The New Year is upon us and we can’t help setting goals and resolutions!
Year and year again we set goals for ourselves beginning January

in hopes of putting some meaning in our life.

Uplifted by the notion of a fresh start and full of enthusiasm, these resolutions always start strong, but by mid-March… well, you know how it goes. 

This year, we’ve decided to do something different at Element Health and Wellbeing. Instead of coming up with one resolution/one focus of improvement that we’ll invariably forget, we’re choosing to focus on the following-through part!  No matter what we start this year, we’re bound and determined to carry on.

Detox is in and Dieting is out

WHY?

Is it Healthy to Detox for Weight Loss?

By Ty Bollinger

 

Have you ever embarked on a so-called cleansing program or detox for weight loss, where the main goal was merely to shed the pounds as fast as possible? What was the result? Was it long-lasting?

Detoxing solely for the weight-loss benefits can be counterproductive to your weight-loss goals in the long run. Not only that, it can also be dangerous for your health. This is because the relationship between fat cells and detoxification is a very complicated one where many individual factors come into play.

Let’s explore the role that fat plays in the body, why your body might be holding on to toxic substances, and how the right kind of detoxification can help you achieve a healthy weight for your body.

Why Do We Even Need Fat Cells?

There is still a lot that even the most informed health professionals don’t know yet about the connection between health and weight. While major studies have made the correlation between obesity (as determined by a person’s Body Mass Index or BMI) and disease risk, that doesn’t mean that a person’s weight, whatever it may be, is the number one cause of disease. There are simply too many factors at play within a personal biology and biochemistry to pinpoint one particular thing as the cause of health or disease.

“Fat is a tissue in your body,” says Dr. Jillian Murphy, a doctor of naturopathic medicine in Ontario, Canada, who works with women on their relationship to food and body image. This statement, as matter-of-fact as it may be, also packs a huge punch.

Like muscle, stomach tissue, and brain tissue, fat is made up of cells that are there to perform specific tasks in the body – and they do so very well when they are healthy and in the right proportion for you. Just a few of the important jobs that fat cells have include insulating the body from temperature extremes and injury, protecting vital organs, and storing energy.

While it was long believed that fat cells were simply “storage units” that can also protect and insulate (kind of like a big jacket does in winter), new research is finding that fat cells may actually have an intricate and interactive relationship to the immune system.

A 2013 study conducted by Weill Cornell Medical College in Houston, Texas, found that overburdened fat cells can put out “false distress signals” which the immune system then translates as these cells being under attack. This immune response, sensing infection, will trigger inflammatory responses that can, in turn, lay the foundation for disease.

On the other hand, certain imbalances in the body, such as gut bacteria imbalance, may “turn on” genetic tendencies towards obesity at the neurological level, thus continuing the cycle of inflammation in that way as well.

Fat Cells are Storehouses for Toxins

While fat cells may play an active role in immune system regulation and carry healthy metabolic substances, they can also act as “storehouses” for toxins. These toxins can come from the environment and in the form of xenoestrogens (aggressive estrogen mimics caused by certain chemicals that can lead to reproductive cancer). They can also come from natural hormones, endotoxins from internal bacteria and external molds, and other chemical and hormonal “debris.”

These stored toxins damage your health through a multitude of means. If your detoxification pathways are clogged or sluggish, then they will not be able to be excreted in the proper amounts. Likewise, if you have more places for them to be stored (i.e. more fat cells), then this will cause a higher toxic load as well.

In this day and age, everyone carries the burden of a potentially higher toxic load – not just those whose work or lifestyle may have them encounter pollutants and not just those who may be overweight.

