Sunday, August 26, 2018

Medical Detox - the basics

If you've followed this blog so far, I have been writing about hormone balance and the health consequences of being out of balance. I've covered the why of detoxing in a previous post. Today I will explain the basics of working with a Functional Medicine doctor (or Integrative practictioner) like myself to do a guided medical detox.

 As you can see in this photo, there are lots of different detox supplements out there. How do you choose one that will work for your situation? That is one of the reasons for getting medical guidance.

It is especially important to get help with doing a detox if you have any metabolic disorders (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, overweight, menopause, autoimmune disorders, hypothyroid, etc.) precisely because your individual set of circumstances will impact the way you should proceed and a Functional or Integrative practitioner can make recommendations to individualize the process for you so that you don't suffer any bad side effects.

After an initial physical exam and laboratory evaluation, your practitioner should be able to suggest a detox that will work for your lifestyle, motivation and goals. It is important to note that most toxins are stored in fat tissue and you should do a detox before you lose weight so you don't release all the toxins into your body and move them around to your brain or bones!

 There are 'detox kits' that usually include a medical shake mix like the one pictured and a detox supplement to improve your detox pathways. These kits include suggestions of how to best utilize the shake and supplement to achieve the maximum results. Your practitioner can tailor the suggestions to meet your needs.

To move toxins out of your body efficiently your practitioner can help you improve the performance of your kidneys, liver and lymph systems - the main pathways by which toxins are removed. You may also need to use a fiber supplement to increase the frequency of your bowel movements.

Since many toxins are secreted into the colon for elimination, if you don't have at least two bowel movements a day during the detox you may be reabsorbing the toxins and storing them away in various body tissues, including your bones and brain! You definitely do not want to do that.

Your practitioner can help you find the right fiber supplement for you. I have a sensitivity to oats, which are an ingredient in many fiber supplements, so I found this one from Vital Nutrients that doesn't have oats in it.

When I prescribe a detox I always recommend taking a few days to plan meals and get groceries since the therapeutic foods that help the detox pathways are the key to getting the best results. If you eat inflammatory foods or foods that slow down the metabolic pathways that need to work at full capacity to move toxins, then you will not get good results and may even do damage to your health.

I also recommend picking a time frame that will allow you to follow the detox plan without getting into situations that will defeat you. Most detox programs require a commitment of 10-28 days, depending on how much you want or need to achieve. It would not be a good choice to start a detox the week before vacation or a holiday or travel.

You will get the best results when you can cook your own meals and eat organic foods, so you should plan ahead and choose wisely. I think it is good to do a short detox at least once a quarter and plan a longer detox in January just after New Year's. I'll be doing another short detox in early October and blogging about it.

Meanwhile, we have covered several ways to help balance hormones - reducing inflammation, detox and practicing self care and mindfulness. Next week we will talk about the adrenal glands because if they aren't functioning properly all of your other hormones can be thrown out of balance.

I leave you with my organic arugula salad. Yesterday was a day when all the stars aligned and I was able to get to the Farmer's Market early enough to snag some hydroponic arugula before it sold out and one of the vendors had fresh picked figs. I had just bought a new goat cheese to try and some organic walnuts and so a salad was born.

Arugula Salad with goat cheese, figs and walnuts:

The goat cheese was Vermont Creamery 'smoked pepper jelly'. I dressed it with himalayan salt, fresh cracked black pepper and organic olive oil and white wine vinegar. It was yummy!

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