This time of year everywhere you turn a corner, be it in the grocery store or on the internet (there are corners on the internet, right? This analogy works...) you hear something about detoxification.
It’s spring, and we're all wanting to shake off the winter and feel renewed and refreshed.
But I have to tell you, I am NOT a fan of the way most people go about trying to detoxify their body.
They pick up a box that says something about "Feel Renewed!" or "30 Day Cleanse to a New You!" and that comes with a liver tea and some bentonite clay or GI supplements.
This is a great marketing trick, but these things are NOT going to get you lasting or even helpful results.
And worst of all, if you really do need a little help detoxifying, these supplements can make you feel WORSE.
Now, there's always ups and downs to detoxification, and sometimes you do feel worse, but these cleansing kits can make you feel worse for the WRONG REASONS.
So, how do you actually detoxify? What's the RIGHT way?
check out my video to learn:
- What “detoxification" actually means and how your body does it daily
- The 4 main organs we want to support to facilitate detoxification (spoiler alert: it’s not your liver!)
- My top 3 ways to detox that are completely free and massively more effective than a cleanse or supplement
I hope you enjoyed the video and that it dispelled some popular ideas and myths around detoxification.
Go forth, educated about your natural detoxification processes and help them do their job to the best of their ability!
Links I Mentioned in the video
Full Video Transcript
Okay, so what did I mean by your body is always detoxifying already? Well, detoxification in it's simplest definition is really about the body getting rid of waste products. That can be metabolic waste products from enzymatic reactions that happen. It can also be waste products that have accumulated in the system that are not organic like fragrances, chemicals, fertilizers, weird stuff in food, all kinds of things.
Your body is constantly working to get rid of these things already all the time. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. We would end up dying pretty quickly if I'm being honest. There's just so much that's going on that our body is processing to get right of this metabolic waste.
The term detoxification I think is kind of sensationalized and overused this time of year in the spring to really sell you a lot of products, and it works. Right? We all want to detoxify.
We want to get rid of stuff that's built up in the system. We want to feel lighter, healthier, even younger, have our skin look better, all of these things. The marketing really really works. It taps into these things that we really want to improve about ourselves. However again, we are already detoxifying.
Many of the supplements on the market, while they do target some of the organs of detoxification, which we'll get into here in just a little bit, they can be more harmful than helpful in several ways. Sometimes, they're just not really matched to who you are as a person and what you need especially if you've had a lot of illness and sickness or chronic issues in the past.
Some of those supplements really aren't the best for you. Also, it's tough to know the quality of the supplements unless you've really vetted the company. They're not always super transparent about that. They just kind of catch you with flashy words about cleansing and detoxifying. They're not always the best thing for you.
We're going to get into talking about these organs of elimination and why we need to work on those first, number one, highest priority these guys. If these guys are not working to their optimal level, the cleanses and the supplements that will kind of push these organs that are a little bit higher up the chain than these in this detoxification process, they'll spin those organs up.
Then if these guys are working, we get this big huge metabolic backlog if that makes sense. We've got these guys working really well, but these guys at the end of the process before the body let's go of everything aren't working super well. Then, you get this huge backup of stuff cause these guys aren't quite letting go.
That's the big misnomer I see with detoxification in people. When they want to start with supplements and liver cleanses and teas and GI support, all of that can be really great, but that is definitely not the first step you want to take. You want to focus on these organs of elimination to open these up. This is an amazing detoxification route anyway. It'll make you feel so much better if we get these up and working. Then, sometimes those cleansing products are appropriate. Only sometimes, not always. I think a lot of times you really don't need that. They're kind of like a drop in the bucket compared to what working with these organs do and my top three ways to help you continue to detoxify. Those are really the meat of the issue or the cake, and the supplements are really just the icing where if you need a little bit more support or you do have a lot of chronic issues, the supplements can be helpful. This is really what's going to make the change for you and the lasting change.
I think that's the other important component. A lot of the detoxes are sold as 30 day kits or a week kit. Then, you do that stuff for a week. Then, you go right back to whatever you were doing before. That unfortunately is not really going to gain you much at all. You might just kind of spin some stuff up in your system. You might feel bad for a few days, and think, "Oh my gosh. It's working because I feel bad." When really you might just be pushing a lot of stuff that isn't ready to be let go of into your system, so you feel crappy.
