Demystifying Detox

Detox, noun: treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances, especially alcohol and drugs

The detox industry is a scam.

The term detox should be reserved only for medically supervised treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. It involves the use of machines and medicines to clear the body of d poisons that have overwhelmed the organs so much that they cease to function properly. The notion that you can swallow a pill or a green drink, slap some foot pads on, or slather on a clay mask, to flush, sweat, pee, or poop away what are essentially poor lifestyle choices (e.g. fast food, too much food, excess partying, smoking) is a myth that continues to perpetuate year after year. Under normal day to day circumstances our bodies are completely capable of eliminating what is not necessary via the liver, kidneys, intestines and, even our skin. If these so-called toxins or heavy metals were running rampant in your body you would be seriously ill and in need of immediate medical attention or…you’d be dead.

I am no stranger to the world of detox products and the claims they make. It’s an incredibly overused, misused, and misunderstood word in the wellness world. It’s a marketing gimmick. People want a magic bullet to remedy their not-so-healthy lifestyles so if there are foot pads promising to pull out all those nasty toxins swirling around it’s easier than changing your diet or doing physical exercise. P.S. those foot pads? Please don’t waste your money on them. A. – you can’t “pull out toxins” through the feet, and B. they turn brown because anything you put on them causes them to turn brown, not because poisons are pouring out of your body as you sleep.

Then there are all of the beauty products claiming to “detoxify” your skin. I know, I know…the skin is our largest organ and whatever we put on it gets absorbed into our bloodstream. Eh, not so fast. I am an enormous supporter of pure, clean, and natural ingredients in my personal care products but not all products are created equally and the absorption and penetration of ingredients are dependent upon the size and weight of the molecules. I strongly encourage you to read this for a better understanding of how this stuff works.

Specially formulated teas and pills, as well as colonics are other popular routes for detoxification. Sure teas and prepared tonics containing herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, and black walnut do have beneficial aspects but generally speaking, you don’t have poisons circulating throughout your body that need to be “flushed” out (again, that’s why we have livers and kidneys). In fact the only thing your flushing is the money you spent due to false advertising. Colonics? Sigh…if you had impacted feces dating back to your childhood trapped in your colon you would be seriously ill or dead. Wanna have more ideal bowel movements? Eat a better diet.

Juice cleanses? UGH. That is an “ugh” in regards to paying inflated prices for inflated claims not for actually consuming tasty beverages. Drink all the green juice you want – you’re getting some great nutrition, just don’t expect it to negate those cocktails you had the night before. And PLEASE stop with the Master Cleanse! Personally, I like the taste but it absolutely does not “detox” you. If that’s all you ingest for a week, you’ll definitely lose weight but it won’t be a healthy way to do it.

There are ways to create a healthier you with benefits that will outlast a box of tea or a bottle of pills and won’t bankrupt you.

  1. Eat well. Being a vegan I am of course going to suggest that you stop consuming animal products. There is SO MUCH science to support claims that it can be a safer and healthier way to eat than a diet heavy in dairy, meat, and seafood. A varied plant based diet is rich in all of the viable, usable nutrients your body needs. Aside from that, over-indulgence in sugar, fat, and salt can have a negative effect on your energy levels, your weight, and can lead to disease. Plant based diets are rich in all of the nutrients your body needs in a wholesome, user-friendly form.
  2. Move. Get physically active and be active often. Exercise helps keep your body’s systems running optimally – from your bones, to your muscles, circulatory system, organs, etc.
  3. Use clean personal care products. Ditch the man-made stuff and go for items made with plants and flowers. It’s easy to say “if you can’t pronounce it don’t put it on your skin” but there are some ingredients that sound scary but aren’t such as sodium lauryl glucoside, a sugar mixed with fatty acid from coconut.
  4. Stop smoking and drinking so much alcohol. Do I even need to explain why?
  5. Mindfulness. Having awareness of what you’re consuming in and putting on your body and where it comes from goes a long way in helping you make healthier lifestyle choices! This could mean researching ingredients on your deodorant label, seeking out wholesome recipes, starting a meditation program, or joining the gym.