Wondering whether a detox could help you lose those last few pounds, reboot your energy or boost your brain power? Concerned about how pollutants in the environment could be getting into your body and causing symptoms like brain fog, mood swings, inflammation and hormonal imbalances?
You’re Designed to Detox
If my toxicology degree taught me one thing, it’s that the human body is capable of detoxifying virtually any toxin. Miraculously, this includes toxins that are man-made and didn’t even exist on this planet when our grandparents were born.
And, if my clinical training has taught me one thing, it’s that detoxification is complicated. Since the ability to eliminate toxins effectively is absolutely relevant to your health goals: from overcoming infertility to losing weight to clearing your skin to preventing certain types of cancer, I want to make it easier for you to navigate through the complexity. Let’s set aside the hype and risky fads, and put in place some everyday habits that can get the detox ball rolling, safely and naturally – right away if you choose to.
Set off on the right track by following these 5 steps to start your detox:
1. Commit Purgery
Yep, walk on over to your pantry and let the “purgery” begin! Processed foods contain synthetic chemicals, colourings, preservatives, hormone disruptors and substances that rob your body of nutrients. Remember that refined sugar depletes your body of valuable minerals it needs to detoxify other chemicals effectively. Notice that processed pantry items are also highly packaged – producing garbage every time you consume them.
Small, Effective Steps
For today, choose 2-3 items in your kitchen cupboard, fridge or freezer that you already know have got to go. Next, go plastic-free when it comes to food preparation, utensils and storage. Never heat food in plastic or Styrofoam. I recommend glass and stainless steel for anything that comes into contact with your food. You can also use paper bags, bamboo, silicon and good old cotton tea towels to wrap, store and transport various foods.
2. Break Up with Toxic Makeup
Your skin is not only the largest organ of your body, it’s an absorptive surface that soaks up what’s applied to it like a sponge. As I teach clients in my Love Your Skin Program, assume anything you apply to your skin will reach your bloodstream, so if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin.
Pitch the 5 P’s
Clean up your cosmetics (sunscreen, deodorant, moisturizer, lip balm, makeup, shampoo, conditioner…!) by checking the ingredients listed on the label in EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics database. Be sure to pitch the 5 P’s from your personal care products: pthalates, perfumes, petroleum, petrolatum, or parabens.
3. Perspiration Prescription
It’s time to sweat it out! Amazingly, your body releases toxic heavy metals like mercury and arsenic, and even plastic-derived chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) through your sweat. Getting your sweat on through exercise will also boost lymphatic drainage, increase your circulation and help you maintain regular bowel function, which are all essential physiological functions for overcoming toxicity on a continual basis. Treat yourself to hot yoga, a sauna, steam room, or a workout that’s vigourous enough to break a sweat at least 3x per week. Shower off with cold water after your sweat sesh to close your pores and seal out those toxins you worked so hard to eliminate. NB: Gentleman, talk to your health practitioner before starting a sauna program in the 3-4 months before trying to conceive, as the heat could affect your fertility.
4. Ramp Up the Roughage
Take advantage of the toxin-binding effect of dietary fibre. Fiber-rich foods like ground flax seeds, chia, whole grains, legumes, fruit and veggies grab hold of the toxins that have been excreted into your bowel and sweep them on out when you have a bowel movement. Aim for 40 grams (yes, I said 40!) of fibre each day. Fibre doesn’t have to be the bland something you have to kind of choke down. Try blending ground flax seeds into a fruit smoothie, or munch on unsweetened coconut flakes for a naturally sweet and crunchy fibre-fortified snack that’s as tasty as a treat.
5. Cleanse Your Medicine Cabinet
Find out which prescription and non-prescription medicines (including natural supplements!) contain questionable ingredients: the drug itself or the “non-medicinal ingredients” listed on your nutritional supplements or herbs could actually be considered toxic. A patient recently showed me her superstore-brand prenatal multivitamins and I was shocked to note the chemical solvent hydroxybutyl toluene and the hormone-disrupting methylparaben in the list of non-medicinal ingredients in her tablets!
Medications Can Harm Your Hormones
Many pharmaceutical drugs adversely affect your liver, digestive health and even your fertility. For example, when looking at treatment for anxiety or depression none of my male patients have been informed that their antidepressant (SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) can damage sperm and reduce their fertility. Also, many women aren’t aware that ongoing use of common anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen (a drug in the NSAID or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug family) have been shown to interfere with ovulation. Speak with your naturopath or family doctor before stopping or starting any new medication or supplement.
When’s It Time to Talk With Your Doc?
Not all detox plans and programs are created equally. Many over-the-counter products send you to the bathroom frequently but aren’t effectively removing stored toxins from your body, and many formulas aren’t safe in pregnancy. Be sure to discuss with your doctor your plans to start any detox program so you can get the proper assessment pre- and post- detox, follow a safe protocol and be confident you’re getting the results you’re looking for.
Contact us to find out what detoxification can do for you when done safely and naturally.