As the new year begins, many of us are hoping to find ways of making more mindful and healthful choices to nurture ourselves. Detoxification, also called purification, is the process of encouraging your body to address and remove toxins in order to feel more balanced and energized. While our bodies already have natural pathways for removing toxins, these systems can become overwhelmed by poor diet choices and a deficiency of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. We can support our bodies’ natural detoxification pathways by taking steps to purify our systems and support our long-term health. While there are several ways to purify, let’s take a look at how focusing on diet and digestion can help us bring our bodies back into balance.

A detoxification dietary program is a great way to jump-start a sluggish metabolism and set you on the path to achieving your health goals.  It is not a weight loss program but can assist with weight loss by balancing blood-sugar metabolism and reducing sugar cravings. It can also help identify food sensitivities that may be holding you back from better health.  This makes it easier to improve your eating habits long-term and maintain a healthy weight.

Signs That Your Body Needs Purification

In general, if you are feeling sluggish, worn down, foggy, or achy, you would likely benefit greatly from detoxification. Signs of toxicity in the body include fatigue, poor sleep patterns, digestive issues, food cravings, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, mental fog, low libido, unhealthy skin, aching joints and muscles, and a lowered immune response that leaves you susceptible to colds, viruses, and infections. So, if you feel like you could use an energy boost or just want to feel more like yourself, purification can help your body become more efficient and effective at removing toxins and allowing your energy to return.

Toxins Are Everywhere

Unfortunately, even if we strive to lead healthy lives, we are surrounded by environmental toxins that negatively affect our health. While you may be aware of how toxic pollutants, chemicals, and pesticides can be, there are other substances that can wreak havoc on our bodies. Consuming alcohol, caffeine, synthetic sweeteners, and preservatives can lead to significant health problems, especially if we indulge in these substances frequently. Pharmaceuticals can impact both the individual who uses them, as well as others who share the same water supply. The relatively new concept of chemical body burden refers to the accumulated effect of exposure to so many types of toxins. Simply put, there is no way to accurately measure how many toxins we are exposed to on a daily or yearly basis, so it’s no wonder that so many of us report feeling fatigued and sluggish.

Not only are we chronically exposed to various external toxins—our bodies naturally produce toxins, too. Debris from dead cells, digested bacteria, and metabolic products of molds and yeasts in our bodies need to be identified and expelled. Although our bodies have natural ways of eliminating these toxins, such systems quickly deteriorate when the body is under stress. For instance, if our pH is thrown out of whack, digestion can become much less efficient and lead to a build-up of toxins within our bodies. Emotional stress and trauma are known to disrupt the brain and central nervous system, resulting in toxic changes at the cellular level.

Understanding the Purification Process

A helpful way to begin the detoxification process is to focus on nutrition. A good starting point for many clients is the 21-day Purification Program from Standard Process. First, we’ll determine whether some of your sluggish symptoms are due to food intolerances. By eliminating the most common culprits (soy, legumes, grains, shellfish, nuts, dairy, eggs) for a 21-day period, we can reintroduce foods one-by-one to “challenge” the body and discover its reaction. Additionally, abstaining from processed foods, sugars, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages gives the body a break from many of the toxins we typically consume. Many people find that, after the three week detoxification period, they don’t crave these items anymore, and make a long-term commitment to reducing or eliminating them for good.

While you focus on getting rid of problematic foods and substances, you’ll work on maintaining a nutrient-dense diet that’s full of colorful vegetables and fruits and high in protein. During the first week of the program, you’ll take an herbal supplement that assists the detoxification pathways of the liver and kidneys. It’s important to realize that you may feel your symptoms intensify during this initial period—this is actually a good sign. Toxins are finally being released from your body, and it may take a few days for the symptoms to subside. Once week two begins, you’ll find that you feel more energized and clear-headed. During this time, a green food supplement is added to the program to super-charge the nutrient density of your diet and further boosting your metabolism.

Promoting Long-Term Metabolic Efficiency

Once the three-week detoxification program concludes, you’ll need to find ways of maintaining your newly balanced metabolism. As you gradually reintroduce each eliminated food to discover how your body reacts, you’ll also need to think about your long-term health goals. As much as possible, commit to maintaining a nutrient-dense diet that is rich in colorful vegetables and high in quality protein (wild-caught fish, pasture-raised chicken, etc.). Try to avoid foods and beverages that contain added sugars, and be sure to drink at least two liters of water each day. The more mindful you can be about what you put into your mouth, the more you will support your body’s natural detoxifying pathways and promote an efficient metabolism.

Commit to Self-Care Today

If you are ready to feel more energized and lighter in body, mind, and spirit, give purification a try. Whatever your individual health needs and goals may be, Elizabeth Zenger, Ph.D., L.Ac. can design a purification program that is customized to suit your body. As the new decade dawns, it’s time to listen to your body and work towards a more balanced you.

If you are ready to detoxify, contact Inner Works Acupuncture at (503) 227-2127 to make an appointment. Located in the heart of NW Portland, we offer full-body health treatments and nutritional consults, including Five Element Acupuncture, Zero Balancing, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and more.