I’m always being asked about DETOXING. What exactly is this all about. My health detox retreat in France (and this is not a plug for that as we are now FULL for June 2015) is the perfect example of what I think it should all be about.
Detoxing – what does it involve?
It is a place where the retreaters are ‘allowed’ to take time out, leave work at the office door, be in a place where the air is kind, the sun is shining and the food grows in a farm nearby. Somewhere to rest up, take in less food, drink at least 2 litres of water a day. An environment where one can enjoy freshly made juices from Organic produce throughout the day. Eat only organic food that is 90% plant based, drink no coffee or tea or alcohol. Engage in coffee enemas if desired. Stay silent and be at one with nature. Read books. Stop talking about things that are not even that interesting. Make friends with likeminded people – only if you want to! Enjoy the massage therapy that is on offer. Basically just swapping the movie that you constantly play in to the one that nature intended… But detoxing has become a fashionable word and previously to that, detoxing related to drug and alcohol abuse as well as medically ridding the body of bad toxins that were making a person sick. Today, ‘Detoxing’ comes with a new meaning. To eat better for a short period of time to rid the body of fat, change a person’s eating patterns and taste palate, stop alcohol cravings, stop drinking too much coffee and tea, red meat and sweet and fatty foods. This sometimes involves depriving the body of food for a period of time – fasting. With an outcome to feeling new again and full of life and energy, thinner and ready to learn a new way forward to acquire good long term health. Detoxing is slowly being seen as the new ‘dieting’.
There are lots of different bizarre ideas about detoxification! One in particular that I personally do not agree with is juicing up for a period of days. This is not a good idea as the body needs Protein. All the cells in your body are made up of protein and because your body needs it for many important reasons, you need adequate amounts EVERY DAY! Low protein intake equates to a lack of essential amino acids that you are not able to synthesize naturally in the body – basically you cannot make them yourself. Low protein intakes lead to poor health. It’s an important aspect to good long term health. Protein is also very important for detoxification of waste in the body.
Basically there is a domino effect as it relates to naturally removing toxins from the body and there are four main toxin removal pathways which all need to work in harmony.
• The removal of cellular waste products – lactic acid for example
• The removal of larger waste products through our lymph system (Smaller waste products go into our veins and diverted to the liver)
• The processing of toxins by your liver, most of which then go into bile and then into your digestive tract for final clearance (the kidney excretes water-soluables)
• The final clearance of waste products is by the digestive tract
We are one big cell made up of trillions of miniscule cells, better still, we are one big blob of protein and the CELL is our most basic unit of life. It’s a very busy being and is constantly under pressure to keep us balanced – maintaining homeostasis, which is basically the cell trying to keep the conditions inside (that cell) the same at all times. Often the cell needs to dispose of the waste products that it creates, including the by-products of reactions to burn energy. Plus parts of the ‘cell break down’ over time also needs to be eliminated. Thus it needs to go through those four important steps.
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So why do we need to specifically carry out a detox? No matter how ‘clean’ we think we are or think we eat, our bodies will always show signs of accumulated toxicity because we are constantly exposed to heavy pollution in the air, we can’t see it, but it’s there. Pollution comes from pesticide spraying, bad quality food, unfiltered water, mould in and out of the house, smoking, and things like boozy heavy laden lunches! Stress is also a pollution in the body and this in turn can create digestive problems. We can call flu, lack of sleep, sinus problems and other conditions that we just live with day in and day out a kind of pollution. For example a night without proper sleep making you feel like you didn’t sleep at all creates a toxic reaction in the body.
In a nut shell we live in a polluted world and there are high levels of unsavoury chemicals all around us. We consume them, we breathe them, with put them on our skin, we sleep in them. We are never far away from chemicals. And it’s these chemicals that are harmful and that contribute to chronic disease and excruciating debilitating illness. However, most of our toxins will be coming from the appalling diet of processed foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, not to forget the level of alcohol, caffeine, and other highly refined food additives that we consume every day. Detoxing can help your body to rid itself of a lot of these toxins. Your liver and kidneys are hugely important organs in the body as they are the body’s machinery that will process and eliminate chemicals through your sweat, urine and faeces. However, your liver needs some help with this, especially when it comes to detoxification.
Simply put, your liver uses a two-phase enzymatic process to break down chemicals. Phase 1 neutralises the toxins and phase 2 binds them to other molecules, which in turn creates a new non-toxic molecule that becomes bile, urine or faeces ready for excretion. BUT……the body needs proper nutrients to make this happen. If your body is lacking in correct nutrients and correct levels of protein, phase 2 may not occur. This in turn leaves toxic substances to build up in your body systems. Generally speaking, eating a high quality whole food diet that contains masses of healthy sources of protein, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and all the antioxidants that you can muster will benefit your liver and in turn your detoxification needs. How to make sure you have the correct nutrients?
For Phase 1 the list will contain, B vitamins, flavonoids, Vitamin A, C, E, Glutathione (i.e. avocado, walnuts), animal protein such as dairy products, eggs) an fish or soybeans. In essence – Protein!
For phase 2 the list will contain indole-3-carbinol (found in cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts), Limonene, (found in oranges), Glutathione (again) and found in Avocado, fresh fruit and veggies, and fish oils. Coffee enemas are carried out as a holistic approach for all kinds of conditions including cancer.
It helps with constipation (a detox in itself), fatigue and liver cleansing (the ultimate detox), candida and other pathogens. The coffee itself is the key element of this – one is exposed to many toxins in the course of our lives, and the body becomes overloaded and some people cannot detoxify properly, coffee enemas aid in the production of GLUTATHIONE (an antioxidant) that removes the poisons from the body. Coffee enemas are nothing new, they are more spoken about at: www.gerson.org. Never forget that the body is very clever and has its own natural way of cleansing itself and even detoxing itself, and the 4 part domino effect relates to naturally removing toxins from the body. But the body needs to be in excellent health in order to carry this out. This is where it falls down because we are not healthy and therefore will always need the help of a good detoxification plan such as previously discussed. Is your body healthy enough to carry out its own detox? Be honest with yourself and try to help this process by eating a whole food diet – no ifs ands or buts!