Spring is a time of fresh starts and rejuvenation, a time when many have emerged from the winter and are ready to make some changes and undertake a personal spring clean. I am often asked at this time of year about cleanses and detox programs. The topic of detoxification and cleansing is near and dear to my heart since a large reason we have so many chronic illnesses is due to the sheer volume of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis.
So, what is detoxification?
It is the process of clearing toxins from the body by neutralizing or transforming them into harmless substances in order to increase the efficiency of the organ systems in the body. If anyone of these systems becomes overloaded there will be a build-up of toxic material in the body tissues, and illness soon follows.
Toxins can come in many forms. In our diets we consume artificial flavours and colourings, preservatives, heavy metals and agricultural pollutants. Our water sources are sometimes polluted with chlorine, excess minerals and hormone by-products. Our air and soil are also commonly contaminated by toxic industrial waste and many of our personal care products contain chemicals we should never be exposed to.
To use the analogy of a car; if you bought a brand new car and never changed the oil or filter, never topped up the fluid levels and ran it on cheap gas, how long do you think that new car would last? In the human body, our organs of detoxification; the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and lymphatics also need regular tune-ups. When working properly these organs eliminate approximately two pounds of material per day.
Why is cleansing important?
Modern science now believes that the cause of degeneration, inflammation and premature ageing lies in toxin accumulation and excessive free radicals in the body. Practically speaking if you suffer from: anxiety/depression, food sensitivities/allergies, chronic headaches or sinus congestion, IBS, eczema/acne or an inability to lose weight, you may be needing a spring cleanse.
Many people that undergo a medically guided detoxification program note that they feel an improved sense of health, increased energy levels, and better digestion and weight loss.
What to consider before doing a cleanse?
What is your current state of health? Do you have any chronic conditions or any serious allergies or intolerances and how do you respond normally to any changes that you make to your diet/lifestyle? There is no “one” cleanse that is the best cleanse. Everyone is unique.
There are different types of cleanses and detox programs available. Some involve simply modifying your diet, some include diet and supplements as well as some lifestyle changes, and some involve supplements only.
Almost all cleanses prescribe the elimination of the following foods for a certain length of time: Tobacco, coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, colourings as well as processed grains and dairy.
What can you expect from a Detox?
“More” is not necessarily “better”. A slight cleansing reaction of nausea, headache or flu-type symptoms is normal as long as they are mild. A strong body reaction indicates you are cleansing too much/too fast. If that happens reduce what you are taking and slowly increase once the symptoms have subsided.
I believe that everyone needs a cleanse at least 1x a year, and this spring I will be hosting a Virtual Spring Detox focusing on diet and lifestyle modifications. There will be an introductory zoom meeting on May 11, and the actual Detox program starts May 19th. If you are interested or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 224-0012.