What is detoxing?
Hippocrates was one smart fella. “Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up what makes him sick.” That statement right there will be at the heart of this post on How to Detox.
In modern times, this can be quite the challenging endeavor, can’t it? Though, it doesn’t need to be.
First, we have to identify- are we sick? Or the better question is – are we as well as is possible? If you’re here checking out this page (me included even in lieu of my role as the author) then the answer is most likely no.
So, what is Detoxing exactly? Let’s start with what it’s not–
It’s not Advocare, The Pink Drink, Total Lean Diet Cleanse, or any other product. Somewhere along the way, money mongering industrial and marketing elites duped us into thinking very wrong and unhealthy things about detoxing.
#1– Pooping does NOT equal detoxing. That’s what tons of these products make you do. We have developed the notion that cleansing the bowels is an effective means to detoxify the body. It’s quite the opposite. The intestinal flora is so paramount in our overall health, I could not even tell you why in an entire day’s conference. These products destroy the microbiome despite their claims that they do otherwise. If you would like to see this for yourself, hop onto Google Scholar (it’s free) and type in some key terms about the product you want to know about. You’re going to find one of a few things-
• a study that does not actually test their product on anyone, but is focused on an ingredient contained in the product. This has zero credibility in ‘supporting’ the product’s claims. It only addresses that one ingredient and what it has been shown to be independently. It does not address how it interacts with other ingredients in the product (whether it is made dangerous, ineffective, or otherwise in combination with the other ingredients), how much of a dose is required for therapeutic effects, etc.
• a study that has tested the product, but is funded by or has conflicts of interests, and/or an affiliation with the manufacture of the product (i.e. the scientist behind the study has xx amount of stock in the company, the funding for the study came from someone affiliated with the product, etc.).
• a study that demonstrates the results the product claims to, but is ultimately Swiss cheese, meaning 1. there are so many holes in their processes and research methodology that it’s comical to even read, 2. It’s not even a study, but an ‘article’ of sorts, 3. the author is the furthest thing from qualified to conduct or interpret research.
Maybe it’s because we view bowel movements as ‘dirty’ and the word ‘detox’ makes us think of ‘clean’, but these products are not good for you, and do the opposite of the answer to how to detox. Check out what some other like-minded healthcare professionals (doctors) have to say about detoxing here, too. A lot to learn.
#2– These products do not address the myriad of other components to cleansing the body of toxins and undesirables. It’s a process, not a purchase. We’ll check these things out when we get into the ‘How & When’ of things.
#3– A true ‘Detox’ only takes place in a clinical setting, under the direct and constant supervision of medical staff, and using very potent medications/supplements. Think rehab, or an overdose, if you will. While we use the word ‘detox’ all the time, we are not, in fact, ‘doing a detox’. We are making valuable and healthy lifestyle changes that will result in the decrease of exposure to toxins, an increase in our body’s ability to handle toxins, and a return to optimal health, wellness, and functionality. For the purpose of this article, and the familiarity my readers have with the term ‘detox’, I will use it here just for ease of reading.
#4– Detoxing is free and requires zero products whatsoever. There are supplemental options, yes, but they are not required to get the job done. You will find some of these mentioned in the PDF’s below which elaborate on how to detox.
What is it then?
It is a process. I’ve developed the acronym BARE because detoxifying is simply getting back to basics. Bare essentials, bare living. Nothing fancy, no frills, just basic healthy living. We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Why is Detoxing the Body a Good Idea?
Honestly, there are too many reasons to list. Just to rattle off a few- to have more energy, decrease inflammation, mitigate risks for chronic diseases and cancer, decrease or eliminate pain caused by inflammatory processes (i.e. arthritis), lose weight, improve your appearance, stabilize your mood and mental health, and so much more. Check out this list of signs/symptoms (below). These circumstances could very well be signs that we need a reset. A ‘detox’, so to speak. You might see some things on there that hit home, and further compel you to take on this healthy journey.Signs:symptoms toxicity Final
It is also a great idea because it isn’t only you. It’s quite a big deal. Your positive changes impact the world. They truly do! Ghandi says to be the change you wish to see in others (and you undoubtedly want your loved ones and neighbors to be healthy and happy, right?). Going through these nourishing processes will not go unnoticed. Whether you know it, or they tell you, you will be the driving factor for others to adopt healthier practices, and that feels good. You will foster a healthier community, decrease garbage production, and eliminate environmental toxins (that impact you, your loved ones, everyone) by driving consumer demand down for products that pollute the environment, test on animals, and other unsavory, unnecessary terrible things. By taking better care of yourself, you’re also throwing on the cape of a super hero. Thank you!
