WHAT IS DETOX?
Detoxification is a natural process where unwanted, potentially harmful substances are broken down and excreted via, sweat, bowel movements or urine. Your body is processing toxins all the time, and is perfectly capable of detoxing unassisted. However, when the body becomes overwhelmed with the level of toxins, it struggles to cope and other systems are compromised.
By assisting the detox process, we reduce the stress on the body and aid the elimination of harmful toxic build up. In this environment, physiological functions can perform more efficiently and more effectively, leading to a better state of health and wellness.
Most people will agree that they don’t feel 100% from lethargy to low mood, to inability to lose weight despite best efforts. We have become accustom to not fulfilling our potential, feeling just OK, not bad. Why not try and feel great!
HOW DO YOU FEEL AFTER A DETOX?
If done correctly….TERRIFIC!
- Improved appearanceLess fluid retention,
- bloating, puff
- inessLess cellulite
- Glowing complexion
- Clearer skin and eyes
- Increased mental alertness
- Improved concentration and memory
- Fewer headaches
- Deeper and more refreshing sleep
- Improved mood
- Less irritable and calmer
- Increased energy and vitality
- Boosted immune system
- Fewer infections, colds, flu etc
- Reduced blood pressure, blood fat (cholesterol and triglycerides)
- Improved digestion, more regular and complete bowel motions
- Hormonal balance and improvement in period pain and PMT
- Weight loss – improved weight management
- Provides the best environment for the body to heal itself
- Brings you closer to OPTIMAL HEALTH!
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU COULD BENEFIT FROM A DETOX?
Most people can benefit from a detox. Our body is built to naturally detoxify itself and eliminate toxins, If the amount of toxins within the body increases, the body’s defence mechanisms start failing, and physiological processes become impaired.
Indications that your body may benefit from a detox:
– Weight gain
– Dull complexion
– Dark circles underneath your eyes
– Mind ‘fog’
– Recurrent respiratory problems
– Acute illness – cold / flu
– Poor immune function
– Joint pain
– Back pain
– Sinus congestion
– Skin condition – hives, acne, eczema, psoriasis
– Fertility problems
WHAT IS A TOXIN?
Quite simply a toxin is an undesirable substance which hinders or harms physiological functions within our body, having a detrimental effect on our health.
We carry within our bodies a modern day chemical cocktail from industrial chemicals, pesticides, food additives, heavy metals, anaesthetics and residues of pharmaceutical, legal and illegal drugs the result of which is:
- Decreased immune system function
- Hormonal dysfunctions
- Psychological disturbances
- Learning disabilities
Toxins we consume:
- Natural toxins in foods (moulds, fungi, etc.)
- Chemicals and additives in foods (pesticides, sulphites etc.)
- Junk food (coffee, sugar, salt)
- Pharmaceutical and recreational drugs (paracetamol, alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine etc)
- Tap water (over 350 synthetic chemicals found: pesticides, plastics, chlorine, hormones)
External and environmental toxins:
- Heavy metals (Mercury, lead, aluminium)
- Cleaning products
- Cosmetics and toiletries
Toxins produced within the body:
HOW HAVE TOXINS INVADED OUR BODIES?
The production of man-made or synthetic chemicals has touched everybody’s lives. Since their first creation over 150 years ago these substances have been produced in massive quantities and have the ability to contaminate and damage both wildlife and humans. Yet most people, and indeed the majority of doctors, seem to know next to nothing about what is going on in their environment and indeed, more specifically, underneath their very own skin.
It is a mistake to think the only people at risk of chemical toxicity are those who are exposed to them at work. In this man-made polluted environment in which we all now live, every one of us is bombarded on a daily basis.
We end up ingesting these chemicals in our food as pesticides, preservatives, additives, pollutants, and contaminants from plastic food containers and cling film. We drink them in tap water which contains chemicals leached from contaminated soils, environmental pollutants and even chemicals added manually. Breathing them in throughout the day and night, and absorbing them through our skin from cosmetics and cleaning products.
DO WE STORE TOXINS?
A Government study, which measured levels of pesticides in animal fat, also tested biopsies of human fat for some of the most poisonous and persistent toxins – organochlorines. The results were shocking. Using the results provided in the study, it is calculated that human fat contains not just double or triple the level of organochlorines commonly found in animal fat but on average approximately 500 times the total amount of organochlorines found in UK animal fat.
If we were cannibals our meat would be UNFIT for human consumption.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESES CHEMICALS?
The main offenders can be divided into two main groups:
Toxic heavy metals include lead, cadmium, mercury, and manganese and have been around as long as we have, they are part of our natural world. The problem is that due to the explosive increase in manufacturing, we are now exposed to levels far higher than our bodies were designed to withstand. As a result these unnaturally high levels have been found to cause a whole range of health problems, such as learning difficulties, permanent nerve damage, fatigue and even cancer.
