Most people who hear the word ‘detox’ think that it is some sort of hippie, restrictive diet where you starve or deprive yourself from the pleasures of eating and living. This is because they do not understand the way the body functions. By the time they realise this, many have symptoms of underlying inflammation, a chronic illness or something called NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.)
Our modern lifestyle which was supposed to make things easier for us each day, tends to leave us feeling wired, tired, stressed and having less time for ourselves. We function on auto-pilot, not aware of what toxins we expose ourselves to each day, leaving the laborious task of detoxifying to our liver. That is ultimately the function of the liver- the brilliant way in which our body was created.
However, these days we are exposed to far more toxins than our ancestors were. In the 1930’s there were 150 chemicals present in the environment. With flourishing industry these days, there’s an excess of 70 000 chemicals that we are exposed to whether we like it or not.
Scientists have found toxic compounds planet-wide, from polar bears in the Arctic to killer whales in the Pacific. In a study of newborns, released by the Environmental Working Group, an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants were found in umbilical cord blood of babies. How scary! Babies start off their lives with a toxic load.
Let’s look at where we get exposed to these toxins:
- Digestion: The natural digestive process releases toxins that our body eliminates through the urine, breathe, stool and sweat. In addition, all the hormone and metabolic processes that happen in our body, releases toxins that we can eliminate easily if the body is supported through a good lifestyle.
- Food: Animal products (dairy, eggs, meat, chicken and fish) contain viruses, bacteria and hormones that we have to deal with when consuming these products.
- GMO’s (Genetically modified organisms): Consumptions of GMO’s have been linked to cancer development. When buying any product (whole food or processed), try to look for the organic or the non-GM label.Wheat is a great GM example. Today our wheat contains 80% gluten whereas it contained only 10% gluten 100 years ago. This correlates to the high amount of wheat intolerance as well as the rising rates of autoimmune conditions prevalent today.
- Pesticides and chemicals: Chemicals that are sprayed on the food we consume are known as ‘endocrine disruptors’ where they interfere with the functioning of all our hormones. Our shampoos, toothpaste, skin lotion all contain chemicals that our body would prefer not to deal with.
- Synthetic additives, colourants and preservatives: MSG is a good example of a synthetic additive. It is known by 50 other names and so people are unware that they’re consuming it. MSG is present in 80% of all processed food. Small amounts of consumption of these additives add up to high amounts that the body, specifically the liver, has to deal with. These high amounts lead to allergies, gut problems and inflammation which is the root cause of many chronic illnesses.
- Medication: All prescribed medication need to go through the liver or the kidney to get metabolised so that they can leave the body. If your lifestyle is bad (poor diet, stress, smoking, lack of exercise), then your added pharmaceutical medication increases the chances of you making your liver toxic. If you look at the package insert on these pharmaceutical drugs, you will see liver toxicity listed as one of the undesirable side effects.
- Alcohol and Drugs: Even moderate intake of alcohol can puts a strain on the body as your body already has a lot to deal with.
- The water that we drink: Remnants of everything in your medicine cabinet can now be found in the water. While the authorities try to purify our recycled water, it is impossible to get all the drugs out. A study found that areas with the highest female oral contraceptive pill usage correlated with the highest rate of prostate enlargements/cancer. Men are getting very high amounts of estrogen from our water, the chicken they consume, the plastic containers, etc.
- Toxic air: Indoor air that we breathe in, is much more toxic than the fresh, outdoor air. This is due to the toxic chemical fumes released from the carpet, paint, cleaning detergents, tobacco smoke, air pollutants, etc. Fungal growth in air-conditioners add to the toxins we breathe in. Emissions from electromagnetic radiation burdens the system even more.
- Stress: In the beginning, the stress response saved our lives by making us run from predators and enabling us to take down our prey. Today, human beings are turning on the same lifesaving physical reaction to cope with 30-year home loans, pay for petrol, final exams, difficult bosses and even traffic jams — we can’t seem to turn it off. So, we’re constantly marinating in corrosive hormones triggered by the stress response.
- Negative thoughts and emotions: Every thought and emotion that we experience, creates a physiological reaction in the body. Negative ones would obviously have a harmful and toxic effect on the system.