Detoxification as a path to health – a comprehensive detox guide
“It is more important to identify things you can remove rather than it is to add” – Ben Lynch
Toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, fire retardants, preservatives, softeners, fragrances, solvents, endocrine disruptors and other chemicals can play havoc on your cellular environment. For example an endocrine disruptor found in plastic may attach to a receptor for a hormone which in turn affects the levels and function of all your other hormones cascading into a realm of issues related to hormones. Another example would be how a pesticide can attach to an enzyme created by your genes to help process neurotransmitters blocking that pathway. As your bodies ability to process the neurotransmitter is blocked it builds up in your body causing anxiety, ADD, cortisol overload and so on.
While we offer individual personalized guidance and intermittent detox classes, this detox guide will help you with any detox plan you choose or to create your own.
Step 1 – Remove
The best detox involves removing all processed foods, and doing an environmental overhaul of what you can control in your home, office, car and world. Start with Environmental Working Group and fix your cosmetics, home products, sun screen and food.
During a detox, first remove all processed foods. Check EWG for a guide on additives for the future to guide you but for the period of your detox remove anything processed, this includes any form of flour or sugar. If your food is not processed in a factory but rather by you, then you know that there are no additives. Pesticides and fungicides on fruits and vegetables vary so be sure to get the app or print the guide to the clean 15 and dirty dozen and avoid the dirty dozen even when you are away from home.
Get your water checked and find the right filter for your needs. Bottled water is not a good choice environmentally but it also can be more contaminated than your water at home, contains plastic residue which is increased when cooled or heated and not only leaches in over time but gets dumped in during the filling process where most factories expand the container while filling it to save space at the factory.
Self Care Products
Go through your personal care products and clean out things with fragrance, dyes, heavy metals and harmful chemicals. Check EWGs guide to cosmetics. Find alternatives and generally reduce what you are exposed to daily.
Things like carpet, furniture, and paint in your home can be a significant challenge to your total body burden. Do what you can to minimize what you are exposed to. Opt for non-toxic (never carpet) flooring (Marmoleum is what we chose). Beds made of natural latex or specialty made futons are available without fire retardant with a prescription (I am happy to provide) and furniture should be self contained. Leather furniture may contain lead but fabric collects dust dander and potentially mold and leeches more fire retardants so do your best. Anything you can smell is off gassing. Don’t buy it! Get it out of our house if you can smell it. This includes plastic items like shower curtains as well as products made to smell like dryer sheets or scented candles. Check EWG’s home guide. If you are living a home built before 1972 check for lead, look for any pealing or cracking paint and be cautious of your soil. Tamara Rubin is a pioneer in lead testing and it is worth following her work. Lead is commonly found in many household items, older toys as well as homes and yards. She will help you test, show you where lead is and generally freak you out if you don’t understand how XRF works. Tamera uses XRF testing which detects what an item contains while I agree with her there is no excuse for products like baby bottles and cook ware to contain any lead at all, it does not always equal leeching or exposure. Over time, however, as a product breaks down the likely hood of exposure increases greatly so check for any hand me down kitchen items and be sure to think logically about the lead potential. You can get lead check swabs to check for leeching at over 600 ppm (safe limit for children’s toys is currently 90 ppm).
Cleaning products are largely unnecessary and usually quite toxic. The idea that we have to kill all the “germs” in our environment is a misguided understanding that contributes to super bugs (the kind you can no longer kill as they have mutated past our current science and abilities) as well as imbalance that created increased susceptibility. Good bacteria fights bad bacteria and without those healthy soldiers we are doomed to fail the fight. While it is important to properly sterilize some things like a counter that was exposed to raw chicken and potentially deadly salmonella it is just as important to do this in a way that does not expose your family to harmful chemicals. We clean our home with specialized reusable rags that can be found everywhere and leave surfaces clean and shinny with nothing but water, vinegar in areas that need it, some scrubbing powder without extra chemicals like Bon Ami and save properly diluted bleach (10:1 kills everything including Hep B) and sanitizing wipes for rare spot cleaning and exposures like a sick visitor sneezing on a door knob. Use EWGs database to clean out your cupboards and don’t look back. Do not assume because a product says green or natural that it is better, often this is not the case. Look it up!
