From the food’s we eat to the air we breathe, we are constantly being exposed to various toxins (processed foods, pollution, pesticides, household cleaners, alcohol, home renovations and heavy metals). Just breathing in, eating the wrong foods and putting stuff on our skin can all cause toxins to build up in the body.
Now, contrary to popular belief, our bodies already have the processes in place to help expel these toxins (Isn’t the human body just amazing!). The liver, skin, lungs, kidneys and bowels are all involved in detoxification. These organs help to neutralize and excrete unnecessary chemicals from your body. Over time, these natural body processes tend to slow down on its own because of the constant exposure to toxins. This build-up can clog our elimination pathway and overwhelm the organs so they don’t function at their best, passing these toxins back into the blood for circulation.
Signs of a sluggish elimination system and under-functioning of our detox organs is associated with both physical and mental symptoms which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Skin changes
- Brain fog
- Mood change/Irritability
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weight gain
So once in a while, the detoxification organs require a bit of a boost! This is where a detox protocol comes in handy. Think about your car. After a certain amount of KM driven, it needs an oil change to refuel itself. The few weeks before you get the oil change, the car isn’t running as smoothly. Post-oil change, your car is as good as new! The body works very similarly. After a while, the detox processes slow down and a reboot is necessary to help move things along.
There tends to be quite a misconception around the work detox. I get a lot of comments like “I don’t want to be in the bathroom all day long”. I want to clarify something first, a detox is not a ‘cleanse’. It is not meant to keep you having bowel movements all day long. It simply provides a push to our detox organs to complete their jobs!
Here are the basic principles to a Detox:
Go back to the Basics!
- Adopt a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet focusing on seasonal produce. It is really important to connect with your food by shopping and cooking with it (Stay tuned for my next article with more details on how to detox with food).
Avoiding the harsh foods!
- Things like sugar and caffeine are new to our culture and we consume them in such huge amounts. Avoid harsh foods like alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Allowing your body to take time off from junk foods can help heal.
- Start your day off with half of a squeezed lemon into half a cup of water. This helps to boost your liver and start its processes first thing in the morning.
- Drink 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you get up. Use water as a flushing tool. Drink half of your body weight in pounds in OZ of water per day. Water helps to: lubricate your joints, suppresses your appetite, aid in digestion, flushes the body of wastes and keeps our moisture-rich organs (skin, eyes, mouth) functioning well.
- Toxins are fat-soluble and are stored in fatty parts of the body. They are released when we use up fat stores during exercise and periods of fasting
- Sweating is great for detox. Our bodies are designed to traffic toxins out of our bodies, especially through the skin since it is the body’s largest eliminating organs.
Manage your Stress!
- The human body is very resilient to stress but too much of it can be harmful to our bodies. We feel this stress when we can’t deal with change. So learning ways to manage stress and deal with change can help to minimize negative effects. So let's try and chill out and take responsibility for your stress and think positive.
These are all things you really should be doing regularly. But most of us don't have the time to be so diligent all year round. Practising the above-mentioned tips 1-2x a year for a couple weeks can give your mind and body the push it needs. So my challenge to you is to allocate 21 days to practice all of the above.
Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam | 2016