Detoxification, cleanse, cleaning up your act…lots of words for the same idea: getting toxins out of your body…right? Maybe…
I’m writing this from a fasting retreat in Northern California that I try to visit every couple of years. It’s been 5 and I can really tell I was overdue! I’m here to give my body a break and assist it in the natural detoxification processes it already has.
Our bodies are made to be detoxifying machines: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, our bodies are constantly pumping out the sh*t that we put in it, that we unknowingly get exposed to and the stuff we put ON it!
We have a very complex system designed to eliminate toxins that involves our liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin and lungs, of which the liver is kind of the leader of the gang.
Now, we can disrupt this perfect machinery because, sometimes we:
- overload our systems with poor nutrition, alcohol or environmental toxins.
- don’t get enough sleep to support the optimum functioning of this system.
- don’t get the amount of water we need to assist this detoxification process.
- get overloaded with stress, that can interfere with the process.
- don’t get enough physical activity.
- don’t eat enough of the health promoting foods that will assist in detoxification.
If you’re doing most things right, your body’s detoxification system is going to take care of you. Even so, you will probably want to pay closer attention to assisting this system once or twice per year (or more!), just to help your body deal with all of the environmental toxins in our environment that we can’t control…heck, they have found over 230 toxic chemicals in babies’ umbilical cord blood…wow! These include things like arsenic, lead, mercury, rocket fuel, pesticides, Teflon, detergents and BPA. If babies come out like this, imagine what might be happening in our bodies, even if we THINK we’re doing everything right…
What happens when our system gets overloaded is not pretty. When our natural detoxification process is in stress, our body reacts in all kinds of bad ways:
- Free radicals are created which damage our DNA, cells and the mitochondria, responsible for creating energy out of the food we eat.
- Enzyme systems get blocked. All of the reactions in our body are dependent on enzymatic activity.
- Mineral function is blocked.
- Our body uses up valuable nutrients needed for normal survival trying to neutralize this oxidative stress.
- These toxins can mimic hormones and neurotransmitters causing things like anxiety, fatigue, auto-immune disorders, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, IBS and all sorts of nasty things we don’t want to experience!
So, what can we do?!
First: avoid the toxins that you can. Stay away from the known toxins: processed foods, animal foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, toxic cleaning and beauty products, pollution, whenever possible…you’ve got the picture. (Jake has become a master at sniffing out hidden toxins in foods, beauty products and cleaning products…drop us a note if you have questions.)
Other really good resources are the Environmental Working Group website and the Think Dirty app. They do the work for us in keeping tabs on what’s in our drinking water, our food, the products we buy, etc. We highly recommend using and supporting these platforms.
We also want to avoid negative behavior patterns like complaining, whining and negative self-talk. Believe it or not, they also disrupt our bodies ability to cleanse itself of other toxins.
Second: support your bodies detoxification system by: eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies. Each plant has a unique property designed to assist this intricate system. Getting a wide variety will ensure that you support all aspects. Some of the best foods to eat are raw broccoli or broccoli sprouts (super high in sulforaphane which totally supports liver function), garlic, ginger, blueberries, beets and cranberries, but seriously, the wider variety, the better.
Sleep is also a biggie. The average human needs 7-9 hours/night to function properly and when we don’t get enough, LOTS of processes suffer. I harp on sleep a lot…it’s so key and one so many miss out on.
Check out my blog on sleep, How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
Exercise is also right up there with improved nutrition and sleep. Not only does it induce sweating, which allows toxins to be eliminated through our skin, it also is a power anti-inflammatory. All types of exercise have different effects on our body so it’s important to do a variety of activities. 30 minutes of vigorous activity or 40-60 minute of moderate activity most days of the week seems to be sufficient to support our detoxification system. (you may need to do more if exercise is part of your weight management program or you are training for sport.)
Water intake is also key. Without water, our body doesn’t have a way to carry toxins away. How much water do we need? Some experts say 125 ounces/day for men and 91 ounces/day for women…this must, of course, be adjusted upward for exercise and altitude. A good measure for water intake is to drink enough so your urine is clear or pale yellow. Personally, Jake and I carry around hydro-flasks most of the time. Mine holds 40 ounces so I know I want to drink 2+ every day. Make sure you’re drinking filtered water. We highly recommend having both a home and travel filter. A saying I’ve always remembered: “buy a filter or be a filter”.
Third: engage in periodic cleanses. Some can be as deep as the water-only fast I’m undergoing now (medically supervised) but there are also programs that you can do at home.
A program that Jake and I have been recommending for years is called Shred10. It’s not designed to be a weight loss program but most likely, if you have some weight to shed, you will. More than anything, after the first 3 days, you will feel like a fog has been lifted, your skin will glow, your energy should be sky high and you will feel so refreshed.
10 is the number of habits you will adopt and eliminate: 1 )reduce or eliminate caffeine & alcohol, 2 )processed food, 3)eating after 6 pm, 4) eliminate gluten &dairy, 5) sugar, 6) add exercise, 7) right amounts of sleep and 10 deep breaths throughout the day and 8) right amounts of water, and to support you in these new habits 9) use the plant concentrates that Jake and have been using for 26 years and 10) add 2 delicious plant-based, whole food shakes, to help stabilize your blood sugar as you adopt these lifestyle changes.
You can choose to follow these guidelines for 10 days out of the month, like many of our friends do, or take on a longer challenge or choose to keep incorporating these lifestyle habits for the rest of your life.
In addition, the program comes with a 50-page guide, complete with meal plans, trackers and explanations of the suggested habits, recipe books, exercise videos, online support groups and so much more. Best of all? The program is absolutely free when you’re using our plant concentrates for support!
So just to re-cap: keep in mind that your body is already going through a detoxification process every minute of every day. You can support that process by avoiding toxins, adopting some lifestyle practices to support the process and perhaps doing a deeper reset throughout the year.