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What is a detox exactly?
Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxic substances from the body.
Where do all these toxic substances come from?
From the food we eat…
Our body must constantly fight against toxic substances which are contained in modern food (GMOs, pesticides, nitrates, dioxin, food coloring, preservative agents, sweeteners, etc.).
From the bad habits we have…
Alcohol and tobacco of course, but also other things such as meat when it’s too grilled.
From the air we breathe…
Especially if you live in an urban area.
From our hectic life styles…
Stress is not just mental, it is also physical. It causes brain damages, affects you gene expression and shuts down the immune system!
So what do we have to do to fight against these toxic substances? We need to DETOXIFY. Our body cannot fight on its own against these permanent aggressions. We need to HELP it.
When is the best time to detoxify your body?
Detox can be particularly useful in case of:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Skin problems
- Menstrual problems
- Periods of big stress
- Too-much-food period, such as Christmas
If any of the above syndromes sounds familiar, it might be time for a body detox!
By eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain an optimum health. Today, with more toxins in the environment than ever, detox is a must.
So, what do you need to do?
1°) Spare your body the unnecessary toxin load.
We can sometimes achieve a lot by simply not harming ourselves. At goalmap, we call those the “don’ts” (negative goals such as do not drink soda, do not watch too much TV, etc.). Of course, you should eliminate or reduce drastically alcohol, cigarettes, processed food, refined sugars which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process.
Go for organic food, which is more respectful of our body and the environment; buy local and seasonal products for a healthier nutrition.
Useful reflex: read the labels to know better the composition of the food you eat. You’ll be surprised to see how many chemical products are added! And when it’s along complicated name you don’t understand, it’s safe to consider by default that it must be bad!
Replace chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes) with natural alternatives.
2°) Respect the acid-base balance of your body.
We have already discussed this topic in a recent post: the acid-base balance is essential for a good health. A lot of the food we eat acidifies our body – so does the stress of our daily lives. In order to prevent acidification, which causes muscular tension –contractures, inflammations or skin problems, our body needs to find the right balance between acid food (e.g. meat, delicatessen, cheese, white bread, sugars, sodas, coffee) and alkaline food (e.g., potatoes, greens, cottage cheese, dry and fresh fruit).
3°) Help your organism eliminate the toxins
When the body has too much to do with all the toxins we ingurgitate, you may want to give it a hand. Cleansing the organs / body parts is a good way to better resist and eliminate pathogens. Various organs take part in the elimination of « waste » in our body:
The liver is like a waste processing factory. It filters and transforms it. Some vegetables/fruits enhance these functions: artichoke, radish, garlic, cauliflower, lemon, etc. If you cannot find those where you live or if they are out of season, you can take food supplements that contain then.
You can also take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
The kidneys eliminate waste too. To help them in this difficult task, it is advised to drink 1.5 liter of water every day.
Intestines stock and evacuate food waste. The intestinal flora plays a major role in our health. It is therefore essential to improve its composition by taking probiotics, which are live bacteria able to restore the flora and protect our body against undesirable germs.
The lungs evacuate carbon dioxide. Their action is improved by sports activities, outdoor activities, or yoga practicing (for example).
The skin enables us to eliminate many toxins thanks to physical activity. Moving improves toxin elimination. Other activities can be beneficial:
- Practice hydrotherapy by taking a hot shower for a few minutes. Follow this with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
- Sweat in a sauna or hammam so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
- Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores.
EXERCISE, of course! Exercise regularly is the best way to eliminate all toxins. When exercising, breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system. Get out of your house, run, swim, cycle, do yoga on a regular basis. Your body will THANK you.
The best way to detoxify is to do it DAILY.
You are getting our point. Detox programs are popular (simple fruit and veggie detox, smoothie cleanse, juice cleanse, sugar detox, hypoallergenic detox [a few examples on http://life.gaiam.com/article/detox-101]) and they can be useful – drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water for 3-5 days can be an effective way to release toxins.
BUT these detox programs are not as useful as a healthy diet, regular exercises and a healthy lifestyle which enable you to constantly cleanse your body. A healthy diet is really ALL you need. Nutrition and health is about the big picture, the things you do regularly forever, your HABITS, and not what you do for just one week. A four-day detox program will not “eliminate” all toxins accumulated after a year of an unhealthy diet. If commercials tell you that, take them with a pinch of salt! A healthy diet must be a DAILY goal.
Check out goalmap, it will help you define, follow and benefit from a healthy diet routine.
If you have any advice/insight on DETOX diets or healthy diets, please SHARE with us!
This article was written with the contribution of Martine Catani who wrote several books about nutrition and life balance in French.
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