Spring cleaning is ideal to clean out the garage or reorganize the attic. Similarly, it is a great season to guide your body through a cleansing process. Whether you decide on a deep cleaning or a lighter maintenance you should seriously consider doing something to clean up your metabolic systems.
Over the past few years we have been hearing more and more about detoxification. That’s because it plays a central role in maintaining healthy function in the body. It is an ongoing process that every cell in the body participates – around the clock, 7 days a week, year after year. Toxins (any metabolic debris whether from the environment or our own biological processes) can originate from a variety of sources both inside and outside the body. The relative burden each toxin puts on our health will, in part, depend on the volume, frequency and duration of exposure. In addition, there are many synergistic mechanisms at work between both internal and environmental toxins, the consequences of which we simply do not completely understand. What we do know is that we have observed the number of health conditions related to toxicity increase over the last few decades. Further, the clinical implications with regards to some of society’s most common illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity or migraines, can no longer be ignored. As a result, supporting detoxification is not only an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but an effective way to address some of our most common health conditions.
In addition to total exposure, the net affect that toxins have on our health is equally dependent on our ability to safely eliminate them from the body. There are four primary routes of elimination from the body: 1) filtration by the kidney and into the urine, 2) elimination through the bowel, 3) expiration from the lungs and 4) perspiration through the skin. Consequently, an effective detoxification and elimination program will include supporting the optimal function of these four pathways. (For specific strategies to improve elimination see the Healthy Living Strategies on the At-home guide page).
Where to start?
With the basics. First, take a quick inventory of everything you take into your body. This means everything you eat, drink, breathe and rub onto your skin – especially the things you are doing on a regular basis. For many of us, this short list alone will identify a number of potential toxic exposures. Remember, even good things in excess can be a potential burden on the body. Second, decide what you are willing to change. It can be large or small, but if you want different results you need to change. Third, make a plan. Unless you have previous experience with detoxification you will want to seek the advice of a qualified professional. For some, detoxification can be an intense process that requires adequate nutritional support to be successful. The plan constructed with you in mind will be the best plan for you to follow. Fourth, do it! Boldness has genius and power in it.
A simple strategy
The general premise when performing a cleanse is to decrease toxic exposure and increase elimination from the body. This means eating less junk food and eating more health-promoting foods. It also means allowing the body and mind sufficient time to rest and recover. Drinking more water and performing regular low-intensity activity is also important. Remember, intense exercise is a form of stress on the body. During a cleanse you are directing more of your energy inward to improve metabolic function. Ultimately, by improving metabolic function you are increasing your ability to handle future toxic exposures as well as maintain health – whether its blood sugar levels, memory or mood.