A Spring Detox - why is everyone doing it?
Detoxes are popular because of all the benefits people receive from them, including short term - mainly weight loss and increased energy - and long-term, disease prevention. While detoxing seasonally is recommended, spring is particularly important because by nature, winter is a time for hunkering down, lowering our activity levels and eating more, and heavier food. It’s also common to pack on a few extra winter pounds and as a result feel a little stiff, bloated or drained of energy. As understood in Ayurvedic medicine, the body has a yearly rebuilding cycle for all its organs and systems, and this time of year it focuses on the organs in the upper part of the body, most importantly, the liver.
Most of us underestimate the importance of the liver. An analogy I like to use is that your liver is like your dryer’s lint filter. When it’s clogged with impurities from artificial ingredients from processed or undigested foods and environmental toxins, etc., it can no longer break down and eliminate bad stuff effectively. This causes a toxic load that negatively affects every system in the body.
Many people are not only unaware of the dangers of toxicity, but also what can be done to avoid it. Even the cleanest eaters (those who eat no processed foods) often unknowingly contribute to their own toxicity by eating foods they are sensitive to. When they do, it can cause many problems including, but not limited to, internal inflammation.
The good news is that a lot of toxins can be released from your cells by changing your diet and adding a few simple detoxing techniques, even for just a couple of weeks. Once the toxins are eliminated, inflammation will calm down, many undesirable symptoms will vanish and most people will lose weight.
For those reasons, it’s advisable to detox with a clean eating program. A program that includes a structured plan for reintroducing specific foods that will help you identify those, which your body is sensitive to.
Everyone’s body is different (no two snowflakes…), therefore symptoms of toxicity can manifest in different ways. Some common examples include:
• Muscle aches/Joint pain
• Postnasal drip/Sinus problems
• Heartburn/Acid reflux
• Sleep problems
• Difficulty concentrating
• Food cravings
• Water retention
• Skin problems
• Canker sores
• Bad breath
As hard as we may try, none of us, not even the "bubble boy,” (love that Seinfeld episode) can completely avoid toxins. But we can control what we eat and gentle seasonal detoxing can really help.
I say gentle, because it takes a long time to build up the toxins in your body and eliminating them too quickly, can be harmful. I always recommend working with a doctor or professional Health Coach to be sure you get the maximum benefit and minimize risk.
You may be experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms, want to take preventative steps to protect your health or determine if you have food sensitivities, and that’s great! But I would be remiss in pointing out that when you “stir up” and eliminate bad stuff (physical and emotional), you may experience temporary withdrawal symptoms.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, these symptoms can occur for a number of reasons. Eliminating sensitive foods and un-junking the diet can cause reactions similar to withdrawal from other addictive substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, etc. Note: We are often most addicted to the foods we are allergic to! Additionally, toxins in our digestive tract can make us feel ill if we don’t eliminate them.
But don’t worry, there are ways to prevent their occurrence or minimize their effects:
The best way to get relief from these symptoms is to follow the recommendations below:
- Drink a lot of filtered water (6-8 cups).
- Allow more time for rest and sleep.
- Don’t wait until you are starving to eat!
- Use heat - a sauna or warm epsom salt bath
- Meditate and deep breathe
- Eliminate all refined sugar, gluten, dairy, flour, caffeine, alcohol
- Keep a journal and record how you feel
- Dry brush your skin
- Oil Pulling
So consider a little spring-cleaning for your body and add a little spring to your step!
Dr. Mark Hyman
The Living Center
New Holistic Living
Written by Jennifer Tremblay, MBA, CHC, AADP