How & When?
Back to That Acronym: How to Detox Using BARE
Banish the toxins from your life (personal care products, household products, public water sources, chemicals/preservatives in foods, etc.)
Adopt a regimen or habits of which promote the removal of harmful agents already in the body (adequate water intake, preparing your own foods, regular moderate and intensive exercise, healthy sleep habits, etc.)
Repair any damages that long-term exposure to these things have resulted (growing and maintaining healthy gut flora, retraining the endocrine system (hormones), treating health and dental conditions, etc.)
Enable/Enhance the body’s ideal functioning (optimal nutrition, self-care practices that address all systems (mental health too), chiropractic care, plants/herbs of which promote immune health and decrease inflammation, etc.)
Some Beginning Tips for BARE-
1. Find your why. Because I said so, or because it’s the right thing, or scaring yourself into making a change are never effective techniques. ‘You’ll get lung cancer’ has rarely worked on nay a smoker, just as ‘you’ll develop hypothyroidism’ will not likely work here. These things aren’t happening right now so we can’t visualize them. They are negative reinforcement and thus will carry negative feelings throughout the process. What does work- focusing on what you’ll gain. I will have more energy. I will be lighter. I will save money. I will get off of my diabetes or blood pressure medicine. Do you see how there are zero negative words in those statements? Research study after research study demonstrate that this is the most effective way to exact change. Positive affirmations and positive reinforcement.
2. Start low, go slow. One thing at a time. Two if you’re feeling frisky. That’s what we’re shooting for here. Small, attainable goals. Why? Willpower is a ‘muscle’ just like the biceps or abs are. It needs worked slow and steady (just like muscles!) in order for changes to take place. The more ridiculously small you make your goals, the more gains you’ll see with that Willpower muscle. Pretty soon, Willpower gets a new name- Habit. Who succeeds at – ‘I’m going to eliminate all sugars starting Monday!’ Someone who already doesn’t eat sugar, that’s who. Everyone else- best of luck to you… So, how do we approach this? ‘I am going to stop eating pastas and breads on Monday’. That’s okay. Even better would be ‘I am going to stop eating pastas and breads at dinner’. Better still ‘I am going to replace my pastas with veggie noodles starting Monday’ (see that positive spin- instead of ‘stopping’ which may lead to feelings of deprivation, we are making the active choice to make a swap- we still get something and aren’t missing anything in the process). BEST- ‘I am going to try out veggie noodles 3 times this week’. This will work because you get your pasta (if you truly want it), you have a very easy goal to meet (there’s 21+ meals you can hit that 3x veggie noodle thing with), and the chances of you exceeding your goal are quite high (which fosters the positive emotions, hormones, and chemicals that are involved in building ‘willpower’).
3. Play Nice. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend or mother, meaning don’t judge yourself and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go ‘as planned’. Would you say things like, ‘I can’t believe you screwed that up!’ or ‘What’s wrong with you that you can’t control yourself and use some willpower?’, to your mother? Or your best friend? No. So, don’t behave like that to yourself. All that does is create more inflammatory processes and negative hormones (the exact things we’re trying to eliminate, right?). So, be kind at all times. It’s a journey, not a race, and you can’t make this go any faster than what the cells in your body allow for anyway.
B is for Banish
Here is a list of things that [I believe] are toxins (Below). You may/may not be exposed to any number of these things so this is just for easy reference. In your own time, see what’s on that list. Do you agree that these things are not good for you? If not, ignore those ones you don’t see as health-threatening. Or better, do yourself the service of researching it on your own to see why I might have put it on the list. This is very different for everyone. Just make sure you aren’t ignoring some things because you fear they might be too difficult to ditch, and not because you don’t see them as bad for you. You’re only cheating yourself if you do that, and I can tell that if you’ve made it this far, you truly do want to become the best version of yourself that you can.Additives to Avoid FINAL
Once you’ve identified some potential toxins of which you wish to rid your body, pick one of the easiest ones to get rid of in your world. For example, if money is an issue, it may not be easy to replace all of your personal care products right away, would it? But to swap from using Lysol, Tidy Bowl, Windex, and Soft Scrub to using white vinegar, lemon peels, and water might be the easiest thing in the world because that’s only $2 a month to achieve.
One by one, hack away at that list until you get stuck on one that proves a little difficult. For example, I swapped my cleaning supplies out for vinegar, I bought a water filter pitcher for my drinking/cooking water, I made a batch of laundry detergent I found online, but man, this Diet Coke is really kicking my butt. We’ve developed a bit of positive reinforcement (whether you consciously know it or not) accomplishing some of those other [easier] things making us better equipped than before we started, to handle this Diet Coke thing. This is when we start our Willpower workout regimen. Do be sure to tackle as many ‘easy’ things right away, as you can.
