You don’t have to look very far to find a scathing article on detox. One of our first searches on the subject immediately returns the headline, ‘there’s no such thing as detoxing. In medical terms it’s a nonsense.’
If this is what the mainstream press say, then there’s clearly a case to answer for. Part of the problem is that the word detox seems to have accrued various meanings over the years. In the conventional medical community, ‘detox’ refers to the medical treatment of people with life-threatening conditions. Yet in the world of complementary and lifestyle medicine, it may be used to refer to something as simple as giving your liver a bit of a break, right through to a lengthy juice fast, and everything in between. At the other end of the spectrum are the unscrupulous celebrity-endorsed “detox diets” and “detox teas” that promise unachievable and unsustainable weight loss. No wonder confusion reigns supreme.
We wanted to share with you our simple take on detox, without entering into a heated debate - there will always be multiple viewpoints on complementary and lifestyle medicine.
Our simple take on detox
In the same way that multivitamins & minerals are heavily criticised as expensive urine, detox (in the complementary and lifestyle medicine sense) is considered by some to be completely unnecessary.
Whilst a healthy balanced diet should, in theory, be able to provide all the nutrients you need, one of the main arguments for taking a multivitamin is that most people eat a very poorly balanced Western diet. A daily multivitamin may therefore help to fill the gap.
Detox is also considered by some to be surplus to requirements, in part because our bodies are already well equipped to deal with toxins. Unfortunately, we are now exposed to an unprecedented level of toxins every single day, and it is likely that these processes are overloaded.
Even just in the last 50 years or so, modern industry has unleashed an array of new chemicals into our environment; dry cleaning fluids, fire retardant chemicals (mattresses, sofas), pesticides, perfume, toiletries, synthetic building materials, make up, paints, Teflon (non-stick coating), food additives, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), xenoestrogens (plastic packaging), the herbicide glyphosphate, bisphenol A (the synthetic plasticiser found in the lining of tins), mercury in fish, household cleaning products and much more.
Dr Joseph Pizzorno, a leading naturopathic doctor and expert on the subject of detoxification, has spoken widely about the need to support this crucial process in our increasingly toxic environment. He believes that toxicity has become the new normal and that toxicity is now playing a part in most chronic diseases.
It’s interesting to note, when considering the potential impact of toxins on your health, that many classic symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) mirror the hallmark symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome, a condition believed to be the result of massive exposure to organophosphate pesticides, coupled with the effects of nerve gas protection tablets. There is no single known cause of CFS, however it is suggested that toxic overload may play a part. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the deaths or sickness of at least one in four Europeans can now be traced back to air pollution.
What detox is…
Detox is a simple two-step process that involves first giving your liver a break from anything that may be taxing to process (e.g. alcohol, non-organic fruit and veg, caffeine) whilst also supplying it with all the nutrients it needs to work at its best.
• Detox step 1. Give your liver a break
• Detox step 2. Nourish it with the nutrients it needs to work at it’s best.
In simple terms ‘doing a detox’ is a bit like taking your car in for a service. You don’t get a new engine or a re-spray but you might just get something that runs a bit better afterwards. Commonly reported benefits include clearer head, more energy, glowing skin, less aches and pains, more alert, better sleep, less bloated and more.
What detox isn’t…
• Detox isn’t a magic cure all that will solve all your health problems in one fell swoop.
• Detox isn’t a weight loss programme although you may lose weight in the process.
The best time to start a detox is now!
There’s no question that we are now exposed to an unprecedented level of toxins on a daily basis. And whilst detox isn’t a magic bullet, it certainly may help your body to cope better with this daily onslaught. If you can limit your exposure to toxins, and at the same time support your liver’s capacity to deal with those that you can’t avoid, it’s likely that your health will benefit in some way.
Whilst many people vow to start a detox in January, after the excesses of the festive season, you really can do it any time. The best time to do something positive for your health is always now, whenever that may be (you just need to decide what you’ll do with all that extra energy!).
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