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The first of the year follows a time when many of us have been a little lax in our normal routines. The holiday season offers an abundance of calories, unusual foods, high sugar treats and alcohol along with plenty of reasons for us to let down our guard, enjoy the party and loosen the inhibitions we normally observe.
It could be that on just a single day we have ‘let our hair down’ and are back to our normal stoic existence, but it could also be that since Thanksgiving day (or perhaps starting with Halloween candy…) we have been pushing the boundaries of what is permissible in our food and exercise habits. We can also perhaps talk about how the seasonal change in regards to less light and cooler temperatures drive hidden urges. Urges to acquire more calories and mood elevating foods with sugar to stave off potential starvation from famine and seasonal depression from lack of sunlight.
So, let’s just say that we have been on a pathway that involves the consumption of lots of tasty food and drink and less exercise coupled with some emotional and physical stress.
Let’s also say that with the turning of the calendar we have ‘come to our senses’; we see the err of our ways; we are turning over a new leaf; we are making and keeping our new year’s resolutions. We are new and different beings who share only a fleeting resemblance to that person of old who had a second helping of the cherry pie and ate every cookie in sight. The point is, we are different.
It is only human that we want this change of mind to be reflected in a change of body. We don’t just want a slow slide to perfection, we want results now. We want a grand change. We want to detox.
What is a ‘Detox’?
Detoxing is what our body does all the time, slowly and persistently. Yet, when we say detox what we really are meaning is a quick process, usually involving something somewhat extreme or at least unusual. It is often referred to as a cleanse. So, we have detox diets, detox drinks and cleansing regimes.
The common denominator in ‘detox’ is that it purports to create a fast change and rid our body of ‘toxins’ be they chemical or fatty. Most detoxing shares qualities found in religious fanaticism that involves fasting and purging. The fasting may indeed involve complete avoidance of food but it often steers the detoxer into consuming certain things in abundance while avoiding all regular dietary norms. The purging often involves consuming agents, usually herbal, that are purported to strip the body of any noxious toxins by ‘cleansing’ the liver, kidneys and colon of all that stuff we so ardently consumed in our previous hedonistic seasonal joy.
Detoxing is a sort of penance for all that excess fun.
Here is a list of what is being touted currently:
3 Ways to Detox Your Body in Under an Hour – involving drinking ginger root and lemon juice, eating dandelion greens and swishing your mouth with sesame oil.
One Day Detox Diet Plan – involving lemon juice, caffeine, cabbage salad, juices and kale.
Our Best Detox Cleanse Diet for One-Day Results – involving skipping breakfast, drinking water, eating bananas, mint candles (you smell them), asparagus, ginseng tea, avoiding napping, blueberries and going to bed early.
Many others included lemon juice along with various detoxifying foods and many also touted fasting and sweating.
The problem with detoxing is that 1. They don’t work, 2. They are unnecessary, and 3. They can cause harm.
1. They don’t work because the substances or regimes they are promoting do not cause the body to do things differently. Lemon juice for all it is touted does not make a dramatic shift in our digestion nor prompt the body to purge impurities. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is not some sort of citrus magic.
2. Purging or cleansing does not need to be taken on in order to restore a healthy system. Our body is constantly seeking to restore itself to a natural balance, sort of like a self cleaning oven. It will do its job as long as we stop adding in ‘toxic’ stuff.
3. If we were to use a substance that actually did ‘detoxify’ our body, we would be using a strong and potentially dangerous substance and would have extreme results. Even rapid weight loss is unhealthy because it causes the body to lose muscle as well as body fat. We should keep in mind that our body fat is triggered to accumulate when we are exposed to a greater amount of toxin than our body can easily get rid of. This allows us to put the toxic substances in a sort of stasis. Normal weight loss will only allow a gradual increase of these stored toxins into our system. Rapid weight loss may dump large amounts which in addition to giving us a dose of toxic overload also stimulates the body’s need to accumulate more fat to deal with it.
What Can We Do?
The best remedy to the season of excess is to merely stop the excess. Returning to our normal habits will stop the overload of our systems and allow us to return to our normal balance. Of course we can also take on more healthy habits such as drinking more water and less sugar sweetened and carbonated drinks. We can eat more fruits and vegetables. We can avoid processed foods and eat more organic and natural foods. We can take more walks, attend more yoga classes and strengthen our muscles with weight training workouts.
If you are looking for some of these remedies and you are in the Houston, Tx are then check out my classes
I have a special New Year’s block class price if you purchase before January 15th.
If you are interested in learning how to avoid Nutritional Toxins then you might be interested in my upcoming workshop:
Nutritional Detox – Endocrine Disruptors
Saturday January 13, 2018
I will be discussing what these substances are, how they get into our food supply and how we can avoid them. Register early and you will get a special New Year discount.
All the best,