“Detoxification” is quite the buzzword these days. There’s a lot of talk about how good it is for us, how it’s a reset on poor nutrition and lifestyle habits we’ve adopted in the course of living life, and what a “miraculous” difference it can make in our energy levels, in our general sense of well-being, and in the fight against disease.

Every day we are exposed to toxins, pollutants, and chemicals that make themselves at home in our body like uninvited guests. While our body has built-in elimination processes in place, sometimes these “guests” need some extra encouragement to leave when they have built up faster than the body can flush them out. For this, a detox program can be especially helpful by:

  • giving our organs a chance to rest when we fast from unbeneficial foods
  • activating the liver to expel toxins from the body
  • promoting elimination through the skin (sweat), intestines (bowel movements), and kidneys
  • improving circulation of the blood

The first few days of a detox can leave you feeling uncomfortable or “off your game” as the harmful compounds in your system “die off” and the cleansing process kicks in. The official term for this is a “Herxheimer Reaction”. It can result in slight headaches, a sense of nausea, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, chills, and joint pain. This is normal and only temporary as your body adjusts back to its innate mode of operation, without the nasty toxins, chemicals, or pollutants to sidetrack it, and gets itself ready to shift into higher gear.

Plan on taking things slower during your detox (especially the first days). Try to start a detox on a Friday, not in the middle of a busy week. Giving yourself some downtime and room to adjust those first few days will help manage negative symptoms if they occur. The encouraging news is that after a detox, you will have made a long-lasting impact on your wellbeing, not to mention you’ll likely be left with clearer skin, sparkly eyes, shiny hair, less bloat, more energy, and weight loss!

Participating in a medically supervised detox program has many advantages, but you can get the process started by weaning yourself off of habits and foods you know aren’t doing you any favours and replacing them with beneficial ones. If you have any concerns about making changes to your dietary regimen, talk to your doctor to determine whether doing a detox is right for you.

Dr. Sarah Sjovold is a Naturopathic Doctor practising in the Langley and Surrey area where she sees patients looking for help with detox, environmental allergies, and food allergies.

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