Detoxing is all the rave nowadays. But what exactly is a detox? Often times detoxes are marketed as diets where you drink some nasty concoction that magically cleans out your system like draino down your sink. Well, I have some bad news for you, our system isn’t like a simple drain that gets clogged with hair and debris. Toxins don't build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you're not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. The only type of detox diet that is worthwhile is one that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods, and replaces them with more whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
When considering a detox, at a minimum we want to get rid of the foods that have a negative impact. In general, doing something for a few days is marginally beneficial. I ’ll break it down for you. Changing your diet can change the balance of your gut flora in your small and large intestine within a few days. That is great news! Simply adding in more fibrous fruits and veggies, adding more healthy fat and lean proteins can dramatically increase the number of good bacteria your system makes. You eat a certain food, your body makes an enzyme to break it down, this is referred to as “good bacteria”. Bad bacteria that we want to “cleanse” would include eating bad food, then hence making bacteria to break those unhealthy foods down. Or a lack of bacteria to break your food down is also bad, or even worse bacteria in the wrong places (it's not bad bacteria just located in an area that is then referred to as “yeast overgrowth”). So technically can't “detox” your intestines but you can improve them by just eating better.
What about your liver? The master filter that can regenerate itself is quite important. Your liver is an amazing organ that sometimes can hold onto excess fat - in this case, if you have the condition “Fatty Liver” it's going to take a whole regimen to help your condition, not just a yearly detox diet. Other than Fatty Liver, technically your liver doesn’t just hold onto stuff you need to detox. It might have too much glucose or not enough triglycerides to manufacture what it needs to make good hormones and energy. Now a liver cleanse is usually a common reference. This almost always includes the herbs Milk Thistle and/or Dandelion. These two help the liver filter at a faster rate. So those are two great choices to help your liver detox better but really, your liver needs the right kind of fuel. Mostly, healthy fats, it needs your food to be completely broken down into one chain amino acids, and it needs a variety of amino acids to manufacture the good stuff.
So if you’re looking to detox, the best thing you could do is remove all the toxic junk you put in your body and add in the really good stuff. Add good nutritious food and eliminate toxic junk foods, this sounds so easy! But if you have ever tried a detox you know that it's no easy feat. Detoxing requires serious self-discipline. Personally, when I hit day four of any detox, it becomes a challenge to not inhale a bacon cheeseburger. Going a full week with little to no sugar is very hard for most of us. So my goal for you reading this, I want you to consistently have a great diet full of protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruit. I want you to go a full month without unnecessary sugar. After that, it will become normal to have an awesome diet and you will no longer seek these fad diets that can sometimes be harmful. Just like with exercise, consistency produces results. I want you and your gut to consistently function at an optimum level!