I know you don’t want to hear this, I realize that it’s more fun to think there is a quick fix, but I am here to tell you what you already know. No mater how many times you choose to believe the ad, your body doesn’t work that way. I’m not saying your body can’t change quickly. It can. It’s amazing. This just doesn’t change how your underlying physiology works. The reason so many medications have so many side effects or so many diets end in weight gain in the long run and even why that detox gave you a reaction is because they are going for short term solutions that often backfire physiologically. Your body rebounds against the mask of medicine or the short term eating style and finds a way to find equilibrium. It’s our body’s way of keeping us alive really, saving us from shock and maintaining balance, or homeostasis.
If you are dieting the worst thing you can do is reduce your weight quickly. Your body will see this as starvation and quickly turn it right around as soon as it can, now storing for the next time this happens, just like it would if there were a famine, saving you from the next one by packing on the storage of new fat to keep you safe. When you choose an eating style that is not completely sustainable, you are asking for future weight gain. You can, however, safely and sustainably loose weight in proper proportion to your body weight with a balanced diet and exercise and the loss of the fat will make it easier for you to maintain this weight over time, so you are not stuck with your weight to spite the messages your fat cells are sending you. Yes, your fat cells send messages. Literally, actual chemicals they produce that send your brain signals that have an affect on your mood and behavior as well as many other aspects of your physiolgy like inflammation that can trigger the pain response and cause disease.
Similarly, some foods make you feel good for a short time, like refined carbohydrates that send floods of serotonin and glucose to your brain giving you calming energy. The problem with the flood is the inevitable backlash or rebound. Flood your body with glucose and it will do it’s best to clean it up, quickly, to save you from the life-threatening and damaging effects of high blood sugar. Insulin rushes to the scene sucking up that glucose from the circulation and quickly storing it in fat cells, and the cycle begins. Now you have no glucose left. Your cells are left starving for more, and now that big rush has started to damage their walls making it more difficult for the insulin to do it’s job. So the body works harder. That flood of serotonin started to deplete your stores. The coffee you had before you could find the refined carbohydrates already used up an array of neuruotransmitters as well so now you are left feeling sucked dry, sad and out of sorts, and you don’t understand. Your body can recover, but over time that will become more and more difficult. The more building blocks you use, the more you will have to replace. And soon, diet alone will not be enough to turn things around, even if you were able to bring yourself to make the proper changes.
On the other side is steady, sustainable life and spirit changing nutritional shifts that can easily last a lifetime. Choosing foods that nourish your body mind and spirit for the long haul can easily and steadily reverse the damage, replete the building blocks for your cell walls, your neurotransmitters and all the organ systems, skin muscles, bone and viscera that have been waiting for the chance to support you again. Yes, you may need some extra power from carefully chosen supplemental support for a time. This can happen when you have long-term imbalance; but you can make a recovery mostly from fresh whole food, from the rainbow of building blocks that are here to support your every bodily need.
The word “detox” is going through a long fad stage. There are an ocean full of detox quick fixes to fish from. Many of these can be not only useless, but quite harmful. This isn’t because detoxing is a bad thing. In fact, it’s something you simply cannot live without. What you need to understand first is this is what your body does every second of every day no matter what you do. If there were not detoxifying metabolic processes going on, you wouldn’t be reading this. So how do we best support this vital system that affects every cell in our body?
First and foremost, don’t starve your self. Not in any way (no juice cleanse, master cleanse, or any other lack of food groups for any length of time, like a few hours for some). At least not until you have already maintained a state of thorough and sustainable detox with food. AfTer you have an excellent diet there are some benefits to short term fasting (less than 3 days) that have specific benefits that are discussed in great detail in my detox classes.
The reasons for this are crucial to understand. Your physiology is complex and amazing, but it uses food to carry the toxins out of your body. Without the nutrients, fiber and chemicals found in food (including protein, fiber and fat) your body has no way to get the toxins out, and no way to protect or support your healthy organs and cells. It’s like kicking the hornets’ nest with the windows closed.
Second, support the process. You are likely missing a piece somewhere, depleted enough of a nutrient, neurotransmitter, fatty acid or protein that there is a hole in your physiology acting like a monkey wrench in your system, causing an array of down stream effects that may be hard to trace even for the most well-trained doctors or scientists. Tossing the kitchen sink at your physiology is not the answer, neither is a smart Internet search looking for what makes the most sense to you at the time.
I think it’s great for you to go looking into the world of cures and to discover what you can about your self, just remember how complicated you are and know when to ask for help. All nutrients work in concert with each other, and one will defeat another if it is over powered. For example, no matter how important vitamin D is proving to be for our health, no matter how much of a fad it has become, you must not forget our old friend vitamin A, or any other fat soluble vitamin competing for absorption or use.
When things use the same lock, you must be careful about the balance of keys, this means keeping a balance of certain nutrients is crucial. Things like copper and zinc are in a constant state of balance so adding things in can be as dangerous as taking them away unless we pay close attention to that balance. So, don’t forget to find a professional that can use diagnostic skill and modern testing to make sure you are safe, and in optimal balance.
Finally, make sure you are supporting phase one to release the toxins and phase two to remove them adequately. This brings us back to rule number one: Don’t starve yourself. No pill, potion or tea is enough to support you unless it contains a meals worth of balanced nutrition. Make sure you understand how important protein, fat, nutrients and fiber are to your detoxification process (something discussed in great detail in the detox classes). Phase one detox releases the toxins from where they are bound (like kicking the hornets’ nest). Unless they are free, they have no way to be removed. Phase two cleans up the toxins and removes them from the body while protecting the healthy cells.
I mentioned medication above, and I want to shed some light on that aspect of the quick fix. While some medication can help you on your path to resolving disease, many are used like bandaids to help stop an immediate problem, quickly. This can be life saving, but is typically not part of the long-term or sustainable solution. There are some medications used to help maintain physiology and prevent long-term disease, yet it is often the case that the real fix, a change in lifestyle is more safe and effective for this purpose. Finding the root of the problem, treating the underlying cause rather than the immediate symptom is the process that leads us to true wellness and recovery. Functional Medicine is a process that helps us with this goal, to solve the real problem before it pops up in other places or causes more long-term debilitating damage.