Cleanse? Detox Boot Camp? How to handle accumulated toxins.
Our bodies are bombarded by a barrage of pollutants and toxins making cleansing or detoxification increasingly popular. I received quite a lot of inquiries when I announced my Rejuveo cleanse last week; here are some answers.
In today’s world, it is true that your body accumulates more toxins than its natural detoxification system (your liver, colon, kidneys, skin and lungs) can remove. Chemicals like pesticides, preservatives, plastics, chlorine, ammonia, even drug and alcohol residues build up over time and cause disease.
Why can’t health professionals agree? Key points:
- bombarded with more toxic chemicals than the body can keep up with while
not being given enough of the tools needed to break down and eliminate them, toxic waste will accumulate…
- this leads to all manner of health problems including weight gain, headaches, low energy, skin rashes, asthma, aches on and on…
- BUT, using fasts or herbs to release waste without giving your body the exact correct tools it needs to break down and eliminate waste can make you feel worse.
- AND, as this is a relatively new field, few are trained in how to do it correctly. That said, we are all trained in which pill to take for what symptom (even if the symptom is due to body burden accumulations and those pills will increase body burden).
What should we do? How does our body handle toxic chemicals and waste?
According to our bodies, all toxins are created equal in the sense that a little or a lot, or where they come from or whether our FDA/USDA/EPA labels them as safe or not: anything foreign does not belong and must be destroyed. To the body, the normal response includes inflammation and all of its consequences.
For millennia, life on planet Earth has involved exposure to metals; gases; plant, animal & pathogen toxins; and more. Every day our body naturally creates waste products during our normal activities. For this reason, our bodies have evolved built-in ways to break these down and eliminate them.
To the body, there are two general classes of toxic compounds:
- those that dissolve easily in water; and
- those that don’t dissolve in water but dissolve well in oils / fats.
The toxic chemicals and wastes that dissolve well in water are not that problematic, normally. They can affect various organs, stimulate or depress them, while making the kidneys work extra hard to filter them out. They can create short-term skin break-outs and rashes, or indigestion (the digestive tract is specialized “skin” inside the body that also has break down and elimination functions). Normally, though, chemicals that dissolve in water don’t tend to store and accumulate in the body.
The chemicals that store in fat—and certain metals that tend to accumulate in organs—are a completely different story. Your liver is the main workhorse for chemicals that love fat. A complex sequence of chemical steps involving enzymes, amino acids, and many vitamins; converts these harmful chemicals into water-soluble molecules that can now be flushed out in the urine or passed in feces.
Why toxics build up in your body.
- Toxic food, our environment, and even toxic thoughts create waste for our body to eliminate.
- Insufficient nutrients and water are available to remove the waste.
- An overly acidic diet fosters unwanted micro-organisms (yeasts, molds, funguses, etc.) in our body and these make more toxins.
- In short, more waste being consumed or created than your body can eliminate. Toxic environmental chemicals, toxins from low-grade infections, and normal cellular waste byproducts accumulate in your cells.
The chemicals that tend to accumulate are the ones that are more difficult for the body to eliminate—those that dissolve well in fat, not water, and therefore tend to store in fat: in your nerves, brain and adipose being key organs high in fat.
In fact, this is a huge problem with commercial meat and food sources. By design, drugs are fat soluble so they can cross fatty cell membranes and create their effect. When animals (or humans) are given hormones and antibiotics, detectable amounts of those can be found in the meat, milk and eggs. When animals (or humans) are given feed from GMO crops, or eat crops sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and more, those chemicals can be detected in the meat, milk and eggs. We eat the chemical residues with these commercial meat products and unless we have enough tools to break down and eliminate the hormones, pesticides, preservatives, GMO (insert proprietary chemical here) and whatever else. In this way, chemicals pass up the food chain and now accumulate in us.
What about heavy metals?
Some metals are naturally found in the body and are essential to human health. Iron, for example, prevents anemia, and zinc is a cofactor in over 100 enzyme reactions. They normally occur at low concentrations and in a “bio-available” form known as trace metals.
Heavy or toxic metals are not the same as the trace metals we need—although some elements, like iron and copper, are needed. But even trace metals have to be in proper balance in the body. If in too high a concentration, or in a toxic form that cannot be metabolized by the body, metals can bio-accumulate (pass up the food chain to humans). Accumulated mercury, for example, can mimic or cause nearly any illness currently known, or at least contribute to it.
Heavy metals have no function in the body and can be highly toxic. Especially those metals that “look” like the trace metal. Why? Because if the body is deficient in the trace metal it needs, it will attempt to substitute the imposter heavy metal. This not only doesn’t work, it can kill cells and short-circuit neurons.
