“Only good at cleansing your wallet” - I read this in ‘The Telegraph’ one day and laughed out loud. Spot on! There are such powerful personalities who are advocates of detox, that you might doubt yourself if you refuse to follow this unhealthy trend. In the first part of this article, we looked at the myths about detox. Today let us discuss the truths.
Truth 1: Most toxins are washed away by your skin, liver, gut and kidneys
Toxins exist in our bodies. These come from chewing tobacco, smoking, taking drugs, too much alcohol, eating a lot of red meat, sugar and dairy. They also come from noxious fumes, processed foods, preservatives in our produce and foodstuff and other substances with high lead or mercury content. Naturally, we must accept the responsibility of avoiding toxin-rich elements, but modern-day life does not make it easy to eliminate them altogether. The good news is that unless the toxicity has reached levels where medical intervention is necessary, the average amount of toxins that we are subjected to, are washed away by our skin, liver, gut and kidneys. For reasonable amount of toxins, your body’s inbuilt detox mechanism will work well for you, without a detox plan. The best plan, then, is to help the body keep this inbuilt mechanism healthy.
Truth 2: No single food or drink will help eliminate the toxins completely
You are kidding yourself if you believe that one single food or drink will help eliminate the toxins completely. May I point out how healthy our grandparents and great-grandparents were, even though ‘detox’ was a word completely alien to them. What contributed to their health? Seasonal foods, fresh produce, a lot of water, regular exercise, fresh air, enough sleep and very little chemical intake. We pride ourselves on being technologically accomplished, but this very technology has eroded our common sense. We hardly walk but spend huge membership fees to visit a gym; we eat out of tins, cans and boxes ignoring nature’s fresh bounty; we’d rather pop a pill than turn to nature’s remedies like ginger, turmeric, garlic, lemon, honey, cinnamon, aloe vera, celery, chia seeds, tulsi, neem, coriander and peppermint; we take a sleeping pill to suppress stress when chamomile and lavender naturally and completely release the stress from the body. We need stimulants to keep us upbeat because the stress of keeping up with others has robbed us of laughter and peace of mind. We are so blessed, but feel so deprived.
Truth 3: Change your habits to change your health
The best way to detox, then, is to change our habits. For example, we truly value the health of our heart only when it buckles under the pressure of fats, carbohydrates and sugars. So make it a habit to balance your diet with seasonal foods, wholegrains, lean protein and healthy fats. Water is very important to flush away the toxins, and the intake of juice, tea, coffee and soup doesn’t quite compensate for pure water. When your body is well hydrated, your skin glows with good health. So, make it a habit to drink lots of water. Another important habit is to read the labels of everything that you want to put into your body. Become aware of the sugar (and all its camouflaged names), sodium, iodine, preservatives, colours and other additives that are pleasurable to your palate but so harmful to your body. Recognise the dangers of colas, energy drinks, fast foods, instant meals, sugar substitutes and supplements and run from them. Stay well away from non-seasonal fruits and vegetables, and completely avoid all that is fashionably called ‘hybrid’.
Truth 4: Say no to plastic
Another source of toxins comes from cooking and storage vessels made from aluminum and plastic. What might be convenient is definitely not suitable for your health.
Truth 5: Chew, Chew, Chew
How quickly you eat is also very important for your health. Wolfing down food and paying attention to the newspaper or an electronic device while you eat, is the worst thing you could do for yourself. Nutrition involves much more than just taking in food. Instead of reading about the latest diet or a way to ‘cleanse your wallet’, pay attention to what and how you eat.
Remember that heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, rheumatism and Alzheimer’s that plague us in the later years of our lives, start several years before they show up. Let me end by reminding you of what I wrote in part 1 of this article: “Food is not your enemy. Neither does it make you unhealthy.” But the lack of common sense, and an unhealthy lifestyle certainly shall.