Exactly what IS “detox”?

I am “detoxing” right now (are you getting a visual?) So are you.

You don’t need fancy shakes and juice drinks to “detox” your body.  And you certainly don’t need any enemas…coffee or otherwise!

Our bodies are constantly being bombarded with pollution, radioactive particles, UV rays, pesticides in our food, and contaminates in our water.  These toxins are harmful to our bodies, yet we are constantly dealing with and expelling these toxins to keep us healthy.  How does that happen?

It can only happen if your intestines and liver are in perfect working order.  Without healthy pipes (bowels) and a healthy filter (liver) your body is unable to get rid of toxins and they end up in your brain, and fat cells causing chronic illness and disease.

A post by Total Health Naturally got me thinking about when I would sometimes work on the Alcohol Dependance unit back in my early nursing days.  We called that unit “detox”.  There were no special teas, and no bowel preps.  Just the absence of the poison that had taken control of these patient’s bodies and lives.  There was a standardized protocol of care for these folks, and some of it involved a drug regimen, but the drugs were used to decrease the unpleasant side effects of “detoxing”, it wasn’t to aid or speed up detoxing.

It’s the same way when you make the decision to “get clean”.  You want to feel great, lose 20 pounds, and have more energy than a 5 year old at Disneyworld.  But you want to get there tomorrow, so you invest in a “detox kit” that promises you all this and more.  I can guarantee you that the first step in any of the detox treatments is a total abandonment of your former eating habits before you start their “magic potion”.

Well guess what? All you had to do is the first step.

Simply avoiding the toxins…smoking, pesticides, preservatives, processed foods, sugar, energy drinks, pain pills, antacids, your couch 🙂 will have the same effect.  IF you have a healthy colon and liver.  If the pool filter is broken and the pipes are clogged, you’re going to have a lot of bugs, leaves and used bandaids in the skimmer and that leads to dirty unhealthy water.   

There is a wonderful blog post explaining all this in great detail at Bodhifit. Author Eric Falstrault is a Naturopath, strength and conditioning coach, and Sports Therapist.  In his post, “The Case Against Detoxification Kits” he explains the process of how your body deals with the never-ending bombardment of toxins all day long in great detail that is easy to understand.

The image below taken from that post  is a good depiction of that. (for those of us that like pictures in our books)

When you look at the image, the detox in a person with a healthy liver and colon is on the bottom, and the unhealthy person is on the top.

Start at the grey line coming from the cigarettes…”toxins enter the body”.

In the unhealthy person...someone that has been abusing their body with pharmaceuticals, (from Tylenol and Mylanta to Oxycodone) poor eating habits, fast food, lack of water intake, smoker, no exercise, stress, etc.

Toxins enter the body…either through breathing, eating, or what you are experiencing or applying to your skin.

Step 1: Toxins and other poisons formed internally leak through the unhealthy intestine and flow to the liver

Step 2: Liver is unable to neutralize toxins because it lacks the “tools” needed due to an unhealthy lifestyle

Step 3: Toxins remain unchanged and unable to exit the body

Step 4: Unchanged toxins leave the liver and are stored in the fat, brain and nerve tissue

Step 5: Stored toxins recirculate in the blood and lead to long term poor health

In the healthy person…someone that eats clean foods not processed, no chemicals or artificial flavors or colors, someone that exercises regularly, drinks water, knows how to relax and meditate, and uses natural personal care products on their skin, and is conscious of toxins in the home.

Toxins enter the body.

Step 1: In the healthy intestine, fewer poisons are formed and most of the toxins are excreted with only a small amount transported to the liver

Step 2: In the healthy liver, toxins are transformed into an intermediate substance. These free radicals (harmful Ox) are transformed further by anti-oxidant nutrients into simple, harmless H2O (water). (This is why eating a diet rich in anti-oxidants is so wise)

Step 3: The water soluble substance is released to the kidney for excretion.

Step 4: The changed toxin is able to be released by the kidney in urine

Step 5: Since the toxins are released, there is nothing stored and there is a reduced risk of chronic health issues

One of my most popular blog posts is about healthy poop, so I know there are a lot of you out there who are having tummy troubles.  You can fix your intestines by fixing your diet. (healthy stuff in….healthy intestines…healthy poop out)

It’s a bit overwhelming when you realize you need to change your habits, so you may be tempted to look for easy solutions.  But the real “health” will come from a lifestyle commitment of clean whole foods, adequate water intake avoiding chemcials, exercise, and a relaxed mind…..not from an enema bag.  There are lot’s of us bloggers here to help you with sound information and tasty recipes.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you need a resource, or check my list of “other places you might dig” on the right sidebar.

The longest journey begins with a single step……..Tao proverb

Categories: diet, health, healthy living blogs, weight loss

Tags: , , ,

10 replies

  1. This post got me thinking. I would love to do detoxing. The hard part for me is to remove preservatives, processed foods, and sugar completely from my diet. Sugar would be the hardest and it is my weakness! I, however, should try. Great post, Savvy Sister!

  2. This is great info, we are on a raw diet at the moment, which is a detox in itself! We are interested in different detox techniques and in June we wish to become more fluid and clean. So far so good. Happy to find you hear and looking forward to reading more. Happy blogging, lee (www.thebeachhousekitchen.wordpress.com)

  3. Hi there Savvy sister! Great article and I love your description of the image. Thanks for the credit 🙂

  4. I agree with your comment that it is a lifestyle — no quick fix. I’ve been “detoxing” for the past 20 years, slowly giving up harmful foods and adding healthy ones. My latest (after saying I could never live without it) is giving up my daily cup of coffee. It took 6 weeks of no caffeine to begin to feel better (dealt with 3X/week migraines but I persevered). Now I haven’t had a migraine in 2 months, so I will definitely be staying away from caffeine forever. Hmm, let’s see, now what is next on the detox list?

  5. This is a great post. I tried a detox diet that followed the same guidelines and philosophies you outlined. I lasted three of the seven days, but I’m going to give it another whirl!

    • I am not promoting a “detox diet”….I am promoting a healthy lifestyle. There’s no rush with changing the way you eat, because to change that, you must first change the way you THINK about food, and that is not easy. it is possible…but not easy. Start with breakfast only. Once you have that down for a week, then move to lunch and so on.
      Here’s a great way to start your day:

      And take a look at my recipes….I don’t think you’d be depriving yourself…(c’mon…chocolate frosted cupcakes!)

      You can do it…we can help!

      • It wasn’t so much a “diet” as it was a plan for permanent dietary and lifestyle changes that involved getting my body un-addicted to sugar, caffeine, etc. by avoiding the bad stuff for 7 days and replacing them with less harmful options. I jumped back onto the caffeine and sugar train 3 days in and didn’t like that I had to report that to my nutrition counselor! Oops! I will check out the recipes. Thanks!

  6. Detox is really just a fancy marketing ploy. Don’t let the fact that you so badly want it to be true let you be fooled into believing that it actually is. Check out my further thoughts:
    Dr. G

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