I’m not an advocate of diets, but I do believe that some people can benefit from a period of detoxification. This is always a popular subject in January because most of us have indulged over the holiday season – refined sugar & fat from holidays sweets, deep-fried, fatty & processed appetizers, alcohol – and as a result our body’s are overloaded with toxins. That being said, anybody can be toxic at any time of the year due to poor eating habits, stress or their environment.
In October I completed an Advanced Detoxification workshop through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and I want to share a few things that I learned; the first being the definition of a toxin:
“any substance that creates irritating and/or harmful effects in the body, undermining our health or stressing our biochemical or organ function. Toxicity is defined as “the state or degree of being poisonous.”
Sources of Toxins
Exogenous toxins include things from our external environment: food, water, air, drugs, plastics, herbicides/pesticides, and chemicals.
As the definition says, a toxic can be anything that causes irritating and/or harmful effects in the body. Because we are all biochemically different this could be gluten for one person or dairy for another, but a build-up of dietary toxins are usually a result of a poor diet.
A poor diet includes too many highly refined foods or “white” products (refined sugar, rice, & flour products – bread, pasta, pastries, etc.). Refined foods remove important vitamins & minerals including magnesium; a cofactor that is involved in more than 300 body functions.
A build-up of dietary toxins can result from regular consumption of conventional (or not organic, free-from, grassfed, etc.) meat & dairy, which are fed pesticide-sprayed foods, hormones & antibiotics. Upon consumption our body’s absorb the chemicals & hormones from the food. Toxins can also build up with a diet too high in salt, processed foods that are full of preservatives, fast food that is high in bad fats, excess alcohol and overeating.
A build-up of heavy metals (ie. lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel & aluminum) in humans can lead to symptoms such as: memory loss, depression, anxiety, mania, panic, Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis. The heavy metals listed above are common and can be found in canned foods, cookware, antacids, deodorants, dental fillings, contaminated fish, cosmetics, paints, batteries and cigarette smoke.
Endogenous or internal toxins are those that are stored or produced in the body usually as a result of exposure to other sources of toxins: poor diet and/or environment. Internal toxins can include bacteria and yeast that clogs the cells and prevents the liver (a major detoxifying organ) from functioning properly.
Again, we are all biochemically different and exposed to different types of toxins, and have varying tolerances, but symptoms arise when a person has reached their personal toxic load. Symptoms of toxicity include:
- Digestion issues such as: gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
- Skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Bad breath
- Decreased immunity or frequent illness
- Low libido
- Arthritis and/or sore joints/muscle aches
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hormonal imbalance
- IBS or irritable bowl syndrome
- Excess mucus
- Insomnia or sleep problems
If you experience even one of those symptoms on a regular basis than you could benefit from a detoxification protocol. The workshop covered many different types of detox diets depending on the individual’s symptoms:
- Liver & Kidney Detoxification Diet
- The Brown Rice Diet
- The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- The Alkalizing Diet
- The Elimination Diet
- The Master Cleanse
- Raw Fruit, Vegetable or Liquid Fast
- Steamed Vegetable Fast
- Whole Grain Fast
If you experience any of the symptoms above to the point that it’s interfering with your life, contact me to get started with your personal detox protocol. A detox is the perfect way to make you feel better everyday, and motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle.
To get you started here’s a smoothie recipe that is full of detoxifying ingredients – enjoy!
Purple Power Detox Smoothie
1 banana (potassium & natural sweetener)
1/2 raw beet (detoxifies liver, source of iron)
1/3 cup frozen organic blueberries (source of fibre & antioxidants)
1 cup organic baby spinach (source of iron & vitamin K)
1 stalk organic celery (source of B vitamins & fibre)
1 tbsp organic coconut oil (burns bad fats, kills bad bacteria)
3 tbsp lemon juice (alkalizing & detoxifying)
1 cup water
Handful of ice
Add ingredients to a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!
*To make it a complete breakfast, add a scoop of protein powder like Vega One Nutritional Shake.