Reset, Refresh, Renew - Do you need a detox or cleanse and are they safe?
Updated: Apr 18
We know that the liver, the digestive system and other organ systems can often regenerate from a state of disease to healthy functioning tissue.
For example, a lack of fresh foods/too many processed foods can cause a fatty liver, which can be reversed with improved nutrition and lifestyle.
Here's a brief look at how the body's own extraordinary detoxification system works.
The liver: This hardworking organ allows nutrients from your food to enter your bloodstream while catching toxins like pesticides and mercury. The liver then excretes those toxins in bile, which eventually flows into the intestines to be eliminated.
The lungs: They're living air purifiers, filtering out damaging particulates and vapors. Tiny hairlike filaments called cilia line airways and help prevent pollutants from passing into your blood.
The kidneys: Every 35 to 45 minutes, the kidneys filter all the blood in your body and dispose of toxins in urine.
The colon: Like the lungs, your colon is lined with guard cells that help block harmful substances from moving into your bloodstream. Regular bowel movements eliminate those toxins before they can harm you.
However in this day and age it’s not just about poor diet that can have a negative effect on our natural detoxification systems.
Newsflash, our bodies are overloaded from excess alcohol, environmental chemicals, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, petrochemicals, hair dyes, paints, cleaning products, medications, car and industry air pollutants, perfumes, plastic chemicals such as BPA and phthalates!
When our bodies reach its full detoxification capabilities from this extra workload we begin to store toxins and often it can lead to fatigue, inflammatory diseases, immune dysfunction, poor weight control, heart disease and worse.
Poor diet aside, a little bit of extra help is not a bad thing.
Detoxing (to me) is mostly about retraining our body and desires for healthier foods and reducing unhealthy food cravings.
The benefits after a detox and an increase in vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant consumption may include more resilient skin and complexion, weight loss, less headaches, improved digestion, improved energy, improved mental clarity, reduction in immune disorders, improved mood, more willpower, less diseases and sicknesses throughout the year.
The idea of a cleanse is basically just a reboot of your diet and there is something to be said for doing "food resets."
That is, going back to the basic tenets of healthful eating (mainly eating whole, minimally processed, largely plant-based foods) to reaccustom the taste buds to more subtle flavors. That, however, should not be confused with a cleanse.
Cleanses sometimes involve fasting or near-fasting, and that can actually have benefits, unless you have medical conditions or do it for too long. There is ample research demonstrating the effect of fasting on longevity; how fasting reduces cell oxidative stress, general signs associated with aging and the potential to prevent and treat chrinic illness, at least on some level.
"Intermittent fasting" may be a viable option for those otherwise looking at specific cleanse diets. You basically limit eating to a few hours a day (typically around 8). That is a simple and sustainable way of eating, and doesn't involve buying cleanse products.
A well-executed cleanse involves identifying and eliminating stressors to the body, dietetic and environmental, and removing them for a period of time as much as possible.
Factors we can’t control, like environmental pollution, can be handled better when the body is deeply nourished and hydrated, and when we support its intrinsic detoxification processes with probiotics targeted supplementation, and modalities like dry brushing, and infrared saunas.
A good cleansing protocol facilitates rest and relief from foods we may be sensitive to, generates tissue repair and healing, and improves and optimizes eliminative organ function.
Sometimes a cleanse may help with weight loss but notice that this point has not been brought into this post untill now. This is where the debate lies.
Do you need a cleanse or detox?
If you need a mental, physical and emotional reset every few months or after a stressful time on your health, nutrition, lifestyle, then sure.
If you you want to lose weight fast, then a resounding ”NO”.
I personally have done both - detoxification of my home and household products and cleanses spring and fall, so if you have questions, contact me and I'd be happy to help.
Interested in a fitness/wellness consultation or have some questions about nutrition and your current fitness program? Join any of my groups online (Facebook) and/or pick up my book, How to be Fit for Life - Eight Proven Steps to Reaching Your Fitness Goals, Getting Results, and Living the Fitness Life for more help with your fitness journey. And please feel free to contact me and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have:).