Whole-Food Cleanses Thwart Toxin Takeovers
Feeling good?...But not good enough? It could be excess toxins sapping your energy, fogging your brain, giving you agita, and generally messing with your joie de vie. Your kidneys, liver, and colon do a great job of getting rid of a reasonable amount of toxins in your body. But, like Ticketmaster before a Taylor Swift concert…well, let’s just say you don’t want that to happen to your internal organs.
All kidding aside, the accumulation of toxic ingestions, absorptions, and inhalations we come in contact with (actively or passively) every day can be the root of many unpleasant symptoms and chronic problems such as headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, digestive distress, skin problems as well as long-term risks of disease. The good news is, with a cleanse or detox, you can easily dispense with these intruders and reboot your body’s natural ability to heal.
What is a cleanse/detox?
This article focuses on a whole-food cleanse which is an eating plan consisting of nutrient-rich, minimally processed, and preferably organic whole foods designed to give the digestive system a respite from toxins that clog up our systems and cause bloating or irregularity. A detox takes it a step further, completely eliminating toxins from the body. Both processes work toward the same goals of increasing energy, ridding the body of dis-ease, and improving mental clarity. However, a detox goes much deeper, so research it well and alert a health professional to see if it’s right for you.
Where does it hurt?
Modern day living almost guarantees toxin overload, regardless of how conscientious we are. We often learn to live with the symptoms or attribute the cause to other things. Here are just a few common signs that might indicate a cleanse is in order.
- Fuzzy, not in a good way: Decreased cognitive ability such as fogginess, confusion, or lack of focus, could be due to common ingredients in the foods you consume or products absorbed through your skin. Some of the bad guys include food additives and pesticides like the antibiotic glycophosate which keeps critical nutrients from being bioavailable. Check the labels of shampoos, cosmetics, perfumes, and lotions, as well, for toxins like parabens, formaldehyde, and phenoxyethanol.
- Tired/Not Tired: Toxic overload really stresses out your body and when we are stressed, we don’t sleep well or we sleep too much. Exposure to chemicals and environmental toxins, like pesticides, metals and cleaning solvents, may affect the adrenal glands which regulate your natural sleep cycle. Also, cortisol, which manages your body’s stress and glucose levels can be knocked off balance, disrupting your good night’s sleep.
- Pain, Pain Everywhere: Head and body aches are not something we should get used to, especially if they are persistent and without a medical diagnosis or explanation. Toxic overload—whether from food, chemicals, the environment, or elsewhere—can affect the nerve receptors in your body leading to headaches, tension, muscle pain and spasms.
As usual, nature has provided us with the cleansing supplies we need, all dressed in colorful costumes just waiting to be picked and prepared. Here are just a few of the yummy ingredients you can include in a whole-food cleanse:
- Those delectable spears of asparagus are a good kidney and bladder cleanser that also help keep that blood pressure stable. They contain the antioxidant, glutathione, which promotes detoxification and—bonus—also provides fiber, iron, and vitamins.
- Kale is kale. We all know it’s good for us (even those of you making faces right now). It has magnesium and potassium along with amino acids for a brain boost. Other leafy greens like spinach, collards, etc., contain chlorophyll that helps remove bacteria from the colon and heals the gut.
- There’s always broccoli, that cruciferous colon-cleanser that is high in fiber and also helps clean unwanted chemicals from our bodies.
- Beets—the bulldozers of cleansing—are antioxidant- and nutrient-rich. They push out toxins by increasing enzymes that assist the liver in detoxification.
- With 20 different vitamins and minerals, avocados also kick it when it comes to getting rid of harmful toxins. Being a healthy fat, they are beneficial to weight management and lowering the risk of heart disease, as well.
- Break out those okie-dokie artichokies filled with phytonutrients that help clean the liver and purify the blood.
- Don’t forget the fruit: mix it up with antioxidant-rich berries: fiber-filled bananas, apples, and pears; and Vitamin C warriors like tomatoes, oranges, and watermelon.
Prep it up
First, choose a cleanse that is right for you and that you feel you can stick to. Put some thought into removing barriers to success, such as purging your refrigerator and pantry so you are always reaching for good stuff. It also helps to get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and incorporate some stress-reducing practices. As best you can, stay clear of environmental toxins. Eliminate gluten, dairy, and soy while cleansing. Also, put off that cup of coffee or glass of wine. When you are done, you may find, there are some habits you won’t want to go back to.
One more tip! You might want to keep a journal, so when it’s time for the next cleanse, you don’t need to reinvent the process.
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