Okay, it may be dramatic to declare “Detox or die,” but that doesn’t make it any less true. Factually, your body is detoxifying daily, more exactly, constantly. By-products of natural metabolism create contaminants that, if they build up, will downright kill. And environmental toxins can do worse than that by making a body desperately ill before the toxic effects send it to the grave. Fortunately, evolution has provided the body with a system of filters and detoxifiers that do a very good job of eliminating the toxins we may encounter. That is, as long as we don’t injure those organs or overwhelm them.

The liver is the workhorse of the detox system. Of course, it does far, far more than just detox. Add the functions of lungs, kidneys, intestines, skin and lymph system and you have a pretty effective process of elimination.  Daily activities and behavior can keep those organs in tip-top shape and reduce the burden placed on them. Occasionally, the toxic burden becomes so heavy that a method of eliminating those toxins with a detox program is the best recourse. Here are some ideas about keeping the toxic load at bay.

Eliminate the inputs. We live in a sea of toxic chemicals, thanks mostly to profiteering and greed. It’s important to note that hardly any of those chemicals are tested for human safety. Estimates say that you and I are exposed to about 80,000 different chemicals each day. And most all of them have been invented by science in just the past few decades. What we do know as fact is that the American Chemical Society database lists over 107 million chemicals available for use in the world. Over 102 million chemicals are commercially available products. We literally have no idea what these chemicals are doing to us. Now, we can’t live in a hermetically sealed world. But there are some ways we can avoid high concentrations of known problem chemicals.

Of those 80,000 chemicals insulting us daily, where do we start? One can only end up with the admonition, “Hey! Think!” The most obvious source of chemicals in your life are the ones you buy and bring home yourself. They’re usually in jars, aerosols, cans and containers and have warnings on them. Pesticides, cleaners, paints, makeup, soaps and yes, food — all are potent sources of chemicals. Dry cleaning, air fresheners, candles, dryer sheets, laundry detergents, new clothes, the total will be endless — or at least 102 million listings long. So just think about it.

Clean House. After at least trying to lower the amount of input, time to do the best you can to get rid of what finds its way into the body. The detox organs do a great job, all things considered. But one of the reasons we are seeing so many lifestyle diseases that were virtually unknown a century and a half ago is that back then we didn’t have the myriad causes we do now. The detox organs haven’t had near enough time to evolve. We have to give them a hand.

Lungs. Yes, breathing is a big detox step you can do right now. Vast amounts of toxins are eliminated via the lungs. Consciously using the lungs to detox helps the body regulate a broad number of functions, from digestion to body temperature. Sitting at your desk, learn to breathe correctly. A good yoga instructor or rebirther can help with that. Simple things like full exhalations and inhalations are a good step. Out with the old, in with the new. And it helps to include some air-cleaning plants in your home or office to make sure you’re taking in the good stuff. Oh, and while you’re at it, think of the chemicals you breathe in from your cologne, deodorant, soap and car freshener. You don’t even know what they are, do you? None have been tested for human safety. Not a good idea.

Intestines. Cleansing foods can help eliminate toxins. Learn what they are. Avoid artificial ingredients or processed foods. Eat whole foods. Crucifers, whole fruits, most plant-based food can help the body eliminate.

Liver. Alcohol affects liver function. Duh. Well, you don’t have to be a teetotaler but consider giving the liver a vacation. Try a few days or a week or two. Lay off sweet and fatty foods, too, and you will enter the zone of hepatic happiness.

Kidneys. The extractors. Help them do their work by drinking copious amounts of clean water daily. Do some de-stress exercise to control hypertension.

EMFs. Detoxing the environment should include minimizing the electromagnetic and radio-frequency pollution that we’re immersed in. It’s impossible (without descending miles into a salt mine) to avoid all EMF pollution. But certainly avoiding fluorescent lights like CFLs and sources of radiation and electric pollution should be considered.

Detox diet. Some programs can actually stimulate detoxification. A detox diet shouldn’t be some radical approach but simply eliminate taxing foods while adding cleansing foods. One simple, conservative approach I’ve tried is a version of Ann Louise Gittleman’s detox. An outline of the plan is at HeartlandHealing.com/detox. I’m not a fan of radical approaches that introduce weird supplements and outlandish schemes. Her basic approach emphasizes eating whole, natural foods and easily avoiding other ones. It’s neither demanding nor depriving.

One final word on this. Eliminating toxic foods and chemicals is important. Recognizing the potential of toxic thoughts and emotions is just as crucial. What you put in your body is one thing. What comes from your mind is another.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.

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