Detoxification 101

Because we live in a world that is replete with harmful toxins due to pollution and chemicals being released constantly into our food supply, water, air and soil, some assistance in keeping our bodies' detoxification systems running smoothly is necessary.

Our bodies are in a constant state of detoxification. The digestive (liver), respiratory, lymphatic, circulatory, urinary systems, our skin (sweat), and kidneys continually eliminate toxins to keep us healthy. These organ systems can become easily compromised when our bodies are overburdened with too many toxins.  

Natural ways to detoxify our bodies can help keep us healthy through fall and winter months, and year round. If you are a parent of a vaccine-injured child, these recommendations can help begin a regimen of detoxification from harmful substances that may have produced symptoms and left your child's health compromised. The following are some natural ways to assist your body in eliminating the harmful substances you encounter in everyday life and activity.

Dietary considerations

Switch from processed and conventional foods to organic and natural products. Look for produce without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and those not produced with genetically-modified seeds. If in doubt, ask a store employee. 

When purchasing animal foods, look for antibiotic, hormone and GMO-free products. Grassfed and pasture-raised are optimal for beef, lamb, dairy products, eggs, and poultry. More information: Eat Wild from author Jo Robinson. 

Raw dairy foods are optimal because the milk has not been treated under high heat conditions which compromise the integrity of important nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2, Omega 3s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), B Vitamins and minerals. Healthy animals on pasture produce milk that doesn’t need pasteurization because ideal bacterial balance is achieved when grazing animals consume their natural diets with exposure to sun. Raw dairy is by design less susceptible to pathogenic contamination than its pasteurized counterpart due to the presence of probiotic bacteria and antimicrobial enzymes. More information: Chris Kresser, Real Milk.  

Why is organic and locally sourced so important?

A body that is nourished with real, organic foods can detoxify itself and absorb nutrients more efficiently. If you buy from a store, as much as possible, shop in the organic section. If you shop at farmer's markets or buy direct from the farm, ask questions about growing practices used. Purchasing food from local growers gives the consumer more control and transparency over how the food purchased is produced.  

Eliminate the following from your kitchen:

Vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, cottonseed, corn, or safflower oil. These are relatively new to the world of “food products” and were practically non-existent prior to the 1900s. Polyunsaturated oils and are high in Omega 6s, which are too abundant in the Standard American Diet. Too many Omega 6s contribute to disease and inflammation. These oils are typically produced via industrial mechanisms under high heat processing. High heat processing damages fragile Omega 6-based oils. By the time you would use these for cooking, they are already rancid. 

Canola, soybean, corn and cottonseed oils are sourced from crops that are largely genetically-modified. Genetic alterations to food have been linked to various chronic health conditions including liver damage, cancer, infertility, food allergies and intolerances. Learn more about the dangers of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) from The Institute for Responsible Technology

Replace with:

Real, traditional fats: organic olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and palm oil (if sourced from sustainable practices; check the label or contact the manufacturer if in doubt). Extra virgin olive and coconut oil is recommended. 

Real, traditional animal fats include organic, grassfed or pasture-raised beef, pork, poultry, and game meat fats, or wild game. Saturated fats are ideal for cooking and add important nutrients and flavor to recipes. Contrary to conventional advice, real traditional fats sourced carefully do not cause heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure or stroke, and have been consumed around the world by our ancestors for thousands and thousands of years and have supported human health. Studies showing that animal foods and saturated fats are harmful to health typically only take into consideration conventional products sourced from animals raised in confinement. These products are vastly different than their natural counterparts, are not health-supporting, and are to be avoided. For more information on the value of traditional diets in the role of human health, read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS, and Pottenger’s Cats by Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, M.D. 

White flour and any processed grain product

These products are problematic for the following reasons:

1) They are typically sourced from conventional farming environments which apply the herbicide Roundup to wheat fields. Roundup contains glyphosate, an active ingredient shown to interfere with detoxification in the immune and digestive tracts. Read more from the research of Stephanie Seneff, PhD and Anthony Samsel, PhD here

2) White flour and processed grains have had nutrients removed and chemicals added for ease of processing. Traditionally prepared, organic grains are easier on the digestive tract. Traditional preparation involves soaking, soaking, sprouting and fermenting flour and grains to render them more easily digestible, as our ancestors have done for thousands of years. 

However, some choose to eliminate grains altogether due to sensitivities and toxins found in the majority of grains, and due to chronic health issues which can be exacerbated by grains, even when organic and properly prepared. A diet of real, nourishing foods and gentle detoxification as described in this article can heal the body so that real, organic grains that are traditionally prepared can be consumed once again. This process can take some time to accomplish: months to years. Choose accordingly depending on your health goals and condition.

Refined sugar 

White sugar and processed carbohydrates can be problematic because they contribute to lowered immune system function and inflammation in the body. Reduce the amount of sweeteners used and replace with natural sweeteners including organic raw honey, organic maple syrup, organic cane sugar and organic coconut sugar. When starting a detox regimen, removing sugar in general is typically recommended for a period of time which can last for weeks, months, or years, depending on your individual health needs and considerations. 

Ways to encourage gentle, ongoing detox:

There are some ways to detox regularly that can help your body regain nutrients needed for optimal health while supporting your body to enable elimination of harmful toxins that may be affecting your well-being.

Herbal liver support

A liver tincture made from herbs can be extremely healing to the liver, the largest detoxification organ besides the skin on our bodies. This specially created tinture of organic herbs includes dandelion root, chanca piedra, greater celandine, milk thistle seed, turmeric, burdock root, boldo root, and peppermint. It is beneficial for fatty liver disease, hepatitis and hepatic toxicity, liver stones and congestion in the liver which all contribute to chronic health issues. 

