Congratulations – take a big sigh of relief that you’ve survived the holidays.
…the same might not be said for your insides.
Ever heard of crohns, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome? Any of these can make you feel sluggish, run-down, frequently sick and unable to feel like working out, resist appetite cravings, have the energy you want, lose weight, gain muscle or actually get fit from your exercise sessions.
Wait a second! Surely you can’t have any of that weird stuff.
But just think about 2011 for a moment…
Over the past year, was your body ever exposed to over-processed and refined foods, chemical additives, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated water, artificial sweeteners or anything else that might remotely be consider “unnatural”?
Did you drink many diet sodas?
Eat much non-organic or farm-raised meat?
Chomp on fruits and vegetables without washing them?
Get sick and have to get on a drug protocol?
Engage in a few excessive nights of drinking?
Get exposed to second-hand smoke?
Spend much time around cleaning supplies?
Any of these activities can be a reason to think about starting off the New Year with a detox. And while some alternative medicine practitioners and naturopathic physicians claim that these types of bad diet and environmental exposure to toxins may cause “mucoid plaque” to build up in your colon, I’m going to be straightforward with you – there’s not a ton of evidence that this is true.
After all, the whole idea of “mucoid plaque” was originally proposed by a physician entrepreneur who sold nutritional supplements for detoxing and cleansing, and it’s pretty rare to actually see autopsies performed on folks and find “pounds of unprocessed waste” in their colons. Because there’s such a big money-making industry built up around detox and cleansing, I am hesitant to even use these catch-phrases.
But since I’ve personally done a detox several times, I do want to be realistic with you: it is true that heavy metals, toxins, pesticides and other compounds that your body is unable to metabolize can accumulate in your tissues, cells, and digestive tract. Perhaps not to the extent that some of the more extreme folks would have you to believe, but certainly to a large enough extent to be able to affect the way your body functions.
And if these type of things do accumulate in your body, it also true that it can affect the proper function of your digestive system, and that system can become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, Candida, yeast, and parasites. This can be the cause of digestive disorders, inability to lose weight, and chronic fatigue in many people.
Finally, it is true that you can feel a whole lot better, and almost “reborn” in a way if you can fix some of these issues. That’s what I’ve personally experienced when I do what I about to explain to you.
The whole idea behind doing a detox, or a “cleanse”, is that certain herbal components can cause peristalsis (contraction of smooth muscles propel contents through the digestive tract) and more rapid and thorough clearance of compounds from the colon. When combined with caloric restriction and light exercise, you can simultaneously accelerate the rate at which fat tissues are metabolized by the body, and since your body stores many toxins in fat, the rate at which your body clears toxins.
In a nutshell: you clean out your digestive tract, pull out toxins from your body, and accelerate fat burning. What’s not to love, aside from a few extra hours on the toilet?
Believe it or not, you don’t need to move to some expensive resort on a mountaintop, or spend literally the entire day on the toilet to do a detox or cleanse. But before I give you three easy steps that teach you how to detox, I need to tell you what types of herbs and compounds can have this detox effect, so that you can prepare your pantry accordingly.
Here are some of the most effective things to have around:
Arabinogalactan: As a prebiotic, this fibers source acts as a food source for friendly bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. It contains short chain fatty acids that assist with colonic cell growth, and helps regulate colonic enzyme activity.
Psyllium Husk Powder: Soluble, viscous xylan fiber. Swells due to water absorption, with consequent increase in stool bulk and stimulation of peristalsis. In other words, you move, if you know what I’m saying.
Psyllium Seed Powder: Contains bioactive mucilage-polysaccharide, a component of your colon cell walls.
Flax Flour: Soluble fiber rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and one of nature’s richest sources of lignan, another vital fiber source.
Apple Fiber Powder: A gluten-free dietary fiber that binds with water to loosen and form stool.
Inulin : A naturally occurring fructooligosaccharide pre-biotic, soluble dietary fiber that can reduce pH and stimulate colonic growth of bifidus probiotics and aids in the elimination of toxins.
Rice Bran Solubles: Dietary fiber rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and over 100 water soluble antioxidants, including vitamin E and Alpha-Lipoic Acid. May also reduce blood glucose and cholesterol.
Slippery Elm Powder: Traditional expectorant, demulcent, emollient and diuretic. Very high in mucilage.
Marshmallow Rood Powder: Natural expectorant, demulcent, emollient diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Aids in peristalsis and soothes inflammation of alimentary canal.
