The Myths of Detoxing

It’s finally that time of the year again – SPRING!

T

he weather is changing, the trees are sprouting leaves, people are outside more and are generally in better moods. This is the time of year when people clean their houses and their closets.

It’s also the time of year when you start to hear a lot about detox-ing. Spring is a great time to clean your house and also a great time to reset your body and recharge for a new season. Spring is a time of change and renewal and we should also do a “spring cleaning” of our bodies.

What is a DETOX? There are so many products and advertisements for detoxing so how do we know that we are choosing the right type of detox for our bodies?  Should we trust a product with the label “10-Day DETOX” on it? Should we spend our money and deprive our bodies for 10 days?  Often during that type of 10 day detox our bodies actually feels worse and in reality, we can do more harm than good to our bodies.

There are many myths about Detoxing and most people don’t truly understand what a healthy detox is. So let’s talk about the true goal of a detoxing.  Read on!

The definition of detox is “to abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances”. Detoxing is not about losing weight (although this sometimes might be a side effect) and it’s not about depriving ourselves.

In my opinion, a detox is really about resetting our health. We remind ourselves about what a healthy diet consists of and ensure that all our organs are as healthy as possible. Our body has its own detoxifying organs and is detoxifying every day on its own. So to go on a healthy detox is to optimize the body’s own detoxifying system; to clean it out and give it a restart. This is accomplished by decreasing the amount of toxins we put in our bodies and at the same time, supporting our bodies ability to eliminate. We need to ensure that all of our elimination pathways are working correctly.

There are 5 organs in the body that allow the body to detoxify. These are the skin, the lungs, the kidneys, the colon and the liver.  Let’s go through each of these to see how we can support them.

  • Lungs

To detoxify our lungs, we must breath! This might sound silly, but it’s true. We breathe in thousands of irritants each day. Alternate nostril breathing is a very calming, cleansing breathing practice that can be done anywhere, at anytime. Click here to learn more.

  • Kidneys

The kidneys job is to filter out toxins and remove excess water from your body. So in order to detoxify our kidneys, we must drink lots of water! You should be passing pale yellow, clear urine that doesn’t have any smell. On average you should try to consume 8 cups of water per day. Drinking dandelion leaf tea will also help to flush out the kidneys during a detox.

  • Skin

Our skin is the bodies largest organ of elimination! If you have skin conditions such as eczema, acne or other rashes, this may be a sign of elimination of toxins from your body. Dry skin brushing is an excellent way to help the skin detoxify. This helps to remove dead skin cells and it encourages circulation and lymph flow. As an added benefit, dry skin brushing can also help your skin to glow! Use a dry loofah and starting at you feet, make circular motions upwards towards your heart.

  • Liver

The liver is the main player of your detoxification system. A great way to support your liver is to do castor oil packs. You can purchase castor oil packs at your local health food store. This can be placed on a small flannel sheet and placed over your liver. Apply a heating pack on top and let it sit for 30 minutes. This helps reduce inflammation and promote circulation throughout your body. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are also great for the liver. Milk thistle, an herb which aids the liver in regeneration can also be taken.

  • Colon

During a detox, we want to ensure our bowels are working optimally. This means having at least one formed bowel movement a day. Increasing fiber into the diet can be helpful. If you are not having regular bowel movements, there may be some other gut/colon issues going on so please contact your naturopathic doctor.

A detox does not mean doing a three day juice cleanse or eating a restricted 10 day diet. A detox is about supporting your organs that are already working hard to detoxify your body. Of course, a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables without processed foods and sugars is going to also going to support your system.

Every person’s requirements for a detox are different. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about which specific supplements you should take and how long you should be on a detox.

Please feel welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

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