Toxic build-up in the body can occur from:

  • Commercial food products, such as non-organic produce or commercial meats and dairy
  • Chemicals found in household products and sundry items
  • Air and water pollution
  • Work-related pollutants
  • Chronic stress and/or a stressful lifestyle

When our bodies are overburdened by toxicity, it can lead to not only feeling drained in general (see the next section), it can sometimes also lead to weight gain. This is because toxicity-run-amok can affect:

  • our metabolism (especially the way we process sugar)
  • the ways in which fat is deposited
  • a worsening of hormonal imbalance (especially for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women)

When we help our detoxification pathways do their job to their best ability through being proactive, however, this supports a very specific process in the body. This is sometimes called the “Three Phases of Detoxification.”

The 3 Phases of Detoxification

Phase 1: During phase one, or reconversion, “fat-soluble” toxins (toxins that hitch a ride inside fat cells) are converted into “water-soluble” toxins.

Phase 2: In the second phase, toxins are out of the fat cell, where the immune system can act to neutralize them.

Phase 3: Finally, in phase three, toxins are expelled out of the body.

Is Your Goal to Detox for Weight Loss Only or for Health?

The first step in any healing journey is to take the time to do a little reflection. Besides feeling like you “need to lose a few pounds,” what could be some other reasons why it may be a good idea to help your body release toxins it’s holding on to?

Look at the following list of conditions that are often connected to high toxic load. If you want, you can rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 (10 being very severe symptoms).

Do you often feel:

  • tired?
  • fatigued?
  • depressed?
  • anxious?
  • stressed?
  • bloated?
  • gassy?
  • overworked?
  • overwhelmed?

Are you:

  • dealing with “women issues” (or “man issues”), such as hormonal imbalance?
  • dealing with joint and muscle pain?
  • dealing with extra stress in your life?
  • not sleeping well?
  • healing from a major illness?
  • perimenopause or menopause?
  • lethargic?
  • unmotivated?
  • eating a SAD (Standard American Diet)?
  • living a mostly sedentary life?
  • feeling like it’s hard just to get through the day?

If you answered “no” to all of these, then congratulations! Odds are you are in great health, are living a stress-free life, and are naturally detoxifying like a trooper. Keep it up!

If not, then you are like the rest of us and have some healing to do. Your weight issues, if you have them, may or may not be connected to the situations mentioned above. But odds are, they play some role.

The Real Reason for Detox

The real reason for embarking on any form of detox action – from doing one simple thing like drinking more fresh, filtered water to following a one or more-week plan for cleaning the liver – is simply to help your body’s own detoxification pathways do their job. This includes the myriad ways in which the respiratory system, the digestive system, the liver and kidneys, the lymphatics, and even the skin converts and expels waste.

“[Regarding our health], there are so many factors that come into play and when we have the ‘weight glasses’ on, we start to lose [sight of] all of that,” says Dr. Murphy. “We start to downplay and forgot about the many things that play a part in our health and disease processes and long-term prognosis from these illnesses. It is so much more complicated than ‘fat is bad.’ ”

Detoxing is not meant to cause stress, anxiety, worry, fear, or intense and long-lasting fatigue. It isn’t meant to conform to a mental concept that demands being at a certain weight or looking a certain way, nor does it mold itself to cultural expectations or societal restrictions.

What healthy detoxing does do is lead to balance on all levels, including weight balance. It contributes to you being able to reach and maintain the ideal healthy weight for your particular body. If you think about it, you probably already know what this weight is − it is the weight where you feel your absolute best on all levels, both in body and in mind."

Consult our practitioners who will work in their holistic approach to help you detox healthily at Element Health and Wellbeing

     We suggest one whole week of Far Infrared Therapy to launch your detox process.            

Want to Detox Your Body Naturally? Support Your Organs of Detoxification by Ty Bollinger

Before You Start: 5 Steps for a Successful Detox or Cleanse

#1. Check with a professional. First and foremost, if you are dealing with a chronic condition or specific disease situation, be sure to consult with your natural health practitioner before starting any cleanse or detox program. The point of a detox is to heal and rejuvenate, not stress your body further.

