6 easy pieces of detoxby Dr. Richard Nahas

Many of my patients have asked me for advice about how to do a ‘detox’.  This is certainly an important issue, because we all have hundreds of synthetic chemicals in our brains and bodies that don’t belong there.  There is a decent amount of science to support the notion that reducing your toxic load can improve your health.  It also makes a lot of sense, which is why you should Detox your Life.  Here you will find a few simple tips to get you started.

There are a lot of different approaches to detoxification, but they are all designed to do one of two things – decrease what gets into your body or increase what comes out.  While there are thousands of potentially harmful chemicals you could learn about and focus on, it makes much more sense to think about how they get in you … and how they get out.  This is a much more manageable approach.

I like reading about physics, and I am very fond of Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate who has been called ‘the Great Explainer’.  He wrote a great book called Six Easy Pieces about quantum physics.  It isn’t easy reading, but he definitely made it simple enough for many to understand.  Much of my writing is also about trying to simplify very complex stuff.  The body is complex, and so is integrative medicine.  But let’s look at six easy ways you can reduce your toxic load.  As a bonus, we’ll focus on approaches that cost zero dollars or less.

Fast

Ah, such simple advice.  But can you do it?  Therapeutic fasting has been shown in many studies to help with inflammation, hormone balance, weight loss and most of the diseases of aging.  It has also been recommended by virtually every healing tradition – and spiritual tradition – known to man.  Ideally, this is a water fast that lasts at least 24 hours, meaning nothing to eat or drink except for water.  This turns on your body’s famine protection systems, triggering powerful healing, detoxification and tissue repair.  Do it once or twice per month if you can.

Eat animals less often 

Humans are omnivores, but most modern humans eat too much meat.  Toxins accumulate as they move up the food chain, and even organic meat contains more toxins than plants.  All animal protein makes the interstitial fluids of the body more acidic, and this prevents proper elimination of toxins.  This is hardest on the kidneys, which are critical detox organs.  Try going vegetarian for three months and see how you feel.  If you really crave meat and hate this idea, cut down to 2-3 servings per week (including eggs and dairy).  Some people feel worse on a vegetarian diet, but this is usually a sign that chronic stress is affecting the adrenal glands.

Don’t wear cosmetics every day

Yes, there are safer cosmetics out there.  In fact, my wife Shadi uses her PhD in Biochemistry to help people find safe, non-toxic personal care products.  But putting safe creams and gels on your skin is definitely not as healthy as letting it breathe.  We have a special focus on the brain, which is right behind your face.  Lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, blush, foundation, moisturizers … this synthetic soup can clog your lymphatic drainage system and trigger stress in the nerves near your brain.  Instead of wearing makeup every day, try wearing it only 3-4 days per week.

Eat Bieler broth 

Henry Bieler was a German-born MD who was a wellness pioneer in California in the 1930s.  He treated the rich and famous, and was considered a miracle worker.  One of his secrets was a recipe that has since been called Bieler broth.  It basically contains zucchini, celery, cilantro and green beans.  Zero calories, very alkaline, filled with minerals and electrolytes.  The perfect detox meal.  There are plenty of recipes for this on the internet.  I add cayenne pepper and mustard seeds for flavor.  If you eat this every evening for a week (and don’t eat anything else before bed), you will probably feel the difference.

Sweat

Just do it.  The best way to sweat is to move your body.  Run, row, lift weights, swim, bike or dance.  If you absolutely can’t or won’t, then find a sauna or a steam room.  This will cost money, but usually only a few dollars at a community centre near you.  We eliminate toxins in our sweat, but sweating also triggers other detox systems in the body, especially those that remove acid.  It would be great if you could sweat every day, but four times per week will do.

Get outside and go to nature

Indoor air, even when it is well-filtered, it much less healthy than outdoor air.  Dust, mold and particulate matter are one reason.  The other is negative ions.  Negative ions are the forgotten nutrient that shifts the autonomic nervous system from stress to release.  Negative ions are produced by nature, but in our modern cities, they are pulled away by electricity, combustion and synthetic chemicals.  Negative ions are most abundant near waterfalls, but you can get your fill at any of our local beaches, especially those that are far from the road.  Get your family out for a weekly hike in Gatineau Park or a picnic at the many parks in Ottawa.  You probably have a park near your home, and you should walk there every day.

These six easy pieces will help you get rid of the toxins in your body and your brain.  They are simple and effective, but you can certainly do more.  Over the years, we have supervised medical detoxification for many patients.  It usually includes IV chelation therapy to remove lead, mercury and other heavy metals.  Many naturopaths can prescribe a regimen of natural health products that may help.  This is a great project that is worth your time and attention.  Once you adopt a detox lifestyle, it will be with you for life.
 

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