There's kind of this big downside to those supplements, and then not actually continuing past that week or 30 days. There's this misnomer, you know. Oh, that's enough to kind of detoxify my system, or clean me out. That is so not true. A lot of times with chronic diseases. I have a mentor that would talk about chronic disease. She said that on average people take between three and seven years to recover. That sounds like a long road I realize, but it is really true. The body takes time.
We can't just do an all or nothing approach. We're gonna say, "Oh, we're gonna push everything towards the door, and we're gonna get it out all at once." That can't happen. It overloads the body. It overwhelms thing, and it can even cause more damage in the long term if we do it that way.
The low and slow approach, really being in tune with your body, listening to your body, listening to what it needs at that point, when to continue working on some things, maybe when to back off and give yourself a rest, all these are very real components of the healing process.
The detoxification kits kind of seem like a quick fix, but they really aren't doing much at all. They might aggravate things. That's kind of why I'm not a big fan of the supplements and detoxification kits. Save your money. Focus on this good stuff. and we'll get you on the right track.
I wanted to talk to you about these four main organs that are wonderful. They are your main detoxifiers. You notice that liver isn't on the list which is really interesting. Right? Cause we hear a lot about the liver in detoxification. That's true. There's a lot of stuff that sits in the liver. It technically can kind of be included with intestines because it is along the digestive tract. It isn't something that I would really include in this list since we're specifically talking about emunctories.
I'm sure you saw you that word in pink. What the heck is that? It's an old timey naturopathic term, and there are primary and secondary emunctories which are really interesting. An emunctory is any organ essentially that releases metabolic waste to the outside world. That's all it is. I love that word. It's just fun to say. Emunctories. Yeah, these are our four main organs that release things directly to the outside.
You can see maybe why liver isn't included in this list because it isn't releasing things directly to the outside like the lungs, skin, kidneys, and intestine. The skin, we have sweat and perspiration. Kidneys, we have urine of course. Intestines, we have fecal matter that is released. The lungs, we actually release a fair amount of metabolic waste through them as well in the form of carbon dioxide.
We also lose a lot of moisture through the lungs. It's surprising. Our second largest loss of moisture in the body besides urination is through the lungs. That's why staying hydrated is so important, too. There's a lot of this moisture that's evaporated out of our lungs especially if we're in a drier environment that we don't even realize.
These organs are the ones that we want to focus the most on in terms of getting their function up to par, really feeling good and balanced, because these are the ones that let go of things into our environment. Now, maybe it's a little bit more clear where if we don't have the kidney function optimal, maybe we don't have the intestinal function optimized, and we're a little bit constipated.
We're not drinking water. We're building up all of this metabolic waste in our system, and that is getting recirculated into our circulatory system. It's having to get processed through the liver again, and it's irritating our system overall unfortunately.
More and more is getting built up because we keep eating and having metabolic reactions to keep us alive. The more that we can support these organs, the better that detoxification process is gonna go, the more they're going to release and let go of. The better you're gonna feel. This is really the core of health actually. If you're looking at kind of, "Man, I want to optimize how I'm feeling right now. I don't know what to do." Focusing on these guys number one. It's really really fantastic. You'd be surprised at how quickly they help.
If we look a little more specifically about the functions of these, we've talked a little bit about some of them. So lung, we know that carbon dioxide comes out, and there is a lot of fluid loss through the lungs which can be waste product fluid as well just like the skin. The lungs, of course, they're super important.
I think they're the most overlooked of all of these emunctories. When we think about helping the lungs, we do think about breathing exercises and how most of us are really shallowly breathing. We're really only kind of breathing from our chest. We need to be focusing on breathing from the belly as well. Getting that really large diaphragmatic movement. The deeper the breaths we get the more waste product air and carbon dioxide comes out. That's the main way to work with the lungs, and we'll talk a little bit more about that in the future here.
If we hop on over to skin, I think that one we all know, too. With skin, the best way to help the skin out is to sweat. We want to get rid of the sweat. Unfortunately in the US, we are really kind of skittish about sweating in public especially. It's the only discharge that we do in public. We kind of blow our nose quietly or cough quietly. We go to the bathroom in our own little stalls that type of thing, but sweat is just out there if it happens. We're very uncomfortable with that.
We use all of these things that stop sweating right? Like an antiperspirant, which I would never recommend. We kind of hide things under layers of clothing, that type of thing. We're very hesitant to actually sweat, and I think it's looked at as a negative too. It's gross. It's disgusting. It couldn't be farther from the truth.
