The change of the season is a good time for detox, and we are entering the change from summer to fall right now, so it’s a perfect time to start a detox regimen. I’ve had various people ask me about detoxification and which are the best types to perform, so I decided to create this post to explain the fundamentals of detoxification.
Detoxing is a very individualized thing for each person, and it depends on your individual health, dietary habits, and willingness to perform it. You can detox with simple activities you do everyday, or it can be more complex, focused task that has a beginning and and end.
Some people believe they need to consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner familiar with detoxification strategies. While this is not necessarily a bad idea, it can also be expensive and there are many different detoxing activities you can do on your own that are inexpensive and will be beneficial. Although a health care practitioner that has experience guiding clients through detoxification can help you to choose the right direction to take and the right supplements/products to facilitate what you are doing, it is certainly not necessary to get the job done.
It’s certainly true that you can waste a lot of time and money trying to figure things out on your own, and randomly buying products from the health food store and on the Internet is not a good idea unless you know something has already worked for you. You should also know that any practitioner who is willing to load you up on a lot of supplements (healthy diet or not) does not have your body’s best interest at heart, as supplements can do a lot of damage if not used properly and if too many are taken at once.
Here are some basic detoxification activities you can do with or without consultation from a knowledgeable health care practitioner:
If you are just starting out with the idea of detoxification, here are some basic things to get you going:
- A healthy diet - this is a good base for starting out detox. If you are new to eating healthy and using detoxing in your body as a way to become healthier, eating healthy is one of the very first things you should do. Remove processed foods such as boxed cereals, crackers, desserts, sugary drinks, and industrial fats like vegetable oils and fake butter and other artificial fats from your diet. Eat organic and sustainable whenever possible. Try soaking and sprouting grains, grass-fed meats and meat products, and eggs and raw milk and dairy from pasture-raised sources.
- Lemon juice in hot water, first thing in the morning. Helps bring minerals into the body and remove toxins from tissues.
- Unsweetened organic cranberry juice, not from concentrate added to your daily water intake. You should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. Add 8 ounces of cranberry juice to your water (you can split it up into two 32-ounce containers, each with 4 ounces of cranberry juice). According to Ann Louise Gittleman, cranberry juice decongests the lymphatic system – one of your body’s main detoxification pathways.
- Probiotics and fermented foods - the quality of your gut flora is of great importance, and friendly bacteria populations are absolutely essential to maintaining health and are the foundations of wellness. You can find good therapeutic grade probiotics online and from health care practitioners. Probiotics sold in health food stores are often of inferior quality and don’t contain the bacteria counts claimed on the label. Good brands are BioKult, Advanced Naturals, Prescript-Assist, and Biotics Research (Biodoph7 Plus). Fermented foods in your daily diet are also important for health as they contain naturally-occurring probiotics. Home-made yogurt and kefir, lacto-fermented vegetables.
- Omega 3, 6, 7, & 9 essential fatty acids, and important vitamins like A, D, E, & K from real food. These essential acids and vitamins are important for health and detoxification alike, as they are some of the foundations of health and elimination of disease and illness. A healthy diet complete with healthy fats, as listed above, will provide you with the elements, but cod liver oil is also very important. Green Pastures Blue Ice Royal fermented cod liver oil is the best product on the market, is not heat-treated, is combined with High-Vitamin Butter oil from cows on pasture, and is fermented slowly to preserve and increase nutrient value.
- Juicing – making your own juices at home, with no added sugar or sweeteners, is a good way to start detoxification. For more information about good juicing ingredients and techniques, read The Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and the GAPS Guide.
- Bone broths – making your own bone broths at home from the bones of animals, birds, and fish and drinking it daily is an excellent way to facilitate detoxification and replace valuable minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients lost in your body.
When you have begun to eat a healthy diet and integrate these basic detox elements into your life, you can slowly start looking into other detoxification activities. You should give your body maybe 6 months to a year on a healthy diet that has eliminated processed foods before you start a complex detoxification regimen. Consulting with a knowledgeable practitioner can be useful to facilitate an optimal outcome for your detox efforts, and to know which protocols are best for your body at the right time.
The following are more complex protocols, some more advanced than others, recommended by various medical, nutritional, and detoxification experts in the fields of cancer management and wellness including Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, and Dr. William Kelley:
- Infrared saunas – these are safe and comfortable way to remove toxins from your body. Unlike steam saunas that can hold toxins in the air, infrared saunas are a dry heat mechanism that encourages your body to sweat and release toxins. This is especially useful if you are unable to exercise, but times and temperatures should be worked up to gradually at first. Start out with 5 or 10 minutes to start, and less than 110 degrees. After the first few sessions, increase the time and temperature by 5 -10 minutes, and 5 – 10 degrees incrementally.
- Vinegar baths – This is a beneficial way to detox in the privacy of your home, and can be done on a rotating schedule. Follow the recommendations as provided in the link. You can also gain great detoxification benefit from using ginger, epsom salts, and sesame oil as well. For additional information, check out The Detox Specialist.
- Mustard foot soaks – another good soak method to help remove toxins from the body that can be done at home.