Synthetic chemicals include pesticides, plastics, solvents, dyes, medicines, industrial chemicals, rubber, food preservative and many others products. Not natural, since they are all manufactured in chemical laboratories. Unlike heavy metals, which we have developed some mechanisms for dealing with over the years, we simply have no way of dealing with many of these synthetic chemicals. Many of them end up accumulating in our system.
WHAT IS IN OUR WATER?
With over 350 chemicals in our water supply the alarming contamination of water has largely occurred over the last 100 years, following years of industrial, agricultural and environmental pollution. As a direct result as we eat, drink, wash, cook, clean and go about our daily lives, we will be exposed to and absorb countless chemicals.
The level of contamination varies depending on where you live, but a certain number of pollutants can be found universally, including:
- Heavy metals
- Environmental pollutants
To avoid ingesting plastics from bottled water, the best protection from these unwanted substances is home filtered water.
A jug filter will significantly improve your drinking water but the best option is a water purification system. We have found one of the most inexpensive options to be Freshly Squeezed Water.
CHEMICALS AND DISEASE
As every year passes it becomes more and more apparent that the introduction of these highly toxic chemicals into our lives has resulted in setting off a disease time bomb. It now seems that a staggeringly large number of the most common diseases of the developed world are related to or can be triggered by toxins. The list includes most kinds of cancers, hormonal disorders (fertility), low energy levels, chronic fatigue syndrome, sexual dysfunction, immune disorders and heart disease.
WHAT PHYSIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ARE INVOLVED IN DETOX?
All organs of elimination must be clear and functioning efficiently : liver, bowels, kidneys, lungs, skin and lymphatic system. Otherwise toxins will not be cleared out of the body and will re-circulate and accumulate. Through assisted detox we can both support and stimulate these systems.
LIVER: The liver is an astonishing organ weighing 1.3 kilos responsible for more than 40 essential functions. If you want to maintain your body’s ability to clear out toxins at peak performance, the liver is the primary organ for detoxification. It acts as a filter for the blood stream, breaking down unwanted substances and microorganisms into manageable compounds which can be safely excreted. When the liver is overburdened or sluggish we see fatigue, low mood, hormonal disturbances, weight gain, poor skin quality, to name a few.
KIDNEYS: 1.5 litres of blood passes through our kidneys per minute. The kidneys work almost like a water filter, filtering the blood and removing harmful wastes that we do not require; kidneys have a major role to play for our well being. As our kidneys work non-stop, it becomes essential to detoxify this particular organ regularly. It is believed by Traditional Chinese Medicine, the health of our kidneys is essential for vivacity and longevity. When dark circles appear below your eyes, this is an indication that your kidneys sluggish.
SKIN: The largest human organ eliminates many of the bodies toxins via sweat. Skin acts as a mirror of Health: Looking pale, glowing, jaundice, dark circles, dry, patchy etc. A build up of dead skin cells inhibits proper detoxification, keeping pores clear and epithelial build up to a minimum, ensures the effective functioning of skin’s elimination.
LYMPHATIC SYSTEM: The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, comprising of a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels, that carry a clear fluid called lymph. It acts as the body’s waste disposal, carrying waste from the cells of the body to the elimination organs playing a very important role in the detoxification process. When the lymphatic system is impaired, we see skin problems such as eczema, acne and psoriasis as well as the build up of cellulite. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic has no pump, it is stimulated by exercise, body brushing and temperature alternation e.g saunas and cold dips or hot to cold showers.
BOWEL: Irregular bowel movements allow trapped faecal matter to putrefy, ferment and possibly be reabsorbed. A high water and fibre diet is essential in helping the body remove both digested and toxic waste via the bowel. We need to aim for at least one bowel movement a day for efficient detoxification. A slow moving bowel may put you at risk of colon cancer.
DETOX SIDE EFFECTS
When you detox you encourage stored toxins to be released into your system in order to be safely eliminated. In some cases this can cause short term unpleasant side effects. The severity of the side effects is indicative of how toxic the individual is in the first instance. Side effects include:
Headaches – avoid painkillers, drink a cup of hot water and lemon or use a cooling compress
Nausea – peppermint or ginger tea
Feeling cold – hot water with fresh grated ginger and a pinch of chilli
Insomnia – drink a strong chamomile tea
Constipation & Diarrhoea – Drink plenty of water
Skin rashes – Gentle body brushing, oat bath, or calamine or aloe vera lotion
Bad breath or Coated tongue – Brush your teeth and clean your tongue
METHODS OF DETOX
There are different ways to detox, it is important to find the method that best suits your needs and goals:
Diet: By following a detox diet you can stimulate the bodies natural detoxification process, and provide nutritional support at the same time. A great way to nourish body and mind. Quite simply by making alterations in your diet you can insure you consume foods that naturally assist detox on a day to day basis. Particular culinary herbs, grains, fish meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, can support and aid cleansing and detox in a myriad of ways.