Sweating is actually the most important way to detoxify as long as you're hydrated because when you sweat things come out through the skin, and they bypass more vital organs like the kidneys and the liver. It's really really fantastic. It's also a fantastic way to get rid of heavy metal burden if that is an issue that you have. Working with the skin is the safest way to detoxify. Sweating is so important.
It's something that we want to talk about with skin to is that we tend to kind of slather our body in weird chemicals from moisturizers and creams, or we're exposed to fragrance all the times from air fresheners. That actually sticks to our skin. The skin is a respiratory organ. It's like an extension of your lung. In Chinese medicine, it actually is. The lung organ is related to the skin. You can actually see your lung health, Chinese medicine terms, as related to your skin.
The skin it's super important to keep those pores open and not full of all this stuff. If it's already trying to detoxifying and let go of metabolic waste products out the skin instead of having to go through the major organs like kidney and liver, we really don't want to put a film over the top of it that makes it harder to get rid of things. Right? Cause then the skin has to detoxify those chemicals as well as get rid of the metabolic waste products.
We're actually fighting ourselves and we're fighting our largest organ of elimination unfortunately. That's why it's really nice to be very conscious of the products that you're putting on your skin. This even comes down to things like laundry detergents and fabric softeners. You can see that a lot of times they leave a little film on your skin. Then, they have the fragrance. Again, all of this is adding to the burden that has to be detoxified on top of your metabolic waste processes already. Just to be conscious of that with your skin.
Kidneys. Of course, we can see that urine is the main kind of metabolic waste product of the kidneys. The kidneys are amazing. Every minute, they pump through a quarter of your blood which is crazy. They have so many they're called nephrons. They're little units that process through the blood and draw out metabolic waste products as well as extra fluid or fluid needed for urination. That's the key there.
If we don't have enough hydration, these metabolic waste products can't actually move out into the bladder and into the urine. They start to recirculate again. Having enough hydration is really really important for good kidney health as well as for this detoxification process because they do go through the blood so quickly and so thoroughly. Supporting them is really important with enough water.
The intestines, of course, right? We think of the large intestine, mainly. That's usually where the waste products come out kind of our solid waste products instead of the liquid waste products. Really important to keep those functioning well and healthfully right. Eating the right foods. Eating things that don't aggravate you and cause extra inflammation, and, of course, having enough water and fiber to actually move things through and keep those bowel movements regular.
Again if they're not and there's constipation, things are backing up into the system. The old time naturopathic term for that is autointoxication. I think that kind of makes a lot of sense. Right? Your auto means self. You're kind of intoxicating yourself. You're adding toxicants back into the system. Having regular bowel movements is really really important to detoxification overall. These processes that are already happening in your body.
Focusing on these emunctories can give you a wonderful natural detoxification. Of course, it already happens all the time, but if we can optimize, how well these organs are functioning, the better we're gonna detox. Again, this is much much more helpful than any supplement or boxed cleanse that you get.
Focusing on these organs will get you much more long lasting results. Usually when you're working on focusing on these organs, you're developing these lifestyle habits and patterns that will carry through that you're gonna do for more than just a week or 30 days. They are really meant to be habits to do over a lifetime. All right, okay, so that's organs of elimination.
On to my top three ways to support these organs of detoxification. How do we want to support the lungs, skin, kidney, and intestines? We've talked a little bit about that already, but I'll kind of summarize it into this nice little chart here.
The first one is a better diet. I think we know what that means where it's clean, organic if possible, whole foods, non processed, non GMO foods. Number one for detoxification, too. I think we focus on what I want to get out of the body. What do I want to let go of? That is really important, but that is going to be just a drop in the bucket if we are still bringing things in that are inflammatory and that are irritating the system.
You see where you're constantly filling up this bucket that you're trying to empty. You're only going to make so much progress. Where if you kind of stop filling up the bucket in the first place from this exterior source and really allow your body to just work, it will keep the level in that bucket low enough that you're not experiencing uncomfortable symptoms or developing disease patterns. That type of thing. Cleaning up the diet, number one.
Of course, this works with environment as well. Cleaning up the environments in your house, where you work, that type of thing, so you're not just adding chemicals and irritants into the body that again it has to work double time on.
