5 things you need to know before starting a detox
Dr. Samantha Ristimaki, BSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Once or twice a year it is good to give your body an opportunity to take a break and let it catch up with some of the cleansing it has been lagging behind on. A fall or spring detox is a good way to start. If you are new to doing a cleanse, you really need to do your homework and take it slow before committing to what is ultimately a lifestyle change.
Diarrhea is not detoxing
This is a common misunderstanding that most first time detoxers believe during their experience. Over the counter commercial detox products contain laxatives and make the average person feel like they need to install a seat belt on their toilet during cleansing. This is not healthy for the colon. You do not want your bowels to become dependant on a laxative because you will inevitably end up constipated after the cleanse is over.
If you are constipated, it is likely that you are just re-absorbing all the toxins that your liver has worked hard to eliminate. It’s important to have at least 1 or 2 healthy bowel movements a day. Stay well hydrated and make sure you are eating lots of vegetables rich in soluble fibre like an apple or broccoli.
Don’t starve the liver
Some detoxes require you fast for a day or more. This is not ideal. The liver is a huge consumer of energy and it needs fuel in order to function. Without an adequate energy supply, it cannot work at full capacity to remove excess waste from the body.
You should not feel sick
Aside from the caffeine withdrawal headache, a cleanse should not make you feel physically ill. If this happens, discontinue the cleanse - you’re probably doing more harm than good. The liver has 2 pathways in which the toxins must travel through before they can be eliminated in the bowel. The first reaction creates a molecule that is actually a free radical. This highly reactive molecule can actually do a lot of damage to the body if it does not pass through the second liver detox pathway in good time. The challenge is that second step is slower than the first so if you push your body to detox too quickly, you may actually be accumulating harmful free radicals.
Take it easy
Don’t plan to run a marathon while you detox. The process requires a lot of energy expenditure from the liver and as such, you want to make sure that the body can keep up. Plan only gentle activities during your cleanse.
If you are still unsure it is best to have a health care practitioner like a naturopath guide you through a cleanse suited to your body. We customize detox programs here at Wellness for the Body, contact the clinic to book an appointment today!
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