Fennel Seed Powder: Used since ancient times to soothe upset stomachs and indigestion and to prevent gas. Also acts as a diuretic and inhibits smooth muscle spasms.
Fenugreek Powder: Traditional remedy for constipation and digestive upset, has a high saponin content and is believed to inhibit absorption of cholesterol.
Turkey Rhubarb Root: Traditional astringent and stomach tonic shown to ease stomach irritability and aid in the cleansing process by helping to avoid bowel blockage and constipation.
Beet Juice Powder: Dietary fiber rich in vitamins A & C, niacin, folic acid, biotin and betaine. Betaine functions to protect bile ducts and aids in bile release for fat digestion.
Greens: Pre-digested blends of wheat, oat, barley and alfalfa juices contain multiple strains of beneficial micro-organisms and active enzymes.
Alfalfa Leaf Whole: Nutrient dense bulk fiber. Contains 8 amino acids and is a rich source of vitamin B12, chlorophyll and saponins.
Turmeric Powder: Traditional Auyurvedic stomach tonic, acts as an alkalizer and anti-inflammatory. Also an anti-oxidant that can alleviate excessive peristalsis through anti-spasmodic properties.
Hyssop: Wild oregano concentrate containing 31 known anti-inflammatories, 8 antioxidants and four know COX-2 inhibitors.
Ginger Root Powder: Traditionally used as an ulcer treatment, ginger has strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It is extremely high in protein digesting enzymes.
Rosemary Powder: Contains volatile oils that act as potent antioxidants and as smooth muscle relaxers, which aid spasms of the lower colonic tract.
Yucca Whole Powder: Contains water and fat soluble saponins. Also aids in loosening of stools.
I personally recommend you do a mix of six Enerprime and three Capracleanse (which contains all of the components above) each morning, along with three more Capracleanse in the evening. This is not be misconstrued as medical advice – it’s just exactly what I’d do if I were detoxing or cleansing, since this type of protocol will allow you to continue to exercise, go to work, and engage in your daily routine without literally spending your entire day on the toilet.
So here’s three easy steps for how to detox:
1) Switch your exercise routine so you’re mostly doing light, aerobic exercise (such as an easy 20-30 minute walk each morning) combined with 3-4 weight training sessions per week. Stay away from hard sprints and intense intervals, as this type of impact, bouncing and jarring may not be the best scenario for your fiber-filled digestive tract.
2) Completely eliminate processed foods like chips, crackers, cookies and candy, and also cut out anything that is non-organic, including non-organic meats, eggs, packaged foods, etc. So this means in addition to six Enerprime and three Capracleanse each morning, along with three more Capracleanse in the evening, a sample day of eating would be:
-Two free-range, omega-3 enriched eggs for breakfast, with a side of steamed spinach or kale and large glass of coconut water
-Glass of 100% pure cranberry juice or a piece of fresh, raw fruit for mid-morning snack
-Large salad with almonds, olives and avocado for lunch
-3-4 tablespoons organic, full-fat greek yogurt with handful of blueberries for mid-afternoon snack
-Sweet potato with wild salmon and roasted vegetables for dinner and large glass of kombucha
3) Get as much sleep as possible, limit your exposure to stress and heavy work-days, and if possible, throw in a steam-room session, sauna session, or hot yoga class every day.
And that’s how to detox – without throwing yourself too far off your daily routine! Because you’ll be moving a lot through your digestive tract, you need to expect to spend an extra 20-30 minutes on the toilet in the morning, and probably an extra 10-15 minutes one or two other times during the day.
You should also be warned that when you embark on a detox or cleanse, you may experience gas, bloating, unpleasant body odor, rash, hives or other unpleasant symptoms. If this happens to you, be sure to drink plenty of pure, filtered water, which will help you to flush toxins and prevent re-absorption of these compounds.
Finally, ensure that in addition to any cleansing supplements you’re taking, you’re include generous amounts of electrolytes (such as unsweetened coconut water), probiotics (such as kombucha) and digestive enzymes (such as Caprazymes).
Now is the perfect time of year to learn how to detox. Aside from toxins and fats, there’s nothing to lose, so why not give it a try?
Do you have questions or comments about how to detox? Leave them below!
If you want a bunch of detox recipes, then join the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle. Jessa recently researched and put the best tried and true detox/cleanse meals on there as a member bonus. She’s been making some of these recipes, and I have to admit that they’re pretty dang tasty. Get ’em now for a buck.