It's kind of amazing when we think about how much we're exposed to now in the modern world and how well we compensate around that and how we don't usually end up with symptoms. Maybe some seasonal allergies, maybe some acne, maybe a few little things. That hit most people first. Then overtime, it can develop into something more chronic. It is really amazing what our bodies can do if you just give them a little bit of a chance how much it will change and really get you back into a more balanced state of health.
Number two is to drink more water. I think we touched on that already. That is going to help every single organ of elimination. With the lungs with respiration. With skin, so we can sweat. Of course, if we're dehydrated, we're not going to sweat as much. I think there's a misnomer as well with sweat and urine where if we're dehydrated and we see that our urine is concentrated we're like, "Okay well you know it got all the waste products out anyway it just needed less water." Not true.
That if it's a really dark yellow color we know that we have a lot of metabolic waste products and that some of them have been recirculated. For the skin especially right getting enough water into sweat, and if you are sweating rehydrating after that. Then the kidneys of course to we want to see a much more light yellow, straw colored urine rather than a dark color. That's what you want to shoot for.
I did a video on how much water to drink if you guys want to check it out. I will put a link to it below this video. It really highlights what would be best for your body type and why we need it which we touched on a little bit here. That video goes a little bit more in depth. It takes more time.
It takes some time to get used to drinking more water. I'm not gonna lie. At first it just feels like, "Oh my gosh. I'm drinking so much water and I feel heavy and bloated." Give it a couple weeks, and your body really does catch up. Physiologically the signaling changes, and it starts to give you more thirst signals, so you want more water to begin with. Then, you become more thirsty. You get into this much healthier state.
That's what's interesting about the body where you're like, "Well I'm not dehydrated. I'm not thirsty." Not true. Most people are chronically dehydrated. The body is very smart, and it adapts to that circumstance. If you're not bringing in water, it will shut down that signaling path. It will say, "Okay all right. You're not thirsty anymore because we're not getting any feedback that we're getting some water in the system."
A lot of times at that point, thirst and hunger signals get crossed. The body realizes that it's getting most of its water from food. It will start to kind of put those two together. When you start to drink more water, the hunger and thirst signals start to separate which is great. It's exactly what we want. We want you to feel thirstier.
The last bit is about exercise. Exercising is so crucial for detoxification. This doesn't have to be anything super heavy or endurance wise or weight lifting if you don't like any of that. It can be simply walking. Exercise is so important. One of course because of sweating. Two what's really important about it is that it pumps the muscles. What's crucial about that is that it helps with circulation with venous return and with lymphatic return.
The lymphatic system is really a core of our immune system. It really doesn't move unless the muscles are pumping it. The lymphatic system kind of sucks up all the extra circulation that didn't get back into the veins when they've gone through the little capillary beds. The lymphatic system really needs the muscular pumping to return all of this extra fluid to circulation, so it can go through the organs of elimination. That's why it's really important to get that exercise moving.
The veins are a low pressure system as well, so they need the muscular movement as well to get that blood returned. The veins are the ones, the main ones, that are carrying the metabolic waste products. Right? We've got the arteries that bring fresh blood into these tiny little capillary beds. I kind of wish I had drawn this out for you guys. We have the arteries, and then we have the capillary beds. That's where all the cells get their nutrients from the arterial blood. Then, it changes over to the venous system.
The veins they kind of pick up all the waste products. We've got this really nice little nutrient and waste product exchange happening in the capillary beds. The capillaries get bigger on this side, and we get back up to veins here. The veins really need that muscular contraction to return because they're a low pressure system. Whereas the arteries is a high pressure system.
You've got a lot of pressure coming out from the heart that's driving that blood and those nutrients to the cells and the tissue. The veins are a much lower pressure system, so they really do rely on that muscular contraction and movement to return those waste products back to the liver or other organs of detoxification.
All right, I think that covers it for detox today. I hope that was helpful. I hope you feel less compelled to go get a supplement or a cleanse box to go ahead and detoxify. You really don't need any of that. You can be really self reliant just by looking at water, diet, and exercise. It doesn't even necessarily have to cost you anything more. Focusing on of course the lung, skin, kidneys, and intestines. Thinking about their function in your body. How am I doing today? Am I constipated? Are things moving? How often am I urinating? How often have I gotten to sweat this week? That's a really important question. Just checking in with yourself there and seeing if you can improve upon that and what you can do. Okay. All right. Thanks so much for watching guys. Take care.