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Detox for Life

By Katie Sloan
In Center Block
Jan 8th, 2018

Article by Michael Devault

Kick off 2018 right with a time-tested way to jumpstart your system.

It’s no secret that we put a lot of pressure on our bodies during the holidays. Overindulgence in food and beverage isn’t just allowed – it’s expected. And for the most part, we eat too much, drink too much and have a fabulous time doing so. However, all fun things come to an end, and we face January with a few extra pounds, a metabolism that’s not quite up to par, and more than a few good memories of the holidays we’re leaving behind.

But leave them behind we must, and that means rebooting our bodies to get ready for shedding the extra pounds and the residue of celebration we’ve accumulated. For this, many people turn to detoxing cleanses – dietary supplements and juice regimens to help restore the body’s natural balance, flush away toxins and put us on track for a happier, healthier 2018.

“Think of detoxing as a jumpstart to undoing a season of drinking and of too much sugar and a way to break some bad habits,” suggests Angie O’Pry, owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center in Monroe. “When you commit to a detox plan, if you can do it, complete it for several days, it’s a good way to break some of those bad habits you’ve developed.”

Detoxing can focus on several areas of the body, including liver health, kidney and bladder function, digestive tract and the colon. Though the systems of the body may differ with each detox regimen, the overall effect is the same: remove the bad to restore the good.

“Everyday life, what we eat and drink, kind of takes its toll and slows down the digestive process,” says Gibson Natural Grocer’s Debbie Sadler. “Fast food and other things we love to eat tend to line the intestines. This affects absorption of nutrients and overall wellbeing.”

By removing the gunky buildup of toxins and bad food products in our systems, detoxing is a means to restore a healthier function to impacted systems. Sadler says a good cleanse includes a high-fiber component to break down the gunk and help eliminate it from the body. This can help restore overall energy levels and improve the immune system. O’Pry agrees, adding that most detoxes ultimately focus on intestinal health, but all of the best plans include some component focusing on the body’s filtration system – the liver.

“It starts with the liver,” O’Pry says. “If you can get your liver functioning better with herbals and give it a break on the food, that’s a great start.”

Numerous detox protocols focus on liver health, and many companies offer products on that front. O’Pry notes one popular cleanse includes a fasting schedule, refraining from food for several days, while simultaneously taking regular doses of apple cider vinegar infused with lemon, honey, cayenne and cinnamon. Taken two or three times a day, the concoction encourages the liver and the digestive tract to give up much of what it’s holding on to.

For those seeking a hard-core detox, there are companies, who offer supplement regimens, juicing cleanse kits and even clay detoxes. Sadler notes many individuals have had success with the Bentonite Clay detox, which involves utilizing a special clay formula to capture and remove toxins.

Anthropologists and biologists have long witnessed the practice of “dirt eaters” – who consume quantities of the white clay. What’s only becoming known of late, Sadler says, is how beneficial the compounds are to overall health. In fact, Bentonite Clay has been used as a therapy to remove radioactive contamination from the body in numerous instances. The reason the clay works is simple, according to Sadler.

“It kind of acts as a magnet and removes the toxins from the body,” she says. The result: fewer toxins and a better metabolism – a foundation for healthier living. But, as with all things health-related, be careful not to overdo it.

Both O’Pry and Sadler point out periodic detoxing is a beneficial practice – emphasizing the periodic part. Sadler recommends at least two periods of detoxing each year, one in the spring and one in the fall.

“Just like spring cleaning and fall organization,” she says. “Those are really good times to cleanse, to get your body back into better operating form and to start out on the right foot.”

For O’Pry, she recommends a shorter cleanse once each season.

“Detoxing isn’t just for people who are feeling bad or have been over-indulging,” she says. “People who are healthy and just want to get rid of a bit of holiday excess benefit, too. A rule of thumb is to do a one- or two-week detox at the end of each season.”

Beyond the traditional cleanses that focus on liver and bowel health, other cleanse products and practices can also help jumpstart other wellness regimens. For example, there’s the Smoker’s Cleanse, which O’Pry notes helps provide smokers with a more solid foundation from which to quit smoking.

“This is a selection of herbals designed to help the lungs expel trash,” O’Pry says. “But it also helps cut back on smoking by helping to address the nerves that are associated with trying to not smoke. By clearing the lungs and easing the nerves, this cleanse provides smokers wanting to quit with a clearer head and a firmer commitment to the process of quitting.”

Another important factor to consider in the detoxing regimen of choice is that it doesn’t upset your daily routine too much, Sadler points out. Too often, people have the misconception that detoxing means you can’t leave the house, that you’re missing out on living while it’s going on. That’s simply not the case. Instead, Sadler notes the best detox systems fit perfectly with daily routines.

The cleanses are broken down into when you have cleansers for the liver, kidneys and fiber for your digestive tract. And delivery is usually via convenient capsules or juicing plans. The result is a cleanse that is healthy and sustainable for the prescribed duration of the cleanse.

On that front, both O’Pry and Sadler note that cleanses vary wildly, from just 7 days to as long as a month. Most people choose a medium-length cleanse of about 14 days, which provides optimum benefits without the commitment of a long-term plan. Moreover, most of the cleansing products on the market have been designed with portability and user-friendliness in mind.

O’Pry singles out the Renew Life Total Body Cleanse, which features herbal capsules twice a day. The capsules include herbs and vitamins, minerals and other compounds to encourage the body to heal naturally.

“Along with that, eat a cleaner diet, drink more water, more fluids,” O’Pry adds. Another helpful step to add during this 14-day cleanse is intermittent fasting, where you eat regularly several days and then fast for several days with water or juice. “This gives the body a chance to not be working on processing food and give it time to push toxins out of the body.”

Detoxing doesn’t have to break the bank, either. While tales of tales of the $400 cleanse aren’t exactly an exaggeration – they do, indeed, exist – they are hardly the norm. Instead, detoxing is remarkably affordable, especially considering the benefits. Both Gibson’s Natural Grocer and Fiesta Nutrition Center stock numerous detoxing kits both in juicing and supplement form that run from $25 to $40 for a 14-day cleanse.

O’Pry’s go-to introductory cleanse is Whole Body Cleanse: Complete 10 Day Cleanse System by Enzymatic Therapy. This 14-day cleanse will cost just $25 for the kit. One of the products Sadler likes is Michael’s Detox, a naturopathic method that is also convenient and affordable, with prices beginning at $27.

One important fact O’Pry points out is that, once you’ve completed your detox, your work isn’t done. She says it’s important to make sure you’re back on track with your digestive tract, before you jump back into eating a regular diet.

“Once you’ve completed your fasting and your detox, be sure to do a probiotics regimen to restore all of that healthy, gut flora for maximum benefit,” she says.  “That will help restore optimum digestion moving forward.”