Detoxing: What and How

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Hello friends!

This post is mostly just a diary entry I guess. I’ve really been struggling to eat healthy! It all started with my birthday and indulging on some really yummy strawberry cake. I have a weakness for sweets, and being that it was my birthday I felt obligated to indulge in some decedent, sweet, strawberry cake *queue the heart eyes and mouth waters* ANYWAY! Thats when I really messed up. For the next few days following I allowed unhealthy carbs back into my diet and thought nothing of it and made excuses as to why I was having the food. I ate one slice of cake, then the next I had ice cream and donuts, then I had pasta and bread sticks (LIKE 8 of them!), fast forward an entire week and I just finished mindlessly eating an entire loaf of french bread with a cup of hot coffee while trying to finish my final exam essay. That was the wake up call for me. As I looked down and saw all the tiny crumbs on my lap, I knew I had to take action. I mean, even my yoga pants were getting a little tight and I was beginning to feel sluggish at work and my skin was starting to break out again. I had to make a change.

So here I am, on a Sunday night trying desperately to finish my final exam papers, with french bread crumbs in my lap and coffee stains on my notes. I’m attempting to make a plan on how to properly execute this whole “Detox” thing. What exactly is a Detox cleanse? Is it healthy? Which is the best method?

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Detox is typically associated with being a treatment used to rid the body of drugs and/or alcohol, but the same concept is also used to cleanse the body from dietary and environmental toxins. A detoxification diet usually involves the use of herbs and/or specialized diets to flush the toxins out. There are several different types of detoxification diets, all of which are short-term and typically:

  • Contain foods, such as water and high fiber foods that increase urination and bowel movements in order to draw out and eliminate toxins.
  • Minimizes the amount of consumed toxins, such as eating only organic and/or plant-based foods.
  • Place a high emphasis on foods that provide the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body requires for effective detoxification.

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The human body is a marvelously efficient detoxing machine. The skin—your body’s largest organ—provides a barrier to harmful substances. Your airways trap and expel noxious particles, while your intestines screen out parasites and other harmful organisms while allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the blood. The liver acts as your body’s primary filter, digesting food and ridding the body of toxic substances. Your kidneys also filter out toxins, via your urine. Those organs act in concert with the immune system to keep you well. Healthful eating, sleep, and exercise habits help the machine to run optimally; substandard ones compromise it. But there’s no evidence that a special detox diet or fast can take the place of or supplement what your own body is naturally programmed to do.

It is common for those who have completed a detox diet to have an increase in energy, regular bowel movements, improved concentration, improved digestion and clearer skin. There are pros and cons to almost everything, including a detox diet. One of the most common side effects of a detox diet is headaches, which often occur within the first couple of days after starting the diet. The headaches are usually due to caffeine withdrawal, but gradually decreasing your caffeine intake before starting the diet may help to reduce the headaches. Diarrhea is also a common side effect of a detox diet, which can cause a loss of electrolytes and dehydration. Some people also experience weight loss, fatigue, irritability and skin acne.

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1.Get your fiber!

The more fiber the better. When we eat fiber we stimulate our bowel tract which is one way we can eliminate toxins. Some foods that are high in fiber include apples, flax seeds, beans and legumes, and berries.

2. Drink lots of water!

One study suggests that you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces on a daily basis! For example, if you weigh 120lbs, you should aim to drink 60oz of water a day. Another study suggests that the “8×8″ rule is the best water to track water intake. This method encourages a person to drink eight 8oz glasses of water on a daily basis. The more water you drink on the daily, the easier it will be for your body to filter out and eliminate toxins from your body.

3. Get your sleep!

Evidence suggests that while we sleep, our body is busy repairing our bodies and eliminating toxins that we acquired throughout the day. It’s important to get at least up to 7.5hrs of sleep so that our body has enough time to repair what is needed and to store energy for us to use in the morning.

4. Eat your veggies and fruits!

We’ve all been told to eat our fruits and veggies, but do we know exactly why? well veggies and fruits are packed with tons of vitamins and healthy minerals that help our bodies stay in tip top shape. For example, citrus is a great detoxifying fruit because it is packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C. Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin and also is essential to the formation of collagen, a major building block of our skin. The enzymes found in citrus also burn fat in our body and allow for detoxification!

5. Exercise/Meditate

Exercise and meditation help maintain a healthy body. Exercising helps you sweat, and sweating helps release toxins through your skin. Studies have found trace amounts of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat. Meditation helps you clear your mind and reduce stress. Stress can be as toxic to your health as chemicals. A troubled mind can cause the physical body to function poorly.

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After researching and watching plenty of videos about detoxifying diets, I am ready to take on this endeavor and hope that someone else will be inspired to do so as well. Most diets last for an average of 3-7 days, however I plan to detox for one week straight and then begin to eat clean again. This is my plan, but you can do however many days you feel you need to, just be sure to listen to your body!

Thank you for reading,

~Aja

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