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Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Cleaning-Yourself

They all say it.  All the gurus, the self-helpers, the personal developers-take charge of your life!  they cry.  It’s all up to you! Seize the day!  Its good advice; and I happen to agree with it.  But where to start?  If your idea of spring cleaning is to open the closet doors and take a quick leap backward to avoid the ensuing avalanche-then go back and dig in, you’ll have a cleaner house in short order.  But what about a cleaner you?  Shouldn’t your body be up for some spring cleaning of its own?  You change the oil filter and air filter on your car, what about the filtering system in your body-your liver and kidneys? They also need cleaning.  You can’t just take a few fiber supplements, wait until they kick in, then consider yourself “cleaned out,” like having just prepped for a colonoscopy-that won’t do it.  This is why you should consider “doing” a detox; to get clean-from the inside out.

It’s a simple, natural way of promoting good health.  It’s not too expensive, and it is very effective-results can be felt almost immediately. Detoxification is a naturally occuring, continuous internal process in the body.  If it is something the body already does, why would you need to do a detox?  Well, due to the current state of our overly toxic environment, natural detox mechanisms can become overloaded causing physical symptoms and ineffective natural detoxification. But there are things you can do to help restore the natural effectiveness of the body’s detoxification processes.

Toxins can originate internally or externally.  Pollution or pesticides in our air, water and food supply can put undue stress on the kidneys and liver, the body’s main detox organs.  Poor digestion and poor gut health contribute to an overload of internal toxins by creating metabolic by-products that contain toxic side effects and can negatively impact overall health by compromising the detoxification process.  All of these factors can come together to create a perfect storm, if you will, of toxic overload.

I can remember when the concept known as “detoxing” referred to the process an addict underwent to rid his/her system of alcohol.  Now, we’ve come to think of detoxification as a fat loss program.  Sure, a detox program can yield fast fat loss and detoxification is at work in both of these examples but as a means to improve overall health, detoxification is alternative health’s superstar.

Detoxification is the body’s method of metabolizing toxic substances into non-toxic, water-soluble compounds that can be eliminated by the kidneys and intestines. In order for a detox to be effective, the liver and other tissues involved in detoxification must be supplied with the essential nutrients needed for this task, as well as botanicals that assist detoxification and aid in preventing damage to the body’s tissues during cleansing. Everything that gets detoxified goes through the liver in two phases. During the first phase, the liver converts fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble substances. In phase 2, your liver excretes these toxins via urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids.

“Detox” has become a buzz word of late and is used to describe deriving benefits from drinking practically any so-called “healthy” drink to participating in a “master cleanse,” an internet phenomena that provides a recipe for fat loss using a concoction made almost entirely from sugar (in the form of maple syrup) and providing few if any nutrients. Even worse, it lacks protein. Without protein, your body can’t effectively detox.  Without protein, your liver can’t perform the second phase of detoxification which means highly toxic metabolites linger; wreaking havoc in your body.

Another popular detox is “juicing” or, “a juice fast.”  Juicing refers to extracting the juice from fresh fruits, vegetables, or a combination of the two.  Make sure the fruits and/or veggies are organic and you’ve done something very healthy for your body.  This is true…up to a point.  But while fresh fruits and vegetables are incredibly healthy for you, when it comes to detoxification, once again, this is an incomplete picture. If this is all you’re surviving on for days, and there is no source of protein, you can be assured that your body is tapping into its own muscle tissue and using it as an energy source which can slow down your metabolism dramatically.
It may be the right thing to do but let’s be honest; you’re really not cleansing or detoxing to rid yourself of toxins.  It’s a nice thought. But, you’re probably more concerned with the fast fat loss effect. You’ll probably lose weight on the super low-calorie, near-starvation diets posing as “detox programs” but, most of that weight loss comes not from fat, but water and lean muscle tissue. You’re literally wasting your body away.

The bottom line is, if you want that fast fat loss, a detox is a very healthy and effective way to get a jump start on losing fat and also to cleanse your body of the toxins that have accumulated in the liver and kidneys so that going forward, continued weight loss will be easier and your overall health will benefit.

Now that you understand what a detox is and the purpose of doing it, which one(s) are good?  Ask your alternative healthcare practitioner for his/her recommendation.  My personal choice would be to ask your healthcare professional about a detox program featuring products from Thorne Research.  This is a fabulous company and their products will soon be featured in my online store. 

No matter which company’s detox products you use, now would be a good time to stop and think about what toxins are surrounding you in your daily life.  Do you drink purified water?  Do you eat only organic fruits, vegetables and meats?  Do you pop over-the-counter medicine like candy? (stop that.) Do you clean or have your house cleaned with toxic chemicals like bleach, Dawn, Tilex, Windex, etc? These are all things that add to your toxic load.  Put only clean, lean protein and organic produce into your body.  Talk to your alternative healthcare practitioner about alternatives to pain medications and the like.  Use natural cleaning products such as those from Poppy’s Naturally Clean, my friend Victoria’s line of natural cleaning products.

Spring cleaning starts in your house-not the one you live in but the one you live within.

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Fitness expert and integrative performance coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at © 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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