Dust, mold, pet dander and exhaust all permeate our homes, cars, and outdoor environments. If you have mold in your home, treat it. Get tested for mold allergy and eliminate the source and get a treatment plan. If you are allergic to pets keep them out of your bedroom at the very least. Use HEPA filters (not fancy filters that don’t really clean the air properly) as needed to help. Wash your bedding and put your pillows in the dryer for 10 minutes once a week to kill dust mites. Keep your windows open and fresh air flowing when air quality is good and use filters and keep doors and windows closed when air quality is poor.
Step 2 – support phase 1 and phase 2 detox
Detoxification is a fad, most crash diets cleanses and fasts cause more harm than good and the metabolic pathways that support the processing and removal of harmful factors should be supported every single day of your life balancing total load with the ability to clean it up. The more you are exposed to the more you will need support and the more susceptible you are the more you will need to design the right support for your specific needs.
Do not be a bull in china shop!
If you are cleaning your home you would be sure the trash is emptied as you pull things out of the cupboards and not just toss the trash all over the house right? You would make sure you have a bag on the vacuum before you turn it on and blow dust and dirt into the air or course! So don’t starve your self with a fast while actively mobilizing toxins out of your cells without a clear path the get them out of your body rather than redistributed. One example of this is the Master Cleanse which was developed in the 70s and supports phase 1 but not phase 2 detox. It is based on a sugar solution without nutrients or fiber along with guiding herbs which effectively will move the harmful toxins stored safely in your belly fat directly to your brain as it is starving for nutrients and glucose and readily uptakes molecular mimickers it would normally filter out or preferentially absorb. The same is true for crash diets with to much fat loss quickly, again your body is starving and not only will that lead to a rebound weight gain that often leaves you heavier in the long run (just ask Oprah) but it re-mobilzes a lifetime of toxic exposure to your organs and brain that should be safely guided out instead.
This is the phase that gets the toxins out of the cells, the bones the fat and into circulation to be relocated or hopefully eliminated. It is supported by nutrients herbs and foods that stir things up. If you support just phase 1 you are vacuuming with the bag off in a closed room and will create re-location not elimination of toxins. Fasting can be a part of a healthy cleanse or even daily plan and can be quite beneficial but you need to first support phase 2 detoxification to not cause harm, never fast for more than 3 days and build up to longer fasts with a month or more of clean eating and elimination of body burden.
This phase includes processing and elimination that help get what we no longer need out of our body. From hormones to man made chemicals and even neurotransmitters we need to be able to eliminate things from our body to move on. Build up of chemicals causes blockage of enzymatic pathways, like a monkey wrench in an engine this will disrupt the processes in your body. It is just as if you are holding a bag of trash but see a bunch of fresh berries. You have to set down the trash before you can pick up the berries. This happens in your body with receptors for thyroid, hormones, neurotransmitters and nutrients. If the pathway for uptake of folate is blocked by a pesticide from a strawberry your body can not uptake the folate it needs for methylation a process that it needs to move hormones neurotransmitters and toxins through.
The most important thing you can include is fiber from fruits and vegetables with plenty of nutrients. Note I said FIBER. Juice cleanses lack fiber. This is a huge issue.
We eliminate toxins through feces, urine, sweat and breath. If you don’t eat fiber or support proper phase 2 cofactors and nutrients like active B vitamins, magnesium and so on you will not be moving toxins out.
What TO Eat
While there is no need for grains in your diet and certainly not refined sugar, carbohydrates, fiber and nutrients from fruits and vegetables are critical. You will need to eat a LOT of vegetables to reach the same caloric needs as you did from refined carbs like bread. Here are some specific foods to focus on:
- Eating cruciferous vegetables and garlic, onions, can boost glutathione which is made of cystine lysine and glutamate.
- Supplements like NAC, R-Lipoic acid, B 12, Folate, B6, selenium and Milk Thistle along with your multi vitamin and fish oil can all help.
- Curcumin/turmeric, Blueberries, grapes, green tea, nettles and ginger all have special detoxifying qualities.
- Sulforaphane is in broccoli, particularly broccoli sprouts and seeds, also brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, chinese broccoli, broccoli raab, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, arugula, and watercress.
One simple way to include an array of nutrients is to eat all 7 colors of the rainbow every day, natures guide to include what you need in your body for optimal health!
Detoxification is a daily process that is critical to health. If your diet plan or new cleanse does not support the reality I have laid out above, ditch it! Most people should come in for support and guidance for personalization of their health journey as everyone’s needs are not the same. Make an appointment and we can go over how to best support you!