“WE LIVE IN A TOXIC WORLD” – there, I’ve said it….but its true, for most of us in the Western world anyway, just look at the statistics, we’re fatter & sicker as a society than ever before, we have more incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and its happening not just to older people, but the younger generation also.. and it’s costing us a fortune.
‘TOXIC’… it’s funny how some words look and sound just like what they actually are! I think Detoxification is one of those words…toxic, it just sounds bad!
This is a huge topic, but one that I think is really important, so I’m going to split it over a few blogs – I’m going to talk about all things detox, but lets start by asking ourselves a few basic questions:-
- What IS a toxin?
- Where do they COME from?
- HOW do they affect us?
- How CAN you detox?
In order for you to reach/maintain your optimum health & fitness goals you need to focus on Diet/Nutrition – Exercise – Detoxification
Basically a toxin is anything that can be taken in or absorbed (by the lungs, the skin, the gut) to the body which may be harmful to it (a poison), normally biologically produced, but most people call man-made chemical substances toxic as well. We are all toxic to a degree, it’s virtually impossible to avoid, but we can reduce our exposure. As humans, our bodies are designed to keep hold of all the good things and expel (detox) the bad, but we’re living in a very different world today compared to thousands of years ago… this leads to the scary part…
Where do they come from? well, lets see…
Food – raw organic fruit and vegetables are great, but do YOU live on these, probably not? Many people nowadays get by on processed/fast food, full of additives, artificial colouring/flavours, preservatives & sweeteners (like Aspartame). Meat…particularly red meat is more acidic than alkaline and chickens..well, they’re pumped full of growth hormones and kept in cramped conditions where they get stressed and this stress causes toxins to be stored in their meat, which WE then eat and absorb ourselves. Don’t think vegetarians are safe either, (non organic) fruit & veggies are sprayed with pesticides & herbicides to kill off living organisms (like humans?!) How long would a big mac stay looking the same for if left in its box?? – try putting one in a cupboard and see (hint, a looooong time!). Soft Drinks, whether diet or not are BAD – stay away from the Soda, is my advice. Even (commercial) fruit juices are full of fructose (sugar) & should also be left well alone.
Air – especially in a city, with car fumes, factory fumes (causing smog), air conditioning at work or in a shopping centre or even home. Various sprays in the home, cleaning product vapours (exit mould, yuck?!). Smoke, (cigarettes) either your own or secondhand.
Water – “NO”, I hear you cry, but what’s in water – chlorine and fluoride to ‘purify’ it, and these are CHEMICALS!
Medications – Pharmaceutical ones especially, look at how cancer medicine affects people, yes it can kill cancer cells, but it kills everything else as well – it’s toxic. Even good old anti-biotics, chemical and toxic.
Auto-Intoxification – if we get stressed we produce chemicals called Cortisol and Adrenaline, while they are there for a reason (like running away from a hungry Lion!) they also have a toxic affect. We humans also produce toxins internally, especially in the gut and colon where there is often an imbalance of good & bad bacteria, or irregular bowel movements to dispose of waste efficiently, causing more toxins from old food to be produced & released.
Skin – this is actually the largest organ of the body and is also used to detoxify (through sweat), BUT, we also absorb anything that we put onto it, whether this be moisturisers, sunscreens, perfume, shampoo or deodorants, they all contain chemicals. The research, as is often the case has proved conflicting as to the exact effect these may have, but the point is that we DO absorb these chemicals and we do this over decades..so I say choose carefully.
Its no wonder that we often feel tired, lethargic, get headaches, have skin problems & poor memory..and put on weight – all signs of toxification.
We are lucky though..the body is an amazing piece of equipment and copes exceedingly well with detoxing us naturally. This is mainly done via the lymphatic system which picks up toxins from the bloodstream around the body and takes them to the liver, which then filters them out and excretes them either via the lungs (our breath), the kidneys (urine), our skin (sweating) or via the colon (poo).
The problem I think with toxins is that they do not affect you immediately, they get stored in the cells of your body and over time accumulate, the result of this process therefore is not noticed until often years later when you may either be obese, overweight, diagnosed with diabetes or have a heart attack – these things don’t just happen overnight for no reason. You may feel that you’re ok, but I think many people function well below what the norm should be, simply because its what you’re used to.
So what can we do…the good news, is we can do plenty! It’s just a case of being aware of your environment and of what you are putting into your body and trying to eliminate as many toxins as you can. In my next blog, I will talk about HOW we can assist the body in its natural detoxification process and provide easy to implement tips to help you reach your health &/or weight loss goals. This can be a challenge, especially when it comes to changing deep rooted habits, but the benefits can also be amazing. To put my ‘money where my mouth is’, I (and my work colleagues) are starting a 7 day detox on Monday – we will track our progress and I will report back…and then offer YOU the challenge!!