Vitamin C

This nutrient is an important antioxidant and is extremely effective in eliminating and counteracting damage from toxins and heavy metals that become stored in the body. An optimal form of Vitamin C is liposomal because it is easily absorbed since it contains important nutrient co-factors used by the body for digestion. High doses of Vitamin C are beneficial in helping the body to heal from various health issues including viruses, bacteria, and fungal, and also other chronic or degenerative challenges including auto-immune disease, heart and respiratory disease, digestive disorders and cancer.  Read more about how Vitamin C can benefit conditions involving cancer here

Epsom or magnesium salt baths

Soaking in mineral rich baths can help counteract the effects of toxins including halides such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromine, and heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury. Epsom and magnesium salts can be purchased at health food stores and are ideal for everyday or weekly detox. They are relaxing, soothing and helpful in removing unwanted substances that build up in the body. Epsom and magnesium salts also help replete the body with important minerals such as magnesium and other trace minerals. 

A bath environment is most beneficial when filtered water, which removes impurities and toxins that can contribute to health issues. For recommended water filtering products, see Drink filtered water below. 

Clay baths 

Clay baths are effective to help our bodies eliminate built-up toxins such as heavy metals and others that can harm our health. Enviromedica has some excellent products with natural clay that you can use in your home bath for a relaxing and detoxing bath experience. These kinds of baths are potent and typically cause fatigue after use. Taking a quality probiotic supplement or consuming fermented beverages and organic, herbal teas such as ginger or peppermint afterward and immediately retiring to bed to allow replenishment and rest are recommended. See Fermented foods and beverages below for recommendations. Recommended probiotic supplements include Prescript Assist, Klaire Labs and GutPro probiotic supplements

Magnesium oil

Applying magnesium oil “transdermally” via the skin is an easy way to absorb this mineral. Our skin can absorb substances more efficiently than our digestive tracts, especially if there is compromise or toxicity present.

Magnesium supplements can be problematic for a variety of people as they tend to cause diarrhea. Magnesium is essential for brain and nervous system function, digestion, hormonal, cardiovascular, bone and many other aspects of health. This specially developed formula of magnesium oil made with magnesium flakes and non-GMO grain alcohol is highly absorbent and unlike other types of magnesium oil, doesn't itch or burn the skin. Use this oil daily (several times if desired) to help with stress, brain and nervous system support, digestive ailments including constipation and abdominal cramping, anxiety, mood, and sleep.

Make bone broth

Mineral rich broths made from the bones of animals and birds raised on pasture are healing for the digestive tract and replenishing of important amino acids and minerals which support brain, nervous system, and detoxification. This is one of the foundation foods mentioned in Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or the GAPS Diet. Many people have found healing and needed detoxification from this dietary protocol. This diet is especially healing for children with autism, ADD/ADHD, learning, speech, and communication disorders, dyspraxia, dyslexia and other psychological disorders. 

If you are sensitive to glutamates in bone broth, preparing meat stock can be a safe alternative. Instead of bones, you would use meat or poultry to prepare stock, which requires less cooking time than broth. For more information on this topic, visit Monica Corrado’s site, Simply Being Well

Drink filtered water

A likely source of contaminants is tap and bottled water which can contain lead, cadmium, arsenic, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, pesticide, herbicide and pharmaceutical residue. All contribute to toxicity and chronic health issues. Recommended filtration systems include Berkey countertop filters and Radiant Life under-the-sink filtration and whole house purification systems.

Consume fermented foods and beverages

These easy-to-digest, mineral-rich traditional foods contain important nutrients including 

Vitamins A, D, E, K2, B and C, minerals, enzymes and friendly bacteria (probiotics). These elements not only boost immunity and digestion function, but also support overall health by increasing the amount of available nutrients in food.  

Making your own fermented foods at home is optimal since you always know what you are putting in your own preparations. These are also typically less expensive than store-bought. However, many health food stores now offer some excellent products if you aren't in a position to make your own including: sauerkraut, pickles, and other fermented vegetable combinations. 

Some health food stores now offer raw and pasture-raised cultured dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir, sour cream and cream cheese. Lesser recommended would be pasteurized cultured dairy foods which are more difficult to digest since enzymes and proteins are compromised during the heating process. These typically contain less beneficial bacteria than their raw counterparts.

Fermented teas such as kombucha, water kefir, and vegetable juices are also available and beneficial. These mineral and probiotic-rich beverages can be a healthy part of your diet and support for detox. All kombucha and kefir is prepared with some type of tea and sugar as the SCOBY mother (kombucha) and water kefir grains consume them to allow propagation of more bacteria. However, store-bought kombucha and water kefir tend to be much sweeter than homemade, and can also contain unwanted additives. 

Although the fermentation process can help neutralize effects of caffeine in tea on the body, some people find they are still sensitive. If you don't know whether you are sensitive, try a bottle of organic, store bought kombucha to test (or homemade from a friend). Some find that they need to avoid drinking kombucha tea no later than 2 p.m. during the day due to its "awakening" and energizing effects, which can affect sleep cycles. Be sure to always check labels and look for organic and if you purchase a store-bought brand.

Always read the label carefully and choose organic whenever possible that contain only salt and vegetables/herbs for fermented produce (not vinegar). When choosing cultured dairy foods look for whole milk products (not skim or low-fat, which reduces essential nutrients in dairy foods) and which contain no additives such as modified food starch, sugar, or others you may not recognize or can't pronounce.

Interested in making your own kombucha? 

Visit Kombucha Kamp

Learn how to make other fermented foods and beverages:

Water kefir

Sauerkraut

Raw milk yogurt, whey and cream cheese

Beet kvass - a traditional, Ukrainian beverage using just beets, salt and filtered water

Sour pickles

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