What’s the Deal with Detoxification?


‘Raw Falafel’ – Source: http://www.lallnutrition.com/2012/06/06/raw-falafel-a-new-spin-on-a-fast-food-treat/

“When we learn to eat properly, we begin to rebuild our bodies and to fulfill our purpose on this planet: to grow in health, creativity, wisdom and compassion.”  -Dr. Ann Wigmore, Living Foods Lifestyle Textbook

Guest Blog Post By Michelle Lall of L.A.L.L. Nutrition

Today I am featuring the writing of Michelle Lall, B.Sc. (Hons), B.Ed., CNP. Michelle, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner in Toronto, has delightfully contagious energy and is passionate about health and nutrition. She is very knowledgeable about the issues impacting food and human health today, and you will find Michelle’s website to be a great resource for unique and delicious recipes. May this post help you get on the #FallCleanse train!

Detoxification is such a hot buzzword these days, but what is it? 


Detoxification is a process that naturally occurs in the human body. The main routes for detoxification are via the liver, kidneys, the lungs, colon, and skin. Our body continually detoxifies itself but when it is stressed or overloaded the body cannot keep up with its detoxification and ‘symptoms’, such as acne, lethargy, headaches, aches, bloating and gas may occur. Who wants that? It is important to look at these symptoms as the body’s way of saying “I need a break, I need to cleanse!”

In today’s day and age toxicity, or the build-up of toxins in our bodies, is of great concern. Excess toxicity robs us of our energy, vigour and beauty!

In general, toxicity can come from 2 basic areas-from our internal or external environment.

Externally, we are exposed to environmental toxins by breathing them in, ingesting them or being in physical contact with them. Some examples are drugs, food additives and allergens which create toxic elements in the body.

Internally, the body creates toxins through every day metabolic functions in the form of free radicals (the bad guys behind aging!). If these unstable molecules are not eliminated they can irritate or inflame cells and tissues and prevent proper functioning of the body. Parasites, our own thoughts, emotions, and stress can also increase biological toxicity. Mon Dieu…it’s no wonder we need help. Through cleansing we can help our bodies regain balance.

As most people live in an urban environment with chlorinated water, conventional food, stressful jobs and polluted air it is imperative for us to detoxify our bodies every day by eating a clean diet but to also go into a deeper detox or cleansing a few times a year. We may not be able to control our environment but we can definitely control what goes into our body.

It is suggested that a cleanse or fast of some sort be undertaken with the change of seasons. Fall and spring are two great times to reset the body and to help it adapt to the changing weather. 

Detox and Change of Seasons:

In Fall for instance, as the weather cools down our bodies must utilize more resources to adapt to the changing weather (hello chunky sweaters) and our changing schedules as many of us are also returning to school or work (good bye short shorts!).

These changes affect the body and create additional stress. As mentioned above, as the body becomes over stressed it cannot keep up with regular detoxification. One of the ways to help the body mitigate the extra stress it is exposed to is to undergo a cleansing or detoxifying diet for a short period of time.

What is a Detoxifying or Cleansing Diet?

A detoxifying or cleansing diet is a diet that allows the body to focus more attention on clearing out toxins from the body. It is typically done for a short period of time ranging from 1 day to a few days or even a month or more. These diets are used to allow the body to remove toxicity and reset itself. The foods or liquids consumed on these diets reduce the digestive work the body must perform and redirects the ‘saved’ energy and resources to internal cleansing on a deeper level. Say bye-bye to toxins and hello to improved digestion and clear skin!

By in large the process of digestion can take anywhere from 50-80% of our total energy. When the body is preoccupied with digesting other metabolic functions are put aside and the body cannot clean out any old residue that may be impacting the function of the body negatively (like old waste in the digestive tract that causes foul gas!).

Cleanses are usually done with fresh living food (raw fruits, vegetables, fresh juices) but depending on your current diet and lifestyle it may simply mean avoiding processed foods.

What Detox or Cleanse Should I Do?
Every person may need to go about cleansing in different ways. Depending on your current health, lifestyle and dietary habits you may opt to do a cleanse in a few ways.

Some individuals will need to start with the basics and eat a whole food diet, others who have a healthy diet may be able to do a smoothie or juice fast for a few days. It really depends on where a person is in the spectrum of health and diet. Most cleanses eliminate allergens, processed foods and cooked foods (but may include lightly steamed foods) and include the addition of raw fruits and vegetables with minimal fat.  If you are in tune with your body you may know how to cleanse on your own but it is always best to be under the guidance of a practitioner if you are new to cleansing.

The Importance of Eliminating Toxins:

It is imperative that with each cleanse you are eliminating daily (i.e. going to the bathroom) so that toxins that are released into the bloodstream can leave the body and not be recirculated or reabsorbed. Many people who do not clear their bowels effectively during a cleanse may experience headaches, aches, breakouts or chills as a result of stored toxins entering their bloodstream and not being eliminated.

By moving the bowels one can minimize or eliminate these side effects. Cleanses with more fiber may help you eliminate daily but cleanses with little fiber such as a juice cleanse should be accompanied by daily enemas and /or a colonic at the end of the fast.

Benefits of Cleansing:

Cleansing the body re-energizes it and allows it to function more optimally. As you begin to incorporate more cleansing into your lifestyle you will begin to see improvements to your overall health: your digestion will improve, your skin will look healthier and you will have more energy.

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