The Real Detox
We are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis. Either it be from the foods we eat, chemicals we touch, pollutants we smell, or the water we drink. It’s almost impossible to avoid exposure to toxins. Our bodies rely heavily on our liver to detoxify daily, but at the rate we’re taking in toxins, especially in a city like Hong Kong, relying on solely our liver to do its job against all the toxins we face may not be sufficient. So, we need to lighten the toxic load with occasional detoxification. Some people, myself included, need this more often than others!
Detox is one of the most popular topics in my line of work, but it’s important to clarify what kind of detox as some will refer to reducing toxic loads in the liver while others are just looking to lose a few pounds. I’ve noticed most people think that detoxes are for weight loss – they want a low-calorie, semi-starvation diet to fit into their skinny jeans, but this can damage your body in the long-run.
Juice cleanses are not all that great, as they claim. Yes, you might lose a few pounds quick, but that’s all water weight, not fat, which contributes to long-term weight loss. Long durations of starvation (from low calorie diets) can actually halt our metabolism. Also, the high sugar content can drive your blood sugar and hormones out of whack! Moreover, the lack of protein during a juice fast will affect your body’s ability to actually excrete toxic substances from your body, which in turn may make you become more toxic than you were.
Today, I won’t talk about laxative teas or fad diets that claim to “flush out” the toxins in your body in 5 days. When I talk about real detox, I mean a good liver cleanse and evidence-based detoxification, which doesn’t just help your liver detoxify, but can also effectively balance your hormones, boost metabolism and shed that hard to lose belly fat.
At my practice, we usually put people on a 10-day or a 3-week cleanse based on the person’s needs. We combine a dietary food plan that eliminates all common allergenic foods, as well as refined sugar, preservatives, pesticides and other common toxins. We then support the liver and gut by adding herbal supplements, detoxifying agents and vegan protein to push stored toxins out of the liver and pull them out of the body safely. For more intensive needs, we might put our clients onto a chelation IV program. I would highly recommend everyone jump on a cleanse every 6 months, and for people with genes that make them detoxify slower, do a cleanse quarterly.
Of course, detox shouldn’t be limited to a certain meal plan or drink. To give yourself the best chance of fighting disease, staying lean, and slowing aging, detoxification should be a lifestyle! Follow these simple steps to keep your toxic load low:
- Do a heavy metal and mineral analysis test – You need accurate data on the mineral and toxin levels in your body to figure out what you need to do. This test will provide deep insights into your heavy metal toxicity, metabolism, liver function, kidney health, inflammation, and much more.
- Buy organic – Rid your diet from pesticides found in fruits and vegetables as well as hormones and antibiotics found in meat. Choose non-GMO foods, organic fruits and veggies, and hormone-free meat.
- Eat your broccoli and cabbage – Non-starchy veggies like broccoli and cabbage as well as onions and garlic provide sulfur to boost detoxification.
- Supplement wisely – Liposomal glutathione (Pure Encapsulations is my go-to brand) or its precursor, NAC, is shown to lower inflammation and mercury levels. I get high doses of these via IV Drips at LifeHub.
- Sweat – Our skin is the largest detoxifying organ in the body. Infrared saunas and hot yoga are my favorite ways to sweat!
- Drink a huge glass of warm lemon water first thing upon waking – this will alkalize your body, help with morning rehydration, and aid detoxification.
- Reduce alcohol – Alcohol is the hardest toxin that the body has to deal with. By reducing alcohol consumption, you free up your liver to focus on other toxins.
Candice Chan is a Canadian-certified Doctor of Natural Medicine and nutritionist who co-founded LifeHealth Group, a private healthcare group based in Hong Kong which owns and operates both clinics and consumer health care spaces devoted to creating a new way of health care; and previously founded Younibody, a chain of 7 functional medicine based wellness centers in Hong Kong. Candice holds a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition science from the University of California at Davis and an International Certificate for Doctor of Natural Medicine, from the Canadian Board of Healthcare Practitioners and International Naturopathic College, and is also a certified reiki practitioner, bioresonance therapist and yoga teacher.