It is a great time to Spring-Clean your body with a detoxification.
When the seasons shift, it is a great time to detoxify your body. The transition of Winter to Spring is one of the more challenging shifts for our bodies. Fortunately, our spirits usually get a lift with the longer days and warmer weather so that is a bonus. Seasonal detoxification helps to improve the way that your body deals with transitions. There are barometric pressure changes, day light changes, sleeping pattern changes, physical activity changes and increased exposure to outdoor allergens and pollutants. Added to that long list, most people have suffered from some form of immune challenge over the long cold Winter, not to mention being stuck in our Pandemic Bomb Shelters for a year.
Many patients tell me that they tend to eat less healthy foods through the winter due to a lack of quality fresh produce. Others eat less healthy foods as a coping mechanism for the Winter Blues and because they need to feel the release of chemicals that satisfy the brain. Sometimes we subconsciously over-eat to have more calories “heat units” because it is cold for so long. All of this added together spells out the need for a detoxification. As a Clinical Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Doctor in Pittsburgh for over 20 years, I have supported thousands of patients with clinical detoxification. Let’s break it down!
What are we detoxifying?
The reason that the diet needs cleaned up for a detox is because many foods that we eat are toxic. It is that simple. Refined carbohydrates, heavily processed foods, cross contaminated foods from eating out, hormones and steroids found in non-organic animal proteins, pesticides and preservatives from non-organic frozen produce, alcoholic beverages and naughty cheat meals can accumulate in our bodies and interfere with optimal cellular function. Along with the long list of food born sources of toxin is the addition all of the in-home toxins from cleaning supplies, personal care products, air fresheners, candles, flame retardants in our furniture and more.
Why do we need to detoxify?
If you consider the long list of things that we need to detoxify, imagine that most of us are exposed to some combination of all of those toxins at any given time. This can become overwhelming to the detox systems of the body (primarily the liver and colon) and over time toxins can accumulate. The accumulation of toxin is determined by the level of exposure to toxin and the speed by which your body is capable of eliminating these stressors. Genetics are part of this story, some of us are born with sluggish or limited genetic potential to detoxify. We can offset that limited potential by eating clean food, drinking clean water and breathing clean air whenever possible. If toxins are not readily removed from the system our cells tend to get a buildup of debris that will interfere with feeling optimal energy, thinking clearly and sustaining an optimal outlook on life.
What does detoxification do for you?
By limiting the intake of foods and chemicals that are toxic and supporting the liver and colon to increase and optimize detoxification, you are allowing the total load of unhealthy cellular debris to be lowered in your system. This is like an oil change for your car. Take out the oxidized, thickened oil, change the air filter and replace with clean oil. The lowering of cellular toxin in your body allows increased cell function and metabolism. You may see a decrease in the feeling of needing a nap in the afternoons, mental sluggishness can improve, shedding a few extra pounds is common, skin can clear up, mood can be lifted and digestion is often improved.
Other Ways to Support Detoxification;
- If you are a patient of mine, you may have heard me say, “You can Pee it out, Poop it out, Sweat it out, Snot it out or make a Rash to push the toxins out of your body”. Other than the outlined dietary detox below, there are many ways to support detoxification in your body.
- Exercise to the level of perspiration. This is a way of improving detox through the skin.
- Infra-Red sauna will support detoxifying the lymphatic channels.
- Intermittent Fasting is a rather popular weight loss tool. An Intermittent Fast will also afford the cells an enhanced ability to clean up toxic buildup of debris. This stimulates what is known as Autophagy. Autophagy is the incredible process in which unnecessary components of cells are disassembled and recycled.
- Epsom salts bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts will support the detox pathways.
- Ionic foot bath allows some mobilization of toxins through the pores in the feet.
- Increase your hydration to 50% of your body weight in ounces. Proper hydration supports the mobilization and excretion of built up toxins.