How and when should I detoxify (or cleanse if you like that better).
Some people aren’t able to detoxify chemicals naturally—their systems aren’t working well for one reason or another and usually it is the imbalance between two many chemicals coming in and not enough genuine tools to remove them—the body is on overload. There is no drug or quick fix to solve this—in fact, all drugs and medications are seen as toxic to the body.
But be wary of poorly researched techniques, harsh colonics and please steer clear of lengthy fasting. Your body needs specific nutrients to perform optimally under any condition, and that especially includes performing the tasks of detoxification.
Your environment has a profound impact on your health. Everything from the quality of the air you breathe to what you put onto your body makes a difference. Detox’ing and cleansing your body of toxins periodically can definitely help counteract some of this onslaught of damage.
But what is the best way to rid your system of toxins?
Please realize that any good detoxification regimen must follow an orderly process. If one of the key tools of detoxification is missing, that can deteriorate your health even further, making you very sick.
A correct diet is vital.
The Weston A. Price diet recommendations—which were written in 1920 and still, like all truths, hold true today—include these timeless guidelines for optimal healthy eating:
- Eat plant-based foods that are natural, unprocessed, and organic. By “plant-based” means from a living growing plant. A note on grains—these acidify the body and create wastes; even non-cereal grains need to be balanced well with alkalizing plant-based foods.
- Eat foods that contain no sugar except for the very occasional bit of honey or maple syrup.
- Eat foods that grow in your native environment. In other words, eat locally grown, seasonal foods—transported foods quickly lose their nutrients and are also more likely to have started out nutrient-depleted.
- Eat unpasteurized dairy products (such as raw milk) and fermented foods.
- Eat one-third or more of your food raw.
- Make sure you eat enough healthy fats high in omega-3 fatty acids, and reduce your intake of omega-6 from seed/corn/soy oils.
When the goal is detoxification… choose your food purposefully.
The first step is to restore health to your colon as that is the key organ responsible to absorb the nutrients you need in the first place and not contribute to toxicity by hosting the wrong bacteria and yeast. This means lots of cooked veggies, good fats, bone broths and NO acidifying yeast / parasite-loving sugars, starchy foods, or grains.
Additionally, your body needs even more vitamins and minerals to heal and repair and to support the liver’s natural chemical detoxifying process. Lots of the right type of cooked veggies will give your colon what it needs and replete your body’s supplies. Although raw food is ideal for a healthy gut, rebalancing it starts with the more digestible cooked veggies (or blended in smoothies).
And, remember, your skin and your lymph eliminate toxins too.
Your skin is a major organ of elimination, but many people don’t consider this and most don’t realize that acne and many rashes are the skin’s way of saying it is not keeping up with all the toxics it is being expected to remove. By far, sweating in a traditional Finnish full-spectrum sauna (*not* far-infrared, which does not penetrate the skin very deeply despite what the sales rep said–I have published six research papers on this in medical journals) is the most effective tool to slowly restore skin elimination and can help reduce your toxic load quite significantly.
Your lymph transports nutrients and returns wastes but does not move on its own. It pools and stagnates and the vessels become brittle when laden with toxic chemicals and wastes. Movement and anything else you can do to keep your lymph circulating is vital.
Sooo… should you detoxify?
I believe a good cleanse program, one that accomplishes these key steps, is a tremendously helpful and healthy piece of optimum wellness.
With over 100,000 toxic chemicals in use today, decades of better living through chemistry have created an era of the pollution in people. Add to that the decline of nutrients in our food supply and addition of convenience “anti-foods” (even in a health food wrapper). We are bombarded daily with toxic stress while our bodies aren’t getting enough genuine building blocks to keep up.
Whether you are trying to make a change in your health habits, handle chronic symptoms, or build on sensible and healthy patterns, regular cleansing is an important process. Beginning on the inside and shining right through to the outside, cleansing gives your body rest, rejuvenation, radiance.
Please remember, you need to establish healthy lifestyle and dietary habits FIRST, at least long enough to have a nutrient reserve that your body can draw on that allows your liver to do its job properly. Starting a cleanse of any length—even a day—without first stockpiling nutrient tools in your body is a recipe for feeling horrible.
Most people will need to start by rebalancing their digestive tract; 99.999999 percent of everyone who needs to detox also have gut flora imbalances and inflammation that will hang up all efforts to cleanse. If you do not first handle digestion, the liver will back up both from lack of nutrients that should be absorbed through digestion and from absorption of new toxic waste by the unhealthy colon.
Things can come up. Having guidance at least the first time you do a cleanse is important. If you would like to join my Rejuveo Cleanse, you can Find out more… GO