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I have been milling over writing this article for a few days, and it’s just not really ‘come’ to me the same way other topics have. But after a meeting this morning with a like minded pharmacist I walked away inspired to get the word out there. So here it is – my professional and scientifically critical approach to ‘doing a detox’.
The word ‘detox’ is one I don’t really like to use. I feel it’s misleading. So many products on the market promise results of vibrant health, improved energy, a feeling a being more ‘alive’ – all usually in a relatively short period of time. In my opinion it’s the classic case of ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it is’. But really you knew that too. So let me explain to you three key reasons why, as both a pharmacist and a naturopath, I ere with caution in using the word ‘detox’….
1. Detox is a natural occurrence in the body – not an annual event.
You are in fact, as you read this, detoxing. The word in itself means to remove toxins, and if your body didn’t do this naturally and around the clock, well to put it bluntly, you’d be dead. Of course there are many measures which can be taken to support the detoxification processes that take place in body, to improve their efficacy, but to ‘do a detox’ is not the correct terminology in my opinion. And it’s certainly not something to just ‘be done’ as a spring clean once a year (Pardon my FaceBook post which suggested now is a good time for it -aimed to get your attention!). Supporting detoxification can be, and should be, done daily. A periodic phase of improving these processes can take place, but it’s a gradual task to be completed over several weeks, and involves more than a few supplements or herbs as a quick fix.
2. Your body detox’s itself via numerous channels of elimination.
Often you will hear detox programs focus on the liver. Whilst the liver is a very important organ in the detoxification process, it is by no means the only organ involved. Every time you breathe out you are exhaling carbon dioxide. Every time you go to the toilet you are eliminating wastes. Every time your skin perspires, and no that’s not necessarily the hitting the gym sweating like a fountain type of perspiration, but just daily perspiration you may not even notice, you are eliminating matter that your body does not need. So to support the natural detoxification processes each of these channels of elimination need to be addressed, and each is an in depth topic I will discuss individually in the coming posts. What’s important to know is that any ‘detox’ claiming to address or focus on just one of these, or using just one product, is not going to be of much benefit.
3. Detoxing through fasting is not recommended.
Be it juice fasting, water fasting, or a full ‘I’m not eating for a day’ fasting, let’s get one thing straight – your body needs to be in pretty optimal condition in the lead up to any fast for it to handle it well. Why? Because fasting places your body into survival starvation mode, and without the correct reserves of nutrients and optimally functioning organs you’re going to feel down right rubbish. So yes, there are those who fast periodically and feel fantastic for it, and it’s because their bodies are geared for it through prime nutritional health. To effectively carry out the detoxification processes your body actually needs an array of nutrients. To support your body in effective and efficient detoxification you need to provide it with the fuel it requires through the food that you eat. So when programs ask you to fast, or follow a fad diet, take it with a grain of salt (hypothetically of course – eliminating salt is actually a good thing!) Eating a varied diet of wholefoods rich in vitmins, minerals and importantly amino acids is actually fundamental to the detoxification processes.
And that’s my three main reasons why I use the word ‘detox’ with caution. As I write this I need to refrain from going into more detail, particularly about the various arguments and scenarios I know many will have in answer to my paragraphs above. In the interest of keeping this article relatively succinct however, I will eloborate on each point in future posts, adding more detail and more fact. In the meantime, I encourage you to contact me with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org – until next time!
Nourish – Integrate – Transform.