DETOX! (Minus the Drama) - Part I
"There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify the body, because we have our own internal organs and immune system that take care of excreting toxins. Your body is designed to remove toxins efficiently with organs such as the kidneys, liver and colon. You don’t need detox diets, pills, or potions to help your body do its job."
— Frank Sacks, MD, Epidemiologist, Harvard School of Public Health
There are many theories about detoxing, and some of them can sound rather sensational with false and naïve assumptions that we can "cleanse" our body in a few days. This thinking originates from the magic bullet mindset that has us believe that salvation lies in pills, instant fixes, exotic touch, obscure tribal potions or specialized therapies.
In over four decades of personal research, lecturing, counseling, fasting and dietary experimenting, I've met many individuals who seemed to relish the drama of detox; they craved the experience of feeling disabled by the purge of yesterday's bad judgment, as if the suffering of such a "discharge" was the justified price and the badge necessary to advertise their struggle, or transform their health. A therapist friend and former client expressed the opinion that this might just be an unconscious self-punishment strategy for the guilt of previous dietary abuse.
Redemption is never supposed to come easy.
I've heard clients in the past champion, with evangelistic zeal (after decades of dietary abuse or addictive bingeing), their need for cleansing:
"I just want to get all the toxins out. Then, I'll feel better."
" I'm going on juices for a couple of days, just to clean out my system."
"I fast every month—just to detoxify."
"Since I've began to eat pure foods, my body is getting rid of old poisons."
Generally, the most common detoxification therapies recommend a variety of pills, cleansing herbs, fasting, coffee enemas, and various kinds of sweat therapy from infrared saunas to body wraps to being buried in mud or sand. You might feel somewhat cleansed after all this, however such quick fixes usually do not take into account the changing quality of the blood and the length of time it actually takes to really begin rejuvenating one’s health condition.
Your red blood cells have an approximate life span of 120 days. Everything you eat, despite daily intestinal purging, influences the chemical quality of your blood, body fluids and cellular health, as it continually regenerates. Think about everything that you’ve consumed in the last four months and picture that in a large bucket that you’re toting around. Kinda makes a three-day cleanse look a bit less significant…
While certain more dramatic detox therapies can offer absolute advantages, the bottom line is that detoxing occurs on a daily basis—not just in the form of a major breakdown. In fact, you're detoxing as you read this! The liver and kidneys, digestive, respiratory, lymphatic and the skin filtration systems never cease their detoxifying functions. Putting physical and personality characteristics aside, humans collectively share an amazingly organized and intricate internal physiology. What we take into our bodies as nourishment, what we breath and what gets absorbed through the skin’s pores, must go through an elaborate process of breakdown, storage, and discharge.
Food is eventually broken down into tiny energy components that provide fuel for cells. What we inhale also gets absorbed into blood via the lungs and after becoming part of the bloodstream, is then filtered by the liver and finally thorough an additional filtering process by the kidneys before impurities become discharged as urine.
The six filtering factories responsible for natural body detoxification are the liver, kidneys, digestive organs, lungs, lymp system, and the skin pores. What we store within the body – and what we eliminate--depends on the condition of these organs and systems, our fat reserves (toxins lodge themselves in body fat), circulation and blood quality.
While there are a number of therapies that can accelerate internal detoxification for each of these organs, as well as supplemental therapies that can bond to and remove heavy metals, the scope of this blog is more general. Therefore, listed in Part 2 of this article are, Twelve Ways To Promote Natural Detoxification.
Check back next week for, Part II: Twelve Ways to Naturally Promote Detoxification!