- Drinking “Detox Water” with a teaspoon of Lemon juice, tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and infused ginger root can help balance PH and support colon detoxification.
- I receive a lot of questions about juice cleanses. This is very individual and can be dangerous if the body is not supported properly. The biggest mistake that I see is fruit juicing. Drinking fruit juice is not a proper way to support cleansing. Juice with 2 apples, 3 bananas, 8 strawberries, vanilla almond milk, 8 ice cubes and 1 leaf of spinach is not veggie juice. A fresh raw green veggie juice is highly recommended. Try 1 cup of spinach, 2 cups of kale, 2 cups of parsley, 1 cucumber, 3 celery stalks, half of an apple, 1 carrot and add a little ginger if you like.
How to Detoxify;
We start with a detox diet. It is imperative to remember that the foods that promote detoxification in the body are whole foods, whole grains and there are a lot of different colors of veggies on a detox diet. Remember the 25,000 different phytonutrients found in the full color spectrum of veggies all have the potential to improve cellular function and detoxification. For more on phytonutrients check out my blog here: https://drcshaw.com/the-healing-powers-of-phytonutrients
A basic 3-week detox diet for a healthy adult could look like this:
- Unlimited veggies. Fresh, raw or cooked, grilled, stir fried or steamed.
- Organic Proteins. Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Venison, Grass Fed Beef, Eggs.
- Two servings of fresh fruit a day, Apples pears, berries, plums or cup of cherries.
- Two half cup servings of cooked long grain brown rice or quinoa.
- Two handfuls of raw nuts or seeds, organic almond butter.
- Snack Ideas: Hummus with veggies, apple with almond butter, rice cake with almond butter.
- Olive Oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar for salad dressing.
- Non-GMO vegan protein shake blended with almond milk as meal replacement or snack.
- 50% of your body weight in ounces of water a day.
- Organic Coffee is OK.
- Complete avoidance of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Corn, Sugar and processed foods is most supportive of a detox.
- Make sure you are moving your bowel daily while on a detox to assure proper toxin removal.
Therapeutic Nutrition to Support Detoxification;
- (For 150 lb adults who take no prescription medications)
Remembering that “Liver” in Latin means “To Live”, The two organ systems most important to support for a general detox are the liver and colon.
- Liver-2 Powder, (1 scoop 2x day in water) is the best support to improve the speed of toxin removal while your body is detoxifying junk.
- Megaspore Biotic (1 capsule 2x day) is the only probiotic published to repair permeability to the gut lining in 45 days. This probiotic will support the colon to facilitate detoxification.
- Activated Charcoal (2 capsules at bed time) to bind and eliminate toxins being mobilized from the colon.
- Omega-Mend (1 caspule 2x day) is an essential fat that will protect the cell wall while toxins are being removed. If you are on a multi-vitamin, calcium or vitamin D you should stay on those supports while detoxing.
- If you take any prescription medications you should be under direct clinical supervision for detoxification.
Who should not Detoxify without Clinical Supervision?
- Individuals who are Pregnant or Nursing
- Those with Seizure disorders
- Individuals on any prescription medications
- People who suffer with severe mood disorders
- Individuals who are hypoglycemic, diabetic, have kidney disease or any advanced stage disease process
- Cancer patients
- Individuals with eating disorders
Detoxification is the process by which your body can naturally remove accumulated toxins that interfere with optimal cellular function. You can improve detox potential by changing your diet and taking a few supplements to facilitate the process. When optimal function is restored, increased energy, mental clarity, mood, immune function, metabolism and overall well-being are common. Detoxing during a seasonal shift while your body is under a transitional stress is a great time of the year to clean things up. Personally, I perform a Liver and colon detox 4x a year when the seasons shift. I also avoid Re-Toxing in-between detoxes by sustaining a rather clean, organic diet all year so my system is usually running optimally.
Health is a choice, detoxification is a power tool to supercharge your health!
Dr. Conan Shaw