Thursday, January 22, 2009

Detoxification and clean eating

I have had several people recently ask me about detoxification/cleansing lately and I figured that I would sit down and write a few words about it here instead of writing people individually. First before I say anything else PLEASE PLEASE do not start any detox program if you are unsure of your health status!! So please don't take this post as any medical advise for I am NOT a physican or liscenced medical provider. I am a student of nutrition and I do believe that you can have a toxic overload.

For example, if you must have caffiene everyday, smoke cigarettes or have cravings and withdrawl symptoms, you are probably toxic of those substances be wary of what they are doing to your health. Even processed sugar and flour have these effects.

Moving forward. How are we exposed to toxins? One way is from the environment we breath in exhaust, industrial waste, mold, pollin, dust, smoke and others, We are exposed through the medicines we use and from the food we eat. It is hard to avoid environmental pollutants as we have to live and breathe the air around us. We can take care in where we go to spend our time outdoors, and we can control how much we contribute to environmental polution (another whole post, yes?)

What we can control is what we actually eat and put in our mouths food, medicine and supplements. For example, I was looking at supplements some supplements (generally the cheaper ones but not always) had more sugars and food dies than the substance for which they are labeled to be. Do we really need to take certain medicines? I some instances yes, in many no. Medicines have their place, but I have seen too many that think it is imperative if they go to a doctor for any reason that they should leave with a prescription, this is not always the case.

The best thing that you can do to AVOID becoming toxic is choose foods that are unprocessed, whole and organic whenever possible and don't forget to wash your produce as well. **** Many local farmers are not certified organic as it is an expensive process many cannot afford; however, if you talk to them they will usually be direct with you. Processed foods are a large source of food additives that have not yet been tested for their long term effects. Use caution when buying and eating these products. Other ways is to avoid things like smoking, and second hand smoke and going outside for exercise in industrial areas.

Some small things you can do to assist your body to get into and stay in good health: -choose whole grain flours over white processed and bleached flours. -choose juicing your own fruits and vegetables instead of store bought -make your own bread crumbs (you would think that bread crumbs were straightforward, alas some have more junk then they do crumbs) -avoid excessive or all amounts of alcohol -choose sparkling juices over soda -avoid artificial sweetners and refined sugar -drink lots of water and avoid drinks high in colorings, additives, sugars etc. -bake or broil your foods instead of frying

Our bodies have a natural detoxification system however most of our organs are overloaded. Just exercising can help release toxins from our body through sweat, do you exercise? A sauna is great too. These toxins enter (and hopefully exit) our bodies through our lungs, skin, liver and kidneys. How are you treating yours? There is a myriad of things you can do, cut out foods that are hard to digest for a bit such as dairy, wheat, and meat, eat natural foods such as fruits and veggies (even more you can juice them or blend them into smoothies) for a few days, see how you feel. Sometimes eliminating foods that cause you to feel sluggish and without energy is all you need.

If you really want to detox (and are in relatively good health), start small, perhaps a day of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, it will give your body a break and most likely you will feel better for it. Do remember that whatever you do it is important to keep hydrated so your body will continue to function properly. A vegetable juicer removes the pulp and allows the nutrients to be quickly absorbed into your body quicker. I would recommend doing as much reading as possible, there are many recipes for detox, and I will say it again. If you are unsure of what to do consult a professional for guidance and have support.

There are some really great books that talk about detox, two of my favorites are The New Detox Diet by Elson Haas MD and Natural Detoxification by Jacqueline Krohn MD and Frances Taylor MS. In my own experience it is better to start detox with natural easy to digest foods than with other items that you can purchase for cleansing. I will recall that most religous and spiritual people use fasting as a means to clarity, and other things such as giving up meat or other foods generally speaking these rituals are cleansing to the body. When the body is overloaded it can not keep up with all the work it has to do. Remember that healthy digestion starts in a relaxed atmosphere and chewing your food well.

****Foods high in pesticides: apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears and grapes(imported), bell peppers, celery, spinach, lettuce and potatoes (these are sometimes referred to as 'The dirty dozen')

Food lowest in pesicides:onions, avacados, corn(sweet), asparagus, peas(sweet), cabbage, brocolli, pinneapple, mangos, kiwi, bananas, and papaya


crispy said...

Interesting thoughts. As for the sweat that releases the toxins...I remember a while ago my Dad had come home from an over seas trip to India really sick. We never really knew what he was sick from but interestingly enough, his sweat had a really unusual smell. And as awful as he felt, one thing that seemed to help was exercise that released that awful smelling sweat.

Just thought you would find that tid-bit interesting. I love how you are always encouraging others to do the right thing for our bodies.

BTW, I am missing my kitchen and the ability to eat our "normal" foods.

Angie said...

I LOVE this post! I really think this is what more people should do. Here's something interesting ... our boot camp instructor I was telling you about said to think twice about everything. Including deoderant. Our body's were made to sweat ... putting on antiperspirant could be toxic as well. Shaving then adding chemicals to decrease sweating and enhancing GOOD smell. He said to think about this ... who ends up with breast cancer more, men or women? Probably not entirely based on antiperspirants, but a very interesting thought. Definitely makes me think twice about my everday habits!

Awesome job!

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice post! I learned alot!! I need to be taking it easy with the Diet Sodas...

Tammie said...

Another great post! Lots of good info in simple, easy to understand terms!