Recently, I listened to a talk given by Dr. Kelly Brogan, a truly inspirational and revolutionary integrative psychiatrist. “Think of someone who is radiantly healthy”, she said. And I drew a blank…since I could not think of anyone possessing such extreme level of health at all times! I did realize, however, that there are plenty of people, myself included, who possess vitality, energy, resilience and emotional stability that are key to great and radiant health. And while these qualities may not be there at all times, the goal should be to get yourself on a plan that helps you to feel radiantly healthy most of the time. In my prior post, My Winter Prep: Introduction to Six Domains of Wellness, I identified detoxification, energy repletion, hormonal optimization, micronutrient balance, sleep and stress management cycle and immunity boosting as essential pillars of wellness. In this post, we will be looking at detoxification as a foundational pillar of wellness, your starting point on the road to radiant health!
For many of us, detoxification remains a mystery. There appears to be no shortage of solutions, everything from juicing to fasting, and in between. In a narrow sense, detoxification concerns processes of physical and chemical elimination of toxic substances. In a broader sense, it also refers to elimination of stress, bad sleep habits, and detrimental relationships or thoughts.
Now, before it gets overwhelming, let’s start with the basics: Your Liver!
This is a basic illustration of your liver detox properties. As you can see, virtually anything we are exposed to, is processed, and disposed off, by the liver. This amazing property of the liver to get rid off toxins by changing their biochemical properties is unique, and is impacted by various micro-nutrients and vitamins. In addition to detoxification from environmental pollutants and drugs, liver function is intricately related to cholesterol, hormone, and inflammatory mediators synthesis.
Now, lets take a look at a more detailed diagram:
Notice a multitude of vitamins, micronutrients, and naturally occurring compounds that are assisting the liver in its important functions. The juice-based detoxes or cleanses, while providing vitamins and some co-factors, are not good sources of branched chain amino acids, quercertin, pycnogenol or CoQ10, and will not detox your liver. They will aid mostly in digestive elimination.
So, when and how should you detox?
- Pick time away from holidays and family visits (starting after Thanksgiving and before Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year will be very helpful to avoid holiday pounds pile on!)
- Prepare to eliminate caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, all dairy, all gluten (temporarily unless you are going into elimination or mitogenic food plan next)
- Resolve to have organic fruits and vegetables for the duration of the detox.
- Pick a balanced, plant-protein based, detox-focused preparation. We like to use a complete kit by Xymogen or Metagenics with our patients, based on their composition, safety track record, taste, texture, and affordability.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do yoga or low-intensity work outs.
- Get at least 6 hours of sleep every night.
Remember, detoxification is only a starting point on your road to wellness. It is best to have a plan, and set your goals and objectives before committing to any wellness program.
Now, if you are wondering what I am doing the day after Thanksgiving..you are right, it is shopping!!! Followed by a 6-day detox, an energy restoration and anti-inflammatory food plan, and recalibration of hormonal and immune interventions. More on these in subsequent posts, but for now:
Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!