Fasting: Has been used all of the world for thousands of years for both spiritual and health reasons. It is the most effective and cheapest method of detox. Can be achieved by abstaining completely, or by drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juices throughout the day. Digestion requires at least 40% of the bodies energy, the idea of fasting is that by giving our body a break, that energy is refocused on other systems allowing for a period of repair and elimination. Much like what happens when we sleep, only fasting allows us to elongate and enhance this. People fast for anything from 1-7 days. Fasting must only ever be attempted with guidance from a practitioner. It can be an extremely effective way to detox, but the body must be prepared and supported throughout.
Colonic irrigation/enema: By removing accumulated trapped faecal matter, you are opening up one the bodies key detoxification pathways. The body’s natural detoxification process is stimulated and supported. Nutritional absorption and skin condition can also be improved. A fantastic addition to a detox program. If you are interested in colonic irrigation speak with a practitioner first, you must make sure you and your body are ready, and that you can be recommended an experienced, well trained colonic hydrotherapist.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DETOX?
- When you feel congested and lethargic
- Seasonal changes
- After a period of excess e.g Christmas or a vacation
- In preparation for an event or vacation
- Before trying to get pregnant
- Any time you want to feel great!
DIET AND DETOX
By eliminating certain foods and eating more of others we can not only lower our intake of toxins but also support the body in dealing with and excreting them. Foods to enjoy:
Vegetables – raw, steamed or as a soup: Asparagus, aubergines, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, green beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cabbage, courgettes, cucumbers, chicory, green leafy vegetables, leeks, okra, onions, green, red and yellow peppers, radishes, tomatoes, yellow squash, water chestnuts, artichokes, salad leaves including watercress, endive, rocket and baby spinach
Fruit – all fresh fruit
Carbohydrate: lentils, kidney beans, peas, chickpeas, sweet potato, grains (quinoa, barley, buck wheat etc), brown/wild rice, whole-wheat pasta/noodles, wholemeal bread/wheat free bread
Protein: Chicken, turkey, tofu, tempeh, wild fish
Fats: olive/rapeseed/walnut/sesame/coconut oil, butter, nut butter, avocado, nuts and seeds
Herbs and flavour enhancers: all culinary herbs, spices, mustard, chillies, garlic, pepper, low sodium soy sauce, lemon, apple cider vinegar, low sodium stock cubes
Drink: Filtered water, caffeine free herbal tea (mint, red bush, chamomile, nettle etc) fresh fruit and vegetable juice
ORGANIC – Organic foods are simply foods which as far as possible are produced naturally, with a minimum level, if any, of synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormone and fertilizers. Akin to how we ate at the beginning of the century. This form of agriculture improves the flavour, colour, texture and nutritional content of the produce as well as lowering levels of heavy metals, organochlorines an pesticides.
Foods to avoid/eliminate:
- Caffeinated drinks
- Foods high in trans and saturated fats
- Fried or burnt food
- Non organic produce
- Red meat
- Refined carbohydrates (sugar , white bread etc)
- Food products wrapped in plastic packaging, especially those containing oil
- Chemical cosmetics, toiletries , cleaning /gardening products and washing detergents
- Tap water
- Cookware: containing aluminium, plastics including cling film assisting the process
- Skin brushing
- Massage with aromatherapy oil
- Manual lymphatic drainage
- Hot-cold-hot-cold shower
- Epsom salt bath
- Sauna/steam room
- Stretching and relaxation exercise like Thai chi and Yoga.
- Brisk walking
- Breathing exercises and meditation
- Drink at least 2L of water a day
Detox can also be very effectively assisted and supported with herbal tinctures and supplements. Speak with your practitioner for more information.
Gently massaging your abdominal area with a little oil as you relax in bed on the sofa, can help stimulate healthy bowel movements.
Who shouldn’t Detox?
Who should not detox? Pregnant, breast feeding, under weight, people with eating disorders or under medical supervision, diabetic, physically weak or recovering from surgery.
Only under supervision:people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions, hypothyroid and hypoglycaemia and cancerous conditions.
When deciding to start a detox it is essential you contact a practitioner who can support you and your body through the process. Using the internet or advice from magazines alone can be extremely dangerous.