A few days ago, I asked on my Instagram story: ‘When you think of detox, what is the first thing that comes to mind?’
I got a couple of interesting responses.
- Lots of greens blended into a smoothie.
- Purging: now for anyone who suffers poor bowel movement and feels the need to induce purging every now and then, I recommend living a lifestyle that enhances your gut flora and promotes frequent bowel movement. Read more about dealing with constipation here.
- Getting rid of toxins from the body
It’s important we first define what a detox is: the removal of toxins from the body. Now, while the school of thought that promotes detox programs argues that we are bombarded daily by toxins, there is no comprehensive list that shows us what these toxins are and to what degree they are harmful.
Unfortunately, because it is easy to sell anything, and because of course, you feel lighter when you have ‘starved yourself for some days,’ detox programs are selling out fast.
With most ‘detox’ programs, you are mandated to stay off certain foods: highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugars. By simply avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days, your body breathes and you feel better. It’s not rocket science.
Those detox teas offer no added advantage (there are beneficial teas I recommend and take, like chamomile and more, but they have nothing to do with weight loss or cleansing your body). So, purchasing these detox packs which have not shown any added benefit through research or using them as a means for weight loss is a no-no. They only take a recurrent hit at your bank account and can be harmful long term.
The good news is: your body is a wonderland. It does not need a spring cleaning. The body is naturally designed to rid itself of toxins every day. It is important to mention that like a well-oiled machine, your organs need to be kept in top shape through nutrition, exercise, and routine wellness practices. Let’s look at some of the organs that are naturally tasked with detoxification.
They filter toxins from the blood and remove them from the body as urine. Staying hydrated is the biggest cleanse you can do for your renal system. Please note that there can be potentially lethal side effects to consuming more water/fluids than your body needs. One good rule of thumb is to obey your thirst and increase fluid intake as the weather demands. If you have tell-tale signs of high blood pressure or a history of kidney disease, it is important to go do a kidney function test
The simple act of breathing in and out is detoxification. The lungs take in oxygen and rid the body of toxins and poisonous gasses such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. To enhance the function of the lungs, practice deep breathing regularly.
The Digestive System
It plays an important role in cleansing the body. It selects the vital nutrients to be absorbed and expels the toxins.
This produces enzymes that process toxins for excretion. It also works to break down fat, maintain proper blood glucose levels, and filter unwanted substances out of the blood. Who needs detox teas when you have a liver working for you? I once read an article on ways to detox and number 1 was “own a liver” As funny as it is, that is the whole truth. You just need to own a healthy and functional liver.
As you can see, your body does all the work, all you need to do is fuel it properly. Rather than spend money on detox packs which may be harmful to your organs long term, here a few tips to maintain your body’s high-power detox ability.
- Hydrate: Water also plays a major role in keeping the organs healthy as all the organs need water to function optimally. If drinking ordinary water is a chore, jazz it up. Add fruits, herbs or spices, you can also create your own unique reminder on your phone to remind you to drink up.
- Get moving: Go for a walk or run, do some yoga, lift those weights. Movement keeps your heart and organs working like a well-oiled machine. Imagine parking your car for days without revving up the engine. Get the picture? The same happens to your body when you don’t move. It doesn’t have to be 3 hours in the gym, it doesn’t have to be a chore. There is joy in movement and you can experience it in a short walk or dance.
- Did you know sweating is a good form of detox? The skin is another organ that helps you naturally detox. Get sweating – house chores, race the kids etc. Exfoliate your skin every now and then to open up those pores.
- You can never go wrong with your fruits and veggies.
- Bring in more herbs & spices to your cooking: ginger, garlic, turmeric, scent leaves, etc.
Now you know how well thought out and beautifully crafted your body is. Do you think you still need that detox cleanse with no added benefit?
PS: Remember that detox art of soaking your feet in clear water and seeing coloured water after a while? It’s all hogwash.
Even before I delved into the world of nutrition I could not believe well-schooled adults fell for that scam. Let’s not mention the machine that scans your body and lists all your disease and blood level metabolites by simply placing your thumb on a sensor. Don’t fall for it.