So last week I wrote about the way I personally reset after a few days of bad decisions and the email responses I got were amazing! Thanks to all of you for sending your questions-I will try to answer them as quickly as possible! So-aside from learning just how 'hot' a topic the concept of resetting is, I also learned that the most popular question by far was if we really need to do it. To answer all you Lavish peeps, the blog this week is all about that detox!
There are two pretty distinct camps on detoxing: the "you need to detox monthly by drinking a specific cleanse and nothing else" and the "our bodies were built to detox themselves and everything else is a money grab". So-which is right? I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle, and I'll explain exactly what I mean without getting too technical.
So-yes our bodies evolved with some pretty great detoxification organs: the main one being our liver. The problem is our liver (and all other detox organs) evolved during a time where environmental and food toxins didn't exist. Our toxic exposure, and therefore the toxic load the organs had to deal with were so.much.smaller. Since those caveman days we just keep dreaming up new and fancier chemicals for our bodies to deal with. We now have OTC drugs, prescription drugs, crazy hormonal disrupting chemicals from plastics and other additives (looking at you parabens), artificial food dyes, the list goes on and on.
Lets talk a little bit about our largest internal organ (and I promise I won't get too technical so keep reading). All toxins basically pass through the liver before hitting the general bloodstream and are (hopefully) filtered out of the blood and packaged for excretion. Our livers use a 2 phase system for detox: the first is where toxins are broken down (and often made MORE toxic in the process) and the second is where another molecule is attached to the toxin to package it out for elimination. Now-phase one is pretty basic and phase two is more complicated with six different potential pathways all using a different molecule to package the toxin depending on what it is. And that, my friends is as sciency as I'll get-promise.
Imagine phase one and phase two as a factory conveyor belt where employees are easily able to keep up with the flow of product and everything gets packaged perfectly and out the door. Everyone's happy and the factory stays on track-that would be the scenario played out in our livers when they evolved as our primary organ for detoxification. Now, picture if you can an old episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel are working in a factory and everything goes crazy (if you're too young for this one picture the very same conveyor belt going way too fast, products piling up and the system completely breaking down: everything turns into a big old mess). This is what happens when your liver is overexposed to toxins. The idea that our bodies were designed to naturally detox and that the system could never fail is pretty silly. By that logic, fatal overdoses of drugs couldn't happen because our liver would just 'keep up' and detox the poison. We know our bodies can get overwhelmed by toxin build up, and the likelihood that you have a sluggish liver is pretty high these days. Factors like living in a city (those exhaust fumes), eating and drinking out of plastic containers (hormone disrupting little buggers), taking OTC drugs and prescriptions (hello-obvious), drinking regularly (alcohol has to be detoxed too-yes even wine) and even eating excess fat (all fat-yes avocado too-is processed by the liver), sugar (again-has to be converted to triglycerides in the liver and packaged up for storage aka fat deposits) and processed foods (contain chemicals needing detox action) all increase your poor liver's conveyor belt speed and contribute to a buildup of toxins that can't be properly dealt with. The repercussions of this are huge (I'll leave that for a future blog post-let's stick to one subject here) and for this reason I think detox is completely necessary to stay healthy!
Wait-if I think detox is such a great idea why did I say the truth lies somewhere in the middle when I introduced the two camps on detox? Well-I do believe we need to detox BUT I also believe most detoxes out there are a money grab, ineffective at best and harmful at worst. So-how do you give your liver a little love and detox healthfully? You have two choices: work with someone like me (sorry-shameless plug) who can do the hard part for you and give you a step by step personalized plan to follow OR if you are DIY savvy then design your own! The best way to do this is to design a two part plan. First of all you need to remove as many toxins from your diet as you can plus as many liver exhaustive foods. Then you need to add in as many liver supportive nutrients as possible. That doesn't sound too awful does it? I've come up with a program that I use every few months for a week and it works wonders for me!
First-I make sure to only eat whole foods during the detox week. Secondly, I cut out all caffeine, dairy and alcohol. Because I make sure to only eat whole foods I don't have to worry about cutting out other liver hating foods like sugar etc (its already out). I also make sure to eat very minimal fats during this week (don't worry-I still think fats are great BUT they are a strain on the liver and just for this week I try to go without) and fill my meals with liver supportive foods like dark leafy greens and citrus fruits. Finally, I take liver supportive supplements to give my liver as much love as possible! Quick word of caution though: if you are going the DIY route then do your research! And if your diet isn't too clean to begin with then seek out a health care professional to talk to so you can figure out the best first steps.
And that dear readers is my take on detox! Agree? Disagree? Hit reply and let me know!