It’s never too late to start living healthy.
The human body has an incredible ability to heal and recover all on its own. But what’s the best way to help it out?
The New Year can be a great opportunity to detox (after some retox).
The problem is, when it comes to detoxing, there’s a tremendous amount of misinformation out there.
A simple search for a cleanse or juice will often take you to a website with a million pop-up windows that sells you ground up ginger in a pill for $399 a month.
So here’s what you really need to know about detoxing, how to do it properly and how to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, most of the time you will hear the word “detox,” it’s pure marketing. It’s a genius strategy.
People become convinced they have a problem — toxins — and there is a wide range of completely unregulated products that fix it.
The measured, scientific health benefits of colonic irrigations, expensive juices, complex cleanses and the like are all debatable at best and quite bad at worst. The “toxins” they are cleansing are rarely defined and their effectiveness is scientifically unproven. The truth is, your body already has the ultimate detox machine: your liver.
Your liver crushes it. It’s detoxing you as you read this. Take alcohol. Your liver uses enzymes to transform it from a poison into what’s called acetate, and then into water and carbon dioxide. Other than giving your body hydration and nutrition, there’s no way to “cleanse” alcohol from your system after a night of heavy drinking.
This means that, in this case, the best way to keep your body free of “toxins” is to avoid shocking your system with too much alcohol to begin with.
For most of us, the liver can easily handle a drink a day — and in fact, some believe that it helps ‘prime’ the little fellow to deal with other toxins — but there’s a reason why binge drinking is so bad.
It overwhelms the liver’s ability to safely process alcohol. It can’t turn it into harmless stuff fast enough, so it causes damage to your organs.
For most, this means that women can have 7 drinks a week, men can have 14, but this is only if you have 1-2 a day. Having 5 drinks at once is exponentially worse for your system.
Since the dawn of man we’ve wanted medicine that purifies us, cleanses us, makes us better, removes evils from our body. “Detoxing” often preys on this. So why are some detox plans actually successful? Beyond the placebo effect, it’s because good ones simply promote a healthy lifestyle under a fancier name. It’s not a cheat. The ideal detox plan is something that simultaneously strengthens your body while also avoiding toxins in your food, water and air.
The best way to detox it is to not tox it up in the first place.
Respect your body and what you put in it. Avoid cheap plastic, don’t live in a place with heavy air pollution, filter your tap water and don’t have high-mercury fish more than once a week. Always go for fresh food whenever you can and avoid processed, salty and sugary foods. Drink lots of water, but don’t go overboard. The cleanses that involve guzzling gallons of water a day aren’t always good for you. You’re not a camel!
That all said, detoxing from a poison or drug abuse is absolutely real. The body can’t process these things easily on its own, so it needs help. But this is usually in the form of medication and proper care. A juice cleanse won’t help you with arsenic.
While limiting toxins is good, staying healthy — sleeping well, drinking water, exercise — is equally so. Not all detox routines are created equally. Some weight-loss cleanse routines are, simply put, bad for you.
While there is some evidence that light fasting or ketosis can be healthy — and check out our blog on it — when they work, it’s mostly because you ate less calories. Keep in mind that malnourishment slows your metabolism, hurts your immune system, affects your body’s strength and impacts your mood.
The ideal strategy is a healthy, balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet is generally accepted as a good starting point: lots of veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, fish, cheese and meat.
Healthy foods are much better for you than a cleanse and supplements. Why? Because biochemistry is complex, full of things we slept through high school learning about. But it comes down to this: the body absorbs vitamins and nutrients much better in the form of a healthy meal than a pill. This is why we love Kroma’s Reset program. Instead of mailing you expensive supplements of dubious effectiveness, they send you highly functional and flavorful superfoods and beverages including bone and veggie broths, elixirs, superfood meals and snacks, adaptogen supernates, plant-based meal smoothie blends and teas.
We don’t mean to come down too harshly on certain wellness routines – they can provide a very real sense of control and awareness of your health. But all of us need to be suspicious of quick fixes. Like everything with our bodies, establishing a better routine is the best way to meaningfully improve our health.
So in 2022, we encourage you to rethink your daily routines. Our workout gear can help with a new exercise regimen, and our Willy Life blog has lots of other great wellness tips.