The Ultimate Detox Part 1
The holiday season is over, and the new year is here, which means our excuses for eating and drinking everything in sight have now expired. It’s officially time for phase two of the holiday season; the cleanup.
The famed “new year cleanse” (or is it detox?) often consists of green juices, superfood smoothies, charcoal tablets, and the highly popular fasting techniques. There is no shortage of recipes and dietary strategies promising to ditch the holiday weight and boost energy levels to help you start the year off right. But it’s 2019. Aren’t we supposed to be like, super woke? That’s what my millennium colleagues tell me.
Forgive me, but it seems a bit naive to think we can undo the damage created by a fast pace lifestyle, over-stimulation from electronics, genetically modified foods, processed ingredients, the constant barrage of thousands of chemicals in our environment, an emotionally charged sociopolitical climate…all with a few glasses of green juice?
Look, I’m a fan of green juice and healthy smoothies. Heck, I live in Southern California. Might as well be the green juice capital. My quick calculations indicate that 21% of state revenue in 2018 came from sales of green juice. Just kidding…or am I? At $14 a bottle, the calculations might be correct. All joking aside, the new year does provide the perfect opportunity to reevaluate our lifestyle and refocus on creating a healthier, more balanced life.
For those focused on semantics, I might suggest the term, “detox”, be generally reserved for the inbuilt biological processes that organic lifeforms use to metabolize and excrete a plethora of organic and inorganic substances in order to maintain balance and harmony in the system. Detox might include metabolic functions of microbiota in the gut and elsewhere. Or it can occur intracellularly in a variety of tissues throughout the body including the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, bowels, brain, and lymphatic system, among others. Detoxification processes also occur inside our mitochondria, and in the extra cellular matrix. In fact, there aren’t many places in the body where detoxification doesn’t occur.
When we speak of cleansing, I might suggest this term more appropriately describes the actions we take to alter our internal and external environment, thereby lowering our overall toxic load and allowing the body to properly detoxify, expel, or excrete substances that disrupt homeostatic balance in our system.
So, we might say the key to detoxification is to use a variety of cleansing techniques to reduce the internal toxic load, while also providing the substrates needed to carry out the biological processes required for metabolizing and excreting substances that contribute to imbalance – things like disruptive chemicals, disruptive metals, hormone metabolites, and pathogenic organisms.
But instead of getting too caught up in the semantics of words like “cleanse” and “detoxification”, let us focus more on the syntax of these two terms. Let’s approach 2019 like the woke humans we are. No longer is it sufficient to simply focus on food if we want to lose weight, increase energy, improve mood, and optimize function. Instead, if we look at cleansing and detoxification as more of an archetype, we can apply these concepts to many areas of our daily life.
Your diet is not only what you eat. It’s what you listen to,
what you read, and what you watch. It’s what you think and feel.
Be mindful of the mental, emotional, and physical things that you embody.
Truth is, there exist a number of lifestyle factors that can disrupt homeostasis and prevent your body from optimal physiological detoxification. So here are the four primary areas of your life that you can cleanse and detoxify to improve your overall health.
This is a fantastic place to start because the change is very tangible, and you may notice an immediate improvement to your health. Probably the most unrecognized and increasingly pervasive “toxin” in the home these days is artificial light. Run-of-the-mill overhead lighting in the house and the bright lighted emitted from various electronic screens, particularly after sunset, have decimated both sleep time and sleep quality. So much so that research continues to show that poor sleep caused by artificial light is contributing to weight gain, increased breast cancer risk, fatigue, and many other chronic conditions. Improving sleep quality can dramatically improve health across the board. Wearing blue blocking glasses at night, swapping out your traditional lights with orange bulbs, and using beeswax or organic soy candles are easy ways to detoxify your nighttime lighting environment.
Another fantastic way to detox your environment is to do a “spring cleaning” and get rid of anything you don’t really need. Employ minimalist strategies and clear out stale energy and emotions bound up in material goods you don’t use. If you have a hard time tossing out old furniture, books, knickknacks, or clothes that haven’t made their way out of your closet in 2 years, you’ve got emotional attachment that needs to be cleared. Besides, less fortunate people can probably use the clothes you aren’t wearing or furniture sitting in your basement or garage. Did I mention that research suggests generosity and altruism benefit your health.
Jason Prall is a former mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur, filmmaker, and Health Optimization Practitioner. Due to 20 years of his own health challenges, Jason was given the opportunity to discover the reality behind his symptoms. Over the years, he transitioned from working as a practitioner in the integrative disease care model to a model of health optimization and lifestyle medicine. In May of 2018, his extensive research and experience were distilled into a documentary film series called, "The Human Longevity Project", which uncovers the complex mechanisms of chronic disease and aging, and the true nature of longevity in our modern world.