Detox! The word itself sounds scary and unpleasant. Perhaps it triggers thoughts of green juices that taste like grass, laxatives that make it hard to venture far from the bathroom, and powders that are supposed to replace meals. Well, I wouldn’t blame you for running for the hills. There are a lot of commercial detox programs out there, many of which are harsh on the bowels and leave you feeling zombie-esque.
I’m not a fan of fad detox programs mailed to your door in a neat little box containing your “meal replacement” packets and pills. I don’t know about you, but selecting my own produce, cooking homemade meals, and chewing food is part of the enjoyment of eating! I like to guide people towards detoxes that incorporate whole foods, cleansing habits, and a break from things like alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and even electronics. Detoxing shouldn’t cause you to feel hungry, tired, and moody (well, maybe just for the first few days as your body is releasing toxins) but should revitalize you and make you want to celebrate your regular bowel movements!
Since detoxes need to be approached cautiously, my friend and fellow nutritionist Laure Neilsen and I have collaborated on a series of blog posts to give you a solid understanding of what detoxes entail, why they are important, and how to detox safely.
Do I Need to Detox?
Toxins are an unavoidable part of being a human who lives on Planet Earth. They surround us in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the products we use, and the electronics we can’t live without.
The body has a built-in detoxification system that involves many organs, such as the liver, that help move toxins towards the exit. But when our system becomes overloaded with gunk, this system can get gummed up and stop working as effectively. Eventually, we start to experience symptoms that can develop into chronic illnesses down the line.
Even if you live a healthy life, eat nutrient-dense foods, and use natural products, you are likely still being exposed to various toxins on a daily basis. To learn more about how toxins get into the body and the various ways in which they can accumulate, check out Laure’s post: Detoxification: The 3 Ways Toxins Get into the Body & the 6 Ways the Body Clears Them Out.
5 Signs That You May Be In Need of a Detox
If you experience any or all of the symptoms below, you might consider a spring-cleaning for the bowels.
I’m sure 90% of the human race feels fatigued from time to time. But if you are feeling sloth-like on a consistent basis even when you’re sleeping well, you might be in need of a reboot. This may be your body telling you that it could use a rest from all of the digesting and processing. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, a cleanse may be the solution for more energy.
2. Gut Issues
Bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation are all signs of a gut that is not working properly. Toxins can irritate the stomach’s mucous membrane and inflame the gut, making it difficult for your body to properly digest and absorb the real nutrition in your food.
3. Difficulty Losing Weight
If you find it hard to shed the extra pounds even though you’re eating well and exercising, it might be due to exposure and buildup of chemical toxins, which can deposit themselves in the body’s fat tissues and interfere with the body’s weight control mechanisms.
In addition, cleaning up the diet could help us shed some extra poundage. As much as our taste buds don’t want to believe it, sugar is not our friend. Many studies show that consumption of sugar is associated with insulin resistance, weight gain, and metabolic disease (1). A detox can help you kick the sugar habit.
4. Skin Issues
The skin is a great indicator of what’s brewing below the surface. Acne, eczema, rashes, and psoriasis could be a sign of a toxic diet and/or a toxic skincare regimen. Clearing the gunk out of your system and out of your beauty regimen will help clear up the skin.
5. Menstrual Irregularities
Sometimes it seems the menstrual cycle is so sensitive. Well, it is! Lots of things can throw your hormones out of whack. Not being able to detoxify properly means we may not be getting rid of excessive hormones, such as estrogen, which can lead to painful periods, heavy bleeding, PMS, and even infertility (2).
What to Do About It?
No worries, my friend – we can minimize the toxic buildup in our bodies as well as our exposure to environmental toxins. Check out these posts for more on detoxification tips, suggest product swaps, and provide DIY detox drink recipes. Your liver will thank us.
We want to hear from you! Have you tried a detox or cleanse before? What was your experience? Let us know if you have tried a detox or cleanse before and what your experience was!