It has been more than one hundred years since Sir William Osler wrote in his eloquent little book, A Way of Life: The person “who feels on awakening that life is a burden or a bore has been neglecting his machine, driving it too hard, stroking its engines too much, or not cleaning out the ashes and clinkers.”
In more modern terms, the person who wakes up frazzled and fatigued, moody and depressed, dull and sluggish, or bloated and in pain, may be in need of a total system detox.
What is Detox?
Practiced by cultures around the world for centuries, detoxification consists of resting, cleaning, and nourishing the body from the inside out. This process can alleviate various symptoms, delay or prevent the onset of degenerative disease, and help maintain optimum health.
Why should you detox?
A detox-cleanse program can be a powerful self-healing tool. Environmental toxins – including hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals – although abundant in modern societies, barely existed 30 years ago. These external toxins seep into the body through food, water, and air supplies. A detox program can rest and reset organs by decreasing consumption of known dietary toxins (processed sugars, unhealthy fats, gluten, dairy, soy). It can stimulate the liver to release toxins stored in the body’s tissues,promote elimination of these released toxins through the digestive tract, kidneys, and skin and enhance blood circulation. It also refuels the body with healthful sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and herbs to keep the process going.
Additionally, lifestyle habits such as lousy diet, sleep deprivation, inactivity, and relationship stress strife – produce internal toxins: inflammation and free radicals.
When our bodies are working properly, they clean the blood by filtering such harmful substances through the liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph, and skin. Detoxification can be thought of as a set of biological processes that the body needs to survive and thrive. These continuous complex cellular detoxification mechanisms work to maintain health all day, every day.
Above and beyond relieving the above symptoms, regular detoxification may also confer many general health benefits like renewed energy and vitality, also helping you in weight loss with reduced body fat, improved sleep, better mood, clearer thinking and healthier skin and hair.
Toxic Accumulation Means Modern Maladies
Given the constant barrage of natural and synthetic chemicals that bombard people daily, it is crucial to one’s health that this intricate “filtration system” be cleaned out on a regular basis. If not, these external and internal toxins often become trapped in the body’s organs and tissues. When they accumulate faster than the body can process and eliminate them, these toxins can ruin one’s health, diminish energy and vitality, hasten the onset of chronic diseases, and accelerate aging.
Signs of Toxic Accumulation:
- Fatigue and malaise
- Poor sleep
- Depressed mood
- Inability to lose weight
- Digestive problems
- Poor concentration and attention
- Brain fog
- Recurring infections
- Joint and muscle pain
- Dry, flakey skin
- Bad breath
Adopt Daily Detox Practices
The process of detoxification is not a one time or even seasonal event. Rather, a key to building health over a lifetime is to support the body’s detox machinery continuously. This, naturally, means adopting healthy lifestyle practices that can be used to clean “out the ashes and clinkers” in the body daily:
- Minimize consumption of known dietary toxins such as processed sugar, gluten, dairy, and soy;
- Consume plenty of fiber preferably from sustainable grown vegetables and fruits;
- Opt for lean sources of dietary protein;
- Flavor food liberally with common every-day detox-friendly substances such as vinegar, olive oil, cinnamon, cayenne (not necessarily all at once);
- Protect and cleanse your liver by adding herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and burdock;
- Consider supplementing with Vitamin C, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), digestive enzymes, and probiotics;
- Get adequate sleep (8 hours/night for most mere mortals);
- Slow down. Stress and time pressure are big sources of toxic waste;
- Stay active. Start with shooting for 10,000 steps a day; and
- Smooth relationships. Relationship stress – threatened, perceived, or actual – is a major source of inflammation, oxidative stress, and toxin accumulation.
Ancient Greek biographer and author, Plutarch, wrote: “Character is long-standing habit.” The same can be said of health. Yet, even the most diligent and health conscious will need some help from time to time. For that reason, in addition to establishing healthful detox habits, it is often necessary to jump start the detox process with a formal 14 or 21 day detox-cleanse program 2-4 times per year.