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"Detoxing" What's true and what's not?

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With vacations, holidays, weekend retreats, etc. in full swing now that it's summer you might hear someone say (or you might have said it yourself): that it's time for a detox. I've heard this normally referenced or said after someone has spent consecutive indulgent days. Maybe eating more food than they normally would, drinking alcohol more than normal, being less physically active than normal, etc.

I've heard of some people participating in "detox diets", drinking "detox teas", and other methods of detoxing.

In order to understand what's true about detoxing, if it's necessary, if it has benefits we need to look at:

  1. the definition of detox

  2. what foods/chemicals/ingredients are toxic to our bodies and require a detox

Merriam-Webster defines detox as:

-a program or facility for assisting a person undergoing detoxification from an intoxicating or addictive substance - a regimen or treatment intended to remove toxins and impurities from the body

If you're curious about what a detoxing program looks like from an intoxicating or addictive substance, such as drugs and/or alcohol, click here for a protocol booklet provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

A recent study published in 2023 revealed that even small amounts of alcohol consumption can cause up to 7 types of cancer. Therefore, YES, alcohol is a toxin.

Other than alcohol what foods/chemicals/ingredients are toxic to the body? The list is extensive. For a more comprehensive understanding and list click here to go to the Environmental Working Groups website. You might go to that link and be a little overwhelmed so I've picked 3 chemicals that have severely negative effects on the body and can be easily avoiding by making a safer swap.

1. Plastic/BPA

-BPA is a chemical found in plastic that is synthetic estrogen and disrupt natural hormones.

-SAFER SWAP: stainless steel water bottles/cups, glass

2. Fragrance

-Any product with "fragrance" listed as an ingredient probably has chemicals toxic to the body.

-SAFER SWAP: unscented, plant based scents, essential oil scented

3. Phthalates

-Phthalates are plasticizer chemicals that disrupt our natural endocrine system leading to cancer and other negative health effects. Harmful in pregnancy, linked to uterine fibroids, and much more.

-SAFER SWAP: ensure the soaps, shampoos, detergents, makeup, etc. are phthalate free

Reducing the toxic load in your life is a great way to improve your health. I've been trying to reduce my exposure to toxic chemicals for years now and it can still be overwhelming to me, so take it slow-make one good decision at a time and reap the benefits!

The most important thing to take away from this though is this:

You do NOT have to purchase any type of detox pill, vitamin, tea, drink, bath, etc. to rid your body of chemicals. Your body has it's own detox organ, the liver. What you can do is make better and safer choices to help the liver function better such as avoiding alcohol, drinking enough water daily, and decreasing your exposure to toxins. Gimmicks are alive and well-be cautious of any type of product claiming to "detox" for you. It cannot.

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