It’s early morning in NYC and I’m on my way to the gym to give the treadmill a good thrashing and tone up my muscles. Afterwards I have a meeting with a doctor, who specializes in functional medicine, working on treating insulin sensitivity, obesity and conditions that arise due to accumulation of waste substances from food and the environment. But before I do any of these things, I’d best get on with my morning ritual of reading my newspapers.
I come across the headline “And That’s Why Detoxes Don’t Work” (Article in Danish). I read the article with great interest, to see which explanations the writer had reasoned with, or new studies, which concluded the headline that his article postulates. But it’s just a big disappointment – or better yet it simply confirms that once again the aim is to down-talk a health concept or idea, which clashes with the writer’s own theories.
The article is problematic because the author disregards many factors. Factors which partly have something to do with the body’s function, partly with toxins which occur naturally in the body and the 80,000 manmade toxins which can be found in the environment, and partly food’s natural content of active substances which support and promote the body’s detox function. To top it all off, the author disregards the reader’s intelligence. Why does he believe that people who go on a detox are emotionally powerless? Has he even considered the possibility that there are well-informed people who have familiarized themselves with the issues and have actively chosen to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing?
The writer agrees with those who only know a tiny bit about the body’s function, and that it’s logical that toxins that come into the body should come out again. However, I doubt that he even knows how they do it. We agree, that the human body is designed to detoxify itself and that it doesn’t only do this as a once week detox cure a couple of times a year, it does it every day, all year round. That’s normal and is made possible by the substances which the body has available from natural foods. But our bodies do not take into account all the toxins from smoke, cigarettes, pollution, additives, artificial foods, industrial toxins, and heavy metals etc., which challenge the normal detoxifying capacity. It becomes a challenge for the normal body to honor its usual detox, if your food habits become shaped by added sugar, bad fats and impoverished, injected foods. Poorly degradable substances accumulate in the body, particularly in the liver, kidneys and fat tissue – but that’s not exactly news to anyone.
All bodily physiological and biological functions happen and are started and supported by the food we eat. This means that people who are conscious about the food they eat can use these exact foods to communicate with that part of the body and help you detox. For example, there are different amino acids, which can be found in the livers many detox phases, and they help the body by leading waste and toxic substances out partly through the intestines and partly through the kidneys. Phytochemical substances can be found in broccoli, spinach, parsley, rosemary, and lemon peel, just to name a few ordinary foods, which everyone knows. Fiber helps to bind waste and toxins in the intestine, so that they can be removed with bowel movements. Used hormones and hormone-like substances from food and the environment can be helped along their way out of the body with various types of cabbage, vegetables, flax and sesame seeds, just to mention a few of the food types which communicate with the body’s detox ability. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to be on a liquid diet, consisting of green juices, smoothies with amino acids, vegetable soups and herbal teas for a couple of days. Thousands of people (including myself) call this detoxing because that is exactly what it is.
However, with that said, there are in fact many frivolous detox cures, which border on dangerous. I am very skeptical of these cures and warn against submitting your body to this. Here, I’m talking about detox cures such as fasts, where you only drink water with vinegar and honey or lemon juice with honey and water cures. People can of course do whatever they like – but I wouldn’t recommend fasting.
On the other hand, I recommend eating good wholesome food in your everyday life. Eat foods that will support the body’s natural functions: vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow, good, cold-pressed fatty acids, organic butter in smaller portions, fish and organic chicken, good quality red meat and venison now and again and whole grain foods. Drink green or red tea. Don’t overdo it with alcohol and make sure to sleep 7-8 hours and exercise at least 3 times a week. And last, but by no means least, make sure that you do things that make you happy every day.
But the external toxins will still be there. So we might as well get used to our personal routines and raise awareness of our food habits in accordance with the environment, which we live in. It certainly doesn’t mean that we are powerless – it’s about taking responsibility.
If you aren’t sure whether your body is in need of a detox, you can take my quiz below. It tells you your biological age compared to your actual age. If the test says you are much older than you actually need, it might be time to think about doing a detox.
Translated from Original Danish by: Synamon Mills
Images from: here