My name is Chelsey and I am the newest member of the Holland Health team! What an honor it is to be a part of this smart, caring and passionate group of people. I’m a registered nurse, certified nurse (health) coach and writer. Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the detox seminar that Dr. Holland and the rest of the staff put together, and it was awesome! My goal with this post is to share with you the main ideas and key takeaways from that day, as well as some other things I’ve learned about detox along the way.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “detox?” I’d guess many people think of abstaining from certain foods or alcohol for a period of time. It is true that what you do or don’t eat and drink are part of the detox process, but there is so much more to it! The truth is, we are bombarded by both natural and manmade toxins, some of which are completely unavoidable…which sounds pretty discouraging. But as Dr. Holland reminded those of us who were present on Saturday, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) God designed us with the ability to detoxify, but our bodies are often overburdened and our systems struggle to function like they are meant to. We tend to have too much of what we don’t need and not enough of what we do need. This causes our various organs to get bogged down and backed up, and can lead to a whole host of issues! That is why a functional medicine detox, which addresses the whole person, can be incredibly beneficial for overall health!
The first step is to become aware of the different things that may be adding to your body’s toxic burden. This is where reducing your exposure begins! So let’s break it down into a few different categories:
Toxic physical environment
To help you consider some different ways you might be eating, drinking, inhaling or absorbing toxins into your body, here is a great handout from The Institute of Functional Medicine:
Unfortunately chemicals and toxins are much less regulated in the U.S. than in other places, like Europe. So we have to make sure we are doing the best we can to be educated and protect ourselves and our loved ones from the toxins that are within our control! And I know that can be very overwhelming. So don’t be afraid to take it one step at a time, because those changes do add up!
Another thing that can really help with this process of identifying toxic products you might be using in your home and on your body is the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app. You just type in the product you are wondering about and it gives you a rating, as well as details behind the rating. Unfortunately not everything is going to be in there, but there is a lot! Click here to visit their website for a plethora of good information.
Toxic mental and emotional environment
These areas are frequently overlooked regarding detoxification, but are very important, because all the parts of your body are connected and impact one another! Just like we are trying to remove physical toxins from the body, we also want to address and hopefully discard toxic thoughts, attitudes and patterns. Working with a professional counselor or health coach can often help you identify where you might be stuck and assist you to start creating some healthier patterns around your thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.
Stress reduction techniques can also be really beneficial here… like spending time in nature, deep breathing and meditation, exercise, certain supplements, epsom salt baths, etc.
Toxic spiritual environment
Functional Medicine emphasizes the importance of spirituality in this and all aspects of health. For me, this has proven very true in my personal walk with Jesus! I believe the One who created your body knows how to heal and restore it.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
As you can see, multiple organs are involved here. The liver is the star of the show, but all of them play important roles!
Another word for detoxification is “biotransformation,” which basically means to change the shape of toxins/waste so it can be removed from the body. We will do a quick overview of how this happens in three phases in the liver.
- This phase uses many enzymes to break toxins. After that happens, some toxic byproducts remain and they must quickly be moved on to phase 2 in order to make them safer for the body to use or get rid of.
- This phase consists of seven different pathways. This is where the liver attaches another molecule to the toxin to make it less harmful.
- This phase involves elimination via stool or urine.
Let’s talk about some practical lifestyle modifications we can all make!
- Avoid plastics and use glass or stainless steel instead
- Decrease sugar and artificial sweetener intake and replace with stevia or allulose
- No more than 2 alcoholic drinks a week
- Get rid of artificial fragrances such as candles, air fresheners, perfumes, body products, etc. and use high quality essential oils instead
- Swap out cleaning products for non-toxic alternatives
- Eat organic foods and much as possible (not just fruits and veggies…but meat, grains, eggs, dairy and coffee, too)
- Swap out beauty and personal care products for cleaner options
- Use air purifiers in your home, open windows regularly, change filters every 3-4 months and consider having ducts cleaned.
- Drink half your weight of filtered water daily (Example 160 lbs= 80 oz. of water)
- Promote sweating through exercise, sauna or hot epsom salt baths
- Use functional medicine food plans like detox, mito or cardiometabolic
- Dry brushing or rebounding to increase lymphatic drainage.
- Prioritize prayer and bible study
- Work on sleep hygiene
- Promote regular bowel movements (at least one daily)
- Breathing exercises
- Regularly eat cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts
- Increase omega 3 fatty acids
- IV nutrients
I know those are some long lists, but I wanted to give you lots of ideas! Again, you don’t have to do everything at once. I encourage you to start with awareness and then go at your own pace. It is a process, and we are here to help! If you are interested in working with us to provide you a personalized plan and support, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Reviewed by Dr. Shane Holland, DO
Although I am a nurse by trade, I am not a doctor or an expert, and the information I provide on this blog is for educational purposes only. Each person is unique and their needs and circumstances vary, so I always recommend that you consult your medical provider before making any changes.