January truly starts the season of the detox. Health food stores stock their shelves with programs in a bottle and nutrition advocates like myself offer up food-based initiatives.
This week a group of go-getters jumped on board for my Detox Challenge. We have a Facebook page dedicated for all participants to share their creations and to ask their questions. And I must say that I am amazed, proud and impressed with both their dedication to the program and their creativity with the recipes.
But as these programs take centre stage in health and wellness circles, those not in favour of them raise the question as to why detoxing is necessary. In broad sweeps their argument is that the body has all the necessary pathways needed to detox all by itself. These pathways include our skin, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymphatic system and intestines.
In a perfect world these systems would very likely function adequately to remove the waste that accumulates in our body from both the external environment and from our own metabolic processes. But our world is not perfect. Our environment is rife with pollutants and toxins continuously bombarding our system and poor diet, alcohol and medications that are often more the norm than an anomaly. These usual suspects can accumulate and overburden our system and it is for this reason that I believe it is important to aid our waste elimination pathways with a proper detoxification program.
For me the basis of a good detoxification program is a well structured whole foods diet that is devoid of processed foods. Its focus is not to take over the role of detoxification. Rather it is to provide the necessary nutrients for its proper functioning and to eliminate dietary surpluses that are not. And proper detox programs should not have weight loss as an objective although it could very well be a side effect.
There are health benefits to be had in a proper detox program including reduced inflammation, increased energy and improved skin. But do your research and find one that works best for you.