Are you bloated with puffy bags under your eyes? Feeling low on energy for no particular reason? You sleep well enough, you’re trying to eat healthy, you exercise a few times a week, and your life has nothing catastrophic happening at the moment. So why do you feel so blah?
Well, if you’re like many of my patients, you might be overloaded with toxins! That’s right. My patients are usually surprised when I tell them that toxins from food, or environment, could be the cause of their constant lack of energy and place them at higher risk for one day getting a serious illness like Parkinson disease, Alzheimer’s, or even cancer!
Like one of my patients said in response, what the heck can you do about toxins ? Don’t they just stay in your body? It’s true that some toxins, heavy metals like mercury for example, can hang around in our fat cells for a long time. Other toxins, however, can be flushed out of your system fairly quickly if you know what to do.
Our bodies have their own unique detoxification system at work with our liver, kidneys, lungs and skin trying to filter out the many toxins we get bombarded with everyday. However, there are also some things you can do to assist your body in its detoxing mechanism.
Types of Detox Methods
A good detox regimen is very beneficial to any changes you may want to make like starting a diet, or quitting smoking or drinking alcohol.
Most detox regimens focus on removing built up waste from the intestinal tract as inadequate water and fiber intake, lack of exercise, can cause varying degrees of constipation and allow toxins to cling to the walls of the intestines. Other detox regimens focus on helping the liver and blood clean themselves out. I think the best detox regimens accomplish all three.
Now, there are some detox regimens out there that can leave you feeling dehydrated and exhausted. They’re harsh and can release too much toxin into your blood stream at one time and make it necessary to stay near a bathroom for 2 days. They can leave you dehydrated and not feeling great. So, it’s important to select a regimen that’s mild enough on your system to allow you to go about your daily life normally and feel good while you’re doing it. Here are a few detox methods that I like:
- Hot lemon/lime juice – use 2 tb of fresh or bottled lemon or limejuice in 8 oz of hot water. Sweeten with a little honey (or Splenda) if you have to. Drink this first thing in the morning upon rising, about 20 minutes before breakfast. Lemon/lime juice helps the liver clean itself out. This is mild enough to be done every morning.
- Juice Fast – a juice fast allows the digestive system to rest for a day from solid food and clean itself out. It is best done on a day that you have no social obligations and can stay home and rest with no strenuous physical activity. There are a couple good juice-fast detox programs out there but you can make it yourself as follows:Use with fresh fruit, filtered water, and a super-greens powder (should contain blue algae, chlorophyll which help remove heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides). Mix well in a blender.Get 2, 32 oz bottles of no-sugar added pure juice from a health foods distributor. In a blender, mix a tablespoon of the super-greens powder with 6 oz of juice every 4 hours with the last one 8 oz. To this add 32 oz of filtered water throughout the day. Take 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil, once around midday and the other later at night. Omega-3 oils lubricate the intestinal walls, absorb toxins, and move them out.
If you normally drink caffeine and start to get a headache, you can have black, green, or oolong tea (these may irritate an empty stomach however) or coffee, but try to omit the cream, and no sugar (use a little honey or Splenda). You can also drink clear vegetable or chicken broths/bouillon throughout the day. This juice fast can be done once a week. Fruit juice or vegetable juice (see below) can be used.
- Vegetable Juice – buy or make, your own vegetable juice drink from canned or fresh tomatoes (no sugar added), garlic, broccoli florets, onion, carrots, kale, spinach and filtered water (commercially bottled vegetable juices are fine too but fresh tastes best). These vegetables contain a lot of sulphur, which detoxes the liver. You may add a little cayenne pepper, if you like hot, and a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Mung Beans – cook and eat, these absorb toxic residue from the intestinal walls. If you just cannot do a complete juice fast, one serving of mung beans can be combined with a vegetable juice fast. They should be eaten a few times a week to clean the intestines.
- Colon Cleanse – this can be done every day for 10 days while omitting bread and other heavy starches, sugars from your diet (like potatoes, pasta, baked goods), and no red meat. Eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, go light on chicken, fish (steam or bake, no fried food) and drink half your weight in water everyday. There are several good colon cleanse products at health food stores that come in capsules, some containing oxygen that help re-oxygenate the large intestine. Or, you can drink herbal detox teas that contain senna, cascara sagrada, milk thistle, Echinacea, dandelion root, ans red clover. Brew them weaker at first until you get used to them.
What Else Can You Do To Prevent Toxin Build-Up?
Regular detoxes using any of the methods above, or a well-tolerated commercial formula, can help your system not become overloaded with toxins. However, here are some other things you can do everyday to prevent toxic buildup.
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables – (even organic) with a good wash product designed to break down toxins that collect in skins. Produce is soaked in a large pan for about 20 minutes. These washes are available in the produce section of most food stores. You can also simply use warm water, however, use a vegetable scrubber to make sure the skin is clean, rinse well.
- Get rid of dust, mold – your house is a magnet for dust (especially in winter), and mold (especially in summer). Mold contains aflatoxins that can make you very ill. Dust can carry lead particles as well.
- Ditch the Fake Wood and PVC’s – these man made materials contain polyvinyl chlorides (in plastic), and formaldehyde (in compressed particle boards used in many home constructions). These can give off gas into your home and cause headaches, dizziness, upper respiratory irritation/asthma attacks, and perhaps even Parkinson disease.
- Fight Bone Lead Leach – with calcium, Vitamin D3 and regular exercise, which reduces the amount of lead released from your bones into your bloodstream. Lead in the environment stores itself in bones and starts to release when older bones start to thin. This can cause elevated blood pressure, headaches and dizziness.
- Replace Carpets/Rugs – with something less likely to grow mold like painted canvas. Shampooing of carpets/rugs can cause mold to grown on their backings. Spores released into your home that you breathe in can increase your risk of sinus and chronic lung conditions as well as skin irritations. Launder washable throw rugs frequently, especially in summer.
- Shower After Outside –shower with hot water and a good soap after exercising or working outdoors to get rid of environmental toxins and the resistant bacteria that causes serious infections. A skin brush found in natural health stores is good for both stimulating circulation and removing toxins on the top layer of your skin.
There you have some basic and easy to manage methods to detoxify yourself as well as some things you can do to prevent toxin buildup. A thorough detox is recommended at least once every 4 months, using one or more of the methods listed here, or a good detox product of your own choice that includes most of the ingredients listed above. Afterwards, you’ll be amazed at the amount of energy you have, and how clear and healthy your skin and eyes look. In addition, all my patients like the added bonus of shedding several pounds that usually accompany a good detox!