers, affecting body and mind. There's a reason they're called toxic relationships.
From the air you breathe, to the deodorant you use, our bodies function like sponges of all things good and not so good. Big polluted cities, shampoos, creams as well as household cleaning supplies and most importantly pharmaceutical drugs are all contributing to the increase of toxins in our bodies.
This must not come as a surprise, hopefully. The body's main supply of vitamins, minerals and energy is food. If what you eat and drink is contaminated by heavy metals and chemicals then your body will naturally absorb and store them. Look out for processed and high in sugar foods, trans fats, non-organic and large supply chain vegetables and meats. Meats don't only carry chemicals found in the animal's food but also stress caused by the way the animal is killed.
This might come as a surprise actually. The water you drink, if it's tap water and especially in bigger cities is usually teeming with toxins and it may contain traces of pharmaceutical drugs. However, bottled water might not be the best either, from the plastic its stored in to the filtration system each company uses, chemicals and heavy metals are easy to be found even there.
Other things to look out for are:
BPA (found in packaged foods and cans)
Refined Oils (sunflower, safflower, corn)
Mercury (found in fish)
To detox or not to detox?
Most detox diets are great if used as guidelines rather than followed strictly. A detox shouldn't necessarily make you starve and it doesn't have to be very hard to follow. Generally speaking, forcing our bodies through sudden changes in diet does cause some stress or anxiety which ultimately leads to more toxins in the body.
Detoxifying your body doesn't always have to do with what you eat. As we saw above things like cosmetics, our relationships to our selves and to other people as well as the city we live in can all equally contribute to the production of harmful toxins. It's possible that the changes you need to make are not in your diet but in your self or your environment. You can check out our article on Loving and Taking Care of Yourself here.
Before jumping face first into a hardcore detox plan or turning your life upside down, try looking at the core of your needs and why it is that you want to detox. It's important to do it with a clear and conscious mind as it will help you stick with your decision. Also set a clear goal of what you're trying to get out of it and it will be easier to see if you're heading the right direction.
If you do decide to go down the path of cleansing your body keep in mind that following a detox plan for 3 days, a week or even more has no true value if you fall back hard into the same habits that caused you to want a detox. If you're looking to improve your overall wellbeing or lose weight you might want to think at subtle and more long term changes.
Something better than detox
Here are some simple tips and tricks that you can do to support your body's natural detox processes. These easy to follow actions will have a more beneficial and longterm effect on your overall wellbeing without adding any stress or pressure. If you follow these steps you might never have to detox again.
A good nights sleep is imperative in maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit. It reduces stress, repairs your heart and blood vessels as well as supporting growth and development.
Try sticking to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time.
Avoid naps if you're having trouble falling asleep.
Practise calming bedtime and gentle morning routines
We are made of an average of 60% water. To remain healthy, happy and sane we need to maintain the quality and quantity of the water we consume to the best o