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I know as a mom and frequent blog reader, I love getting to know the heart and story behind the blogger. I touch a bit on my journey on the About Page, but I wanted to dig a little deeper in a blog post.
My experience with toxins fueled my passion for living a less toxic life in both our homes and our bodies.
So today I want to talk about the importance of detox and share a few personal tidbits along the way.
Let’s start by defining what I mean by the term “detox.”
What Does It Mean to Detox?
Detox diets and cleanses are all the rage these days. If you look at these and nothing else, you may think detoxing means drinking only green juice for a week straight.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good, intentional cleanse, but these super strict diets aren’t what detoxing is all about – they’re just 1 part of it.
Detoxification is a series of systems working together to neutralize and/or eliminate toxic substances. It’s always running in the background, working to keep your body functioning as it should.
Your liver is the star of the show as it works to process toxins and forward them to the “elimination stations.” These include your:
- Kidneys (elimination through urine)
- Bowel (elimination through #2)
- Skin (elimination through sweat)
So “to detox” means to support what your body is already trying to do. You can do this many different ways, but we’ll touch more on that in a bit.
It sounds all good and dandy, but the problem is there are outside elements that threaten this process daily…which brings me to my next point.
The Importance of Detox
In a perfect world, our natural detox methods would go unchallenged and be able to do their job perfectly 100% of the time.
But of course that’s not the case.
In fact, it’s estimated the average person comes in contact with 2,000 toxins before they even leave their home each day.
These are things like:
- Personal care products
- Pesticides in food
- Cleaning products
- Industrial chemicals
- And so much more
If contact was all that happened with toxins, it wouldn’t be all that bad. However, toxins readily enter the body through inhaling, eating or absorbing them.
Because of their complex nature, many such toxins remain in your body, building up over a period of years. Some have even been scientifically proven to remain for 50+ years!
That’s why it’s so important to detox.
I’ve researched this topic extensively and feel there are 2 categories of detoxing:
- Active detox
- Passive detox
1- Active Detox
This category includes intentional, action-oriented detoxing methods such as the diets I mentioned earlier, brushing with activated charcoal, infrared sauna sessions, detoxifying foot baths, etc.
It’s just something you actively do to improve your body’s elimination systems.
2- Passive Detox
As its name suggests, this form includes not so much what you do but what you don’t do. This could be things like avoiding GMOs, using all-natural cleaning products, wearing organic cotton to avoid the chemicals in regular cotton, etc.
When I Realized the Value of Detox
Like most high schoolers and college students, I didn’t pay much attention to my diet or overall health. So when things started getting weird in that department, I just shrugged it off.
Early on in my school years, I was diagnosed with heart palpitations.
Basically, a few electrodes would misfire every now and then, and my heart would skip a few beats or it would race as if I were sprinting (even though I was just sitting there).
Shortly after that, I started randomly breaking out in hives at all my joints. The first time it happened, it was 3 am and I awoke unable to open my eyes because they were swollen shut.
My entire face looked like something out of a horror film.
We rushed to the ER just to be given a dose of steroids and no answers.
After that, future episodes only involved hives and swelling at my joints. They were itchy and annoying but only lasted a few days at a time so no biggie.
A few years later, I came down with mono, followed by a terrible case of the flu. Fast forward 7 years, a husband and 3 kids later, I began experiencing things like:
- Severe fatigue
- Brain fog
- Chronic nausea
- Achy joints
- And more
I brushed them off thinking they were hormone-related, possibly postpartum depression, or maybe just all due to stress.
I somehow believed these were things everyone must deal with, and it was just “how life was.”
It wasn’t until I found an embedded tick, followed by weeks of unrelenting nausea that I sought help.
I went to my primary care doctor, and she ordered a blood test for Lyme. About a week later, I got the call that the test was positive.
At this point, I still thought it was a recent infection from the tick I’d found less than a month earlier. But after looking at my medical history and remembering all the times doctors called me “an anomaly,” it hit me:
I could’ve had Lyme all this time. It could be the root of every health issue I’d experienced growing up.
I went to several doctors and had many tests done, but it wasn’t until I visited a local holistic nutritionist and naturopathic doctor that I got some answers.
He ordered a slew of blood, urine and saliva tests. He not only tested for Lyme and co-infections but looked at how active they were, he checked my neurochemicals, ran a metal toxicity test, tested for other viruses and more.
The results confirmed what I believed – but they were also shocking.
They confirmed that the Lyme and co-infections had been in my system for a very long time. So long that they had flat-lined my immune system, leading to chronic immunosuppression.
The shocking part?
I was positive for heavy metal toxicity with 2 heavy metals that were taxing my system on top of the Lyme. They, combined with a virus from the mono, were making it nearly impossible for my body to manage the Lyme.
I know this post is getting lengthy, but are you still with me? Good. Because I really want you to hear what I have to say next:
All of my symptoms and health problems were avoidable.
“But you had no control over a Lyme-infected tick bite!”
True, but here’s the thing:
Like so many other conditions, Lyme is one of those things that many people’s immune and detox system is able to keep at bay.
Did you know 2 out of 3 adults carry the herpes simplex virus (the non-sexually transmitted kind) without even knowing it?
They never experience symptoms because their body’s defense symptoms are able to manage it.
The way your body reacts to viruses, even things like the flu, is largely determined by your diet and lifestyle and whether or not you give your body what it needs to thrive.
What All This Means for You
I don’t just share all this for funsies. There’s a purpose for it all:
I want to stress the importance of detox so much so that you’re inspired to immediately make changes that support your body’s natural detoxification system (and immune system).
If you support your body through the proper diet and lifestyle choices, it’ll be able to process the toxins you come in contact with and eliminate them before they surface as a major problem.
Here are a few takeaways you can glean from my experience:
1- Start Detoxing Early
By early I mean early on in life.
Don’t wait until you’re diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity before you take steps to nurture your health.
And if you’re reading this and you’re in your 50s or later, it’s not too late. Every step away from toxins at any point is a step in the right direction.
Use non-toxic dishes in your kitchen, make sure they are made out of materials that are safe, such as ceramic, glass or stoneware, detox your furniture by going for the items that are free from poisonous chemicals and in your bathroom make sure your cosmetics are also toxin free.
2- Eat Foods That Support Your Detoxification System
These include things like kale, broccoli sprouts, blueberries, brussels sprouts, etc. Such foods may not be popular in the mainstream American diet, but they’ll go a long way to fending off toxins and viruses that could change your life forever.
3- Take Charge of Your Own Health
I shouldn’t have been so nonchalant about my symptoms.
And I most certainly shouldn’t have just accepted the idea that I’m “a medical anomaly” as doctors called me.
Something was obviously going on, and I should’ve looked into it further.
If you feel like something isn’t right, research it. Then…research it some more.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to avoid toxins so that your body’s natural detox system can do its job.
Whew! This turned into a whopper post. Thanks for reading until the end. I hope it helped solidify the importance of detox and maybe helped you get to know me a little better, too 🙂
Are you ready to live with less toxins but just don’t know where to start? I’d love to help! Get a free copy of my Detox 101 ebook & get to know the basics of detox.