Usually people have gained weight post holidays in December and then make new year resolutions for January to get in better shape. We tend to put all kinds of “Junk” into our bodies and then expect it to function optimally without any damage. That does not happen. But you do have an option of cleansing your body from these toxins. It is the best to Eat consciously throughout the year but in addition doing a Detox program 2 times a year, in spring and fall is good for you. It gives you an opportunity to reflect inwards, eat clean and do things that respect your body. In the end, what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas matters, not what you ate between Christmas and New Year’s!
So, what does detoxification actually mean? Firstly, we are exposed to toxins in two ways. The toxic burden exposure from the processed foods that we consume and the things we are exposed to from the environment. Secondly, the toxins that our body makes. Thus, our aim is to reduce this toxic burden and then support these organs of detoxification when we are on a cleanse or a detox program.
What do I mean by toxic foods? The list includes processed foods that come in boxes and cans, white flour, sugar, artificial sweetners, processed milk and more. Basically, food should be consumed in its natural form. Meaning, when you eat that food, it should look same as when it was picked. Vegetables and fruits are the best examples. Eating a variety of these flourishes your microbiome or increases the good bacteria in your gut which are needed to break down the toxins. I encourage you to eat a more plant-based diet. Besides the vegetables and fruits, include handful of nuts & seeds. Lentils, beans and legumes are wonderful protein sources and also provide natural fiber. Fiber from these natural plant-based foods help keep the bowels regular which is an important part of Detox or cleansing.
Besides the Gut, Liver, Kidneys, Skin and Lymphatics help detoxification. In Naturopathic Medicine, we refer to them as emunctories. To explain, our Gut hosts the Microbiome which consists of trillions of microorganisms and has both the good and bad bacteria. We need the good bacteria to break down the toxins consumed. The toxins we consume from food, water, and our environment are exotoxins (from the outside) and add to our toxic burden. While the bad bacteria will produce endotoxins which will also add to the toxic burden. If one does not have regular bowel movements, the food will stay in the gut for a long time and putrefy, increasing the number of bad bacteria which is also called dysbiosis.
Besides the Gut, we need a Healthy Liver to break down these toxins. Conditions like fatty liver or increase in liver enzymes compromise the liver from doing its work appropriately. Healthy kidneys help to excrete the waste out of the body. Decrease in filtration rate or increase in BUN and Creatinine will compromise its function. We sweat through our skin, therefore saunas & hot yoga aid the process of detoxification. Our lymphatic system is constantly working to dump the toxins out. Thus, dry brushing and lymphatic massages are helpful.
It is best to undergo a Detox program under the supervision of a health-care provider who can firstly approve you to do one after running lab tests for liver and kidney functions. I also recommend a stool test which looks at your microbiome. I run a GI Map test by Diagnostic Solutions for my patients. It looks for presence of dysbiosis, parasites, viruses, yeast, inflammation and leaky gut. Thus, if one of those are detected on the test, it best to treat the patient before beginning a detox program.
In my next article, I will explain the different ways you maybe getting exposed to the toxins and how to minimize that. In my Book, Seven Steps to Heal Your Thyroid, Step 4 is related to Environmental Toxic Exposure and Treatments. I encourage you to read it. It is available on amazon. I will be conducting a Detox Program for all those interested this spring, so please follow me on my FB Page, Dr. Meghna Thacker for details. I see patients at the offices of Tutera Medical in the valley or provide online consultation via telemedicine. Send me an email with your questions- firstname.lastname@example.org