“Do I need to detox?” It is one of the most asked questions that we hear from our patients. It is one of my least favorite questions to answer. The term “detox” is filled with connotations, many of them negative. I mean, what in the heck does “detox” mean anyway?
Detox certainly means different things for different people. I believe that Charlie Sheen and Lindsey Lohan are associated with “detoxing”. Some of my more fortunate friends spend weeks at 5 star spas to “detox”. Other people, who I would argue seem less fortunate, blend mysterious herbs and sea plants in their Vitamixers to concoct shakes in what should be illegal shades of green when they do a “cleansing detox”.
Even Wikipedia is murky (no pun intended) on the topic of detox! It says that detox is the “real or perceived act of removing toxins from the body”. Personally, I have no desire to load up on herbs whose names I can’t pronounce if I am only deluding myself that I am doing something healthy.
The truth is that most of us have some kind of addiction. Fortunately, the majority of us aren’t dealing with the addictions and excesses that we read about in the celebrity magazines. Yet, we may be addicted to sugar, salt, caffeine, nicotine, too much wine or processed foods. Personally, I am addicted to at least three of the aforementioned! Detoxing can help us move away from those addictions and toward a more healthy lifestyle.
Additionally, we live in a dirty world. We eat, drink and breathe in thousands of toxins every single day.
So, yes, it probably is good to “detox” once in awhile. Many healthy people choose to detox twice a year- often in the spring and fall as the seasons change.
It generally takes about 28 days to wean from an addictive substance, which makes a month long detox a reasonable goal. Some of the benefits that you can expect from a month long detox include:
- Increased energy and a feeling of vitality
- Weight loss (if this is a goal)
- Improved mood
- Better cognitive function
- A drop in cholesterol levels and a decrease in blood pressure
- Loss of unhealthy cravings
- More effective digestive and elimination
- Clearer skin
- Reduction in allergy symptoms
- Improved athletic performance
As a word of warning, most people actually feel worse during the first few days of a detox. Symptoms like fatigue, moodiness and headaches are common. For this reason, many people find it helpful to ease into a detox during the first week.
For a simple, yet effective detox, I would suggest the following month long goals:
- Drink ½ of your weight in ounces in purified water each day (i.e. a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water per day)
- Avoid all processed foods
- Avoid all dairy, eggs and red meat
- Replace ordinary salt with celtic sea salt
- Consume at least 30 grams of fiber per day
- Eat only organic produce and poultry
- Limit sweeteners to limited quantities of xylitol, stevia, rice syrup, and fruit sweeteners
- Consume 2 daily “detox” shakes per day. I would suggest using Thorne MediClear, Metagenics UltraClear or BioGenesis Bio-Cleanse
At our clinic, we keep several detox guides and products on hand to simplify the process. They are available at our NaturoMedica clinic for patients and non-patients alike. If you would like a more personalized approach, set up an appointment with one of our physicians and we will develop a customized detox plan tailored to your individual needs.
For a first time “detoxer” I would suggest using the BioGenesis guidebook titled “Living Clean in a Dirty World”. The handout outlines a reasonable detox diet in great detail and includes recipes for nutrient rich daily shakes. The guide outlines a food plan that is used along with BioGenesis BioCleanse products, a fiber supplement and fish oil. For the next month, we will have all of our detox guides and products displayed prominently at our front desk.
Between now and April 30, 2011 we are offering all of our detox products at 20% off the regular retail prices. Happy detox!