Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Improve Your Health with Detox

So, Chef Brett and I (along with our hubbies and the wonderful ladies I work with) have decided to do a detox and we invite you to join us! Detox is a great way to jump start any resolutions you might have made to lose weight or to be healthier this year. Detoxing can help you boost energy, improve digestion, improve the condition of your skin, get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy, jump start weight loss, help identify food allergies, boost immunity, and generally improve your health. Detoxification involves mobilizing stored toxins into the blood where they can be removed—mostly via the liver but also the intestines, kidneys, skin, lungs, and lymph. A detox program helps the body’s natural cleansing process by fasting to allow your organs to rest, stimulating the liver to improve toxin elimination, promoting elimination via the intestines, skin, kidneys, and lungs, improving lymph and blood circulation, and replenishing the body with healthy nutrients.

There are many different options when it comes to detox, you can choose to fast with juices, broths, or smoothies, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, or use supplements to help you. You may also support your detox with gentle exercise, saunas, castor oil packs, dry skin brushing, colonic hydrotherapy, and stress reduction. Most people benefit from detoxing at least once a year. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and those with degenerative diseases shouldn’t detox and I recommend consulting with your physician before starting a detox program.
So, there are many options for detoxing and I’ll include some links at the end of this post that you might want to try. A helpful reference is Clean Up Your Diet by Max Tomlinson. Below is a list of guidelines that can help you get started:

1) Avoid exposure to toxins: eliminate your intake of toxins such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, refined sugars, trans fats, processed foods, and food additives. You also want to avoid environmental toxin exposure: chemical cleaners, second hand smoke, and personal care products that contain chemicals.
2) You need to drink lots of water to help flush out the toxins you will be releasing. You should plan on drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces.
3) Give your digestion a break: eat easily digested foods, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, drink fresh juices, smoothies, and broths; avoid high fat and protein-dense foods which are more difficult for your body to digest. Avoid any food allergies and sensitivities.
4) Love your liver: consider castor oil packs, herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle, and green tea, and adding foods that help support liver function.
5) Make sure you move your bowels: regular bowel movements ensure that toxins aren’t being reabsorbed from the colon. Consume plenty of high fiber foods and consider a fiber supplement. You may need to use herbal laxatives and may even consider scheduling colon hydrotherapy.
6) Focus on stress reduction, gentle exercise, and meditation to allow your body to rest and rebuild.
7) Breathe deeply: this helps you eliminate toxins through the lungs and reduce stress.
8) Sweat: do yoga or gentle exercise and consider saunas and hot baths with Epsom salts to help draw toxins out through the skin.
9) Brush your skin: do dry skin brushing to move lymph under the skin.
10) Move your blood: in the shower, spray your back with hot water for 3 minutes then cold water for 30 seconds then repeat 3 times, making sure you end with cold. This flushes blood through your organs and skin.

For my cleanse, my plan is to eliminate alcohol, caffeine, red meat, eggs, dairy, all processed and refined foods and all sugars. I’ll be doing smoothies, eating lots of salads and steamed veggies with whole grains. I will probably still eat a little fish and chicken. I will also be supplementing my detox with a shake mix called Mediclear (by Thorne Research). This product has rice protein, a complete array of vitamins and minerals, and nutrients that support the liver in its detoxification process. I’ll be drinking lots of filtered water and green and herbal teas and doing dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, and yoga. I plan to detox for 10 days and I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

So, pick a plan that you can work with. If it’s your first time detoxing, you probably don’t want to do anything too extreme—try a 3 day cleanse. Be prepared to feel kinda lousy at first: it’s not uncommon to feel like you have the flu and you may have headaches or night sweats. Usually these symptoms, if present, will only be during the first few days and dry skin brushing, baths, saunas, and hydrotherapy can help them resolve faster. If any other symptoms arise, discuss them with your doctor. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you!

You can find some helpful resources on my website. The following patient handouts are useful for detoxing: http://www.inhealthclinic.com/ and click on the “Patient Handouts” link in the upper right corner:

Cleansing & Maintenance Diet
Elimination Challenge Diet
10-Day Cleanse
Foods that Love the Liver
Aiding the Organs of Elimination
Castor Oil Pack Instructions

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