How to Detox Naturally

This article first appeared on KameaWorld.com, a blog that aims to present valuable info and tips on eco-conscious and healthy living. You will find inspirational, educational, and up-do-date posts on eco-design, mind-body wellness, & transformative traveling by Kamea Chang.

I believe the “cleansing” craze has gotten a bit out of hand. The human body can only subsist on liquid for so long, which is why I wanted to share Kamea’s thoughtful article.  ________________________________________________________________________

“Detoxing” is all the hype these days: juicing, water fasting; you name it. Our food industry has been filled with (expensive) products claiming to be able to “cleanse” our bodies.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “cleansing” or “detoxing” diet or drink.

Sense About Science, a British nonprofit organization aiming to promote public understanding of science with its database of over 6,000 scientists noted (2009): “The multi million [dollar] detox industry sells products with little evidence to support their use. These products trade on claims about the body which are often wrong and can be dangerous.”

While it may sound reasonable to compare our esophagus, stomach, and intestinal tubes to sink drains—which require regular liquid cleanses or scrubbing in order to flush out impurities—it is important to remember that our bodies are extremely complex living systems.

The idea that you need to eat a special meal or drink a special beverage to eliminate toxins from your body is just a pure marketing ploy and completely underestimates the amazing functions your body is capable of.

Meet your liver, kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and skin, vital organs that have been detoxifying your body since day one. It is their job to keep the good stuff in and flush the bad stuff out. So, your best way to detox is just to keep your entire body healthy so that your organs can function properly.

Most of the time, the “detox” labels on fresh juices or meals are really just fancier marketing strategies used to denote something made with pure ingredients or something rich in nutrients. So, there is no inherent danger in consuming these types of “detox” products because many of them are indeed nutritious.

However, one potential danger of buying into this concept is in thinking that you can afford to eat and drink unhealthily for weeks and then go on a three-day cleanse to undo the previous weeks of harm. Especially if the cleanse is not planned properly (i.e., not nutritionally balanced) or is extreme in nature (i.e., liquid-fasting for more than a few days), it may just do your body more harm than good.

So, what is your one and only effective way to help your body detox itself effectively?

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Juicing vs Smoothies: Which is Better?

To juice or to smoothie? Both are exceedingly popular and both have their pros and cons.

Let’s first become clear on one thing, juices and smoothies are not meals. All the weeklong juice cleanses touting health benefits are a nutritional disaster. Our bodies were designed with teeth for a reason. Biological needs are met when food is chewed. Yes, it’s true there is a lot of nutrition packed into one cup, yet the human body cannot run on a liquid diet.

The act of chewing food actually begins the process of digestion. It starts in the mouth. When food it chewed it is mixed with amylase enzymes found in the saliva, which helps break down the food. This prepares it for the entire digestive system.

The idea around juicing and smoothies is this, “let’s cram as many vegetables, fruits, powders, nut-butters and fancy superfoods into one cup and call it a meal.” While it may sound like a recipe for optimal nutrition, it’s easy to go over the top.

Think of juices and smoothies as a supplement.


JUICING

CONS:
1. Juicing a fruit or vegetable strips away the fiber, leaving only sugar behind. The liquid form absorbs quickly in the body and causes spiked insulin levels. Plants in their whole form are naturally rich in fiber and this fiber helps to slow down the body’s absorption. For those with insulin regulation issues its best to stay away from juices.

2. If enjoying juice with a meal, the water content competes with and interferes with the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, causing inference with digestion and absorption of nutrients from the other food.

PROS:
1. Juice can be used as a tool for detoxing for those in good health. For example pomegranate juice increases the body’s glutathione levels and can be incorporated for this benefit.

2. When struggling to get the necessary nutrients needed for proper body functioning, juicing is a good way to get more nutrients into the body. If you have a less than stellar diet, a green juice can help with some nutritional deficit.


SMOOTHIES

CONS:
1. Many smoothies from restaurants and popular chains can be categorized as dessert. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re treating it as such. Throwing some kale into a mango, coconut, pineapple smoothie does not make it just as nutrient dense as a salad.

2. Smoothies pack in the sugar and calories per serving. Think about how many strawberries, mangos, blueberries and pineapple are in one glass? That’s quite a bit of fruit. Pureed fruit goes down quicker than if you were to devour a large fruit bowl. Now if you’re mixing vegetables into your smoothies the amount of sugar will greatly decrease.

3. Raw vegetables are not always best for nutrient absorption. Each vegetables is different like each person’s body is different. Some are absorbed more easily when cooked down. Kale is known to be difficult on digestion. And be cautious when starting out on a whole foods diet. The body needs time to adjust to eating large quantities of fiber-rich vegetables, so go gradually.

PROS:
1. Smoothies contain the whole food, fiber and juice for full nutritional benefit.

2. A blend of fruits, vegetables and protein make an ideal post work-out meal.

3. Adding smoothies to kids diets is a good option for those strongly resistant to all vegetables. By blending up greens with mango, the fruit masks the vegetables enough to avoid a battle.

4. For those trying to gain weight, smoothies are a good option. Make one with protein, either grass-fed whey powder or a nut-butter. Then add some fat like avocado, coconut cream, or full-fat dairy. The fat allows for the nutrients in the plants to be more absorbable and it will keep you full longer.

 

Juices and smoothies definitely have their place at the nutrition table. Look at them as a supplement to enhance your regular three meals a day. Now I’m going to enjoy my green super smoothie, as dessert.