At the start of a New Year many of my patients make resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, or cut back on their alcohol consumption. After I tell them how glad I am that they’ve decided to take better control of their health they’re often surprised when I tell them that one of the best things they can do to jump start their new health goals is to detox first!
If you’ve been eating a less than healthy diet, if you smoke, perhaps you’ve had a little too much alcohol over the past holidays, it’s a good bet your body is full of toxins that are making you feel sluggish, headachy, bloated, foggy-minded, and even achy in your joints!
A good internal detox regimen can help your body let go of impurities in your blood, liver, tissues, and help you get rid of pounds of impacted waste in your colon where a lot of these toxins are held and continually re-release into your system. Detoxing is a great preparatory cleansing device that can really boost the success of any health-improvement regimen.
Let’s look at some simple and effective detox regimens that you can use for a few days out of the month whenever you feel you need it.
How To Detox
Detoxing doesn’t have to be a complicated procedure. In fact, I don’t recommend going whole hog into a detox cleansing regimen to begin with. Rather, you should start to add it gradually as you reduce the unhealthy substances (sugar, white flour products, cigarettes, alcohol). I suggest you start with a 1-2 day juice fast and then with an ongoing colon cleanse for 10 days to 2 weeks.
Hot lemon/limejuice: Use 2 TB of fresh or bottled lemon or limejuice in 8 oz of hot water. Sweeten with a little Stevia if you must. 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 1-2 days from solid food and clean itself out. I think vegetable juices work best as they have a variety of nutrients in them, like sulfur, that help your liver cleanse itself. If you’d rather, citrus juice combinations can work well too. Juice fasts are best done on a weekend that you can just spend quiet time at home, read a book or watch movies. Be sure to drink plenty of fresh, filtered water during your fast to further flush out impurities and waste.
Colon Cleanse: A colon cleanse can be done every 3-4 months, for 10 days while omitting white flour products and other heavy starches and sugars from your diet (like potatoes, pasta, baked goods), and no red meat. Eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, light chicken or fish (steamed or baked, no fried food) and drink at least half your weight in filtered water every day. Look for a good commercial colon cleanse product that contains psyllium, cascara sagrada, citrus pectin, wheat grass juice powder, buckthorn, aloe, gentian root, and lactobacillus acidophilus to re-colonize your colon with good bacteria.
What Else Can You Do To Detox?
Two of the most important things you can do every day to avoid toxin build-up are:
➢ Wash Fruits and Vegetables: This means using a special produce “soak” that usually can be purchased right next to fruits and vegetables in the store. You can also just make sure that you take a vegetable scrubber brush, or even a dishwashing brush, and thoroughly wash the skins of your fruits and vegetables before you eat them.
➢ Drink Water: My patients know that I’m a real stickler for drinking enough water every day. Our bodies are about 70% water and dry heat, exercise, very cold, dry weather, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, drinking too much caffeine, can dehydrate you significantly. When your body is dehydrated, toxins cling to the inside of your colon and hang around in your blood stream. Some researchers go by the “8 x 8” rule, which is 8, 8 ounce glasses of water a day. The Institute of Medicine, however, recommends that men consume 13 cups (8 oz) of water/fluid a day and women 9 cups. Your urine normally looks dark, more concentrated yellow on first arising, but during the day it should be clear to slightly yellow if you are drinking enough water.
As I counsel my patients, our bodies have a built-in detox system that works 24/7 cleaning impurities out of your body through your kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin. However, a good detox regimen can greatly assist your natural system to do an even better job of getting rid of toxins. In fact, researchers now know that certain diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can develop from toxin-exposure, namely from pesticides on fruits and vegetables!
A good detox, done once every 3-4 months, over about 2 weeks, will make you feel great. Most of my patients who do a detox regimen tell me that the urge to drink alcohol and/or smoke, or eat their former unhealthy diet, diminishes greatly. This is likely because a lot of toxins have been removed from your blood and colon. You will feel more clear-headed, have more energy, your face will be less puffy, and your skin and eyes clear, and likely you will have lost several pounds. Can’t beat that to jump-start a healthy-new you!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.