Detox vs detoxification
Detox is a word used to describe various diets that are meant to cleanse the body. The word detox comes from the word detoxification. Detoxification is used to describe a metabolic process that turns toxic substances into less toxic substances. There are even medical detoxifications that help people addicted to drugs and alcohol remove these toxins from their bodies.
Metabolic detoxification is a process our bodies are going through all of the time! Our liver is our main detoxification tool and is constantly working to change chemicals into non-toxic substances that can be excreted in our urine and feces.
Do short term detoxes work?
By doing a ‘detox’ and taking a break from alcohol, coffee, sugar, and processed foods you are making less work for your liver. While this is good for a short period of time, if you are not trying to reduce your exposure to these things on a regular basis the benefits of your detox will not last long.
Doing a short detox will not cure you of all of your ailments, but it will give your liver a bit of a break (as long as you are still eating good foods and not starving yourself). To make sure your body’s natural metabolic detoxification is working optimally, make sure you are eating plenty of vitamins, minerals, and protein. This doesn’t mean you have to be eating amazingly 100% of the time (this can cause other problems such as increased stress and avoiding social situations due to food restrictions), but it does mean that ideally you would eat a healthy diet with lots of veggies 80% of the time.
How to encourage natural detoxification
If our bodies weren’t trying to constantly remove all of the environmental toxins we are exposed to, we would be in a lot of trouble. Many people think that doing a detox is the only way for your body to get rid of these toxins but decreasing exposure and eating a diet high in fruits, veggies, and protein is the best way to ensure your innate detoxification is optimal.
My favourite daily foods for optimal detoxification include: dark fleshed fruit (cherries, berries, pomegranates, plums), seeds, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale), green leafy veggies (a few cups a day!), and herbs (rosemary, thyme, garlic, ginger, turmeric).
You can decrease your exposure to environmental toxins by decreasing usage of the following: medications, plastics, fish high in heavy metals (tuna, swordfish), non-organic veggies that have been sprayed with pesticides, and non-natural makeup, deodorant, and sunscreen.