#2. Plan ahead. Secondly, if you decide to do a detox, choose a timeframe when you know that you can really devote yourself to your own healing. Not every cleanse requires you to hermit yourself away from the rest of the world for weeks on end. Many detoxification plans allow you to function well, go to work, and take care of your normal responsibilities. Still, planning a detox during a super-stressful week at work or at home might not be the best strategy.

Before starting any specific plans to detox your body, you may wish to stick to a mostly-vegetarian diet for a few days. This allows your body to rest and prepare. Upping your water intake and adding a little lemon to your water a few days prior to starting your cleanse can also gently begin the process.

#3. Take your time. Especially if you plan on going “all out” and doing a full-body detox which will target each organ separately over a specific amount of time, remember to take your time. Detoxing isn’t something you do once and that’s it. Although a detox may occur in your busy life only once or twice a year, its effects will last longer if you work with your body, so don’t push it.

In addition, be sure to take the time to reflect on how your body feels and other insights you may have during your cleanse. You may want to record these in a health journal or notebook so you can look back at your progress.

#4. Work with your bodyRemember, our bodies do have built-in mechanisms that help them detoxify on their own. When we do a detox of a particular organ, we are merely helping that organ function at its best. With that in mind, consider which part of your body you wish to target. The colon and the liver are two places that many people detox on a regular basis, but it may help for you to reflect on your own health situation first. Talking it over with your physician (if he or she is open to the concept), a natural health practitioner, a nutritionist, or a health coach first may be a sound first step for you.

#5. Keep an open mind (and heart). Finally, get ready for some major cleansing on all levels, especially if this is your first experience with detoxing. You may experience a roller-coaster of emotions and physical sensations as toxins are released, balance is restored, and the healthy cells of each organ begin to “wake up” to their full healing potential. Most unpleasant symptoms associated with a cleanse usually last just a few hours to a few days at the most.

If flu-like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, or mood-swings last for longer, consider slowing down or stopping your detox and talking with your health professional.

Detox Your Body by Giving Some Love to These Organs & Systems

by Ty Bollinger

1 – Detoxing Your Liver

The liver is sometimes referred to as the “CEO of detoxification.” It detoxifies the blood, produces bile to digest fat, works to break down hormones, and extracts essential vitamins and minerals the body needs. In addition, your liver also helps to produce some major substances needed to keep your immune system and the rest of you working smoothly, including glutathione − the “mother” of all internally-produced antioxidants.

There are many factors that lead to a sluggish liver, including environmental exposure to toxins, autoimmune conditions, obesity, and viral infections, just to name a few. If you do not have adrenal fatigue, consider a daily coffee enema using pesticide and mold-tested coffee. In addition, milk thistle, dandelion, and turmeric in tea or supplement form can help boost liver function.

Finally, during the length of your liver cleanse, be sure to eliminate all sources of toxicity from everything you “consume,” from food and sundry products to violent TV shows and negative conversations. Consider that your liver may have the job of processing out harmful “toxins” on all levels. During your liver cleanse, make it a point to remove these elements from your daily experience.

2 – Flushing Your Kidneys

An organ that works hand-in-hand with the liver are the kidneys. If the liver is the great detoxifier, then the kidneys are the “great filters” since they help to siphon out toxins and waste from the body. Have you known someone (maybe even yourself) who has had the unfortunate experience of passing kidney stones? If so, you probably know that besides being extremely painful, kidney stones may be a huge indication that it is time to give these tiny but important organs some love.

You can help your kidneys daily by staying hydrated and also staying away from processed foods. For a cleanse of the kidneys, consider healing juices that can be incorporated into your daily routine. Cranberries have been known to cleanse the body of excess calcium oxalate, one of the main substances in kidney stones. Be sure to use cranberry juice free of extra sugars, other juices, and artificial ingredients.

To help with the taste, which can be quite bitter, you can dilute the juice with filtered water and add a little organic stevia to it. Drink as much as you can throughout the day. Other fruits and veggies that can be juiced and are also great for the kidneys include beet, lemon, cucumber, spinach, green apples, and pineapple.

