Detox 1: Your body on toxins

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I’ve done just about every detox out there. I’ve taken huge pills several times a day for 14 days, I’ve had days on nothing but fresh pressed vegetable juice, and I’ve even jumped head-first into an intense candida diet.  Over time, I’ve come up with three realizations. One, I was very toxic and those toxins were making me sick. Secondly, detoxing can be harsh on the body and can cause damage if done in a drastic way. And finally, I would rather set my body up to handle toxins daily rather than randomly cleaning it out through a big dramatic effort.*

In this series, I want to help you understand what it means to detoxify and give you practical and gentle ways to reduce your body’s toxic load thereby reducing your vulnerability to disease. But first…

The bad news:  We come in contact with toxins every day. Sitting on our couches, breathing in that “new car smell,” even cooking up healthy veggies for our family in that non-stick pan exposes us to toxins. And this exposure starts at the beginning of our lives. In 2004 the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal had the umbilical cords of 10 newborn babies tested and found over 200 toxic chemicals; chemicals known to cause cancer, that are harmful to the brain and nervous system, or that cause birth defects.

These toxins creep into our body from the chemicals in the products we use, like furniture, wrinkle cream, or even spatulas; through the air we breathe that’s full of pollution; through the food we ingest that contain pesticides and heavy metals (even organic produce); and by the water we drink that has been contaminated by commercial agriculture run off and  pharmaceuticals. Basically, our systems are either dealing with or storing toxins in our body pretty much always.

Right about now, if you aren’t in the corner curled up in the fetal position, you might be thinking that this all sounds rather bleak. Honestly, it ain’t great.  We haven’t been good stewards of our earth, and in return our health is suffering. But there is good news…

The good news: We have amazing bodies that are designed to rid our bodies of toxins, and many non-toxic choices are available.

Our lymphatic system and our digestive system handle all toxins our bodies come in contact with. When these systems are hampered, meaning they aren’t able to move the toxins out of our body, toxins get stored in our fat. However, our fat has only so much storage capacity, so when our fat cells can’t hold the toxins anymore, the body send the toxins to our brain — our very fatty brain.

So our job is to do the best we can to make sure those systems are working really well and to give them a break by reducing our toxins.  Next up in the series, how we keep our lymphatic system chugging along. Stay tuned!


*Note: I’m not opposed to time-constrained or seasonal detox programs. However, the focus of this series is the work we need to do to keep our body’s daily detoxing mechanisms up and running.