Detox is really popular these days, but unfortunately few people know what it really means. And that leads to a lot of ineffective and often dangerous fad detoxification diets. We humans are so good at making simple things complicated…
Our bodies are very wise. They know what we need, and often more importantly, what we don’t need to function optimally. We evolved in the wild, eating what’s known now as the Paleolithic diet; vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and lean animal protein like wild game, (and yes, grubs and snails and insects!) We usually skip the insect part these days, but the rest of it is really the ideal human diet. No human cultures were originally vegetarian, that came later to accommodate for a population that grew so fast that they ran out of game!
So what’s a “detox?” Contrary to all the wild and crazy “detox diets” out there, detox is just what your body does! All the time, on it’s own, with or without your help, thank you! The diet part, is what YOU can do to help it. So a healthy “detox diet” is simply one that supports the body’s natural processes, providing the nutrients it needs to do its work more easily and effectively, and eliminating exposure to the toxins that just make its work harder.
Your body constantly neutralizes, eliminates or transforms the chemicals that we breathe, ingest or put on our skin, as well as the chemicals that our own body manufactures as it does its daily digestion and metabolic work. The more chemicals we are exposed to, and the further our diet is from our true, natural diet, the harder our detoxification systems have to work.
The majority of the work is done by the liver and the intestinal tract, but your kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system and your skin are also important organs of detoxification. We want to minimize the toxins that are put into or created in the body, and maximize their metabolism and elimination in all of these organs. That’s really it!
So the simplest form of detox diet is to make it easier on your hard-working body. Eliminate all processed food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and eat the way nature intended: fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, minimal gluten-free grains, lean organic or wild animal protein. Avoid chemicals as best you can, such as synthetic cosmetics, household cleaners, pesticides, hormones etc. Provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs to step up its house cleaning. And drink lots and lots of water to help flush everything out. After all, how can you get clean without rinsing?
There are lots of fad detox diets and “fasts” circulating these days, but if they don’t include adequate protein and the nutrients that support the detoxification process, they may be doing you more harm than good. As the old margarine commercial used to say, “you can’t fool Mother Nature!” And really, why would you want to?
Yours in health, Carol