Start low, go slow. I drink 4 Diet Cokes a day. Okay, I’m still going to get my 4, but I’m going to hold off on starting to drink them until 2pm for the next few days. A few days later, I’m successful, and I’m ready to move to 4pm, and so on and so forth. The positive reinforcements you get from being successful with these little, achievable goals, and the ‘feel good hormones’ associated with the success, will begin to do some work and make things easier for you. This could be a month-long process, or it could be a week, it’s different for everyone. Maybe you get down to one Diet Coke a day and get stuck. That’s okay. We can make the goals even smaller than that and inch our way to the finish line if we need to. Just remember your why, and make sure your whys are gains, not losses (I am becoming lighter (gaining mobility and self-esteem), I am spending less money at the grocery and dentist (gaining money in your pocket), etc.), and focus on how far you’ve come already! Maybe tomorrow’s Coke you leave one ounce in the can. The next day, 2 ounces. A few days later you might not remember the Diet Coke until you’re brushing your teeth for bed. Success!! You will get there. It’s not a race. The key to the difficult ones is having ridiculously, insanely, stupidly tiny goals. Each one you conquer is another barbell curl on the books.
Adopt a Regimen or Habits of Which Promote the Removal of Harmful Agents Already in the Body
I don’t want to get too scienc-y here, but a very short and sweet explanation of how the body handles toxins- it stores it in the fat cells [mainly]. It does this because those cells are trained to harbor things for protection, and for further use. For example- sugar is a toxin to the body. It’s corrodes, causes inflammation, damages tissues, etc. When the body has too much sugar at one time and cannot produce energy from it quickly enough, the body plows it into fat cells because it knows that if this sugar stays in the blood stream very much longer, we’re going to have problems. The same thing happens with pesticides on our foods, chemical preservatives, fake sweeteners, etc. This is not exclusive to things we ingest. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is highly absorptive. Lotions with chemicals, etc. get the same treatment, just a different route. Lungs too, so don’t forget about the dangerous chemicals in scented items, air fresheners, etc.
It is a basic survival mechanism. Well, we don’t want those toxins in there anymore, do we? But the body’s not just going to let them go to roam free in the body and do the exact damages that caused them to get jailed. We have to give the body a reason to let it all go, and give it a hand in doing so.
An important part of this is the banishing of the toxins. Remember that logical guy, Hippocrates… The body is not going to release dangerous things if we continue to put them in it. That doesn’t make any sense. The reason the body needs here is that we have demonstrated our promise to not put it at risk anymore. We aren’t going to put these no-no’s in our body, so there’s no reason to keep vacuum sealing them into our fat cells, so Body, you just stop that plowing away nonsense. Body- ‘fine then, but you better get it a fast-track ride out of here or I’m putting it right back in jail’. Fair enough, I’ll call an Uber.
Remember- one thing at a time. Two tops. Do not make the mistake of piling on too many changes at once. This will reverse any progress you’ve made with building Willpower’s physique, and just make you feel defeated and worthless, which you are not. So, here is a list of some changes you can do by yourself that will help remove some of the harmful agents in your body. Let’s talk about how our Willpower curls come into play.Ways to Detox Final
I see water on the list and I know I don’t get my 8-a-day. If I set the goal for 8 cups each day coming right out of the gate, I’m likely setting myself up for failure, right? Because if it were that easy, I’d already be doing it… A reasonable, very achievable, habit-building initial goal would be to start at 4 oz of water every morning, and the rest of the day is a bonus. Grow from there. Small, insanely ridiculous, stupidly tiny achievable goals. That’s how we grow. If you see exercise on there and that’s something you’d like to do- 1 pushup, 1 sit-up, and 1 squat every morning is an excellent start. Next week you’ll be cranking them out by the 10’s because it’s become a game. It’s just how it works.
It may sound silly, I know. But the brain has no clue about quantity, the do-ability or size of a goal, reason for the goal, or anything else. It does know all about the hormones and neurotransmitters your body creates when it does/does not achieve goals. The more feel-good ones you make, the more your brain wants that, the less difficult setting and achieving goals becomes, and the more Willpower becomes Habit. Why is habit important? So that we don’t have to do all of this all over again. See where the Pink Drink and Advocare get you? Rely on their products rather than be a self-sufficient facilitator of your own good health…
Repair Any Damages
Long-term exposure to toxins can wreak havoc on your body. Sometimes, we’ve gotten so used to feeling certain ways that we believe that it is our norm. It’s not until we eliminate these things and start to get a glimpse of what normal and healthy really feel like, that we understand exactly what has been going on all this time.
