Should You Detox?

I’ve heard lots of talk post-holidays about starting detoxes. Most of the time, it’s crazy amounts of water, lemon juice and cayenne powder (yuck!) and only fruits and vegetables for days. I don’t know about you, but this kind of detox would make me feel worse than I did before I started it. I don’t want to starve on lemon juice. Also, whenever I completely remove something from my life, it makes me want to have it even more because I feel deprived.

Detox programs may involve a variety of approaches, such as:

  • Fasting
  • Consuming only juices or other liquids for several days
  • Eating a very restricted selection of foods
  • Using various dietary supplements or other commercial products
  • Cleansing the colon (lower intestinal tract) with enemas, laxatives, or colon hydrotherapy (also called “colonic irrigation” or “colonics”)
  • Combining some of these or other approaches.

Detoxing for those 3 to 5 days won’t help your body like the lemon, cayenne concoction claims it will. However, there are important lessons to learn from these detoxes that you can incorporate in your everyday life.

Does your body detox on it’s own?

Yes! This is one of the main functions of your liver. The liver helps remove toxins through synthesizing and secreting bile. Bile serves as the carrier to eliminate toxins from your body. The liver can get weighed down sometimes from all the chemicals we take in from food, the air, products we use and water we drink. Our bodies get bogged down and it leads to headaches, pain, digestive problems, inflammation..all the factors that inhibit weight loss!

Can I Help My Liver Detox?

Yes, you can. Your liver does need help occasionally. I recommend exercising these tips 1-2 times per year. Below are a few tips to help your liver out.

  1. Drink plenty of water. Water is what flushes toxins our of our body. A good way to test if you’re getting enough water is by looking at your pee (yup!). If it’s dark to medium yellow, drink water! To know how much water you need in a day – take your body weight divide by 2, convert this to ounces. Example: 150 lbs./2 = 75 oz/day
  2. Stay away from alcohol. I love my glass of wine, but occasionally take a step back from alcohol. When you drink alcohol, your body’s first reaction is to get rid of it because it sees it as a toxin. Your body will also stop any potential fat burning at this time for the same reason. And, when you do drink alcohol, choose the drinks that have less additives and sugar.
  3. Decrease sugar! Yes, you can survive without sugar. Give your body a break from it for a few weeks to a month and see how you feel. Instead of reaching for a cookie mid afternoon when you feel your blood sugar drop, grab 1/2 an apple and some cheese or almond butter. You might even notice your cravings for sugar go away at the end of the month.
  4. Choose organic when possible. Conventional produce does contain pesticides which are toxic for our bodies. The point of doing a detox is to rid your body of these, right? If you choose to buy conventional, wash your produce thoroughly! Choose organic for the produce that really matters – lettuce, strawberries, celery, broccoli. Think if you are going to eat the outside of the fruit/vegetable – you want to buy organic. If you peel off the outside, buy conventional.
  5. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or an illness. It can also contribute to weight gain or difficulty with weight loss.  New research shows that a recently discovered mechanism that removes waste products from the brain is mainly active during sleep, its called the “glymphatic system”.  This research is showing that skipping on sleep can contribute to a variety of chronic diseases.
  6. Be mindful of what you put on your body. Not only does what you put in your body really matter, but what you put on your body too. Studies show that your body does absorbs what you put on it. (Just think about nicotine patches) However, the amount and rate of absorption varies depending on what chemicals are present. For example, ethanol is a common additive in products. This is because ethanol increases the absorption rate of other chemicals because it breaks down the skin’s natural barriers and pulls apart chemicals into their natural constituents so they are small enough to be absorbed. On the other hand, silicone additives, like dimethicone, sit on top of the skin and don’t allow anything to be absorbed. Many products contain chemicals that are very harmful for our bodies. My favorite stores to purchase products from are Trader Joe’s or Thrive Market.
  7. Stay away from food your body is sensitive too. If the milk/cream or bread makes you have digestive problems, stay away! This is a sign it is not only taxing your digestive system but your liver as well.

Thanks for reading! Please share any questions or comments below 🙂

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