In our pursuit of health and feelings of wellbeing, the topic of a good detox can often come up. While it can be true that feeling sluggish or gross may mean that your body would benefit from a detox, it is also true that this could do more damage if done at the wrong time. It is very important to address your digestion and elimination pathway before a detox, and make sure that things are running smoothly.
What The GI Tract Does
The GI tract is a very key player in the health of your body in general. In the process of digestion, the GI tract is performing several functions:
- It scans food for invaders such as bacteria, parasites, etc. Proper levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach will help the body eliminate these invaders before they can cause toxic effects.
- It breaks down proteins into amino acids that play very important roles in the way your liver handles detoxification. Poor protein digestion means your liver won’t have what it needs to detox your body.
- It breaks down fats into smaller particles that can be transported and utilized in your lymphatic system. Large fat particles clog the lymph, and therefore the liver where detox occurs.
- It detoxifies poorly digested, fermented toxins. If your GI is not functioning at it’s best, these toxins can overload your system.
- It eliminates toxins and other unusable substances from the body through the large intestine and liver. If this toxin removal process isn’t working at it’s best, your body will not be able to detox.
- It stops foreign particles from entering the blood, which circulates through your entire body. Once these particles enter the blood stream, your body has to mount an immune response which can make you feel even worse.
What To Do Before A Detox
Before launching into a detox, get your digestion working at it’s best by following these basic suggestions:
- Be relaxed and mindful when you eat: take some deep breaths, calm your mind, chew your food well.
- Assess your daily water intake and work your way up to sipping half your body weight in ounces throughout the day (not to exceed 100 oz.). Remember that caffeine and sugary drinks are dehydrating, so be sure to drink extra if you are consuming these things.
- If you experience burping or bloating immediately after eating, consider using apple cider vinegar to enhance your hydrochloric acid production. A teaspoon straight or diluted in a cup of water before eating can help.
- If you notice undigested particles of food in your stool, now is the time to start taking a good digestive enzyme supplement which contains (at least) amylase, protease and lipase.
- Adjust your diet so you are eating real, whole foods prepared simply. A good general rule is to make about 40% of your diet come from organic fruits and veggies with minimal starchy grains, 30% protein from grass-fed organic sources, and 30% unprocessed fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
- Consider working with a nutritional therapist who can help you identify where your digestion may need additional support.
By following these basic tips, you will likely find you are feeling much better already and if you decide to proceed to a detox, your body will be prepared to process and eliminate the toxins so much better.
Questions? Concerns? I’d love to help you on your path to a happier and healthier you. You can post your thoughts in the comments below. If you need more personalized help, we can connect offline and talk about what you might need.