Apr 2, 2013

Detoxification for All!

I suppose the artsy material that I said was coming to this blog will have to wait a little longer, because yesterday I watched such an interesting documentary and a new health wave is sweeping over this household and I believe I should share it (it is my duty!) What might this new healthy living style be? I have already discussed eating gluten free, taking cold showers to increase circulation, stretching for vitality, and post workout ideas to increase muscle gain...What am I chasing after now?

As the title has perhaps given away, the new idea I stumbled across is detoxification of the body, or "detox" for short. Essentially, as the documentary Hungry for Change refreshed for me yesterday, man, as a species, has created so much artificial garbage that every single thing on this planet has been impacted in some shape or form. I can't recall the number, but it was something to the tune of 75,000 chemicals having been created since 1940...or a gigantic number if you prefer to think of it that way.

We know this, or at least intuitively we do. After all, considering the list of ingredients and nutrition information we see every day on the back of food packaging, alarm bells go off inside our head. Twenty letter words we can hardly pronounce, stretching down half the container due to the sheer number of ingredients. It is obvious that something is wrong. The problem however, is that years and years of seeing these labels and never truly understanding them has made this alarm bell system in our head so quiet we don't even hear it anymore. We have been desensitized to what we are being fed by corporations, and we like what we eat. Hence, we generally eat too much, and we eat the wrong things. As the documentary put it, we are overfed but undernourished.

And things like high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and enriched flour are just the tips of the iceberg. BHT, artificial coloring, propylene glycol aliginate, and a host of other carcinogenic, unnatural, and simply toxic and evil chemicals lurk in our food. Even in skin care products and cosmetics you find such ingredients and far, far worse. We are living in a sea of chemicals, and our body has to constantly fight to protect itself from the harm it is subjected to on a daily basis.

So what's the big deal, really, some wonder. Yes, you eat a burger and some fries, but then you just drink a lot of water and go sweat it off at the gym. Problem solved, I'm a genius, I'm not unhealthy. FALSE. This does not work, mostly, and that is because of the nature of the chemicals we ingest from all this "garbage" food.

The chemicals in modern food products are typically fat soluble, meaning they dissolve in fat and not water. Why is this an issue? Well, since our body and our organ systems are made up of lots of fat, these chemicals will gravitate towards the "fat areas" in our body, such as kidneys, the liver, etc. So when we eat something that contains these chemicals, they are absorbed by our body and taken to one of these "waste dumps", where the chemicals can add up over time and just chill out.

But what is our response to this build up of chemicals? Not burning fat. Our body senses that there is a concentration of harmful substances among our fat, and so to burn fat would be to destroy the only thing keeping the chemicals in one place, and therefore spread them to other areas of the body. Basically, the chemicals are like prisoners and burning fat is breaking open the prison walls so they can run. Your body just won't do it, in order to protect itself. And so that is why no matter how much you work out, if you are eat processed and unhealthy food (even if it isn't that high in caloric or fat content), it is extremely, extremely difficult to lose weight. You may lose weight by sheer force or the loss of water mass, but inevitably, if your body absorbed more chemicals than it is disposing of, life will not be easy, and you will most likely gain that weight back. It really isn't a worthy trade off, despite how much we all love our junk food.

Alright, the nature of the problem is understood, but how do we remove the chemicals we already have inside of us from years and years of malnutrition, dealt to us by the corporate hand? Luckily, there are several foods that can be eaten to actually force these chemicals out of your body.
  • Leafy Greens
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Beetroots
  • Flax seeds (they return to my blog yet again!)
  • Seaweed and other sea vegetables
  • Chia seeds
  • Apples
Above is just a list of some absolutely amazing foods that can help detoxify your body, and this is just a small portion of the contenders. Most vegetables and fruits fall under the same category, and so really, by lessening the amount of grains and meat we eat and increasing the number of vegetables we eat, the detox process will work constantly. However, it can be hard to eat our recommended amount of vegetables, so a trick that many people use is to simply juice or blend large amounts of veggies and fruits at a time so they can consume more of them. It works, and it doesn't taste too bad, and it is very easy. It must be noted however that by blending our food our body absorbs everything much faster, including things like the sugar in fruits. You may feel hungry if your smoothie blend was too high in sugar, and it is important to make sure you are actually making a healthy drink that will keep you full and truly nourished. 

I hope this post was helpful! I certainly was enlightened by the above information, and new dietary changes are already underway. Thanks for reading, and be sure to spread the detox methods to others!

- Tom

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