DETOXING, STRENGTHENING YOUR BODY’S DEFENSE SYSTEM
THE TOXINS YOU CAN BE EXPOSED TO EVERY DAY INCLUDE:
- Heavy metals in the food and water supply
- Environmental pollution
- Chemical food additives
- Smoking; overuse of alcohol or drugs
- Use/overuse of Rx medication
- Prolonged high stress
- Poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
- Frequent colds or chronic illness
YOUR BODY’S NATURAL DETOX TEAM
Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a Detox Team of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of impurities. The liver leads the Detox Team by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting detox defense players are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. When your body’s natural Detox Team becomes compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered out. This makes it a real challenge for the Detox Team to maintain or restore health and well-being.
DETOXING BOOSTS YOUR HEALTH
Following a detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body’s natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:
- Allows digestive organs to rest
- Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
- Promotes movement of bowels
- Improves circulation
- Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
- Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body
6 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DETOX
Before you begin a detox, prepare mentally and physically. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you’ve set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress. Stock up on inspirational music and reading material.
GATHER HERBAL SUPPORT Herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body’s Detox Team, especially the liver. They also have antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body.
HYDRATE Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day with lemon/lime during a detox.
DRY BRUSH YOUR SKIN Look for a brush with soft natural bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing over the skin (don’t make the skin red). Always brush towards the heart. Shower immediately after to rinse off exfoliated skin.
GET WET Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Hydrotherapy provides support to the muscles and promotes relaxation. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.
SWEAT IT OUT-GENTLY Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, dancing, walking, yoga, or tai chi.
REST For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, meditation, bathing) for right before bed.
HOW TO DETOX?
There are many ways to approach detoxing, from fruit and vegetable juice fasts to herbal tea cleanses. A typical approach is a short period of fasting with proper fluid intake followed by whole or raw foods and beverages before resuming your usual daily routine. There are people who must be under the care of a health practitioner, such as pregnant or nursing women or those diagnosed with certain conditions such as diabetes. In general, it’s important to work with your doctor to select a program that matches your health needs.
- Cline, J.C., “Nutritional Aspects of Detoxification in Clinical Practice.” Altern Ther Health & Med. (2015) May-Jun, 21(3), p 54-62. PMID: 26026145.
- Wheelter, L. “Detox for Life: The Three Crucial Steps of the Detox Program.” Natural News.com Accessed on January 11, 2016.
- Jade, K. “Liver Detox Tea as Part of Your DIY New Year’s Detox Cleanse.” Natural Health Advisory Institute Online. Updated 1/1/2015. Accessed on January 11, 2016.
- Lucille, Holly. “Do You Have a Toxic Workplace?” American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website. Accessed on January 11, 2016.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha
GO WILD WITH DANDELION GREENS
Dandelion helps filter waste products from the bloodstream. In many cultures it has been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and digestive aid. Herbalists have used dandelion to treat jaundice, cirrhosis and liver dysfunction. Preliminary research suggests dandelion may even strengthen liver and gallbladder function.
All parts of the dandelion are edible. The bittersweet roots may be eaten raw, steamed or dried, roasted and ground for a coffee substitute. The flowers are commonly used to make wine and jam. Dandelion greens can be eaten steamed, boiled, sauteed, braised or raw in salads.
Try adding dandelion greens to:
- Quiche, omelette
- Sauce such as garlic & olive oil
- Seafood soup
- Sauteed vegetables
- Green smoothie
Dandelion packs as much power in its flavor as it does in its nutrition. It can quickly overpower more delicate herbs and flavors-a little goes a long way. When harvesting dandelion, especially for salad, take greens from young and tender plants, before the first flower emerges. Greens from older plants will be larger, but also tougher and more bitter. Older leaves are better suited for cooking. At the grocery store, look for organic dandelion with vibrant green color.
- Herb Wisdom.com. Benefits of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Accessed on Jan. 4, 2016.
- University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Database. “Dandelion“. Accessed on January 4, 2016.
- Self-Nutrition Data.com. Raw Dandelion Greens- Nutrition Facts.
- Whole Foods Market.com Dandelion Greens-No Common Weed! Accessed on January 4, 2016.
RECIPE: DANDELION SALAD WITH FRESH GOAT CHEESE & APPLES
- 3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp vegetable or nut oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch dandelion greens, washed and dried, stems removed
- 1/4 lb fresh white goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper together. Pour over greens and toss lightly. Top with goat cheese, nuts and apple.
