For the majority of people seeking a gentle, general detoxification -perhaps a seasonal or annual cleanse- there are a few simple rules to follow for a healthy, choose-your-own-adventure sort of cleanse.
If you think detox preparation starts and ends with finally choosing that calendar date and committing to a week or two of starvation... well, I got news for ya. There's more. Much, much more. But it's good, non-restrictive news. A detox regimen doesn't have to be- shouldn't be- an extreme dive into the dietary deep end. As we discussed in an earlier post, that approach can actually hurt more than help. The healthy detox is something that you ease into and out of, and it supports the body with ALL the nutrients, not just the ones found in green juices. Because of that, preparation is more than just picking a date; it's part of the detox diet bell curve.
It's not news: an occasional cleansing protocol that focuses on healthy, whole-food nutrients while avoiding toxin exposure is good for all of us. For some, however, a detox doesn't come with the luxury of choice. And for the rest of us, we may simply not realize how hard our bodies are struggling to maintain homeostasis. But symptomatic or not, it’s safe to assume that everyone's detox pathways are working overtime to keep us healthy in today's world.
Our body is carrying out detoxification processes constantly. Every minute we’re building up and breaking down hormones, enzymes, proteins, and a bajillion other compounds. These actions cause reactions. Reactions include byproducts. Byproducts and compounds that can’t be used or recycled must enter the detoxification pathways. It sounds exhausting; it can be for certain organs in your body.
Imagine you’re running a 5K for your favorite charity. It’s your first race and you’ve trained very seriously for it. There are butterflies in your stomach as you cross the starting line that shift into something closer to steel by the time you reach the last half mile. Your heart is thrumming, your energy is pulsing, and you pound out that last half mile, high on endorphins and success. As you lean over your knees at the finish line taking deep, rapid breathes, you feel a gratifying burn in your muscles and the tickle of sweat on your back.
January's got me thinking detox. I'm not alone; sales in products related to cleanses and wellness skyrocket this time of year while advertisements for smoothie and juicing systems abound. We don't care that it's 15 degrees outside and our cars are frosted over. We've resolved to drink light, frosty beverages and we are DOING THIS THING.
Great. But what exactly is it and why are we doing it again?