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Detox is the ‘IT’ word of the past decade, and took over the world. Drainage not so much. Understandably of course, because if you think of drainage, pipes, waste and gunk come to mind connected to the plumbing in your house. But now think of drainage in terms of your own body. For that reason, I think it’ll never be the ‘IT’ word.

The detox-industry is big business. Plenty of teas, shakes and dietary regiments have entered the market to help us get rid of all those unwanted toxins. Mostly the commercial teas and shakes are aimed at the liver. Which makes sense since our liver protects us from toxins that we put in our body either deliberately or unintentionally due to day to day activities. Our liver is the most hardworking and complex metabolic organ in our body executing more than 500 different functions to maintain health. Some of these regiments require water or juice fasts and lots of special teas. If you are a healthy person, this would probably not harm you. Interesting choice of words you say? That is probably because I mean it is also not doing you much good.

Unless prescribed by a health professional, it is not wise to deprive the hard-working liver from its all so needed nutrients and protein. Since detoxification is done in two phases, each one of them needing their own set of nutrients, you want this system to work flawlessly to avoid long lines of toxins waiting in between phases (in a nutshell). Having these toxins ‘waiting’ in your body, is understandably not healthy. Your liver needs nutrients to process the detoxification, and it is probably debatable if your juice / water / tea – fast is providing you with the nutrients needed for that.

This is also where ‘drainage’ comes in. It makes your detox cycle go a full circle, since your body needs a way to get rid of any of the toxins. If your detox requires you to drink lots of water (which is great) but no fibre (not so great) you will not be able to get rid of all of the toxins via the way nature intended. Your diet needs roughage so you can form stools to ‘carry’ any unwanted material out of your body. True, a lot of water will help you get rid via your waterworks, but your GI tract is the number one drainage when it comes to getting rid of unwanted waste. So a detox which goes for prolonged time without fibre, needs to be re-assessed. If you are constipated due to lack of fibre, the toxins in the excrements get re-absorbed by the body putting extra workload on the detox system again. Having a well-working GI tract is imperative if you consider doing a ‘detox’.

If you think of it there is a similarity in all this with the latest hype of cleaning up, the ‘Marie Kondo method’. The only difference being is that our body is deciding what sparks joy and is worth keeping, and not so much our conscious mind. People everywhere are detoxing their homes, getting rid of their junk which does not fit in their life anymore or that they, sometimes literary, outgrew. Thinking it is the right thing to do, they just bag all their old stuff and drop it at any opp shop collection point. But all these joyless items are now clogging up the usual channels of opp-shops and second-hand stores. Not geared up for the stream of junk coming at them, it creates a massive backlog at these stores which cannot process it and they end up sending millions worth of goods to landfill.

If you are dreading the idea to ‘detox’ meaning sipping on kale smoothies flushed away with oodles of herbal teas, relax. If you want to do something to support your own personal detox machine, think of the following: eat plenty of fresh, partly raw, produce and good (organic) sources of protein. Take your time to experiment with new fresh produce in the kitchen. Making cooking a priority for the time that you would otherwise feel drained because of the lack of food during your detox. Drink at least 30 ml of water per kilogram body weight and add some bitter food to your diet.  This will stimulate the production of bile which helps breaking down fats (Hechtman, 2012). Regular exercise will help increasing the drainage process.

So, what is the best advice for detoxing? Well, the answer is simple. If you do not want toxins in your body, do not put them there in the first place. Mind your diet and your environment. This includes toxic people! And for those unwanted toxins? Look after your liver correctly and know that your liver has your back!

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