- Dry skin brushing – encourages lymphatic decongestion, and can be done several times a week or every day in your own home. Also check out Melissa’s blog, Cellulite Investigation, to learn more about skin brushing.
- Oil pulling – by using healthy oils you have in your own cupboard such as olive oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil and swishing them around in your mouth in the morning before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth for up to 10 minutes at a time, you can remove many dangerous toxins from your body.
- Salt and soda baths – another good way to remove toxins from your body slowly and gradually. Using baking soda and epsom salts, mineral salts, or sea salt, you can remove harmful substances from your body while soaking in your bathtub at home.
- Coffee enemas – these types of enemas help the liver to trigger a response to dump toxins, and are very useful in this process. The coffee sold through Dr. Wilson, a renowned specialist on detoxification and cancer treatment, is the best quality product on the market.
- Castor oil packs – Castor oil packs are great for removing localized pain and toxins, and are an important component of a detox regimen. I have used castor oil soaks many times and they are fantastic! I have had symptoms of PCOS for years and applied a castor oil pack to my ovaries to reduce the pain I had with this condition, and it went away completely in less than a half an hour. I am now pain-free from PCOS pain since the last three months.
- Colonics – finding a knowledgeable hyrdo-colon therapist you trust is of great importance, and can be an extremely beneficial component of successful detoxification. Colonics help remove impacted matter in your colon, small intestine, and as part of an overall detox regimen, can also help the body purge other toxins from other places like the liver, blood, lungs, lymphatic system, etc. I have personally done almost 20 colonics and have received great benefit from this activity, and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to improve his or her health.
- Oxy-Powder – If you are uncertain about colonics, but still want to remove toxins from your colon, try this product. It is a gentle, natural, and completely safe dietary supplement that, with a healthy diet, can help remove dangerous toxins from your colon that contribute to health issues and disease. Read about the safe, natural ingredients here. I have used it with great success and did not experience any discomfort or malaise. Dr. Edward Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM and author who developed the product is a well-known practitioner and expert on natural healing and treatments, has over 20 years experience in the field, and now teaches individuals and practitioners around the world.
- The liver/gallbladder miracle cleanse – everyone has stones and debris in their liver and gallbladder, and these substances can contribute to a variety of health issues over your lifetime. Read my review of this great book by Andreas Moritz and my experience with the cleanse. I had great results!
- Clay baths – clay baths are especially useful for heavy metal, environmental, dental, and aluminum detoxes. Talking to a knowledgeable health care specialist such as a naturopath, chiropractor, or nutritional therapist is useful in determining the best type of bath for you. Many people need a variety of different baths at different times, and getting muscle-tested to determine which program to use is helpful to know which baths to do in which order.
- Candida or yeast removal – requires a strict diet to avoid sugar, refined carbs, corn, most dairy, wheat, grains, nuts, and soy. These foods contribute to yeast overgrowth, which can cause a variety of health problems. The culprits of yeast overgrowth include processed foods like grains and legumes, pasteurized dairy, sugar, and processed corn, soy, and nuts.
When you have successfully removed yeast in your body, you can usually return to a normal diet, but you should replace all those foods with the traditional, unprocessed versions like soaked, sprouted, fermented grains and nuts, raw dairy, sprouted and fermented corn and soy, and other foods. During a candida cleanse, your diet should consist of meats from healthy animals (no antibiotics or hormones), safe seafood choices, vegetables, limited fruits, and occasionally fruits like berries and sprouted grains (avoid wheat).
Other factors that contribute to candida overgrowth are the use of antibiotics, eating foods with antibiotics in them like conventional meat, meat products, dairy, and eggs, and various medications like birth control and steroids. Each candida problem is different, but expect your cleanse time to last at least a few months in duration, in some cases longer. Depending on your yeast problem, you may also need to consider taking a yeast removal supplement. Digestive enzymes and probiotics are also important during this cleanse. Consulting with a knowledgeable practitioner about which supplements are right for you is always a good idea for a detox of this nature. The supplements you take will need alternating to prevent yeast mutation which causes it to survive and the cleanse to fail. If you take the same supplement for more than a week or so, mutation can occur and the efforts of your cleanse can go by the wayside.
As with any cleanse or detox, and especially with candida cleansing, you can expect to have a varying degree of “die-off” symptoms. This will vary depending on how quickly you try to perform any detox protocol. The best rule of thumb is to go slowly. With cleansing, the following symptoms can occur (but is not guaranteed): headaches, sore throat, abdominal cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even flu or cold-like symptoms. If you start to experience symptoms that are bothersome, slow down or back off. Understand that most symptoms are not dangerous and are simply a sign of your body releasing toxins. And sometimes a certain amount of symptoms is necessary to get the job done.
Other ways to help facilitate detox through alternative and complimentary care and other modalities:
- EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques
Stress relief of mind, body, and spirit is also important in detoxification success, and should address emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
Want more information?
If you are interested in finding out more about detoxification strategies and cleansing, talk to a knowledgeable health care professional to find out which protocol best meets your needs – naturopathic doctors, nutritional therapists, chiropractors, colon hydro-therapists are all great places to start.
This post is part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival.