By Levi Memmer, BS, MLA, CSCS, USAW, SCCC
In the normal hustle of life and with all the responsibilities that we have day to day it’s very easy to lose touch with our health, fitness and most importantly with how we feed our bodies. Each day is a balancing act between your career, your kids, your spouse and all the other things that take up so much of your day. In this struggle we turn to convenience; pre-packaged foods, “healthy” meal replacement bars and shakes and fast food. Unfortunately VERY little of it promotes your overall health and wellbeing. Most convenient food and drink is obviously unhealthy (99% of fast food) while others are marketed as healthy options to unsuspecting folks trying to do the right thing.
“After 20 years of practice, treating thousands of patients with chronic illnesses, I recognized, yet again, that the most powerful tool in my toolkit is food. Not surgery, not medication,” says Dr. Mark Hyman.
Detoxes and cleanses have been a hot topic of debate over the past few years, with health and fitness professionals falling on both sides of the fence. Some believe it’s all hyped up marketing while others see the intrinsic value behind changing your habits through the legitimacy of the purification experience. I think both sides are correct, depending on the method that’s used (more on this later). I’m not a believer in detoxes or cleanses that require lots of supplements.
That is marketing. I am, however, a fan of whole food detoxes.
Over time unhealthy and toxic food and/or drink can have a huge and negative impact on your overall health. Your body eventually harbours high levels of toxicity and inflammation. This can lead to a host of health issues including lack of energy and increased body fat.
What is Toxicity?
Our body’s overall toxicity is caused by poor diet (sugar, trans fat, food additives & preservatives, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics), stress (negative thoughts, behaviors and beliefs) and environmental factors (chemical toxins in self care products, air pollution).
An elevated toxic load can stall weight loss attempts by affecting the liver & thyroid, damaging mitochondria and harming brain neurotransmitter and/or hormone signaling that affects appetite.
A healthy liver is an excellent detoxifier, but when it is clogged and overpowered with toxins its effectiveness in processing nutrients is limited.
What is Inflammation?
Our bodies become inflamed from refined sugar, high doses of the wrong kinds of oils and fats in our diet (omega-6&9 vs. omega-3), food allergies, lack of exercise, chronic stress and hidden infections. Chronic inflammation silently damages your tissues over a long period of time. This process is largely unnoticed until disease suddenly sets in, and many diseases are partially attributed to chronic inflammation.
“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison,” says Dr. Ann Wigmore.
How to Detox
First and foremost refined sugar and alcohol need to be eliminated or reduced drastically. Past these two main inflammatory and toxic categories you’ll want to reduce and ideally eliminate gluten containing grains, dairy, food additives (especially things like carrageenan, MSG, sulfites and nitrates) and caffeine. You can take it even one step further in eliminating non-gluten containing grains, soy, corn and white potatoes.
In addition to these changes, high water intake is essential in the detoxing process. As one of my professors use to say, “The solution to pollution is dilution.” He’s right! We usually recommend that our clients consume about one half of their body weight in ounces. So for example a two hundred pound person would consume one hundred ounces of water per day.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are over. Now get to detoxing!
Levi Memmer, BS, MLA, CSCS, USAW, SCCC is the Owner and Head Coach of Intensity Training Systems. For more information, he can be reached at 817-692-3186.