There are a lot of questions swirling about the internet about what it really means to “detox”. Since detoxification and cleansing has become much better understood over the past decade we have been able to separate fact from fiction.
We’re not talking about a “crash” diet or sipping lemon juice and maple syrup all day. We’re talking about sustainable practices that you can incorporate into your lifestyle for good.
The science is mounting that supports the fact that we really are being bombarded with environmental and internal toxins and although we have systems that are designed to address these toxins, never before in human history have we had this many to deal with. There is simply a mismatch of our genetic and biological capacity with the current modern world we live in.
Science is also getting clearer on the specific pathways in the body that are becoming depleted so we know what areas we need to support with key nutrients.
So let’s answer a five of the top questions about detox for you.
Question #1 – What are the benefits of a full-body detox?
Because there is no singular way that toxins can be affecting you it would be impossible to predict exactly how you will feel when those toxins are eliminated BUT there are some pretty classic responses that most people feel.
A good quality detox shouldn’t make you feel TOO bad. Sure there may be some initial withdrawal symptoms as you give up sugar, caffeine and other stimulants but those are usually only a day or two. When good detox and cleansing habits are sustained through that initial phase, the vast majority of people begin to feel a tremendous boost of energy, mental clarity, better sleep and even better skin. Many people who are holding on to stubborn body fat will begin to finally release it easily.
Detox and cleansing becomes a great way to reboot your health and get on a better diet and lifestyle.
Question 2 – When should you detox?
Really, it is safe and smart to do a detox anytime you feel like you’ve been in survival mode for a while. We all go through times like that where it is hard to maintain our good habits. Once those periods have subsided and we get our bearings again, taking a few weeks to nurture our bodies and reset our systems is super smart thing to do.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda from India both recognized that the changing of seasons was also a good time to slow down and refocus on the key building blocks of health.
We recommend doing a focused detox during the spring and fall each year.
Question 3 – How do you pick the right detox for you?
It is pretty important to look for a program that is based on eating real food and doing activities that won’t require you to completely shut down your normal lifestyle (of course if a program doesn’t require some lifestyle change it probably isn’t going to help you much since our lifestyle is a major cause of our health problems!)
Look for programs that utilize high quality supplements and encourage organic, whole foods.
Question 4- How long should a detox be?
This question is really important. No doubt you’ve seen lots of 3-day, 7-day or 10-day detox programs advertised out there. There is a big reason why they are so popular – simply put, they sell.
People love the idea that they can change a couple habits for a week and it will magically transform their health but what ends up happening is that they just get the process started and then they go right back to the same habits they had before they started. I call it “retoxing”.
I guess you could say that something is better than nothing but if we want to be truthful we must realize that it takes a bit more than 3 or 10 days to really get systems reset.
The IdealBody Cleanse program that we developed is a 3-week program and we’ve seen it really do amazing things for people. The BEST side benefit of a 3-week program is that many of the habits actually “stick” in people’s life and they don’t immediately go back to “retoxing” themselves.
Question 5 – What should you be wary of?
Be wary of programs that aren’t based on eating nutrient-dense, real food. Juicing is fine if done for a brief period of time and with specific types of juices but by itself, juicing isn’t detox. The program should provide the framework for meals including recipe suggestions but not be so rigid that you can’t adapt it to your needs.
We don’t recommend doing things like colonics unless you are a seasoned “detoxer” and are under the direct supervision of a skilled clinician.
Remember, the goal of a detox or cleanse program is simply to amplify and support your body’s regular mechanisms. We’re not trying to do something completely foreign to your body.
You should also make sure that the program includes suggestions that help you address your mental stress and give you tips and tools to “cleanse” all of the other areas of your life.
You can also check out our 21-Day IdealBody Cleanse program here.