Shake out the drapes, dust the shelves, clean all the windows….it’s spring! Spring cleaning is not a new practice and it does wonders to freshen up the home after a cold shut in winter. Did you know doing a little internal spring cleaning is just as important to our health?
Why Spring Cleanse?
Our metabolism runs a bit slower during the winter months. Think hibernation! We may crave more carbohydrates, less salads, gain some weight, increase our sugars and some of us get distracted from our exercise regimens during the long winter season. We are built to cleanse and detoxify daily but with these factors as well as additional environmental toxins we can become overburdened. Normally, the immune system, liver and kidneys work together to remove these toxins at the same rate they are encountered. However, when toxin levels are in excess of our body’s capacity to remove them, toxins build up and are stored until they are removed. This toxic burden may eventually cause symptoms such as irritability, foggy thinking, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, weight gain, sleep disturbances and low mood.
What are Toxins?
Environmental Toxins – Exhaust, heavy metals, Solvents (paint/cleaning supplies), Pesticides/Herbicides, Radiation
Lifestyle Toxins – Nicotine, Alcohol, Dietary Choices (Fried/Fast Foods), Recreational Drugs, Over the Counter medications, Refined sugars, Artificial flavorings, colors and preservatives
Internal Toxins – Unhealthy relationships, unresolved trauma or abuse, Stress, Gut flora dysbiosis (Yeast overgrowth), poor digestion
How do we Detox?
Our liver is the primary organ of detoxification. Most of the toxins we are exposed to are fat-soluble and they are attracted to the fatty portion of cells throughout our body. Unfortunately, this allows them to be easily transported into cells where they settle and exert their toxic effects. A good detoxification program should assist the liver in changing the harmful fat-soluble toxins into a water-soluble form so they can be easily eliminated through the kidneys or colon.
Step One: Reduce Incoming Toxins!
1. Make an effort to avoid the “Dirty Dozen” (the highest pesticide laden produce); peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. Choose organic/hormone free produce and meat whenever possible.
2. Choose non-toxic cleaning supplies or make them yourself! Use baking soda and water for a bathroom or kitchen scrub. White Vinegar works great on stains, mildew or grease. Make your own disinfectant with water, liquid soap and tea tree oil.
3. Avoid perfumes, colognes and dyes. Make your own air or fabric freshener by spritzing pure essential oils mixed in water.
4. Avoid alcohols, cigarettes, fried foods, sugar, refined carbohydrates and artificial food colorings and preservatives.
Step Two- Eliminate the Toxins!
- The Liver processes toxins through Phase I and Phase II detoxification so they may be safely eliminated. Phase I uses the Cytochrome P450 pathway, which chemically changes the fat-soluble toxin into an “intermediate metabolite”. This metabolite is often more harmful than the original toxin! Thankfully Phase II conjugates the “intermediate metabolite” which creates a water soluble and non-toxic chemical that can be excreted through the kidneys and colon.
- Love the Liver- A good detoxification plan should support both Phase I and Phase II pathways using a blend of amino acids, vegetable based antioxidants and specific vitamin and mineral nutrients. Specifically B-complex, Folic acid, Flavinoids, Magnesium, Glutathione, Methionine, Cysteine, Taurine, Glycine, Dandelion, Milk thistle, and Vitamin C.
- Eliminate – Supporting the kidneys and colon for proper elimination of the toxins is essential. Increasing fiber, binding agents like clay and water, water, water can make your cleanse a success!
Restore your health and enjoy your Spring Detox! For more ideas on optimal living, contact Dr. Bridget at HEAL.