As we head into beach season, many begin thinking of doing a cleanse or detox. But, do you need to cleanse? There has been some chatter recently on the internet about whether or not you can actually ‘detox’. It is an interesting discussion, but in many ways just not helpful. It takes us off –topic from the reason why people are considering a detox and how to support the goals they set for doing a detox in the first place.
Why do people say they want to do a detox or cleanse?
Because they want to feel better, they want more energy, more vibrancy, better focus, clearer skin, better sleep, etc. I can’t fault anyone for wanting those things.
Detoxification is something the body does do naturally, day in and day out, yes, this is correct. But, similarly to digestion, if we don’t take some time to consciously nurture the process, the detoxification process can get sluggish or stalled. Detoxification should be something we are always supporting in one way or another. We may not ever want to make the process go faster than it should (as it can just make you sick) but we do want to make sure we aren’t slowing it down or hindering it either.
The main filtration route for detoxification happens through the liver. We know the liver is an amazing multi-tasker performing approximately 500 different functions for your body. It has a role in carbohydrate metabolism, fat metabolism and protein metabolism. It stores nutrients such as vitamin A, D, B12 and iron. It is your immune defense center by filtering all of your blood and helping you to remove the bacteria and pathogens defeated by your white blood cells. And, it converts old hormones, metabolic waste products and toxins into safe packages to be eliminated from the body through the bowels.
In order for the liver to fully do its many jobs, it needs to be well-nourished and supported. If we aren’t supporting our detoxification processes, then the liver and all of our detox organs can get a little sluggish and even stalled. Symptoms of a sluggish liver can include fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, poor sleep, moodiness, PMS, lack of focus and more. Just imagine how you would feel if you didn’t take the garbage out of your kitchen for weeks on end. Yuck!
It is worth taking a little time each spring to nurture your liver a little more to keep it going strong. By reducing the amount of work your liver has to do allows your liver to naturally detox more efficiently. No need for a major box cleanse (I don’t recommend those!). There are many ways to slowly and systematically strengthen and unload the liver:
- Clean up your environment from chemicals (starting right in your bathroom and checking your toiletries).
- Eat clean, organic, pasture-raised food as much as possible. Focus on vibrant colors for a variety of vitamins, and clean sources of proteins and organ meats (liver is a great tool to strengthen your own liver) and fats.
- Drink plenty of water. Strive to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. If you aren’t drinking anywhere near this amount, slowly increase your water intake over the next couple of weeks to get yourself there.
- Exercise regularly. By both sweating and moving the lymph your body is able to move the toxins out easily and efficiently.
- Dry Brushing is a simple, invigorating way to start the day! By removing the dead skin cells off your skin you keep your body from reabsorbing what it was trying to shed, and you get silky, smooth skin. Win-win.
But, the simplest and absolute easiest way to support detoxification and better health in general is:
The 12-Hour Fast.
The 12-hour fast is simple, finish dinner by 7pm and eat breakfast at 7am or later. You can drink tea (even with hydrolyzed collagen and/or coconut oil) or broth during this time and still be considered fasting.
During the day, the liver takes a bit of a backseat to doing much of its housecleaning. The body focuses more heavily on digestion during waking hours, and the liver has several roles in digestion. Not to mention, digestion takes quite a bit of energy. In order for the liver to optimize its regenerative period between 11pm and 3am the body can’t be focusing on digestion at the same time. You need to be fasting.
By gently supporting our own circadian rhythm, not eating late into the night and focusing on getting to bed by 10pm or so, we can allow our body to naturally do its job with little interference.
Benefits of just doing the 12-hour fast on a regular basis can include: better sleep, better digestion (by allowing it to rest!), better focus during the day, better blood sugar regulation, clearer skin and even weight loss.
Give the 12-hour fast a try and let me know how it goes for you. What other things are you doing to support your liver right now?