(Warning: this blog post might not be what you think it is…)
On the heels of a season of overindulgence, we hear this phrase repeated over and over: “I really need to detox!”
We’ve come to believe that the task of detoxification is up to us, and we must perform this task by taking extreme measures such as: fasting for days on end, cutting out entire food groups, juicing veggies by the bushel, or taking harsh supplements that promise to clean us out like roto rooter.
“Detoxing” has become a huge money maker. We can buy “detox” tablets, tinctures, teas, juices, bath salts, and more. We could certainly go on a week long “detox diet” and probably lose weight. However, that weight loss would essentially be due to seven days of starvation, not due to ridding the body of harmful toxins.
Our bodies are absolutely brilliant! If toxins built up in our bodies in a way that couldn’t be eliminated, we would likely be dead. Our bodies have organs of detoxification: kidneys, a liver, skin and lungs that work efficiently and effectively to keep our bodies in balance. We cannot improve on this system, despite our beliefs that we can. We also cannot shortcut the process.
Think of our detox organs as the stars of the show, and we are the supporting actors. Our job is not to try and outshine or upstage them; we only need to support them! We can do this by eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, protein and healthy fats; by limiting the use of toxic skin or household products; by moving our bodies and sweating; by practicing deep breathing methods; by reducing consumption of sugary, processed, and artificial foods; and by managing emotional stress.
What I mean is this: we can assist our bodies in their natural detoxification processes by consistently living a life of wellness….not perfection; but overall wellness of body, mind, & soul.
There’s something dangerous, almost irresponsible, in thinking that we can “go nuts” for a while and take poor care of our health, only to turn things around with a “detox” or “cleanse” after the party is over. In my opinion, this promotes a disjointed approach to taking care of our bodies—a compartmentalized mindset that can keep us stuck on that perpetual “diet” roller coaster. Choosing to eliminate alcohol, or added sugars, for example, is a good practice. Time restricted eating has its’ place, as does temporary calorie restriction. These things give our bodies a rest from the work they do 24/7, and they can also help us re-evaluate our relationship with certain foods. In times of sickness or disease, more drastic measures are certainly understandable and warranted, but…..
Let’s rethink the notion of a self-perpetuated “detox.” Let’s assist our bodies and support them in the natural processes of detoxification. Cruciferous vegetables, green teas, turmeric, seeds and nuts, dark leafy greens, fermented foods, and wild -caught fish are just a few foods that are all-star supporting actors on the body’s stage….but that’s the extent of their role—-to support processes that already work brilliantly.
Health is a daily, even hourly choice, and when we commit to giving our bodies what they need, the result can be nothing short of miraculous.