What are the basic principles
This is an extremely important aspect of
life in our post-modern world. Most of us are exposed to hundreds of chemicals
every day. That, combined with poor choices in diet, lack of exercise, and not
enough water or nutrients, causes our livers to become backed up. The result is
fatigue, depression, lethargy, poor complexion, bad breath and an array of
possible illnesses, cancer being the scariest of them all.
The strategies in this book that come under the detox pillar are eating
fruits and vegetables, taking the right combination of antioxidant vitamins and
minerals, and choosing a balanced approach to week-night dinners so that your
liver can do its job. Improving circulation goes hand-in-hand with this one, and
between them. These practices can protect your health or improve it. There are
also detox weekend strategies that can help you make great strides in cleansing
The whole subject of detoxification is bubbling under the surface of our
general health awareness. From talking with people about it, I find that a lot
of individuals are aware that they need detox and have a great interest in it.
That's good. But there is very little general knowledge of what detox is and how
What is "detox?" The general perception is changing. Even the old
perception of the word was not solely about what celebrities do at the Betty
Ford Clinic because of substance abuse problems. It also referred to medically
supervised detoxification to intervene when any type of person is addicted to
alcohol, cocaine, heroin or prescription tranquilizers or painkillers.
The new way to understand "detox" is to see it as a process that
happens naturally within the body. It is the combined effect of several of the
body's organs and systems working harmoniously together.
The easiest way to understand detox is as a "vacation for your
body." Another metaphor is to call it a "spring cleaning,"
regardless of when it takes place. Whatever analogy is used, it's about
providing the time and nutrients for the body to concentrate on these activities
instead of the processes you normally ask it to perform. The benefits that most
people describe are those of feeling more energized, more clear-headed and
"lighter." Weight loss is often an additional benefit, but to approach
detox from only that angle misses many of the lessons the process has to teach.
Why do we need to detox if this is a natural process? Our environment is
filled with chemicals that our bodies regard as toxic. Some of them we know are
toxic. We call them poisonous, or carcinogenic. And hopefully we avoid them. But
there are many, many more that it's difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. For
example, some of us live in places where the air and water are more polluted.
Yes, we have the option to move, but can we earn a living in a place that's less
polluted? The issues around how to avoid toxins become very complex.
Even when we make efforts to avoid toxins, the truth is that our bodies are
being exposed to levels that have rarely, if ever, been present before. We know
the Romans were exposed to lead via their plumbing. We know the air pollution
from the factories of 19th century England could sometimes be fatal.
But, by and large, the chemical soup in which we live was never present
before the last half of the 20th century, and certainly, there have never been
the variety of sources we experience today. Conventional building techniques,
new carpets, furniture made of plywood and "press-wood," synthetic
fabrics, plastic toys and new automobiles all "outgas" chemicals. And
we can add our choices in personal care products, laundry products and what we
voluntarily choose as our indulgences to our body's chemical load. Last, but not
least, are emotional toxins. Our negative emotional states cause the creation of
stress hormones that our liver has to process, along with the chemicals, some
reproductive hormones and the byproducts of metabolism.
I don't present this list to scare you. The good news is that a personal
detox program is a positive response you can have to the situation. Will it
totally remove the threat that chemicals pose to your health? No, however, it
can reduce the threat for most people. There are no guarantees in terms of
health, but if you take responsibility, become increasingly better informed, and
cautiously experiment based both on your own information as well as on the
advice of your licensed, holistically oriented practitioner, I believe you will
find ways to protect and improve your current state of health.