‘‘Tis the season where I see lots of marketing for specific supplements, medications and protocols for weight loss. Statements such as lose “X” # of pounds in “X” # of days is common. And honestly it sickens me. It makes people believe that there is a quick and easy solution to losing weight and doesn’t often address the root cause of people’s weight issues. It also can be dangerous. Fat is a protective mechanism against toxins. If you lose weight too quickly, you can overwhelm your body with toxins causing even more health issues. Many times when people have trouble losing weight despite eating “healthy” (this definition of healthy can vary) and exercising, it’s because the body is trying to protect someone from all the toxins they have been exposed to.
It becomes important to address the removal of toxins and while a 1 week, 2 week or 1 month detox approach can provide a reset it is another quick fix solution that can be dangerous. If toxins are released too quickly, it can overwhelm the body and lead to serious health issues. One woman recently shared her story of a 3 year recovery from life-threatening health issues after a 2 day detox.
Safest Approaches to Detoxification
The best approach to detox, especially if this is the first time, is to work with a healthcare practitioner who specializes in this area and focuses on a lifestyle approach that isn’t based on a specific timeline. There are some simple steps you can take when starting a detox for the first time that will overall promote your health and well-being.
Remove sources of toxins
I find the safest approaches to detox is to first remove the sources of toxins when possible. This may include eliminating processed foods and alcohol, getting rid of plastic food storage containers, avoiding foods that contain pesticides, eliminating beauty products and cleaning products containing toxic ingredients, and more. I could write a whole blog post on this topic.
Unfortunately, with how foods are now grown and processed, foods that may have been healthy are now affecting people’s health and exposing us to more toxins. In addition, people often have gut and food sensitivity issues. I like to start clients at their own pace to eliminate common trigger foods: eggs (especially if there may be viral issues), wheat, dairy, soy, MSG/natural flavors, canola oil, corn and processed sugar. [I used to test clients for food sensitivities, but have found testing to be inaccurate and an unnecessary cost in most cases]. If you aren’t quite ready to eliminate these foods, focus on at least bringing in more nutrient-based foods as mentioned below.
I once heard a doctor speak and one of the things he said was that nutrient status is one of the best protective mechanisms we can have in place to protect us from toxins. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. If someone tells you fruit isn’t healthy or there is too much sugar, please ignore them. Fruits are full of nutrients, a great source of fiber and can help you flush out toxins. It is best to eat fruit away from meat and other fats as this can cause issues with bloating.
Eat organic when possible to avoid further exposure to pesticides. I realize this isn’t always possible and can get costly. I do find that sometimes organic is cheaper and will likely be the case as the demand rises. However, you can can use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list to help you prioritize your purchases.
Reduce fat intake – this can vary from person to person whether you eat meat or are vegan. Even vegans may eat a higher fat diet with nuts, avocados and more. A diet high in fat and animal proteins make it harder for the liver to flush out the toxins. This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all meat, but please avoid the high protein fad diets. While diets like the ketogenic diet help people lose weight initially, it is harder on the liver and eliminates excellent nutrients from fruit. Weight is likely return since toxins aren’t being addressed with this kind of diet.
Drinks lots of fluids, especially water. Adding lemon or lime juice to your water can promote detoxification. Lemons also provide minerals such iron, calcium, magnesium, silicon, copper, and potassium as well as Vitamin C and B-complex.
Exercise helps the lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and intestines release toxins by simply getting them moving – improving blood and lymph flow, excretion through sweat, exhaling, and more.
My favorite way to exercise includes Nia which helps me release toxins not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Please note, toxins are not just substances, but can have as much to do with our relationships and work lives. Hiking and spending time in nature is also one of my favorites especially to promote toxin release from the lungs. Plus if you can hug a tree, an energetic release of toxins can occur.
Infrared Sauna & More
Infrared sauna is also beneficial to help excrete toxins through the skin and you will need to slowly build up the amount of time spent in the sauna. I encourage my clients who are doing other methods such as supplements and nutrition to eventually add in the sauna so the body isn’t overwhelmed with the toxins being released from fat and other tissues within the body.
I recently tried the Biocharger at Urban Sol in Redmond and was fascinated by how I felt. I could sense vibrations throughout my body and the theory is that it restores the energy frequency within your cells that is depleted by our busy in-door lifestyles. After my session it felt as if my body was detoxing – I initially was tired and after eating a cooked meal felt more energetic. I still need to test this out further. But you can learn more here.
Every Body is different
Please note Every Body is different. Some people have been exposed to more toxins in their lifetime or from their family line and are much more sensitive. While others can eat any kind of food and not have issues because they don’t carry the same type of toxic load. Some people are going to need a slower approach to detox then others. Some may react to certain foods used in the detox process. Any approach needs to address the individual, their health status and include a step-by-step process.
Be careful about quick fix solutions
When you see these quick fix ad solutions, consider that the primary focus needs to be on living healthy rather than losing “X” # of pounds. When you shift this focus, the weight will start to drop as an added benefit. If you are detoxing too quickly for your body you may actually gain more weight.
In this day and age, where we are continuously being exposed to toxins, it is critical that we focus on a maintained lifestyle of detoxification rather than just a specific timeline.
Learn More & Get Support
As someone who has now taken a lifestyle approach to detoxification over the last 6 months, this topic is near and dear to my heart. If you want more support or guidance in this area, feel free to reach out for 1:1 health consultations or join our health support group. I also have a special event on January 13th, 2019 on the topic of Detoxification with Dr. Emily Passic, ND.