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In society today, detox is the new buzz word. This word is tossed around by every self help guru, health coach, food coach, and others. You know you have heard that you are experiencing a detox, or in a detox, or need to have a detox.

The notion that we need to have a detox is based on the thinking that we are somehow toxic. In this article I’ll walk you through some of my thoughts on this very important topic and give you a means to help you assess if you are indeed toxic or not. By the end of this article, you should know with more clarity what is a detox and if it is applicable to you.

What is a detox?

Detoxification is a normal metabolic process by which toxins are transformed into less toxic or more readily excretable substances. Detox is a natural process that takes place all the time in the body, without us even giving it a thought.

Regular methods by which the body facilitates detoxification include sweating, pooping, peeing, vaginal discharge, and running mucus from the nose. These things happens to most people often in their lives and so the connection to detoxification is never considered.

Does someone who seems to undergo too much of a detox process, toxic and a person with little to no detox process not toxic?

This question is very interesting and the “common sense” answer could be ambiguous without deeper investigation. One would think that the more a person sweats for example, the greater their level of internal toxicity. However, there was a time when I did not sweat very often, even during the summer in Canada. Then when I had undergone a lengthy detoxification in Florida, I was sweating like Niagara Falls. So my toxicity was actually preventing my proper sweating and when I detoxed, I was sweating during the heat as I should.

The runny nose or nasal congestion is another body function that could be misleading because it could mean that you have some internal toxicity which is causing you to have a lot of mucus, or you have an infection which is causing the body to trigger the formation of mucus. But if you have no runny nose or nasal congestion, it does not mean that you are free of toxins.

In order to understand your own toxicity, I would say that, you have to take a holistic point of view. Look at whether the detoxification process is frequent or infrequent. For example, the common function of sweat glands is to cause the body to sweat in the heat in order to cool the body. But if you sweat during normal or cooler temperatures then something is out of whack. Also, if it is very hot, but you only sweat a little bit, then you should consider that something is wrong internally. Then a close inspection of the situation is required.

You could also look at bowel movements. If you do not have one to three bowel movements per day then something is wrong internally. If your poop is hard and/or dry pellets then this is not a good sign. If you are struggling and straining then this is not a good sign either. Then you need to go deeper to understand why this is happening to your colon and not wait until you are diagnosed with severe constipation, chronic constipation or even colon cancer.

What kinds of toxins should people be alert about?

This question is not so easy to answer because there are something like over 40,000 man-made chemicals released into this world. And the main issue is not just which one chemical is potentially harmful to you but what different combinations of these chemicals in your body will produce a mild toxic reaction.

In 2006, there was a report about toxicity in Canadians called Toxic Nation[1]. At the time a 10-year old boy was tested for the presence of PCBs, and other chemicals banned in the 1970’s. It was found that PCBs, PBDEs, PFCs and more. So the question is how does a boy born around the mid 90s get chemicals in his body that were banned over 2 decades earlier. The answer is that these chemicals are persistent in the environment and can get back into children and grand-children.

As an all-purpose rule, I look for toxins in the most apparent places first. In the home, I look for sources of toxicity in toothpastes, laundry detergents, home cleaning agents, make-up, and body soaps. Next I look for sources in the food being consumed. Plastic bottles contain chemicals. Conventionally grown food contains herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Imported fresh produce (conventional or organic) may be “treated” at the border to prevent pests from entering the country. Even the water used in the home to drink, bath, and wash dishes and laundry is to be checked for the presence of toxic chemicals. If an individual can significantly reduce the level of pollution in their home, they are making a great start to maintaining a healthy living environment.

So when does a person need to detox?

If a person has never done one, then one should probably be done. But doing a detoxification is not simply going out and getting a book on it and doing it. Neither is it going to the health food store and buying a box of item X after a brief conversation with the person at the counter. I cannot stress this enough that as with anything that attempts to manipulate the normal and natural bodily functions, there must be a qualified professional nearby to help at least the first time.

Also, if you have symptoms which seem to indicate that something inside you is out of whack, you should consider a  detoxification involving one or more of your vital organs of elimination.

Before detoxing, there must be a proper strategy whether of how best to proceed because the process of stimulating the body’s natural detox systems may cause feelings of fatigue, irritability, pain and soreness, mood swings, and even the onset of cold or flu symptoms.

You should working with a qualified profession who can assist you during your first detoxification and help you understand the biological and physiological processes that are underway in the detoxification. Make sure that the person is able to help you feel comfortable and at ease with the process. It is worth paying to have a professional guide you through your first detox safely and effectively for the best results. Your health is your wealth.

Peace and be well.

References:

[1] http://environmentaldefence.ca/reports/polluted-children-toxic-nation-report-pollution-canadian-families

Image Source: Go_nils/Flickr

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