Recently on a Lyme related list that I read, one of the new members asked what detoxing was. For me, that’s detoxification is something that is such a part of my vocabulary and life that it’s almost like asking me what breathing is. I actually had to stop and think about it.
Detoxification is a natural process we do all the time. It’s our bodies’ way of getting rid of anything we take in that is toxic. In our modern world, we absorb a lot of synthetic chemicals that our bodies don’t need or want through the food we eat (pesticides, synthetic ingredients, artificial colors and flavoring, and more), the air we breathe (air “fresheners,” paints, cleaners, gas fumes, and more), and the products we wear (shampoos, deodorants, detergents, makeup, and more).
In a healthy human, detoxification happens naturally through any excreted bodily fluid: Urine, feces, sweat, tears, mucus, breastmilk, even semen. Anything that our body puts out has the ability to contain the toxins we have absorbed. Most commonly our liver and kidneys do this filtering and send the waste products out through our urine and bowel movements. However, with the high synthetic chemical load in our bodies, we dump unnecessary chemicals through our other fluids as well. This is how you end up with studies showing high levels of toxic chemicals in breastmilk.
For some of us with impaired detoxification systems due to various issues, detoxing is rough. My Lyme has combined with genetic issues to make my liver my weakest organ in my body, and so I struggle to get toxic chemicals out. This in turn is part of what creates my multiple chemical sensitivities. I am not alone in this: Many with autoimmune issues struggle with impaired detoxification.
So then how does one intentionally detox to force more of the chemicals we are exposed to out of our bodies rather than storing them in our body fat? There are many natural ways to do it. One of the easiest is sweating. Exercising, saunas, or anything that makes you sweat will help reduce your toxic chemical load.
Another way is through diet. Eating an organic whole foods diet of any type assists the body in detoxifying. First, the less garbage you put in, the less garbage you have to get out. Second, natural food has many healing properties. Eating well can help undo previous damage to your body and can assist in detoxing any harsh chemicals your body is storing.
Many people like to try popular cleanses that they find on the internet including the Master Cleanse. The Master Cleanse involves fasting for a designated amount of time (3-10+ days depending on which plan you follow) and during that time only drinking a mixture of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. There is some truth to this helping with detoxification: Lemon juice does assist in liver cleansing. However, cleanses like this can also be dangerous. Because you stop eating solids, the body no longer has the means to have abundant bowel movements. That means many of the toxins you are releasing are getting stuck in your body rather than being sent out through the stools. Cleanses like this can be made safer by adding in organic low carbohydrate vegetables to assist with the detoxification. However, all cleanses really should be done under the guidance of an appropriate practitioner. (See below.)
Cleanses are NOT healthy when one uses them in order to regularly binge. I know individuals who will fast during weekdays in order to consumer large amounts of sugar, gluten, and alcohol on the weekends. This is really not good for one’s body. Many of us will cheat on our healthy diets occasionally to have a piece of wedding cake or such, but treating one’s body with flagrant disrespect by binge eating and fasting is really not a good idea. A slow but steady diet of healthy organic foods is the far better approach to healthy eating.
There are also many supplements that can cause or support detoxification. Because of the detoxification impairment I battle, I am constantly on supplements that can support my body’s natural means, though I rarely take supplements to encourage additional detoxification. These supplements that I take help my liver process the chemicals which it struggles with otherwise. I can tell when I am taking them and when I stop.
If you are considering doing a cleanse or using supplements to assist with detoxification, I very strongly recommend you use a reputable local practitioner to help you. In particular, chiropractors and naturopaths have training in this area; some integrative doctors do as well. If you use an experienced practitioner who uses muscle testing, they can help you in finding what your body actually needs to detox from and what will best assist in this process rather than randomly trying things to see what works. This increases efficiency and saves time and money in the long run. These practitioners can also help you when unexpected issues surface. Detoxification is not always straightforward or easy: It can sometimes cause miserable flu-like symptoms. It may also bring up serious emotional reactions as the body purges all that it does not need to store. Thus, having a practitioner to assist you can ease your misery in the process and keep you from going into a serious state of crisis. You want your net result to be a healthier body, not just a miserable experience with no lasting positive health benefits.
© 2014 Green Heart Guidance