The Misconceptions of Detoxing
As the shift to longer and warmer days begins and spring starts to take full bloom, we are bombarded with the alluring promises of the detox industry at full force. The notion of flushing toxins out of our systems within a matter of days through a body detox is a very attractive concept, but there are many misunderstandings about detoxification. Navigating through fad dieting that involves little to no eating, and appealing sales tactics on cleanses that claim to remove all toxins from our bodies is difficult to avoid. Let's look at the facts:
The word detox was originally a medical term that refers to the regimen or treatment intended to remove harmful and addictive substances, such as drugs and alcohol. In popular culture, detox took on a new meaning - referring to a restricted short-term diet or regimen that usually involves abstinence from certain foods/drinks. Our body contains highly developed and expertly designed mechanisms to eliminate toxins on its own – this process is referred to as body detoxification. Body detoxification occurs when the body naturally neutralizes or eliminates unnecessary materials that are built up in the body. Specific organs in our body's digestive system like the liver, kidneys, and skin work efficiently with enzymes and gut bacteria to remove impurities.
The concept that we need to partake in a detox to cleanse our systems is simply not true! Participating in a body detox is simply assisting the body in doing the processes it is already designed to do. However, the truth is that body detoxes make it enormously easier and faster on the digestive system. It’s not only a wonderful way to help the organs remove toxins that have accumulated, but it’s also a great way to exercise mindfulness in what we are putting in our body. Helping the body’s natural detoxification process should not be considered a short-term regime. Supplying our body with health-promoting properties and nutrients our organs need should be done daily. Straying away from highly limiting detox diets that deprive the nutrients the body needs for optimum function is very important. When we go on a body detox, we should only limit or eliminate harmful substances that can cause adverse health effects in the diet, like inflammation or a jump in our cortisol levels.
While the discussion around detoxification is so heavily related to constricting, what about the things we should be adding to our diet? Here’s is a list of foods that support the detoxification process, as well as supply the body with an abundance of nutrients.
Natural probiotics like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, yogurt and other foods that are helpful to the digestive process, like apple cider vinegar.
Fibrous foods like cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onions, and garlic.
Hydrating foods like celery, cucumber, tomatoes, cantaloupe, apples, and watermelon
Non-starchy alkaline forming foods like almonds, berries, citrus, green beans, cabbage, and leafy greens like kale and spinach.
Vitamin C rich foods like bell peppers, turnips, papaya, squash, and sweet potatoes.
Powerful algaes that bind to toxins like spirulina and chlorella.
While we’re in the season of cleansing our bodies, switching out harmful routines that impact our health and the environment is a way to cleanse our lifestyle as well. The detrimental effects on the use of plastic materials on the environment is nothing new, so swapping them out for more sustainable and less harmful materials is a great idea. Glass jars and Tupperware, stainless steel canteens and straws, and choosing brands that use compostable materials are all wonderful ways we can contribute to our body and planets health. Participating in a well-balanced and mindful detox with a vast amount of beneficial diet and lifestyle routines is a great endeavor. Try to avoid complying with the detox industry on harmful regimens, and instead incorporate long-term detoxifying habits that can be a part of eliminating toxins in our bodies and the environment.