It’s January 2020. This month equals New Year’s resolutions, a healthier lifestyle, starting fresh, detox, etc. I agree it is a great time to start fresh. It is a great time to introduce some new habits, new exercise routines, new foods.
But what about detox? Why is the January month of detox?
What is detox? Per Harvard Health: Before it was co-opted in the recent craze, the word “detox” referred chiefly to a medical procedure that rids the body of dangerous, often life-threatening, levels of alcohol, drugs, or poisons. Patients undergoing medical detoxification are usually treated in hospitals or clinics. The treatment generally involves the use of drugs and other therapies in a combination that depends on the type and severity of the toxicity.
Today the detox programs are being promoted to the health-conscious public in a different matter. These are mostly do-it-yourself procedures aimed at eliminating toxins. These toxins are responsible for a variety of symptoms, including headache, bloating, joint pain, fatigue, and depression. Detox products are sold in retail stores, at spas, over the Internet, and by direct mail. Many of these programs are advertised as useful for detoxifying specific organs or systems; others are portrayed as “whole body” cleansers.
Now, don’t forget that the body has its own detox system already.
The skin. The primary function of the body’s largest organ is to provide a barrier against harmful substances, from bacteria and viruses to heavy metals and chemical toxins. The skin is a one-way defense system; toxins are not eliminated in perspiration (sweating). The sole purpose of sweat is to regulate your body from overheating — not to release toxins.
The respiratory system. When we inhale, fine hairs inside the nose trap dirt and other large particles. Smaller particles that make it to the lungs are expelled from the airways in mucus.
The immune system. This exquisitely orchestrated network of cells and molecules is designed to recognize foreign substances and eliminate them from the body. Components of the immune system are at work in blood plasma, in lymph, and even in the small spaces between cells.
The intestines. Peyer’s patches — lymph nodes in the small intestine — screen out parasites and other foreign substances before nutrients are absorbed into the blood from the colon.
The liver is the body’s first filter. It produces a family of proteins called metallothioneins, which are also found in the kidneys. Metallothioneins not only metabolize dietary nutrients like copper and zinc, but also neutralize harmful metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury to prepare for their elimination from the body. Liver cells also produce groups of enzymes that regulate the metabolism of drugs and are an essential part of the body’s defense against harmful chemicals and other toxins.
The kidneys. We use a urine test to screen for drugs and toxins. Kidneys are very efficient in filtering out waste substances and moving them out of the body.
So first before you decide to detox, ask yourself why detox? Do you need to lose weight? Do you want to become leaner? Need more energy? Do you wish to clean your liver? You heard that it is good for the body? Everyone is doing it, so I should too?
Second, before you decide or choose your detox plan, make sure you prep yourself. What do I mean by that? For example, if you are doing detox that eliminates coffee, and you drink 3 cups per day, start to drop your coffee intake to 1-2 cups per day, then one before you start your detox. If you are beginning a five-day juicing detox, don’t have a big heavy meal the night before, ease into it.
Third, be careful taking detox supplements. Consult with your Dr., nutritionist, clinical pharmacist, or integrative medicine practitioner before ordering or buying some.
Fourth, should you detox now or in Spring?
” Old English springan “to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow,”
During the winter, temperatures are still low; it’s still dark outside. Our bodies still need comfort, food, warm, and cozy places. It usually takes a person 10 to 20 days to adjust to a new season. The transition from winter to warmer months can be more robust because of the higher amount of energy required to keep cool.
Many vegetables and some fruits are harvested in the Spring. ‘Tis the Season to get your local asparagus, greens, peas, rhubarb, and other fresh produce. Getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for the soul. A 2016 study of more than 12,000 Australians found that when people increased the number of fruits and vegetables in their diet, they felt happier and had higher rates of life satisfaction.
I prefer to start eliminating processed sugars, dairy, alcohol, and processed foods in January and February. In March I eat more of the fresh foods I find at the local markets.
Here are four easy steps to prep your self for detox or new Season ahead.