Why Detox?

Ask Aimee: Holistic NutritionDetoxes are incredibly popular – especially in the fall and spring. Equinox time, as our seasonal transitions, are an excellent time to detoxify the body. There is a natural shift in energy during these times – we all sense it! Fall comes and we begin to conserve our energy a bit, focus on the tasks at hand, travel less and stay in more. Springtime is the opposite – as the Earth wakes up from winter’s slumber, so do we! We stay out later, get busy with activities and naturally set goals for ourselves – usually around getting into that summer bikini or clearing out our closets. There is a natural biorhythm occurring within Nature, therefore within us. This is why such times are ideal and natural to cleanse.

Detoxification happens naturally within our bodies every day. Our system is in a constant state of detoxification and rejuvenation, utilizing the filtering capabilities of the liver and kidneys to remove unwanted compounds that exist naturally from simply being alive, as well as external toxins such as alcohol and pollution. In order to maintain vibrant health and wellness, we must be able to balance our body’s ability to detoxify with our capability of rejuvenation.

Cleansing offers us a great way to prevent seasonal illnesses that come with these changes because it allows out body a period of rest and rejuvenation, as well as a clearing out so that it is less burdened by seasonal changes. I would argue that external detoxification and cleansing protocols are essential to well-being in this day and age for the following reasons

  1. Our food quality is at an all-time low. GMOs have permeated the marketplace, our topsoil is largely at the ocean’s floor, and even organic foods are not as nutritionally dense as they were 50-60 years ago. Our industrial commercialization of the food supply is for the purpose of convenience and commercial profit – NOT health. Consequently, we are consuming far less nutrition from the same apple eaten today as our parents or grandparents did. Our ability to rejuvenate is thus compromised, and our food contaminants are incredibly high.
  2. We are stressed and overstimulated creatures!Finances are on nearly everyone’s mind, we work more hours than ever before and are paid less for those hours. CNN can give you the update on the state of our Union – I don’t need to share this with you. These stressors filter out into our workplace, our relationships, and burden our families. With less downtime to restore ourselves and a greater pressures in our culture, we are all in a chronic low level state of stress. Chronic stress inhibits all of the body’s functions, including metabolism, liver, kidney, lymph detoxification, and cellular rejuvenation.
  3. We encounter extensive pollutants which tax our bodies. Regardless of location, we are all inadvertently exposed and ingesting several man-made compounds that did not exist even 10 years ago. This comes from air, commercial and private buildings, food supply, cosmetics, and many other sources. All of this stress inhibits the body from ridding of toxins AND decreases the absorbability of nutrients we receive from the foods we eat, further taxing the burden on the body via low level malnourishment.

Many people think detoxifying involves strict, radical means such as juice fasting, harsh stimulants which purge the colon, or radical diets of nothing but soup or fruit. Not so! In working with active populations, I have designed detoxes which allow the body to detoxify while maintaining a work schedule or a physically active life. (note – this does NOT include high intensity or peak athletic training!) My detox time is always a great opportunity to whip up some of my favorite meals, like nori-wrapped salmon and detox-friendly pesto, and I never go hungry or suffer from low blood sugar. Detoxing can also extend out beyond food choices. A media detox is strongly recommended during times of overstimulation or stress; many, many people experience great epiphanies when they carve out the space to listen to the small quiet voice within.

In connecting with our body, a cleanse can offer us insight into the foods that may be problematic or troublesome for us. For those who are having digestive issues or difficulty taking off weight, I recommend very systemically re-introducing foods to determine exactly which dietary habits are responsible for ill health and poor weight. It is not uncommon to gain 3-6 pounds of water weight after consuming a food we are intolerant to. Consuming such foods regularly may not create overt or severe symptoms, but they can be the hidden reason why weight has plateaued or why it has been challenging to reduce in the first place.

Cleanses can be powerful to reset ourselves for the new season and get back on track. They allow us time and space to reconnect with our most precious possession – the vessel we live in and the spirit it contains – and bring us back to a place of honoring that.

Are you ready to detox? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you have a touch too much fun over the summer? (You know what I’m talking about!!)
  • Do you feel sluggish and tired despite adequate sleep?
  • Do you have skin inflammations, achy joints, or seasonal allergies?
  • Are you susceptible to all those illnesses that comes around this time of year?
  • Do you have trouble taking off weight you’ve gained?
  • Do you have digestive issues (such as constipation, loose stools, stomach heaviness, bloating, or cramping, indigestion, etc) that you’ve deemed as ‘normal’ because they occur so often for you?
  • Do you feel groggy or get brain fog after lunch?

The more questions you answered ‘yes’ to, the more likely you’d benefit from a cleanse! Know that any ‘yes’ (aside from summer fun) is a sign of an abnormality, and it doesn’t have to be something you live with daily! Small steps can cause huge changes in our energy, digestion, and health. If you are interested in detoxification or suspect you may have a food intolerance, visit my website at VibranceNutrition.com for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation and investigate unique solutions to your health and nutrition needs.

While I’m not perfect at it myself, I try and cleanse at least twice a year – during autumn and in the spring. This article came to mind as I am in my fall cleanse, and I am relishing the extra time I’m taking to deeply cleanse my body and my spirit. Over time, I’ve expanding my cleanses to include baths, journaling, and extra down time for mental rest as well. This becomes a special and sacred time for me to deepen my connection to myself as I head into a busy and exciting autumn and holiday season. I invite you to join me in taking this transitional period between summer and winter to gently restore and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit!

AIMEE GALLO is a marathon runner, indoor cycling coach, holistic nutrition counselor and personal trainer. When not out pursuing her athletic goals, Aimee is busy with her company, Vibrance Nutrition and Fitness, helping her clients meet their fitness and nutrition goals by utilizing a mind, body, and spirit approach… {more »}

Comments

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you Aimee, I just started my detox on Monday ~ Was a great article to reaffirm why I do this in the spring and fall!

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  2. Kath says:

    Thank you Aimee—-this is a great idea. I have some spinach and chard soup to make. Will replace meals with it. Also “media detox” is a great idea– little less” Real Housewives” and a little more walking and reading something productive.
    I love autumn too and am feeling this year especially a real shift in the world—this detox can only be a pre-emptive.

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  3. Shannon says:

    I love that comment – a real shift in the world! I also lead cleanses and find that each time they start I gain a new habit. It often starts with a strong focus on the food for all of us. Then, other layers can start to unfold. After one I did in the fall last year I have kept up a regular meditation practice. It is amazing to do the same things but continue to experience them on a deeper level. Like the seasons! We go through a circular flow but can experience it differently every time. It is a very cool and beautiful concept. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and reflections.

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  4. Great post – I think the transition into autumn is a great time to make other changes in life, such as changes to the diet. It’s also a time to be mindful of the food you’re consuming and if it supports your goals and overall well-being. I think it’s important that people realize “cleanses” are not all gimmick-y fasts, and that it can be cleansing to your system to even make small alterations to your diet. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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  5. Mary DeLaney says:

    Thanks for that great article, Aimee! I love the idea of and body AND mind detox! Happy cleansing!

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