What’s the Deal with Detoxes?

by Stacy

Do you know someone who has done a detox? (Not gone to detox, that’s different.) Chances are you think those people are crazy and can’t imagine doing such a ridiculous thing, right?

I admit, I was one of those skeptics. MasterCleanse? No thank you. Green smoothies? Ruh-uh. There was some serious resistance.

And this week, I stopped resisting and took the opportunity to challenge myself. Guess who’s been chowing down salads like nobody’s business?

Why a detox?

Our bodies are constantly accumulating toxins — through the food we eat, our environment, and our emotions and actions. We live in a stressful, over-stimulating world and expect our bodies to keep up.

Normally, you don’t need to do anything extreme; our livers, kidneys, and digestive and lymphatic systems are constantly removing toxins from our bodies. The constant barrage can wear our systems down, however, and it can be extremely beneficial to give your body a break so it can detox more effectively. What we need to do is get out of our own way.

How does it work?

When we eat a heavy/greasy/processed meal, our body has to work hard to digest it, extract the nutrients (if any), expel the waste, and clear out our system. By following a limited plan of nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods, our body uses less energy processing so it can focus on effectively removing the toxins from our system.

Results can include improved digestion, clearer skin, reduced fatigue and mental fuzziness, and better sleep. The results aren’t limited to the physical, though. We all use food for different things than fuel: comfort, reward, socializing, whatever it may be. When you remove your usual coping mechanism, you’re also forced to detox your life. Without the crutch of food, you can confront those negative thoughts and emotions you’ve masked by eating, break those old habits, and acknowledge the toxic relationships that are draining you.

Though I’m familiar with the concepts of detoxing through my training, I’m no detox expert — my first personal experience with a detox was just this week. In a short five-day kickstart program I’ve experienced all that I mentioned above.

I’ve been forced to face some areas I was avoiding in my life that I didn’t even know were there. I’ve found areas of resistance in my life masked as comfort and safety that have kept me from moving forward. I had been eating poorly recently, but I faced the reasons why and let them go.

Pretty impressive for eating more salad, huh?

The program I did (listed below) called for limited grains and proteins, no processed or refined foods, no cow dairy, and no caffeine. It focuses on basic food combining, a green juice or smoothie each day, raw vegetables before each meal, as many fruits and veggies as you want, some goat or sheep dairy, and a little dark chocolate and wine.

I worried that I would be hungry since I don’t tend to do very well on raw foods and smoothies have never been my thing. It’s been quite the learning experience — and I wasn’t hungry at all.

Have you ever done a detox? Would you want to? Why or why not? If you notice resistance, ask yourself with curiosity and no judgement: What are you afraid to learn?

Most people fail with detoxing because it’s too strict and they’re going it alone. Here are some recommendations:

  • Lisa’s Five-Day Jumpstart is a great way to get support and dip your toe in the alkaline water, if you will. Lisa is also a health coach and this is the 5-day detox I did.
  • Our Virtual Book Club is doing a group 21-day cleanse based on the book Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr starting next week and we’d love to have you! I’m doing this one, too.
  • YogaJournal is doing a fall Ayurvedic detox that you can follow here.

Are you ready to let go of what’s holding you back, get out of your own way, and release the toxic energy draining your life?

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