There's been a fair bit of buzz showing up lately around the topic of detoxing and cleansing. When asked, most people agree there are benefits to cleansing and detoxifying, but few really understand much about it. “When is the best time?”, “How to do I do one properly?”, and even “Why am I doing this in the first place?” are all really great questions people ask themselves when considering whether it's right for them. Before addressing the questions let's first take a look at the purpose of detoxing and cleansing.
If you follow my column, you know I've often used the vehicle analogy when talking about the way our bodies function. Our cars are our vehicles that drive us around town, get us to and from work, etc., just as our bodies are our vehicles that drive us through life. And, just as our car needs regular oil changes and maintenance to keep the engine running smoothly, our bodies also need some maintenance to keep all our systems functioning optimally. Most people understand that changing the oil and putting in a new filter extends the life of the car's engine. Build-up of dirt and grime is collected by the filter, preventing it from getting into the engine and creating friction and wear and tear. Did you know our bodies also have filters?
The body has many filtration systems, but with respect to detoxing and cleansing we will look at the colon, liver and kidneys. Like the oil filter in your car, these organs filter out the toxins and waste, preventing them from entering into the blood stream and subsequently putting our health at risk. The colon collects waste and bloat and excretes it out of the body. The liver filters out toxic substances that we may ingest from food additives, as well as poor quality, packaged and processed foods, chemicals, alcohol, etc. It's also responsible for destroying bacteria, viruses, fungi and cancerous cells. And our kidneys purify and remove harmful substances such as toxic medications and other chemicals from the blood. Clearly, organs you want to keep functioning optimally.
Unfortunately, most people tend to take better care of their cars than their bodies. No one wants their car to break down and leave them stranded, especially when something as simple as keeping up with the oil changes would have prevented it. And I'm certain that if people realized cleansing and detoxifying these major organs a few times per year would improve overall health, energy, immune function and even lose weight, they'd be all in.
So, when is the best time to do a detox and cleanse? If you've never done one, there's no time like the present. Following that, anywhere between two and four times per year is great to keep things clean and functioning well. After the holidays, a vacation or any time you've indulged in alcohol, sweets, treats, or packaged/processed foods for a period of time. A one-day off plan does not a need for detox make.
Doing a detox or cleanse properly is key and so I'll be blunt here. The words “detox” and “cleanse” are not synonymous with “fasting”. A safe detox and cleanse is not achieved by eliminating all foods and drinking some horrible tasting concoction for a few days or weeks. Detoxes or cleanses like this are dangerous and can actually be harmful to the body and brain. A safe detox and/or cleanse happens when we eat lean, clean and PFC balanced meals, eliminating only the foods that cause our bodies to retain bloat and waste in the first place. Removing nasties such as gluten, soy, sugar, salt, alcohol, along with dairy, coffee, black tea, beef, egg yolk, grains, potatoes, corn and dense beans for one week, while supplementing with things like milk thistle, cranberry, dandelion extract, juniper berry root and digestive enzymes, cleans out the colon, liver and kidneys while at the same time putting the body into a state of homeostasis, or internal balance. It is at this place where our body is most happy and functions best.
We've talked about the best time to do a detox or cleanse and how to do it properly so as not to damage your body so that brings us to why you would want to do one in the first place. Think back to the car for a moment. We know filters catch and hold all the junk, keeping it from getting into and damaging the engine. What do you suppose happens when the filter is full and doesn't get replaced? Nothing good, that's for sure and same goes for our bodies.
Although we can't actually replace our colon, liver or kidneys, by following the steps for a safe detox and cleaning our body's filters, we're doing our bodies a world of good. Blood sugar is stabilized, fat is released, weight is lost, metabolism is turned on, hormones are balanced, energy increases, immune function increases, blood pressure decreases, cholesterol decreases, risk for cognitive decline is lowered, moods are balanced, and ability to focus is improved. After knowing all this, the only question is, “What are you waiting for?”
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