Thinking About Detox? Read This First…

I think most of us heard about different detox plans. Either we thought about doing one, did one in the past, or know someone that swears by it. Most people look for a quick fix to flush toxins out of the body. To be honest most detox programs are useless unless we address the foundations. It is like building a house without the fundaments. Otherwise, the process of detoxification can make us feel worse instead of better. Here are five things that need to be addressed first before starting a detoxification protocol: digestion, blood sugar balance, essential fatty acid, mineral balance and hydration.

Everything starts with proper digestion. On a regular basis, we are exposed to way too many toxins like chemicals, food coloring, GMOs, pesticides and the list goes on. We need to fix our digestion in order to be able to remove all those toxins from the body. This does not have to be a complicated process. Start with consuming a properly prepared, whole foods, nutrient dense diet. It will provide the body with the nutrients and dietary fiber necessary for heathy digestion, motility and elimination. We need to have a correct stomach acid environment (pH 1.5-3) to be able to break down the proteins into amino acids. This will help detoxification pathways in the liver. You might want to look into HCL and enzyme supplementation when necessary, but this is a topic for another day. Blood sugar regulation is next. Blood sugar imbalances, paired with elevated cortisol places an enormous stress on the liver as well. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels will help the liver properly detoxify. Too high or too low blood sugar will deplete our B vitamins that we need for liver enzyme functions (B6), neurotransmitter synthesis and phase 1 detox enzymes (B2). Chronically elevated blood sugar impairs the body’s ability to detoxify properly. To help your blood sugar stay stable, it is best to keep the carbohydrates on the lower end, but it all depends on the bio-individuality and activity level. You definitely cannot go wrong by eating vegetables, low glycemic, and high fiber fruits like berries. I would suggest adding more complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, plantains or gluten free grains around your workouts for extra energy and better recovery. Similarly, consuming wrong or poor-quality fats will stress the liver, while eating proper fats will actually help the detoxification process. Liver is responsible for producing bile, a substance that is stored in the gallbladder and secreted when fats enter the small intestines. Bile is built on the ingestion of healthy fats and works to carry and remove the toxins from the liver out of the body. Without enough healthy fats, bile becomes thick, stagnant, and viscous; and toxins recirculate in the blood stream. Lastly, I would like to mention mineral balance and hydration. Too little minerals, such as, magnesium, molybdenum and manganese cause deficiencies in enzymes needed for Phase 1 Liver Detoxification. Too little water limits our ability to naturally flush out toxins, keeping movement in the bowels and urinating infrequent. Drink your water, at least half of your body weight in ounces. Add lemon, cucumbers, fresh sliced fruit, or maybe a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. You can make it taste the way you like it as long as it is without added sugar! Keep in mind that adding electrolytes might be very helpful and even necessary during hot months or intense workouts.

By following these simple rules, your body will keep its detoxification channels open, which means you are more likely to succeed if you decided to follow a detox plan. My biggest advice is to stay away from crazy, “fast”, and extreme plans that are found on the inter-webs these days. If it is too good to be true, it probably is not good at all. Follow a nutrient dense diet for at least 120 days and see how you feel first. Then, find a holistic practitioner that specializes in the filed who can guide you through the process.

Keep in mind that our bodies are very smart and most likely are able to detoxify by themselves with proper nutrition. Give it a chance 😊.