Hello dear friends!
If there’s one mantra I would have about living in today’s world, it would be “detox or die.” Even if you aren’t currently experiencing debilitating symptoms, your body is still accumulating toxins from your environment, and they will catch up with you eventually. But for those who are dealing with health challenges, detox is of the utmost importance, and it needs to start now. It can make the difference between regaining your energy and vitality, and potentially never getting your life back.
Now, I know there are plenty of people and blogs out there that will tell you that the idea of “detox” is bullshit, and our bodies already know how to detox. And to that I will say, yes, our bodies do know how to detox. They are made perfectly to do so. However, most of our detox pathways are compromised, and our bodies are not functioning as they were intended to. Our livers are clogged up, our lymphatic systems are stagnant, our kidneys aren’t filtering well, and the list goes on. So, intentional detoxification work is essential.
Thankfully, many people are catching on to this, and “detox” has become a really big buzzword lately. But you and I both know, whenever something becomes trendy, there is likely to be lots of misinformation sprouting up, taking advantage of this increased traffic. I’ll tell you right now, there is a LOT of detox BS out there at the moment; much of which is useless, some of which may be downright harmful. There are a lot of ways to detoxify, and your own protocol will need to be tailored to your unique physiology, your exposure history, and your symptom profile (want help with this? Contact me). But no matter your detox strategy, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
I’ve tried dozens of different detox methods in the past, and never felt like they got me anywhere. Over time, I learned what parts were missing, and what things can make or break your detox efforts.
So, without further ado, here are four keys to a successful detox:
1. Open your elimination channels
Whether you are trying to rid your body of parasites, heavy metals, viruses, neurotoxins, or something else, you have to give them a way to actually GET OUT. If you are taking herbs or other supplements that kill pathogens, or pull metals from your tissues, it’s critical that you check your elimination routes, so you know that those things are leaving the body. If your elimination channels are stagnant or weak, you run the risk of those pathogens and toxins circulating in your system, and probably being reabsorbed or redistributed. Not ideal, to say the least!
Our liver is our main filter and storage organ, and our lymphatic is our body-wide trash collection system, and the debris that these two systems pull up has to go somewhere. That brings us to our four main elimination channels:
It’s crucial that you open and clear these channels, so that toxins can leave your body! Ideally, you should be pooping at least 1-3 times per day, your urine should be cloudy when you pee (especially first thing in the morning), and your skin’s pores should be clear and open. Opening elimination routes can be a huge challenge, so it may be worth reaching out to a detox coach for help.
2. Don’t forget your binders
I see this scenario all too often: a person with chronic illness begins taking antimicrobial herbs, and experiences severe die-off reactions, or pain/fatigue from a new heavy metals detox product. They suffer in misery for weeks or even months, wondering why they’re not getting better. Most of the time, it’s because their elimination routes aren’t open, but something that goes along with that, is the use of binders! A lot of the time, they’re not using any binders, or not using the right ones for the toxins they’re trying to get out.
So, what are binders? Essentially, these are substances that do just that- they bind to toxins in the body, helping to shuttle them out more effectively. Binders can reduce reuptake of toxins by your cells, and shorten your healing crises/Herxes. Depending on what you’re trying to work on (heavy metals, molds, viral debris, etc…), and the state of your elimination channels, certain binders may be better for you. A few that I have used and recommended for past clients:
Pectin (usually apple or citrus-based)
Keep in mind that binders can be harmful if not used properly. Many of them are “indiscriminate,” meaning that they bind not just toxins, but vitamins, minerals, and medications too. It’s best to take binders at least 2 hours away from any other supplements or meds, for this reason.
3. Increase your bioavailable hydration
If I were to ask you what the most cleansing element was, you’d probably say water, right? We intuitively know that water is a powerful cleanser- we use it to wash our clothes, our dishes, and ourselves. Water is essential to the health of our cells, and only in the presence of good hydration can we effectively “wash away” toxins and harmful debris. The thing is, most of us are chronically dehydrated, whether we think we feel it or not. And sometimes, guzzling a glass of plain water just won’t cut it, especially if your gut lining is compromised.
Incorporating more bioavailable hydration, then, is important for detox. Yes, most of us know that during detox, staying hydrated/peeing a lot is smart, to flush everything out. But beyond water (preferably filtered, with no fluoride or metals in it), there are several other great options that can be more readily absorbed by the body. When the water, juice, or fluid contains active, living compounds, it’s often utilized better by our cells. So, some other options, besides regular water, include:
Pure celery juice
Other green juices
Pure coconut water (no sugar or preservatives added)
Lemon or lime water
Water with certain binders added, like spirulina
“Eating your water” with fresh, ripe fruits
Natural spring/mineral waters
4. Be mindful of the three P’s
Most of us, especially those who have been ill for many years or those with severe toxic exposures, will be actively detoxing for a long time. And it’s normal to have periods of burnout and frustration along the way. For me, it took a while to realize that this was going to be a journey, and there had to be some flexibility and resilience in how I approached my detox protocols. So, I try to keep in mind what I call the three P’s:
Find rhythms and cycles with your detox. Use one binder for a few weeks, then switch it up. Pull back on your detox now and then. Make space for periods of intense work, and periods of rest and recalibration.
If you are 40 years old, you have 40 years of accumulated toxins (and even some from in-utero/parental exposures), and it’s not all going to get cleaned out in a few months. Detox is a long game. Be prepared to invest in this, and be consistent with it for a while.
While some people start feeling better right away with a new detox protocol, most of the time, it takes a while. There may be times of worsening symptoms, or having to troubleshoot. Don’t give up! Every body is different, so it may take some finagling to find the best strategy for you. Keep breathing and trusting that your body is doing its best to heal.
For anyone trying to recover from chronic illness or mystery symptoms, detoxification is going to play a central role. Because I’ve learned so much over the years and have made my fair share of mistakes, I want to help you avoid those mistakes, and keep your detox on track!
Most of us have some amount of heavy metals, viruses, parasites, petroleum chemicals, solvents, pesticides, bacteria, molds, and other ickies in our systems. That’s just how it goes these days, living in this world, unfortunately! But thankfully, you can help your body get cleaned up and working better.
Got more questions on effective detox strategies? Let’s chat. I’m ready when you are.
And as always, my friends…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~