Everywhere you turn, a new way to detox promises weight loss, clear skin and pretty much a brand new body, ripe for retoxification. Cue endless cycle.
Take, for instance, the Master Cleanse diet, once all the rage, with its foul concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. Sure, you probably lost a few pounds, but who wouldn’t when their caloric intake is practically nil? The weight comes back, and your body was probably not masterfully cleansed. You might even have done yourself more harm than good.
Dawn Franz, nutritional health coach at Natural Grocer, isn’t a fan of trendy cleanses.
“Master Cleanse can be harsh and stimulate gallbladder function, which can be painful or hard on the liver,” Franz said. “Some people do it and find it’s fine for them, but you don’t want to overburden the liver and release more toxins than the liver can metabolize. It’s called a healing crisis and can feel like flu or look like jaundice, with the yellow eyes.”
While some folks don’t believe you need to do any detox, as that’s what the kidneys and liver are for, Franz does advocate for a gentle detox. She’ll give a free Detox 101 seminar at 1 p.m. Friday at the Natural Grocers at 7298 N. Academy Blvd.
She’ll address who needs to detox and why it would be beneficial, and she’ll go into the body machinery that aids in detoxification, such as the aforementioned liver and kidneys, but also the stomach, blood and skin. She’ll also touch on ways to reduce your toxin exposure, such as changing the foods you consume, the beauty products you put on your skin and the cleaning products you use in your home.
Post-holidays are an ideal time to consider a detox, but minus the calendar dates, your body also can offer clues as to when it needs some tender care, such as chronic headaches or respiratory problems, environmental sensitivities, poor memory, poor digestion and unexplained joint aches.
The easiest way to start a detox is advice you’ve undoubtedly heard before: Drink more water and add fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
And even if your health seems fine, Franz recommends establishing some daily detox habits: warm water with lemon, which stimulates the liver; exercise; deep breathing; green juices or smoothies; and liver-friendly produce, such as dark leafy greens, beets and grapefruit.
Moving your body is important, as it helps stimulate the lymphatic system, the tiny filter system for the body. It doesn’t move too well on its own, Franz said, so activities such as yoga, massage, dry brushing before a shower and even jumping on a minitrampoline can help propel lymph.
Herbs also can be helpful. Franz especially likes milk thistle and recommends a daily 150-mg dosage.
“It’s a good one to take to support liver function,” she said. “It works by scavenging free radicals that are produced as a byproduct of liver detoxification.”
After a season of rich foods and drinks and perhaps not as much exercise as you normally get, some might be tempted to simply fast and allow the body to detox on its own. That might not be your best bet.
“It’s not always indicated to fast when you detoxify,” Franz said. “You need amino acids and antioxidants like vitamin C that help with the process of detoxification.”
The wisest choice, when considering any extreme detox method such as fasting, is to find a medical professional, including a naturopath, who can assess if you’re a good candidate for such a detox and help guide you through. Otherwise, you’re potentially doing yourself a disservice that could result in an even longer path toward healing.
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