This great guest post was written by Jenny Robertson, a registered holistic nutritionist! I encourage you to go check out her website!
Toxicity occurs in the body when we consume a substance more than we can utilize it or eliminate it and exposure can come from many sources including the food we eat, the air we breathe, chemicals, pollutants and drugs. They can all compromise our body’s natural balance so it is beneficial from time to time to open our channels of elimination and purge those stored toxins.
Warning Signs of Toxic Overload
Some of the signs that may indicate you are suffering from a toxic overload include:
- Feeling constantly tired, fatigued
- Problems with skin outbreaks or eczema
- Abdominal bloating, pain and flatulence
- Achy joints and muscles not explained by overuse
- Sinus problems or allergic type symptoms
- Hormonal imbalance
- Issues with body odor
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings, anxiety or stress
- Problems with irritable bowel syndrome
How to Detoxify
To detoxify, is to clean our internal organs from a toxin or pollution and it can result in several beneficial outcomes including:
- Your digestive system will be flushed of accumulated waste
- Your liver, kidneys and blood can be purified.
- Possible dependency on habit forming refined sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or drugs can be relieved as your body chemistry normalizes.
- Your stomach can have a chance to normalize in size; aiding in healthy weight management.
- You will feel lighter and more energized.
- You will feel more mentally alert and more emotionally balanced
We are actually detoxifying every day; we expel toxins when we urinate (so being properly hydrated helps), when we have a bowel movement (so ensuring adequate fiber intake is important), when we sweat (so exercise is important) and even when we are sleeping (so adequate good quality sleep is also important). Many people decide to incorporate a method of detoxification into their routine to further assist the body in expelling built-up toxins.
There are many methods we can use to detoxify including:
- Partial Fast : some solid foods are eaten from a list of “allowable items” with the majority of our intake coming from juice and water
- Juice Fast : the only intake for a short period of time are fresh juices made from a list of of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from
- Fruit Fast: the only intake for a short period of time are fresh, raw fruits from a list of fruits to choose from
- Water Fast : the only intake for a short period of time is water
The chosen method is very much an individual decision with our lifestyle, routine, current health status, goals and body chemistry taken into consideration and generally becoming the deciding factor on what method is used.
Whether you decide on a gentle and slow detoxification or a quick and more therapeutic one there will be some degree of ketosis, however a complete water fast will put you in the fullest state of ketosis.
Ketosis is a physiological process that occurs during fasting when, in the absence of the usual fuel source (glucose) the brain and some other body processes will utilize ketones produced from fatty tissue as fuel.This process is actually an adaptation our body makes in times of shortage that will spare muscle by instead breaking down fat stores to produce ketones for fuel. It is a part of normal metabolism and is not to be confused with ketoacidosis; they are distinctly different things with ketoacidosis being a serious medical condition most often associated with Type 1 Diabetes.
The average sized person can easily have hundreds of thousands of calories stored in the form of fat; that’s a lot of available energy in the absence of food. Although the energy store is large and could potentially sustain us over a long period of time with little to no food it is important that any fast be short lived. The exact length of the fast should be determined by your individual experience with fasting and what is right for you at the time.
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Preparation is Key
A well laid out plan tends to bring about the best outcomes. Although some people may experience mild symptoms like headaches, achy muscles and joints, or some weakness or light headaches generally speaking the more preparation the milder the symptoms experienced.
A general rule of thumb is to spend half of the length of the fast on the transition at the beginning and half on the transition at the end; so for example a 10 day fast would require an actual 20 day commitment. We would spend 5 days preparing to enter the fast by eating simple fresh foods and cutting down on meat and dairy products, alcohol, wheat, sugary foods, tea and coffee and we would spend 5 days transitioning out of the fast by slowly reintroducing good quality fresh foods back into our routine.
If you find that you are experiencing symptoms associated with the fast that are persisting beyond a couple of days or if you become very weak, dizzy, shaky or nausea. It is important to stop and gently improve nutrition and slowly decrease exposure to toxins before attempting again.
Other Things We Should Do In Preparation
- Check your calendar and choose a time when you know you can take time to rest and relax
- You might want to book a massage during this time
- Stock up on everything you need to avoid trips to the grocery store
- Ensure your surroundings are calm (not always easy, I know)
Why Full Ketosis Is Best
When glucose is not readily available and our glycogen supplies in the liver are depleted our body can and will breakdown muscle to get it but once in full ketosis the breakdown is minimal (approximately 0.2kg) and once the fast is completed the muscle loss can be built back up again. Once the body starts to use ketones as a main fuel source there are many noted positive health effects and therapeutic benefits including, but not limited to, neurological diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Many people report, after the first few days of adapting, that they feel great, they have a decrease in appetite and an increase in energy. A decrease in appetite is a nice outcome since we are consuming very little during this time but the return of our appetite should be taken as a natural indicator that it is time to end the fast and slowly reintroduce food items into our routine.
How Do We Know When We Are In Full Ketosis?
The presence of ketones in the urine is a telltale sign however it does not always mean we are in full ketosis, pay attention to some of the other signs as well including:
- A metallic taste in the mouth
- Sweet-smelling breath
- A distinct increase in thirst
- Stronger scented sweat
- Very low tolerance to alcohol
Make Sure It’s The Best Choice For You
Detoxification is not the right choice for everyone. If you relate with any of the following you should not engage in a detox as it can be more harmful then helpful:
- Anyone who is malnourished
- Anyone who has severe candida
- Women who are pregnant
- Anyone with hypoglycemia or diabetes
- Anyone with ulcers
- If you are very thin (underweight)
- If you are currently ill or under a great deal of stress
Whether Or Not Fasting Is Suitable For You There Are Ways That We Can All Reduce Our Consumption Of Toxins
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acid, both have been found to help neutralize the damaging effects of free-radicals (toxins). Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of antioxidants. Cold-water fish, freshly ground flax seed and walnuts are great sources of omega-3s.
- Green drinks will help to alkalize the body, help flush toxins from the body and are high in nutrients
- Buy organic foods whenever possible to avoid pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones. Always wash and peel fruits and vegetables, particularly if they are not organic purchases.
- Avoid drinking tap water opt for filtered or bottled water instead. Water flushes and cleanses your body so ensure that you are consuming adequate good quality drinking water.
- Reduce your intake of processed or packaged foods, and avoid anything artificial. Be sure to read food labels carefully, avoiding chemicals, additives and other unwanted ingredients.
- Eat meat and dairy products in moderation and choose free range, grain-fed or organic products whenever possible
- Keep your body at a healthy weight as it has been found that many toxins are stored in body fat
- Minimize or eliminate caffeine from your diet, choose herbal tea more often and if you just can’t get away from that coffee choose organic products
- Choose non-chemical household cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda make great safe cleaning choices for your home.
- Install a filter on your shower head to minimize chlorine
- Avoid scented body products and choose products with all natural or organic ingredients
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