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Doing a cleanse seems to be all the rage these days. Everyone is talking about it. Some claim that doing a cleanse will make you healthier, happier and sexier.  So what’s the real deal? Is it good for you and should you do it?

Detoxing or doing a cleanse can involve many things. It can mean fasting for several days or drinking herbal tonics, or taking saunas and steam baths. Some methods put more strain on the body than others, and not all ways of doing a cleanse are appropriate for everyone. Pregnant women or women seriously trying to become pregnant should not do a cleanse or detox. I’ll explain why at the end of this article.

Pregnant women or women seriously trying to become pregnant should not do a cleanse or detox.

We are constantly exposed to toxins and we can tolerate a certain amount of these. This is referred to as the “toxic load” and varies from person to person. Adult men, because of their relative size, have a higher toxic load than children. It’s like filling a pitcher with water vs. filling a glass with water:  the pitcher can hold more because it is bigger.

Our bodies produce a certain amount of toxins daily from our cells breaking down and regenerating. These are known as internal toxins – we can’t do anything about these.   External toxins, on the other hand, are toxins we are exposed to in our environment. These we do have a certain amount of control over. Some of the most common external toxins are: food, water, air, industrial chemicals, cleaning supplies, perfume and cigarettes. People can have varying degrees of sensitivity to these toxins. I am going to go through some of these and explain why they are toxic and suggest some way in which you can easily eliminate them.

Common External Toxins
  • Food becomes toxic if it is sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. When we eat foods that are not organic, we are ingesting these chemicals. Foods can also be considered toxic if someone has an allergic reaction to a specific food. For example, if someone is allergic to nuts, this means that nuts are toxic to them.
  • Water is toxic if it is not clean. Seemingly clean water may have been treated with chemicals, or it could be subject to industrial run off. If you write to your municipal water company and request an analysis of your drinking water, they will send it to you.
  • Air can be toxic if it is polluted. Cigarette smoke, fires, industrial chemicals and car exhaust all pollute the air we breathe.
  • Cosmetics and beauty care products can be toxic because of the chemicals they contain. These can leach into our bodies. Remember that our skin is like one big sponge, and it absorbs everything, good and bad.
When Should You Think About Detoxing?

When some or all of the things I just mentioned start to have a negative effect on you, it’s time to think about a detox. I will give you some specific ways in which you can safely rid your body of toxins.

  • Stress is an internal toxin, but our reaction to it can be external. If you are experiencing a lot of stress, you may start eating too much sugar, saturated fats or processed foods as a way to combat stress and actually make the situation worse. If you notice this happening be very careful with what you eat.
  • Irritability and mood swings can also mean that it’s time for a cleanse. First make sure you have a good diet and then take a bath! Twenty minutes in a warm bath with 1/2 to  1 cup of Epsom Salts added to the bath water should do the trick.
  • Puffy eyes are symptom of toxicity. It usually means that your kidney and/or liver (your organs of detoxification) are overloaded. Try drinking dandelion or milk thistle tea.
  • Dull looking skin usually means that nutrients are not getting to your skin or that you are not eating enough good fats. Check your diet. Try dry brushing or massage. Dry brushing literally means brushing your skin with a loofa or a natural bristle brush when it is dry,  not in the shower.
  • We all get brain fog from time to time. If you find that you just can’t focus you need to take a break and detox with any of the following: Epsom Salt baths, dry brushing, and drinking dandelion tea and eating more bitter greens such as arugula.
When You Should NOT Detox

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant you should NOT detox.

When you detox your body release toxins from your cells into your blood stream. Your blood passes through the placenta, which means that the toxins you are trying to get rid of go straight to your baby. Not good! There are some other very good reasons not to detox if you are pregnant:

  • Many of the herbs that are part of a detox protocol are contraindicated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
  • When you are pregnant you need to increase the amount of water you drink. Detoxifying encourages your body to get rid of water through sweating and urination. This can cause dehydration.
  • During a detox you will be eating less, which means that you and your baby may not be getting the nutrients you both need. Insufficient nutrients are detrimental to a baby’s development.
  • Toxins which you are trying to eliminate are passed on to your baby. Note that prenatal massage is not a form of detoxification even though it promotes cirulation.
  • Dry brushing is not recommended because the skin is more delicate when you are pregnant.

A cleanse may indeed be something that you should do, however it may require more than just a change in diet for a few days. You may need a diet and lifestyle adjustment. If you have any questions or need help with a detox program please let me know (201) 927-0648.

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Have you tried detoxing? Did you notice any change in how you look or feel?
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Categories: Beyond, Blog, Nutrition, Nutrition and Wellness, Pregnancy, Prenatal Nutrition, and Women's Wellness.