Information on detox diets, detoxing the body, and all the lingo and hoop-la around this issue tends to be confusing as well as misconstrued; depending on who is sharing the information. But seriously, is that not the case with anything? Everything?
The biggest confusion, in my eyes, lies in the modern medicine vs. traditional - holistic healing's views around detoxing.
Teaching people the power of supporting their body's detox process is teaching them to take their healing into their own hands; creating an independence from the health care industry. Which please, do not be misled. Our country predominantly has a disease care system. It is a system that flourishes if your disease symptoms are only suppressed not healed. This means you are a patient, a customer, in this system for life; dependent on the health care professionals and their prescription drugs.
Understanding detox efforts in healing requires a quick look at human biology. Our bodies are built for detoxing. We are detoxing every minute of every day. Your liver is the main organ of detox; constantly filtering your blood and eliminating the "toxins" via the colon. Your colon, obviously, is an organ of detox as it eliminates solid wastes and the products of metabolic breakdown (liver) from the body. Your kidneys keep themselves busy filtering the blood and eliminating waste products down through the ureters, into your bladder, and out through the urethra.
Your lungs eliminate waste, toxins, through your breath. Your skin eliminates waste through the process of sweating. Your lymphatic system moves fluids around your body and helps to eliminate waste, toxins, as well.
So what does "detox dieting" do for all these bodily processes?
The medical profession, our health care system, debunks detox diets from many angles and for many reasons. For example: Detox is a term used by medical personnel to label the process of cleansing drugs or alcohol from a person's system that has been imbibing in excess and/or for long periods of time. For western medicine trained professional to think about detox in different terms means stepping into a realm they were not trained in, natural healing, and thinking from a space that most western medical training scoffs at and actually teaches practitioners is quackery. This is not the important thing here; so let us not focus on it any longer. (For a little history lesson, scroll down to "suppression and decline:" http://www.mygenerationsclinic.com/about-naturopathic-medicine.htm. Another history lesson: http://www.healingmountainpublishing.com/articles/NPmedicine.html )
Instead, lets us focus on what natural, holistic detox is! It is simply assisting and supporting your body in what it does every minute of everyday: detoxes itself and heals itself. When a natural healer (Naturopathic Physician, Herbalist, Holistic Nutrition Professional, etc.) prescribes a detox plan, the detox foods and herbs are simply to nourish and support the organs that do the detox work in the body.
The misconception lies in that people think these herbs and foods are doing something detox special... like scrubbing dirt from the body. These foods and herbs are not a dust buster, vacuum cleaner, or scrubbing bubbles of any type. They are simply foods (herbs are whole foods too!) that are high in nutrients that build cellular health and support healthy body organs. If your body organs are well nourished from whole food eating; they do their jobs better. This is truly simple nutritional physiology. The body is beautiful; poetry in motion in every way.
Now, I will admit, any opportunity some people and corporations have to market and profit from an idea, they will. If there are profits to be made, someone(s) will create scams to go along with it. This happens with everything around health. Let me give you several examples of the recent over marketing of reasonably healthy concepts but the concepts get taken to an extreme or used out of context for someone's profit:
- kale being made into every marketable food possible. I am not against kale chips but seriously... they are now the national health food?
- coconut in everything... we need to eat it, drink it in milk and water form, slather it on our bodies, etc.
- blueberries as the amazing superfood... do NOT go a day without eating them or your health will be in jeopardy.
- quinoa... we just cannot survive, nutritionally speaking without it. What did we do for 100s of years without this powerhouse of food from the Andes Mountains?
- any food, spice, or herb that is shown to up the metabolic rate and it is quickly slapped into capsule forms and sold as the latest "get skinny quickly" scheme.
My point? Plenty of health claims out there for all sorts of supposed healing products.
The wise thing to do is use your common sense in these situations. Products, especially expensive and exclusive products, are not needed!
Human beings have been supporting and assisting their organs of detox from time beginning. The natural cycles of life support this detox action: wild leeks and dandelion greens in the spring open our winter congested digestive tract and get things moving. The liver is stimulated more than it has been all winter, from these traditional spring foods, and aids in moving shit out of the body, literally and figuratively! Traditionally what did people do in the spring? Why they reveled in the wild leeks and dandelion greens, waiting anxiously and happily for their arrival in the spring. Time to dig wild leeks, time to gather dandelion greens and guess what... you are naturally, with the cycles of life, supporting your organs of detox.
Next in the seasonal flow of plants comes stinging nettles; another fine green plant that supports the body's natural detox systems and contributes amazing nutritional support to each and every body cell.
We can follow the seasonal appearance and growth of plants all growing season to discover the very plants people have traditionally used for supporting their organs of detox. In the winter, non-growing seasons, people prepared for this. Roots, barks, leaves, and berries of medicinal plants were gathered and dried for the long winter months. These foods were used when needed to support detox: when ill health symptoms arise or true microbial sicknesses.
Have you ever been constipated for 3 or 4 days in a row? How about a week or more? Remember how you felt? The colon is an organ of detox. Supporting detox (in just one example) is supporting colon health. Who wouldn't want this? Sure beats chronic constipation and the yucky, whole body feelings of ill health that result. Use this "constipated" thought process for all your pathways of detox: sweating, urinating, exhaling respiratory waste, lymphatic movement, and bile production and release into the small intestine. All of these detox mechanisms work more smoothly and efficiently when we support whole body detox.
Detox is not a hoax. Your body is doing it in every second of your life! How it is presented, promoted, and sold for profit may be what can get a bit shaky. Your body has always detoxed and will continue to do so until your life force energy is finished in your physical body. That is life and death here on this planet.
I am, right now whipping up a pot of nettle, peppermint, and rosemary tea. All of these herbs support circulation, cell nourishment, and ultimately detoxification. Simple 'lil pot 'O tea!
Cream of Spinach Soup:
This was an easy pot of soup to whip up last eve. Then I let it sit in the refrigerator for the next day's dinner; all the flavors meld together better this way. All veggies came from the Kent Family Farm and the milk is from local, loved, and well cared for goats.
- Saute' a medium purple onion.
- Add a medium potato and carrot or two to this saute'. Cook them just long enough to slightly soften but still have some crispness. They will cook a bit more when you re-heat the soup the next day so you do not want to create mushy veggies.
- Clean up spinach and steam in a tiny bit of water. I had about a pound of fresh, local spinach and it only takes a few minutes to steam it gently.
- Put spinach and 2 1/2 to 3 cups milk into your blender.
- Add a clove or two of garlic.
- Blend well and pour back into the steam pot. Add the saute' veggies.
- Add any herbs you like the taste of (rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, curry mix, etc.) or not!
- Voila' a pot of soup that is loaded with whole foods for detoxing!