Detox is a word thrown around quite a lot these days! There are many diets that call themselves ‘detox diets’ and plenty of people who claim detoxing is the key to weight loss and true health. Detox is short for detoxify, which means to eliminate toxins and in our modern day lives were are exposed to a HUGE amount of toxins on a daily basis. It is very difficult to avoid them all, just think about how many toxins you inhale when walking down the street from car exhausts and second hand smoke… However there are plenty of steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of toxins in your body and your life. But first, what do toxins do in the first place?
Toxins, chemicals, heavy metals and so on enter our body by way of absorption through the skin, consumption in our food, inhalation through breathing and a number of other ways. Toxins, just as they sound, are toxic and are chemicals and compounds that aren’t supposed to be in our body and which hinder the proper functions of our body. Having an excess of toxins in your body can lead to a myriad of health issues and diseases including weight gain and obesity, hormonal or chemical imbalances, skin problems such as eczema and acne, headaches, migraines, reduced immunity, and many, many more! In fact having too many toxins pretty much prevents you from living at optimum health until you deal with the issue. Now you might be wondering, well where are these toxins coming from?
Unfortunately toxins are in just about everything we come into contact and in almost all modern food! Toxins that wreak havoc with your body include all of the artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners, preservatives, emulsifiers, MSG (in 80% of processed food) and any other food additives. Not only this but toxins are found on and in our fruit and vegetables thanks to the ridiculous amounts of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals that are sprayed onto produce to keep it looking fresh. These sprays are not only bad for us, but the residue remains in the air, pollutes waterways and the animals living there. And these toxins are not just not good for you, they are REALLY bad for you, with a majority being carcinogens (meaning they cause cancer…). In fact, in my home town there has been an epidemic of a certain strain of cancer (forgive me for not knowing exactly what it is) that has been affecting farmers from a generation ago and ultimately killing them. Why are these farmers all suddenly getting cancer? They used to mix the pesticides and chemical sprays with their hands/arms and never wore protection when spraying, so over time their body has been dealing with huge amounts of toxic chemicals which has ultimately lead to cancer. My town is not alone, I have heard similar stories of cancer due to farming toxins from all over. You might not be getting such a high dose of toxins as these poor farmers, but you’re still eating the produce that is covered with and full of it! Other sources of toxins include cosmetics and body care products, cleaning products, plastics and fish, as conventionally farmed fish or even some ocean caught fish have high concentrations of mercury and other metals due to the pollution of the water they grow in. So now onto the real issue, what can you and I do to reduce the amount of toxins our body has to deal with? The answer is detox your life! Here are a few simple and common ways you can reduce the amount of toxins in your life:
- Eat Organic! The key thing about organic food is that it is free from all of the sprays and chemicals present in normal produce, meaning you can eat it without fear of consuming a truck load of nasty toxins. Buying organic fruit and veg is not always easy for some people, as it might not be readily available in your town, but there are a few alternatives: grow your own! Yes, it may require more effort, but the results will be better than any organic produce you could ever buy. If you have some space anywhere, whether it be a tiny balcony or a huge backyard just get started. For small spaces you can have a herb garden and grow your own lettuce. Tomatoes are also easy to grow in a pot, as the vine grows up. Secondly, if you must buy non-organic produce wash them all in a sink full of cold water with a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will instantly dissolve any toxic residue on the skin of the produce which is a huge improvement on what you started with, however it won’t do anything to the chemicals that have been absorbed. Also, wherever possible buy organic alternatives such as organic chocolate and definitely organic, non-pasturised milk.
- Eat Real and Fresh! By eliminating as many processed foods, man made foods or junk foods as possible you greatly reduce the number of toxins and in particular additives that you consume. Eating a diet of real and fresh food is the best way to slowly edge out the processed food. Think about each thing you eat and if you can’t identify where it came from or what it looked like when it was growing, or if it never grew, then it’s probably best not to eat it, or at least not too much!
- Don’t Smoke! If you have ever seen any of the quit smoking government campaign adds you will be well aware that cigarettes are absolutely FULL of toxins and are possibly the worst possible thing you could ever do for your health.
- Find Natural Alternatives! When it comes to skincare, cosmetics and cleaning products it’s best to get rid of the really nasty additives. If you search in the supermarket you will often find natural alternatives or products with fewer chemicals or nasty preservatives. Searching on the Internet you can find a lot of alternatives for home cleaning products, check out this site for some great tips and help.
- Detox! Correctly detoxing your body helps to cleanse your body and your organs of toxic buildup. There are many ways and programs you can do to detox, such as a juice reboot, food detox (2-6 weeks long) or by eating detoxing foods and a clean diet on a regular basis. Detoxing foods include gelatinous plant foods e.g. chia seeds & aloe vera, organic fruit and vegetables, wheatgrass, spirulina, almost all fresh herbs and alkalising foods e.g. lemon, leafy greens. A food detox varies in duration depending on how severe your toxicity is. For most people their first detox will be about 6-8 weeks long, followed by bi-annually (twice a year) two week detoxes. The food detox that I follow comprises of a clean diet of plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, legumes, nuts and seeds, but is free from refined carbohydrates and dairy products. There is also detox supplements to assist with the cleansing of your body. I have done this kind of food detox a few times before and it is amazing how well you feel.
What do you do to detox your life?
Keep healthy :) Erica