Once we’ve stopped exposing ourselves to toxins and given the body a way to eliminate them, we’re ready to begin healing. Again, this will not make sense to do unless you have stopped assaulting the body with the things that make it so that healing is even necessary. You cannot heal the flora in the gut if you keep killing it with aspartame from Diet Coke, for example. So, don’t trouble yourself with this part until that part is done. Don’t rush, do things in your own time, it’s not a race. Improvement happens every. single. step. of the way, so don’t ever feel as though you’re not making progress. Check out this list to see what this looks like in application.Healing Aides After Detox FINAL
Our goal here is to restore the gut flora to normal, heal leaky gut, optimize hormonal balances, and achieve healthy weight and nutrition practices. This is no easy task. Be patient. Be kind. Be open to new things.
Enable/Enhance the Body’s Ideal Functioning
Once on our path to healing, and with our Willpower muscles nice and buff, we can begin to look into more practices that will sustain our healthy bodies and minds. What does this look like?
• Taking time for yourself to do something enjoyable (learn to paint or crochet), spend time with friends and family, enjoy the healing properties of a companion animal, listen to an audible book, see a show, etc. There are lots of ways to treat yourself, and without food or things that may undermine your efforts of achieving optimal health.
• An exercise routine (yoga, Pilates, walking, swimming, running, etc.). Sweating is another way to expel toxins and exercise coaxes the fat cells to open up (to provide more fuel) and as a result, allow toxins to release and be disposed of.
• Nutrition- Having researched all of the diets, studied the pros/cons, etc. I cannot implore enough that a whole food plant-based nutrition plan is the healthiest practice. Again, this is a personal choice and I cannot prescribe a diet. I will say these few things though-
o There is no such thing as hormone-free animal products. Every cell in our body has hundreds of hormones, biochemicals, and neurotransmitters in them. Four-legged animals are no different. An extremely important part of detoxing, as well as a top priority outcome, is restoring hormonal balance. You cannot [wholly] restore your own hormonal balance if you continue to put another living being’s hormones in your body. When they say ‘hormone-free’ on the packaging, it only refers to whether or not they fed/injected the animal with hormones, and has nothing to do with the hormones they naturally have. When you eat an animal, you are ingesting the byproducts of their fear, pain, depression, anxiety, etc. of their living conditions and their slaughter.
o Animal meat and byproducts (dairy, eggs, etc.) have been directly linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and much more. Beef is now rated in the same ranks as cigarettes in terms of carcinogenic effects. Canada has even eliminated dairy from being a recommended food group. The same hormones in the flesh of an animal are also in their milk, PLUS the hormones that are intended to facilitate the exponential growth of a calf to a cow. This has no place in the human body, and only serves as a detriment. The nations with the highest dairy consumption have the highest osteoporosis and bone fracture rates. They also have the highest rates in hormonal disturbances, sexual dysfunction, early puberty onset, and more.
o We are ‘detoxing’ for a reason, and that is because we want to feel good and love our life. Your body is not a graveyard. If you consume death, that is how you will feel. If you consume life, that will be equally reflected. There is no other way of eating with greater healing properties and a complete nutritional profile than a vegan diet.
o You are what you eat, eats. It is not cost-effective to feed livestock animals high quality foods. Even the ones classified as ‘humanely raised’ are fed genetically modified garbage. They turn that into the body parts and byproducts you eat. If you avoid GMO foods and stick to organics, then avoiding eating animals and their byproducts should be included in that, because that’s what they eat. You know how we store toxins in our fat? They do too. From the Round-Up used on the grains they eat, to the stress hormones they cannot release.
• Chiropractic care- Receiving regular adjustments can improve your immune system, equipping it to be able to repair itself naturally. The adjustment of the spine performed under chiropractic care removes interferences hindering communication of the central nervous system. A chiropractor can help your body naturally defend and repair itself from the inflammatory damage inflicted by endotoxin stress.
• See a mental health professional on a regular basis. You don’t have to have a mental illness for this to be a beneficial practice. Negative emotions such as anger, stress, and anxiety can occur independent of mental illness, but be just as toxic. Having someone to talk to, without judgment or fear of upsetting them, can help to reduce the propensity of these negative thoughts to turn into negative feelings, and then into negative hormones.
• Herbs and plants that assist in detoxifying the body and achieving optimal immune system function.