3 – Limbering Up the Lymph

Another system that doesn’t get much attention but is vital for the processing and elimination of toxins is the lymph system. The lymphatic system is an overarching network of organs and tissues that transport white blood cell-containing lymph fluid.

Many people have impaired lymphatic systems due to lack of exercise and poor diet. In addition, millions more may have lymph nodes and other parts of this system missing. It is common in traditional breast cancer therapy to remove some or all of the lymph nodes around the breast area.

In addition, until the early 1980s, it was common practice to remove tonsils as well as adenoids in children. There was a time when doctors felt these tissues were unimportant, but science now knows they are a vital part of the lymphatic system.

If you are missing some parts of this detoxifying system, you may need to spend extra time making sure that it is moving smoothly and doing its job.

When the intricate and interconnecting vessels of the lymph system become clogged, a serious condition called lymphedema can occur. Before that ever happens, however, you can do your part to keep everything flowing by practicing simple actions every day, such as regular exercise and staying hydrated.

For a deeper lymphatic detox, consider dry skin brushing, getting lymphatic massage, doing your exercises on a rebounder, spending time in a sauna or steam room (the heat will help loosen up the lymph), and eating to support your lymph system. Some key nutrients for lymphatic health can be found in foods such as flax seeds, lemons, sea kelp, dark green veggies, radish, and garlic. Key herbs include dandelion, burdock root, parsley, goldenseal, and myrrh.

4 – Repairing Your Gut

If you are in pretty good health, detoxifying the digestive system may be as easy as boosting up on quality probiotics to maintain and strengthen your digestive tract. If you have eaten the SAD (Standard American) diet for a while, have had your share of stress, and lead a mostly sedentary life, odds are that your digestive system will need a little more care and attention to get it back to its optimum performance.

Like the liver, the digestive system is connected to the health of the entire body. For example, upwards of 80% of your immune system cells reside in your upper GI; if it is unwell, your whole body may be. Gut imbalance has been linked to autoimmune conditions, autism, diabetes, and even cancer.

The good news is that tons of research has been done over the last 10 years into the inner workings and importance of the “gut microbiome.” This means you will have a lot of support at your fingertips for your GI tract detox. And most experts now agree that a periodic “gut cleanse” is a good idea since this not only gives your gut a rest, it also helps to “heal and seal” the GI tract.

There are many different types of gut cleanses, but most consist of eating a super-clean diet of unrefined, unprocessed, gut-friendly foods that are high in fiber as well as nutrients and healthy fats. These may include “prebiotic” foods like raw sauerkraut and bone broth, as well as turmeric powder, ginger, coconut oil, and steamed vegetables.

Listen to your “gut” (literally) as to what foods it can and cannot handle without pain and discomfort. If it is strong enough, add apple cider vinegar diluted in water as well as cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, and broccoli to your diet. Also consider adding extra probiotics, aloe vera, spirulina, digestive enzymes, and glutamine powder as well. A gut cleanse is good for anyone, but especially those who suffer from bloating, constipation or diarrhea, brain fog, depression, headaches, joint pain, skin conditions, or general fatigue.

A Natural Detox Is as Unique as You Are

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways you can help to detox your body. Other popular types of cleanses or detoxes include gallbladder cleansing, skin detoxing, and emotional cleanses. Basically, anytime you decide to pare down, get simple, eliminate aggravating situations (which could be food or negative people), and focus on healing and repairing, you are helping your body to detox.

It may take a while to heal an imbalanced gut, a sluggish liver, or an inflamed kidney, so take your time and go at your own pace. Be gentle with yourself during your detox time. And remember, detoxing isn’t a race and it is isn’t “one size fits all.” It is a unique process that needs to be designed by you based on your body’s needs, ideally with the guidance of a holistic health practitioner." Ty Bollinger

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