Detoxing the Body

What does "DETOXING"even mean??

To be honest, I had no idea what it meant to "detox" the body before I started the GAPS diet. I had heard the word "detoxing" thrown around before because I had a few friends who were into juicing, but I legitimately didn't know what it entailed or why it was important. It just didn't seem like I needed to know. It didn't concern me.

Oh, how wrong I was. 

The fact that our world is very toxic is just something that we have to deal with now. From the chemicals in our food, to the air we breathe, to the products we put in our bodies, we eat, breathe, and absorb an insane amount of foreign chemicals nowadays. I talk about all this a little more in my post Why Detoxing Is Important, but for the sake of this post I'll just mention that "detoxing" is simply a way to get the harmful, toxic chemicals that are stuck in the body, out of the body.

The How's of Detoxing the body

There are lots of different ways to do detox the body, some more powerful than others. Some you might find work well for you, some you might not. For those who are already very sick, or have autoimmune diseases, mental illnesses, multiple sclerosis, detoxing is very important but must be taken very slowly.  Removing lots of toxins from the body very quickly can be very hard on the body. It's best to proceed slowly and manage symptoms as they come. 

The basics of how to detox includes helping get things out of your body. And how do things come out? Mostly via water that is either being sweat out, urinated out, breathed out, or pooped out! Lots of detoxing methods include helping these natural processes in your body, but there are other ways as well. Here's a compacted list, with details and helpful product links at the bottom!

  1. Juicing
  2. Both meat and bone broth
  3. Probiotics
  4. Enemas
  5. Baths
  6. Saunas
  7. Exercise

How to tell if you are detoxing

If you've already been eating whole foods, taking in plenty of probiotics, drinking lots of water, exercising, and using toxin-free or homemade household and personal care products, then starting to incorporate extra detox routines might not seem to be making a difference. This is because you are already constantly helping your body naturally detox through it's own systems! The lymphatic system, digestive system, respiratory system--in essence, all the body's systems!--are already doing their best to remove toxins from the body every day. However, extra detox routines are healthy for the body and can aid in removing unwanted toxins, even if you don't feel a noticeable difference. In the long run, you will stay healthier and live longer as you keep up healthy detox practices and regularly incorporate detoxing routines.

It's when the body has been exposed to lots of processed foods and sugars, chemicals from household and personal care products, or just daily living in a toxic environment, that detoxing can really make you feel different. At first, detoxing can be a little tough. The process of moving harmful substances from the cells, fats, and tissues and into the blood stream and digestive system for the body to get rid of can almost make you feel a little sick at first. But don't give up!

It's important to move these toxins out of the body so that they don't cause long-term damage to cells and organs. Once your body starts to cleanse and heal itself, you will seriously start to feel brand new--energized, healthy, young, strong, and mentally clear. It's absolutely amazing. 

Some "what's" of detoxing the body

You'll need some specific materials to help you detox, and here are some products I've used and have loved. There are lots of products and methods I haven't tried--so if you have any experience with any of these or others, leave some comments below! Would love to hear what you do to detox!

detox

Daily Detoxes for Cleansing and Healing the Body

Detox Baths:

Fill a bathtub with water and add 1 c epsom salt and either 1 c apple cider vinegar or 1 c baking soda. These additions help to pull toxins out of the body. Add 10-20 drops of your choice of essential oils (I like lavender because it is very calming)

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride adds these notes about detox baths "Apart from adding Epsom salt to your baths, you can use unrefined sea salt, seaweed powder, medicinal clay, cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. I recommend to my patients to alternate these various baths to get the maximum effect. It is best to have baths and sauna at bedtime; because after such treatment your body will need to rest for a few hours at least" (http://gapsdiet.com/uploads/FAQS_Listing_0114.pdf)

Dry Saunas:

Begin with a few minutes, twice a week, and gradually build up to 30 minutes, a few times a week.

Bruce Lourie, from Toxin Toxout, says this about the process of sweating: "[Sweating] helps regulate our fluid and electrolyte levels and eliminate toxins by taking waste from our blood and expelling it. [...] Our bodies also release oils through sebaceous glands, and these oils carry away fat-soluble toxins." 

Exercise:

Find a fun and enjoyable way to MOVE!!

Regular exercise helps your body detox by enabling your lymphatic system to move toxins from cells and organs to outside the body! Exercise helps the body sweat, expelling toxins from inside the body. Getting out and moving also just helps the body's lymphatic system take toxins and waste from the cells and move them to other systems where they can be discarded outside the body! (I'm talking about pooping here, ok??)

Juicing:

In the morning or on an empty stomach, 20-25 minutes before a meal, drink juices containing about 50% therapeutic juices--carrot, beet, greens, celery, cabbage, herbs--and 50% tasty juices--fruit!

Nutrients in fruits and vegetables have incredible cleansing effects on the body. Juicing provides the body with large amounts of concentrated nutrients which can be absorbed quickly and with little digestion. There are many websites dedicated to great juice recipes and testimonials. Feel free to find your own favorite combinations! One of mine is celery, apple, ginger, and spinach

Sun Bathing:

Begin sunbathing for about 30 minutes (15 minutes on each side) and gradually build up to an hour or so a day.

Do not use store-bought sunscreens, as they clog up glands and pores and put toxic chemicals in the body. A good tan and eating of healthy fats, especially cod liver oil, will help your body be less prone to burning. The condition of your skin and its likelihood to burn begin with what you eat. If you are going to be in the sun for a long period of time, use a natural zinc-oxide sunscreen or simply wear light clothing to cover your skin.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains the process of sunbathing for detoxification: "the main source of vitamin D for us is sunlight; food provides much less of this valuable vitamin. When the sun shines on our skin cholesterol in the skin is converted into vitamin D, and the best detoxifying vitamin D it is too. Every time we sunbathe vitamin D and cholesterol in our skin combine with sulphur forming vitamin D sulphate and cholesterol sulphate . These two substances are some of the most powerful detoxifiers / cleansers we know of" (http://gapsdiet.com/uploads/FAQS_Listing_0114.pdf)

Resources

http://www.healthychild.org/top-10-toxic-products-you-dont-need/ article on toxic products to replace in the home

http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/household/indoor_air_poll.htm online article on cleaning indoor air safely

http://wellnessmama.com/26269/benefits-of-saunas/ well researched blog post on use of saunas for detox

http://wellnessmama.com/8331/detox-bath-recipes/ detox bath salt recipes

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