detox: abstaining from or ridding the body of toxic or unhealthy substances
Your body is great at looking after itself - it knows when to breathe, when to signal a variety of hormonal changes, when to get rid of toxins, and it even lets you know when you need to slow down and get some rest! Sometimes, however, we tend to take our marvellous bodies for granted - we get too little sleep, we drink too little water, we have too much stress, and we don't always eat the right foods. We also live in a world that is full of man-made chemicals which our bodies are not able to process. We're learning about epigenetic changes that have been passed down to us by prior generations, which we are in turn passing onto future generations. This means our bodies sometimes need help to do what should come naturally.
Why do we need to detox?
We are all exposed on a daily basis to pesticides, food additives, inhaled or ingested chemicals, heavy metals or any of the thousands of toxins in our environment today. Toxins can come from the most unexpected places, like recent research on Breast milk indicates. Your body needs to work hard to get them out of your system before they can cause harm. You will find many internet articles on diets, magic pills or other treatment regimes to help your body detox. Some of these can be downright dangerous, and what works for one may make another worse, or make no difference at all. Some will tell you that you don't need to do anything special to detox and that your body will do it all for you.
How do we know who to believe and what to do?
The answer is: "it depends". Don't you hate that? Unfortunately, it's the only correct answer anyone can give you. Some people will be able to detox fine, without any additional help. Others can't detox properly due to underlying health issues, genetic mutations, or just a huge overload of toxins (which include stress-induced toxins). There is no one magic pill, potion or device that will solve all of your problems, whether it's for detox or anything else. Some people will only need to make one or two small changes to see a huge effect on their lives, others will continue making changes for their entire lives.
That sounds depressing! What can we do?
We're big believers in making dietary changes. No, we're not talking about diets! Our individual bodies react differently to individual foods, so you need to start paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Maybe the reason it's asking for chocolate is because good quality chocolate can give you that magnesium boost you need. Your partner might tolerate coffee fine, but you might not. Some things are cumulative as well - I always knew I'd be in for a migraine if I ate bananas, chocolate and cheese all within 24 hours.
You can also start looking into different genetic mutations and what they might mean for your body in terms of the supplements it needs or has too much of. If you're not sure how to start on that, you can find a practitioner to work with through ACNEM, BioBalance or MINDD.
If you're working with a naturopath or homeopath, they can guide you as to what remedies you can take to better help your body detox. The internet will give you lots of ideas, but make sure you research them thoroughly first, and preferably check with others who have tried it. There's a great, comprehensive overview of the whys and hows of detoxing (including the use of essential oils to detox) on Dr Eric Z.'s page. If you're old-fashioned (like me) you can get a real-life book with actual pages that will take you through detoxing step by step. You can even go on a detox holiday!
My personal detox strategies
My favourite way to detox is by having my footbath, because not only does it work for me personally, but it's relaxing to sit with my feet in warm water while enjoying a cup of dandelion tea and perhaps munching on some dark chocolate. I also use low tox products when it comes to cleaning or personal care products, and use flower essences and essential oils to help shift toxins out.
Share your strategies
Do you have some tips and tricks on how to detox your body? Comment below and share some of your favourites with us.