Coming into spring yes we are here even though its still rather chilly!
The detox word starts to be bandied about we are often feeling sluggish at this time of year.
There are loads of detox programs and books out there. But what is detoxing?
The premise of these programs is that once completed your body is free of toxins. Our body does acquire toxins the majority of these come from our environment, which contains chemicals such as heavy metals and other substances to varying degrees. If we have these in our body to anything near high levels we would be feeling very unwell. Just look up the symptoms of lead poisoning but obviously we would rather not have any of these toxins in our body as they could be contributing to health problems.
It could be said therefore that the most effective detox we could do is to the environment we live in. Most of us don’t have control over all the pollutants in our environment living near traffic and around industry. We might choose to prioritise a change in environment due to health issues however, for example if you live near a heavier polluted street and have serious asthma then even though its a big expense and hassle moving to an area with lower pollution levels can make a big difference.
A further source of toxins is from what we ingest, how our body processes toxins is mainly through our liver, which aims to break them down so they can be eliminated. If there are levels of chemicals that the body finds hard to eliminate then it will have to store these in fat and tissues around the body. Its main objective will be to store them away from the major organs.
The only way that we can get rid of toxins is that they get processed and excreted. Most of the detox programs concentrate on low fat, low calorie programs which could in fact just release the toxins into the body which will make the liver and kidneys work harder but not necessarily eliminate the toxins.
Drinking lots of water or juices does not flush out toxins which is a common myth, water is very important but it gets processed through the digestion to be used in the body, it doesn’t flush through cells its a much more complex system.
If we are dehydrated this will effect the body’s functions but we get obsessed with drinking water, if you drink 1 ½ –2 litres a day this is sufficient as additionally we get some of this fluid from food. If we gulp down lots more then this then we just have to pee more out, if you have excessive thirst then could be a signpost to an underlying condition.
Metabolic waste is often mentioned in detoxes. These are products produced by our bodies natural metabolic functions and wastes is a bit misleading as many are recycled, others that are going to be excreted are done by the natural systems set up in the body and unless our organ functions are compromised then this happens naturally and consistently in the body without any external help.
If you have a health issue that is affecting the quality of your life and you think there is a dietary link see a nutritionist as well as having other therapies as longer term healthy changes could make a dramatic difference.
If you are feeling sluggish and feel like you would like more energy look at making a couple of longer term changes. What are your props? Do you reach for the biscuit barrel? You could look at cutting down on sugar intake, which will stabilise your blood sugars and concentrate on adding in more organic fresh vegetables and unprocessed foods into your diet.
Is sleep that thing that gets pushed out of balance? Watch out for caffeine levels and look at mental activity and whether you could benefit from relaxation or meditation.
Overall is our digestion functioning well?
Are we in physical discomfort?
Do we take regular exercise?
How happy are we?
If there is an issue with any of these areas it could well be worth having a look and making some tweaks.
This is obviously a very simplified look at detoxes but the aim is to make you think and look at the rationale for engaging in programs. As a therapist what aftercare advice we offer? Do we say drink plenty of water as it will flush out toxins or have we established that the client’s water intake is insufficient?
Do they need to see a nutritionist or are their stress levels very high?
I would suggest this spring instead of a short term detox chose a positive longer term change this could be big or small then ensure you feel good about yourself and have fun spring is all about the energy raising!