Growing older is unavoidable. It’s a reality that each and every one of us will one day have to face as part of the collective human condition. And yet, while nobody can escape the aging process entirely, the good news is that we can avoid some of the worst effects by simply making the right lifestyle choices.
Wherever you currently fall on the age spectrum, there are immense benefits to be had from properly maintaining your body. Even if you’re just now starting down the path to better health. Just like your car requires regular maintenance in the form of routine oil changes, new tires, fresh coolant, and a thorough washing and detailing… so is regular body detoxification a necessity for optimal health.
Why You Need to Detox Your Body
The human body is much like a car’s engine in that it tends to get “gunked up” from constant exposure to toxins. Cleaning chemicals, environmental pollution, pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods – all these and more place a constant burden on the body’s natural cleansing systems. While these systems are designed to capture and flush as many toxins out of the body as possible, they can (and do) become overwhelmed by the immense, constant toxic onslaught of our modern world.
This is why supplemental body detoxification is so important. In order to jumpstart your body’s flushing capacity to ensure that any and all toxic stragglers are removed as quickly and thoroughly as possible, it’s absolutely vital that you follow certain protocols on a routine basis.
Detoxification as a Way of Life
Detoxification is about a whole lot more than just a superficial notion of feeling “clean” as part of some trendy dieting fad. It’s about protecting your body against the very real and damaging effects of toxic buildup. For instance, did you know that peer-reviewed science continues to show that harboring toxins inside your body can trigger a wide array of health conditions – including everything from chronic fatigue and muscle and joint pain to brain disease and cancer?
Chronic toxic exposure is also a leading cause of obesity, which now afflicts more than one-third of Americans. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives explains how so-called “obesogens” are a major contributor to the American obesity epidemic, which more often than not is erroneously blamed solely on people eating too much rather than walking around with polluted, poor-functioning bodies.
I don’t know about you, but this type of information is highly motivating to me. It makes me want to do everything possible to get these obesogens out of my body and avoid them at all costs – and I’m guessing you probably feel much the same way!
Why Body Detoxification Needs to Happen Before Weight Loss
The problem with trying to lose weight before detoxifying is that toxins tend to live inside fat tissue. This means that the minute you start burning off that spare tire, those toxins will immediately start flooding your system. Depending on your personal level of toxicity, this process might overwhelm your vital organs.
Many holistic practitioners recommend doing a series of detox cleanses before trying to actively lose weight. This isn’t to say that you should intentionally hold off trying to clean up your diet out of fear of toxic overload. Rather, you should do a few things first before embarking on a major dietary overhaul that could cause you to lose a lot of weight very quickly.
“By far, the majority of toxins are lipid-soluble molecules,” explains a 2002 study published in Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal about the nature of toxins embedding themselves in fat tissue. The study continues: “While water-soluble molecules are excreted through the urine, lipid-soluble molecules cannot directly enter into the urine and are instead attracted to the lipid in cell membranes. This attraction allows them to be transported inside of cells with ease, where they can sequester and exert their toxic effects.”
The First Step in Detoxifying Your Body: Reducing Toxic Exposure
I want to address the very first thing you need to do before you even think about starting a cleanse. This is to reduce your toxic exposure as much as possible. There’s no point in trying to rid your body of toxins if you’re just going to continue piling more of them on unwittingly. In order for your body to gain an upper hand in the detoxifying process, you’ll need to give your liver and intestines a break from having to process so many toxins at one time.
Here are 7 of the most common sources of toxicity you need to watch out for:
#1 – Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)
Both an environmental and dietary concern, EDCs include phthalates in plastics; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in electrical devices and fluorescent lightbulbs; bisphenol-A (BPA) in food can linings; synthetic steroids in conventional meat products; and estrogenic compounds in soy-based foods.
#2 – Pesticides
The reason I’m constantly telling you to buy and consume organic and/or chemical-free produce and meat whenever possible is because many common food pesticides are highly toxic. Pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides are designed to destroy life. Is it any wonder they also accumulate in, and act to damage the human body?
#3 – “Soft” and Heavy Metals
What makes metals like lead, aluminum, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and nickel so hazardous is that they’re highly pervasive in our surroundings nowadays. Often, they don’t show immediate effects in the body due to their gradual accumulation over time. Sources of exposure include air pollution, non- stick cookware, cosmetics, vaccines, dental amalgam fillings, cigarette smoke, conventional household cleaning products, and contaminated food products. For example, processed foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup are major mercury offenders, as is brown rice (and its various derivatives) grown in tainted soils.
#4 – Fluoride
This brain- and bone-damaging poison is hard to avoid if you live in a community that adds artificial fluoride chemicals to the public water supply. But you can help minimize exposure to this noxious chemical – which has been shown to leach lead and other poisons from water pipes – by investing in a whole-house water purification system that uses reverse osmosis, bone char, activated alumina, and/or deionization filtration technology. You can also choose to consume only natural spring or reserve osmosis-filtered water to minimize fluoride exposure.
#5 – Food Additives, Preservatives, and Growth Hormones
There’s a popular mantra that says if it’s advertised on television, you probably shouldn’t eat it! Many packaged and processed food products are loaded with chemical preservatives such as sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, synthetic food colorings, and other synthetic non-foods that contribute to early aging and degenerative disease. Avoiding these and eating only pure, simple foods made from organically grown, non- irradiated components will go a long way towards minimizing your toxic exposure.
#6 – Electronic Smog
Also known as Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) or Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR), these are the invisible toxins that we can’t see and therefore most people don’t think about. Yet mobile phones, WiFi, smart meters, cell towers, microwave ovens, laptops, and many more devices are emitting a constant stream of radiation into the environment around you. This causes damage at the cellular level and can even alter the genetic material of your cells.
For example, cell phone radiation exposure has been linked to a number of cancers including two types of brain cancer (gliomas and acoustic neuromas). Avoiding these radiation-emitting devices completely is difficult for most people, so limit your exposure as much as possible and look into some of the tools that have been developed to counter EMFs. Keeping your body strong and resilient through good food, sleep, and self-care practices such as a regular detox protocol is also highly beneficial.
#7 – Pharmaceutical Drugs
Most of what mainstream society recognizes as medicine (especially with regards to anti-cancer treatments), the body sees as poison. Pharmaceuticals are among the worst toxic offenders in our modern world, with a strong lipophilic tendency to build up in fat and neurological tissue. Some pharmaceuticals also have a long half-life, meaning they don’t break down very quickly and can take months, or even years to disappear from the body.
I’m not saying to stop taking your prescriptions, but before accepting a prescription from your doctor, ask if there are any diet or lifestyle changes that might work instead. You’d be amazed at the number of conditions that can be improved, if not resolved outright, through a change in diet and improving other lifestyle factors such as stress levels and sleep quality.
The list above isn’t meant to frighten you. And the last thing you should do is just throw up your arms and declare that it’s pointless to even try and limit your exposure to all the various toxins. The goal is progress, not perfection. Taking baby steps to rid (or at least decrease) your diet and lifestyle of as many toxins as possible is an important first step. Then it’s time to start cleansing.