Super Salad Substitutions (or Add-ins)
- Baby spinach
- Endive radicchio
- Shredded carrots
- Yellow pepper (diced)
- Pear pomegranate perils (seeds)
Instead of Goat Cheese, try Farmer’s Cheese. Recipe Adapted from Mother Earth News. Roger Doiron (April/May 2008)
TEA TO NOURISH & SUPPORT DETOXING
Burdock root, seeds, and leaves are recognized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Burdock has been used to protect liver cells from damage, particularly for alcohol or acetaminophen-related damage, and to ‘purify the blood.
Dandelion leaves and roots have long been used by herbalists as a diuretic, antioxidant, and for anti-inflammatory effects.
Schisandra berries, among the most important herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, are used to protect the liver against inflammation. In some studies, schisandra berry extract has been shown to improve the health and function of the liver in people with fatty liver disease.
Milk thistle seeds are abundant in an antioxidant silymarin, a free-radical scavenger thought to help prevent toxins from entering liver cells and stimulate liver cell regeneration, among other benefits.
Other common detox tea ingredients include ginger root, licorice root, and fennel seeds to facilitate digestion, and decrease inflammation. These herbs also help tame the more bitter flavors from ingredients such as dandelion. Fresh lemon and maple syrup, can be used to flavor as well.
Some detox herbs interact with other medications. Check with your health practitioner to choose the best detox tea for you.
- Vasey, Christopher. “Eliminating Toxins.” The Naturopathic Way: How to Detox, Find Quality Nutrition, and Restore Your Acid-Alkaline Balance. (2009), 81-95. Rochester, Vt: Healing Arts Press.
- Ram, V.J., “Herbal preparations as a source of Hepatoprotective Agents.” Drug News Perspect. (2001) 14,6: 353. Accessed on January 13, 2016.
- PinnacleHealth Patient Portal. “Schisandra chinensis; Schisandra spenanthera.” Accessed on January 12, 2016.
- Abenavoli L, Capasso R, Milic N, Capasso F. “Milk Thistle in Liver Diseases: Past, Present, Future.”Phytother Res. (Oct 2010) 24,10: 1423-32.
MILK THISTLE (Silybum marianum)
Working in tandem with the circulatory system is the lymphatic system, which carriers immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infection. The lymph system doesn’t have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving. Instead, it relies on gravity, exercise, breathing and massage to work efficiently.
If you are not feeling your best or haven’t been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, a massage can help you detox, and get back in balance naturally.
- University of Maryland, Complementary & Alternative Medicine Database Online. Massage.Updated on 9/24/13. Accessed on January 5, 2016.
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.com Massage for Detoxification. Accessed on January 5, 2016.
- Natural Health Advisory Institute.com Lymphatic Massage Benefits. Accessed on January 5, 2015
MASSAGE SUPPORTS YOUR BODY’S NATURAL DETOX
THE EUSTACHIAN TUBE’S JOB IS TO:
WHY WE CRAVE
Food craving, particularly for sweets, is more involved than not being able to resist a second slice of chocolate cake. Researchers have discovered that ‘intense sweetness’ (from sugar or artificial sweetener) creates a biochemical change in the brain that is a lot like the response to addictive substances. Sugar actually alters the dopamine network – part of the brain’s ‘pleasure response.’ Other factors that play a role in the food we crave include stress, family habits, where we eat and whom we eat with, and time of day.
CURING THE CRAVINGS
Our thoughts affect how we feel, and how we feel affects our actions and the choices we make. If you’re struggling with food choices and having a hard time managing sugar intake, consider cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Working with a psychotherapist trained in CBT, you’ll learn to identify and change thoughts that influence emotions. You’ll develop insight into how even the smallest choices allow a behavior to persist and what is getting in the way of changing your patterns.
In a CBT session, clients use educational exercises, talk therapy, and simulations to change behavior. Sessions usually involve intense work over several weeks to arrive at effective solutions. If you’re struggling with cravings, depression, anxiety or addiction, give CBT a chance. It could make all the difference in your way of life.
- National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. ‘What is CBT?’ Accessed 5 Dec 2016.
- Ahmed, S.H., Guillem, K., Vandaele, Y., ‘Sugar Addiction: Pushing the Drug-Sugar Analogy to the Limit.’ (2013, July) 16:4, 434-9. Accessed 5 Dec 2016.
- Dmitrijevic, L. Popovic, N. et al., ‘Food Addiction Diagnosis and Treatment.’ Psyiatry Danub. (2015) 27:1, 101-6. Accessed 5 Dec 2016.
- DiabetesSelfManagement.com ‘CBT’ Accessed 5 Dec 2016.
- MacGregor, G. & Pombo, S., ‘The Amount of Hidden Sugar In Your Diet Might Shock You.’ (posted at TheConversation.com, January 2014). Accessed 5 Dec 2016.
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