Detoxification vs. Cleansing: What’s the Difference?

Renewal, growth and hope are abundant with the coming of spring. It’s a time of thorough cleaning, ridding your house and yard of the grime, dirt and old junk that has been collecting through the winter. Well, just like your house, your body is exposed to a barrage of dirt and grime in the form of pesticides, synthetic additives, environmental pollution, processed food, vaccines, chlorinated-fluoridated-and-who-knows-what-else water, heavy metals and so much more. Don’t you owe it to yourself to rid your body of these health depleting toxins?

Let’s first talk about the differences between “detoxing” and “cleansing”. Detoxification is something the body does naturally, neutralizing and eliminating toxins from the body. The heart of detoxification are the six channels of elimination. Namely, the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, lymph and skin. Detoxification occurs in two phases. Phase I modifies a toxin directly and sends it to Phase II, where chemical groups are added, transforming them into harmless substances that can be easily excreted. Picture it like this. Say you have a bunch of garbage piling up in the kitchen (phase I). You then bag it all up and take it to the curb for the garbage collector to haul away (phase II). Seems easy enough, right? It is if your liver is in good health. The liver, when working properly, clears 99% of the bacteria and other toxic substances from the bloodstream before allowing it to circulate back through the body.

Cleansing, on the other hand, refers to the numerous tools and therapies available that help clear out stored waste and restore balance to the gastrointestinal tract as well as the rest of the body. The goal in cleansing is to release the poison stored in your cells in a manner that your organs can safely keep up. Releasing too many stored toxins at once may put a strain on an overworked system resulting in what is referred to as a “healing crisis”. Symptoms can include but are not limited to headaches, gas, skin breakouts, etc. Cleansing can make sick people sicker so it is imperative that you choose a program that’s best for you. Check with your health care practitioner before embarking on any program, as cleansing may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions.

Detoxifying the body is a nutrient driven process and water fasting is generally not advised. The greater the toxic load, the higher the need for macro and micro nutrients. The documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, has recently made juicing the most popular way to purge the gunk as well as increase energy and lose weight. Although juicing supports the body with live enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, keep in mind that strictly juicing lacks protein, essential fatty acids and fiber. For most people, a raw foods or whole foods cleanse is the perfect place to start. Simply reducing your exposure to hormone-laden dairy, factory-farmed meats, pesticide-laced produce as well as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can give the body the chance it needs to eliminate years of toxic buildup.

Since the average person has at least 116 synthetic compounds in their body, reducing the toxic burden is so much more than just the food you eat. Toxins disguise themselves in air fresheners, cleaning and body care products, furniture, perfumes and 1,000’s of other places. Simply put, if you can’t eat it, don’t put in on your skin or clean your house with it. Remember too, as you’re purging the impurities from your body, take some time to address emotional and spiritual cleansing techniques as well. Yoga, meditation, infrared sauna, massage, reflexology, acupuncture and other forms of healing are highly recommended. This is vital to restoring the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Whatever path or program you choose to preserve and improve your health, a more natural, less toxic life will benefit you AND the planet!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

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