Detox Without Deprivation -- By Amy Bousman
Tis’ the post-holiday season, when New Year’s resolutions are made (and often abandoned) and fasts, cleanses and detox diets of all kinds come creeping out of every possible social media crook and cranny. Most of these practices are adopted as a desperate attempt to lose holiday weight gain (usually not in the form of fat, but from the inflammation caused by increased consumption of refined sugars, alcohol and processed holiday foods) and have a rigid, body-punishing regime.
We live in a quick-fix culture, and many of these detox cleanses will result in quick results. In my clinical and personal experience, I find time and again that these quick fixes almost always result in quick failures. If strict diets worked, there wouldn’t be so many of them. The problem here is sustainability; being rigidly restricted forever is not reasonable in our world. We need to celebrate, we need to gather, we need to relax, and a lot of this in our modern world is done via food.
Another reason that detoxes and cleanses fail is because they aren’t usually fun or enjoyable for the body. Most people understand the basic idea of what a detox does and why it’s important. What most people miss is that, when you release toxins that are being stored in the body, you must have a way to capture them and carry them out of the body via your detox pathways (such as your liver, skin, bowels, urinary system, nasal passageways, etc).
Releasing toxins usually doesn’t feel very good. You can get headaches, brain fog, achy joints, fatigue, fevers and more.If your detox pathways are congested (most people living a conventional Western lifestyle have some degree of congested detox pathways), then those toxins have nowhere to go and will be reabsorbed by the body. So you get a double whammy in not feeling great when you release the toxins, then feeling awful again when your body reabsorbs those trapped toxins.
During the last 10 years since I got into Nutritional Therapy, I have tried numerous diets both for my own health and for that of my clients. I feel now, after being my own guinea pig for a decade, that I have met my personal stride and balance for what works to keep my body clean and energized. Though there are individual variances and tweaks that need to be made to account for bio-individuality, the following practices are in general nourishing, nurturing and supportive for the majority.
My favorite detox practices to open up detox pathways:
Water is so important for the body. On the most basic level, water carries nutrients to your cells. From a detox perspective, water helps to flush toxins out through your urinary system. During an intentional detox period, try to avoid all diuretics (caffeine, soda, alcohol, juice) and drink at least half of your body weight in ounces EVERY DAY (a 140-pound person should consume 70 ounces of water/day). For extra adrenal and mineral support, add a pinch of sea salt to your drinking water.
Dry saunas and vigorous exercise. Sweating helps to release toxins through your skin (the body’s biggest organ!). Dry saunas should be used and wet/steam saunas should be avoided. If you are prone to dizzy spells, have underfunctioning adrenals or have blood pressure issues, start slowly with your sweats (such as 5 minutes at a time), sweat with a buddy, and stay hydrated with water and/or coconut water. Come out of your sauna slowly. Whenever possible, sweat up to 20 minutes at a time, 3-4x/week. It is imperative that you take a COLD water rinse after your sweating time (even after vigorous exercise) to ensure that you don’t reabsorb the toxins that were released through your sweat. Click here to check out my favorite sauna in town!
To support the liver, I love to replace my morning coffee with a burdock and dandelion root infusion. My second favorite form of liver support comes in the form of coffee enemas. The cleansing compounds in coffee travel through the hemorrhoid vein, into the liver, and cleanses every cell in the liver. The immediate effects of this toxin release (not caffeine boost) are energizing and incomparable to other methods. Please do not attempt coffee enemas on your own; you must have adequate information and resources first. Thirdly, there are supplements that can help cleanse out undigested fats from the gallbladder and open up the liver detox pathway. Please contact Atma Clinic to set up a time to chat about these practices.
To open up the detox pathways in your bowels, magnesium citrate and colon hydrotherapy can be of great support. If you are regularly in a constipated state, you must have a daily bowel movement before attempting a detox or cleanse.
Detox baths and foot soaks help to pull toxins out through your skin. I like to add epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, and activated charcoal powder to my detox baths. Charcoal will stain your tub, so that’s best reserved for your foot soaks.
Supplemental support can further grab those toxins once they’ve been released and direct them through your now open detox pathways is a must. My favorite is activated charcoal, but many other options are available.
If you’re needing guidance for how to create a delicious, personalized post-holiday reset that will result in deeply nourished cells, inflammation loss, mental clarity and energy gains, please reach out to Atma Clinic today! Nutritional Therapy is a wildly successful fit to meet these goals in a sustainable, long-lasting way.
Amy Bousman is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Contact her at Atma today -- call 785/760-0695 -- for your first appointment (first appointments are free). More here.