This post or blog is not meant to cure, heal, treat, or diagnose any medical conditions, illnesses, or disorders. I write about my own experience and share the knowledge I have gained by speaking with holistic healers, holistic medical doctors, reading pertinent books, investing time in learning about the body, nutrition, health, etc., and adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is highly advisable that you conduct your own research and that you realize that embarking on any health/detox plan is of your own volition. I, as the author, write for educational, informational, and motivational purposes. Please consult with your medical practitioner with any questions related to your specific medical condition as it relates to beginning any detox/health plan.
*End of disclaimer*
My View On Health and Healing (A Quick Summary)
“Healthy lifestyle” is an ambiguous phrase. What works for you might not work for me, and vice versa. But there are certain constants when it comes to health. My views towards nutrition, food, and health differ greatly from those individuals who choose the “let’s go to the doctor” approach at the onset of any symptoms. I believe in and subscribe to holistic healing and holistic treatment. Standard medical practice and expertise is, of course, necessary and essential, but not in all cases. What we put into our bodies has a direct correlation to the ailments and illnesses that we develop. We cannot negate the fact that the way we eat has an immense impact on our health, mood, energy level, and life. If you’re still reading this, then you understand what I mean or you’re interested enough to learn more. It always start with food. Always. Those that will argue about the serious medical conditions that exist need to keep this in mind: if one gets sick today, that does not mean that this individual was healthy yesterday. The body is an intricate machine that operates based on cumulative actions. In other words, how you treated your body a week ago, a month ago, a year ago matters and that is how your body is going to perform and function.
The good news is that you possess all the control. You can change what you eat and how you eat today, tomorrow, and beyond. Is it hard to change eating habits? Well, it’s not easy. But it’s not impossible. In order to increase your success, one of the key concepts to understand is how habits operate.¹ But that’s for another post. I will discuss habits, how they’re formed, how they’re altered/replaced, and their overall role in developing a healthy lifestyle in the guide that I’ll release following the completion of my current detox. I’ll also reference habit formation throughout my future posts.
This is a quick rundown of how detoxing impacts the body.
Your body needs a break. Your body need to repair, rebuild, and reset. Detoxing strengthens your organs and increases energy, vitality, and overall sense of wellness. The body is naturally designed with its own internal detoxification system and works to eliminate toxins, wastes, and impurities from the body every day. However, when it is constantly bombarded with toxins from unhealthy foods, cleaning and self-care products, water, air, etc., the body can become overwhelmed and begin to have problems flushing out the toxins and getting rid of waste. As a result, the immune response weakens, the body’s functioning lowers, and we become more vulnerable to illness and disease. When the body’s ability to function at its optimal decreases, we are more likely to become sick; we are unable to absorb nutrients properly; and we become exposed to poisons that can make their way into the bloodstream, thus causing havoc on our internal system.
In addition, a high percentage of toxins are stored in fat cells. Our fat cells store toxins and actually keep the waste away from our precious organs. If you have had trouble losing weight, this might be the reason. By detoxing, you are allowing your body to cleanse the toxins out, thus giving it the opportunity to reduce fat cells and lose weight. Since the fat is no longer used to protect our organs from the toxic waste, the body has an easier time getting rid of excess fat. Combine this with a regular exercise routine during and after the detox period and you will notice yourself feeling lighter and begin losing weight. The lists below outline some physical and emotional symptoms that can indicate a build up of toxins.
- frequent headaches or migraines
- frequent colds
- clogged sinuses
- asthma or bronchitis
- skin rashes
- acne or breakouts
- being overweight
- inability to lose weight
- lack of energy
- hormonal imbalances
- mood instability
- trouble sleeping
- brain fog
- poor concentration/focus
- lack of motivation
My Current Challenge – Fruit and Vegetable Detox
I’m writing this as I’m beginning day 11 of a 21-day detox plan I’m currently on. It has been an experience. The last time I did a detox was in March 2014. I consumed only raw foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, certain herbs, certain cleansing supplements, chia seeds, and ground flax seed. I remember that I had some intense reactions during that cleanse, including stomach pains, bloating, irritability, and fatigue. In addition, I was highly emotional. It seemed as if I felt every emotion ten times more intensely than usual.
I decided to do the detox in 2014 after I moved back home. I wanted to cleanse not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. For me, the cleanse symbolized a fresh start in more ways than one.
I had done cleanses before, specific ones that targeted the colon, liver, and kidneys, but the detox in 2014 challenged me in a specific way. I was still trying to reconnect with myself and looking back now, I was definitely able to release a lot of previously unresolved emotions. That’s the thing. Detoxing isn’t just physical. Emotions are rattled during a period of detox and you’re likely to find that emotions and feelings you’ve been blocking, avoiding, and minimizing appear again. This can leave you feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, and emotionally vulnerable. That’s okay and necessary.
Think of detoxes as the secret to getting attuned with your experience and your emotions. Resisting cravings and adjusting to a completely new way of eating can leave you feeling physically vulnerable. Being physically vulnerable has a way of awakening the emotions since you won’t have as much willpower to block, avoid, dismiss, or minimize them. So you will be confronted with some internal work that maybe you’ve been putting off. It’s an awesome opportunity for you to become more attuned with yourself and increase self-awareness.
Why Am I Detoxing?
It’s been two years since my last cleanse and it’s a very good idea to complete a detox once a year in order to aid the body in the elimination of toxins and provide the body with a reset. Some people advocate for more frequent cleanses, but for me and my current lifestyle, once a year works best. As you can see, I’m a year overdue.
I want to cut out some of the foods that I was beginning to think I was consuming too much of, mainly coffee, chips, and yellow cheese. A detox is a perfect way to “reset” your system.
I want to challenge and test myself. I was also curious to see how my body and emotional energy would change during and after the detox. In general, making drastic changes in our diets and cutting out foods that we are accustomed to eating creates an emotional reaction within us.
The detox lasts 21 days. Today is day 11.
For those of you who are interested in completing a detox, I will be releasing a detailed guide on the specifics of my detox, including a specific meal plan to follow, recipes, shopping lists, and more. Look for the guide in the next few weeks.
What am I eating?
The following foods are allowed on the detox:
- Raw vegetables
- Raw fruits
- Raw juices
- Lightly steamed vegetables
- Cooked quinoa
- Vegetable broth
- Ground flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Organic Kimchee
- Organic Green Tea
- Organic Black Tea
- Organic Yerba Mate Tea
- Organic Herbal Tea
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Chlorella and Spirulina*
*Chlorella and Spirulina are two types of algea that I highly recommend including in your detox. Both have strong detoxifying properties, repair tissues and cells, and improve immune system functioning. You can buy both in tablet or powder form. Use high quality brands. I use and recommend Sun Chlorella and Nutrex Hawaii Hawaiian Spirulina. Both can be found at your local Whole Foods Market or other health food store.
Look for my next post where I’ll focus on how to prepare for a detox as well as challenges I’ve experienced while on the detox.
Let me know your questions about detoxing below!
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1. Charles Duhigg describes the habit loop in his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. First, there’s a familiar cue; this cue prompts your habit; and your habit provides you with a reward. As one of the central themes of the book, Duhigg underscores the importance of understanding our cues and our reasons for engaging in certain behaviors, i.e. habits. We cannot evoke change in habits if we do not have a full grasp of the forces driving our behavior. This requires a great deal of self-awareness, discipline, willingness and readiness to change, and a belief that change is possible.