Detoxification - Going Beyond the Symptoms
Today many people suffer from a wide variety of health problems and ailments that do not seem to have a probable cause. However, it seems that these types of issues relate to poor nutrition and other environmental toxins. Many issues can be remedied by simply following a detoxification program to detox the body of unnecessary and often harmful toxins. The toxins that are found in the body are accumulated in many different ways through one’s diet or lifestyle. For instance, drinking an excess of caffeine or alcohol can be detrimental to one’s health. Additionally, smoking will deposit dozens of different toxins in the lungs, bloodstream, hair and skin. Other toxins enter our bodies from unfiltered water we drink or simply from the air we breathe.
Detoxification is a general term to describe the process of the body eliminating these harmful toxins. Detox can occur a number of different ways. For instance, one may decide to reduce or eliminate caffeine or alcohol or quit smoking. Other people may decide to improve their nutrition intake by eliminating or reducing processed foods and, therefore, removing many food additive chemicals from their diet.
Unfortunately, detoxification can initially seem to cause more harm than good. There are many negative physical and mental symptoms of the process. This can be very discouraging to someone attempting to detox for the first time. Better nutrition will have a positive impact on one’s health and well-being, but the initial detox symptoms can be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, getting educated about the potential symptoms can demystify the detoxification process and help gain better health in the long run.
Some of the common detoxification symptoms include headache, nausea, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, irritability, fatigue, and skin rashes. These symptoms usually will begin affecting a person who is going through a detox within the first 24 hours of removing certain items from their diet. When cutting out some things like cigarettes or caffeine the symptoms can begin to present in as little as three to four hours. Most of these symptoms will dissipate within two to three days, but some can linger on for several weeks.
To make the detoxification process more complicated, some of the symptoms can mimic other health problems like colds, the flu, and even fibromyalgia. Before beginning to detox, it is important that one gets in tune with their body and health status. This may mean taking several or more days to track or log food, nutrition, mood, and any symptoms experienced. This will help establish a "normal" health status and isolate any symptoms or side-effects caused by detox from symptoms that would be caused by illness or other health problems. Logging your mood, thoughts and feelings is also important because some negative symptoms caused by detox are often mental and can cause a person to give up on the detoxification too early. Once a person is able to identify that the negative symptoms they are experiencing are due to toxins leaving the body and getting in better health, it can be easier to stick with it.
A number of reasons that detoxification for better health can cause these types of symptoms exist. The first is that many foods that have better nutrition can be harder for a body to digest when it is used to overly processed foods. For instance, digesting fruits and vegetables can cause uncomfortable gas and bloating. However, as the digestive system adjusts, these symptoms will pass and nutrition rich foods will be absorbed more easily. Detoxing from other processed foods like white flour and sugar can also cause low energy levels. Foods that rate better in nutrition, like whole wheat flour or naturally occurring sugars, do not provide the immediate energy boost like refined carbs do. However, this type of health nutrition will help one avoid energy highs and lows by maintaining a more even blood sugar level throughout the day. This is why that during detoxification, even though one is focusing on improving their health and nutrition, they may feel worse. As the toxins work their way out of the body during detoxification, the system will often experience cravings for these substances.
Fortunately, these side effects are quite temporary while the health benefits of a good detoxification will be long-lasting. When a detox routine is done to improve general health and nutrition, it is a good idea to consult with a specialist. An expert can help set eating goals that will meet the body's nutrition needs while still encouraging weight loss or reduced toxins. Detoxing on one's own without any medical oversight can be dangerous and could lead to problems like dizziness or poor nutrition. This is common with detoxification fads like a juice detox or a cookie diet. A good program will make the body feel better and healthier without sacrificing eating or tasty foods.
As you start a regimen of wheatgrass juice or living foods (sprouts and raw foods), you are likely to experience a period of detoxification symptoms, as wheatgrass juice is a powerful detoxification agent. Start slow with maybe an ounce of juice per day or less, and build up slowly to larger amounts like two to four ounces a day. Your detox symptoms may be intense for the first several days but will lessen then disappear.
- Kat Jones