Toxic agents are everywhere in our world. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the household cleaners we spray, the electronics we use on a daily basis… However, toxic free radicals are formed in the body too. Stress hormones, emotional disturbances, anxiety and negative emotions all create free radicals as well. Living without toxic buildup is virtually impossible, which is why our body has built in mechanisms to deal with toxic overload. Crying, sweating, urination and defecation are all natural protocols employed by the body to rid itself of toxins.
Because toxins are part of our daily life, both inside and out, it may seem that they are a natural part of living and that additional measures to deal with them are unnecessary. This, in part, is true. Free radical exposure is part of life, however, with the overabundance of chemicals and pesticides in our foods and environment, and the increasing levels of stress in our society, our body is overwhelmed with toxic buildup and needs additional help in expelling unnecessary waste material.
Despite overwhelming advancements in medical care our society is sicker than ever. We may be living longer, but we’re riddled with illness and disease. Nearly all sickness in industrialized countries is due to toxic build up in the body. Often times toxins bind to sex hormones or thyroid hormones which slows metabolism, causing weight gain. Additionally, toxins are stored in fat cells, also contributing to excess weight. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, gastroesophageal reflux disease, fatty liver, gallstones, osteoarthritis, stroke, lower back pain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, dementia, sleep apnea, asthma and depression are just some of the illnesses associated with obesity.
Because toxins affect both the structure and function of cells, they cause a myriad of health problems in their own right. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis and lupus, migraines, premature aging, digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea or bloating, skin conditions, aches and pains, PMS and food allergies or intolerances are all the result of toxic buildup in the body.
Detoxification is so important because it can literally reverse the symptoms of illness and change your life. There are many different types of detoxification protocols and it is important to find one that works well for you. The liver, small intestine, kidneys, and colon are the major organs involved in the body’s detoxification system. However, when employing any type of cleanse (like a juice cleanse, liver and gallbladder cleanse, elimination diet, heavy metal cleanse, etc.) it is important to first cleanse the kidneys and colon, as these two eliminative organs are responsible for carrying toxic waste out of the body. If they aren’t cleared of blockages, you can end up with even more toxic buildup, as the toxins that are being expelled have nowhere to go. Herbal formulas are especially good at cleansing the kidneys. Colon hydrotherapy, enemas and Epsom salt cleanses are all excellent way to cleanse the colon.
Detoxification protocols can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be. You don’t have to do a 30-day juice cleanse or some crazy water fast to get the benefits of detoxification. Sitting in a steam room or sauna, yoga, tai chi, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding meat one day a week, Epsom salt and therapeutic clay baths, emotional freedom technique, affirmations and acupuncture and acupressure are all excellent ways to gently detoxify your body. Of course a nutritional cleanse where you limit your food intake does accelerate the process, however it is not necessary, unless in the case of severe illness.
As a nutritionist though, I feel compelled to state that juice cleanses are an absolutely wonderful way to thoroughly cleanse your entire body. Because you do not have to chew and break down food your digestive system is given a rest and allowed time to repair and rejuvenate. Juicing your food floods your body with live enzymes and an abundance of antioxidants that help not only neutralize free radicals but also strengthen and support the immune system, reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, concentration and memory, improve circulation and increase energy. Antioxidants even have anti-aging properties! They are literally a life-changing miracle food, and juice cleansing is an excellent way to inundate your system with them.
There is a detoxification program out there for everyone – whether you’re 10 or 110. I strongly encourage you to research different avenues and find which one works best for you, and then try it! If this is your first attempt at cleansing a 5-day, 3-day or even 1-day cleanse is a great way to start – and you will be amazed at how differently your body feels. If this is your first attempt at detoxification remember that years of toxic build up may be difficult to release. There are many unpleasant side effects that accompany detoxification as your organs let go of the accumulated plaque that has built up over the years. Headaches, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, irritability, lightheadedness, fatigue and trouble sleeping are all completely natural side effects to detoxification. Start slow and please remember to consult a trained health care professional before you begin.