Nutrition for Detoxification
Why are we toxic?
There has been a heightened awareness that we are exposed to many toxins in the environment since the 1970s with the release of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. I studied it in high school along with many other boomers. You would think after all these years we would have figured out that continually adding new chemicals to our world isn’t a good thing, but it seems we haven’t made to connection to the increased incidences of cancer, MS, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, even obesity. All have been linked to toxicity and we just keep adding news toxins all the time and let the manufacturers tell us they are safe if used in the recommended fashion and then wonder why we are sicker than ever.
Mainstream medicine insists that our bodies are perfectly capable of detoxifying everything we throw at them because that is what they are designed to do. But every time we add a new variation, we confuse the systems that have never learned to deal with these novel substances and our bodies do whatever they can to deal with them. This sometimes means storing them in our fat cells. It sometimes means developing allergies, or diseases and sometimes our bodies just shut us down with default conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Science is finding that low dose toxicity is leading to many of the chronic conditions we are seeing more and more of these days and the combinations of many toxins that on their own might be quite benign, may be magnified exponentially.
How does the body detoxify?
The liver does a lot of the work in detoxifying for us, but it needs help in the form of proper nutrients to create the enzymes etc. that break the toxins down into excretable components. There are many nutrients needed for the liver to do this job efficiently. So detoxifying by fasting is not a good idea if your body isn’t healthy to begin with. This is where you end up with a “healing crisis”, which in reality is a health crisis, with all the symptoms that go along with it; skin breakouts, nausea, fatigue, headaches, inflammation etc. The list can go on and on, but you get the picture. Once the liver does its job of breaking down the toxins into manageable or more easily eliminated parts, they should be eliminated through your urine, bowels or skin, again providing these systems are in good working order.
What can you do?
Start by minimizing your exposure as much as possible, but eating clean organic food (or at least the clean 15 http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/), with emphasis on lots of plant based food. Watch your home and personal care product use. Check with http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ for assessments of your personal care products and their safety. Avoid known exposures to toxins in your environment at work and at home. If you think a detox protocol is something you’d like to try, get some advice from an expert, so that you do it in a targeted, gradual, gentle manner. Don’t try any radical detox on your own.
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Tanya Sullivan is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant with many opinions on the state of our food and health.
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