Search This Blog

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What is a Detox Program and Do You Need One?

High-quality herbs and botanicals help the detoxification process
Evolutionarily speaking, we’re way behind. Technology and our living environment may have changed drastically over the last few million years but on the inside, the human organism and how it functions, hasn’t changed very much at all. But in the last 50 years in particular, the amount and types of toxins and chemicals in our environment have changed…they’ve multiplied-and this has become a real burden on our bodies. Mankind has created chemicals and toxins that have been released into our environment that our bodies don’t even recognize or know what to do with.  Our bodies haven’t adapted to these toxins and pollutants that we are ingesting every day-that’s just the way it is.
It may seem as though the human body
has been successfully eliminating most toxins for thousands of years. How else would our species have survived if we haven't; so what’s changed?  Why is it suddenly a problem?  In addition to the increasing amount of toxins and pollutants present in our air, food, and water supplies, the soil we grow our plants in is depleted of minerals, the red meat we consume is loaded with hormones and antibiotics, and many of our municipal water supplies have tested positive for prescription drugs among other things. Add to that personal habits such as drinking, cigarette/cigar/marijuana smoking, prescription and “recreational” drugs, and the load becomes even more serious.  Our bodies even naturally produce waste products of their own that we must process and eliminate-all through our internal organ systems. Handling this toxic burden can present challenges to our health. Sometimes, our bodies just need a break. 

The closest thing we have to a lab test that would assess the need for detoxification is the basic liver panel run by most doctors during the blood work portion of the typical medical check-up or physical. Unfortunately, unless there is an underlying condition present which these tests uncover, most doctors will declare the typical liver “healthy.” It is usually a so-called “alternative” medical practitioner who may determine it necessary to cleanse the liver and other organs in order to rid the body of a toxic build up.

Perhaps the worst toxins of all come from high fat/high sugar foods that we eat such as hydrogenated fats and oils and high fructose corn syrup.  These are highly processed and refined foods. Unfortunately, foods like these pretty much make up the basic American diet and provide very little in the way of nutrients that our bodies need for many metabolic processes such as liver detoxification.

Furthermore, many Americans fall into the habit of eating the same meals-day after day.  Unknowingly, people who eat the same foods on a consistent basis can develop allergies to some of these frequently eaten (and enjoyed) foods. Symptoms of these types of allergic reactions include internal inflammation, gas, bloating, unexplained joint pain, diarrhea, sinus congestion, and headaches.  These symptoms may take 24-48 hours to become apparent.

This is why over the last few years, I’ve made it a priority to put myself on a detox program at least twice a year; once in January, after the holidays (obviously a good time to do one) and then once again in July, the halfway point in the calendar year. So how do you know if you need to detox, what’s involved, and what benefits can be expected when participating in such a program?

For the reasons listed above, most Americans can benefit from a detox program once or twice per year (though there are some experts who suggest running “mini” detoxes several times throughout the year.) It’s just basic maintenance. A detox program is designed to decrease your exposure to toxins and allergens and also, to cleanse the entire body.  A detox program requires taking in a special combination of nutritional supplements designed to support the liver detoxification process, while simultaneously eliminating all the toxins and chemicals that we can from those things we have control over like caffeine, alcohol, impure water, sugar, artificial sweeteners and other toxins.

Detox programs can vary in length, but a 3 week cleanse is the most common.  The elimination portion of the program allows you to choose foods that are less likely to trigger allergic responses or add to your present toxic load. During the 3 weeks, you will carefully monitor everything that you eat and drink, so choose a time that won’t make it difficult to stick to the program (i.e. birthdays, Christmas, weddings, vacations, etc.)  During week 1, you will gradually begin to detox by eliminating possibly allergenic foods as well as all junk foods, alcohol, caffeine and other obvious toxins (with the exception of doctor prescribed medications), and then begin taking specified supplements to help aid in the detoxification process. One of the supplements required is often called a “medical food” because it is prescribed by healthcare practitioners to include all the macronutrient requirements needed by the body (protein, carbohydrates and fats) as well as all necessary vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. This supplement comes in powder form and mixes in liquid to create a tasty shake. Experiment with fun, different shake recipes for variety. In week 2 you will continue to drink the medical food shake and will now also eliminate fish and meat from your diet.  During week 3, you will gradually reintroduce the fish and meat back into your diet. During all phases of the program, it is critical to drink at least 8-10 glasses of purified water or green tea every day.  In this way, you are assuring that you are flushing the toxins from your system. That is a simplified explanation of a detox program.  A more detailed explanation is provided with the instructions of any detoxification program.

Additional methods of detoxification include: exercise-sweat is an important way to release toxins from the body up through the skin. Exercise increases oxygen delivery to all of your tissues and increases your body temperature and metabolism, making your body more efficient at breaking down and eliminating toxins. It also increases the flow of lymph fluid which helps detoxify. Exercise, of course, helps you burn fat and toxins are stored in fat, so you are ,doing your body a double service by detoxifying periodically.

Another way to remove toxins from the body is through using a sauna, preferably an far infra-red sauna if you can find one. The skin is the largest organ of elimination, so every time you sweat, you eliminate toxins through your skin. Infrared saunas go deeper into the skin than traditional saunas thus, enhancing the detox experience.

Alternating hot/cold showers and dry brushing also help by stimulating lymph flow and in the process, detoxification.

Detoxification is one of the simplest, most affordable ways of maximizing your health. Benefits may include weight loss, improved skin clarity, bowel regularity, mental clarity, and increased energy or a combination of any of these; results can vary from person to person.

Interested in running a detox program this January?  What a great idea! Contact me at and I will help you get started.

You have permission to do so, free of charge, as long as the byline and
the article is included in its entirety:

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.

If you use the article you are required to activate any links found in the article and the by-line. Please do not use this article in any publication that is not opt-in (spam).


Post a Comment