Sande Bargeron 9/9/21
My experience with detoxification has probably looked similar to yours and most people. I was playing around with my Jack Lalane juicer about 15 years ago, hoping that cucumber juice would help me with weight loss, because I conflated detox with weight loss. Meanwhile, I was choosing my laundry detergent based on how strongly it smelled fresh- I mean, my neighbors needed to know when it was laundry day.
I later discovered some detox and cleanse products that used a variety of herbs and supplements which left you tied to your house because you were scared to be stuck outside your home when the inevitable moment of sheer terror occurred because you had the unavoidable urge to go and only had moments to make it happen. During those cleanses, I was sure to use my scentsy plug-ins or scented candles. (Eye roll is appropriate here). After finishing that cleanse, I was definitely using bleach to clean my bathroom.
Next, I discovered fasting as a tool for detox, so I did a week of juice fast, a week of water fast, only to break my fast and go right back to my regular diet and reward myself with a nice glass of wine. Ok, the wine might not be as bad as the Clorox I used to clean my bathroom, but you get the point.
Little did I know that these short attempts at detoxification, though not bad in and of themselves, were doing very little for my overall toxic load and barely (really, not at all), keeping up with the mountains of chemicals I was putting into my body. When I finally understood that toxins were a root cause of almost all illnesses, I started to try to focus on cleaning my home.
Ever the do-it-right-or-don’t-bother kind of girl, I embarked on cleaning out my toxic pantry, cleaning out the chemicals from my home and dove into making a home garden, raising chickens and fermenting everything.
Well, cleaning up the food in my pantry was mind- blowing enough, as any of you who have investigated ingredients can attest. I remember walking through the grocery store when I just learned about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and just trying to find our normal cooking ingredients that didn’t contain it. Did you know that they put it in the pickle juice?!
I never liked diets and I did not enjoy being that weird person at parties who wouldn’t let my kids eat what was served by others because I wasn’t sure what the ingredients were. Granted, I did rely on diet to manage their ADHD, so I wasn’t just being a clean ingredient snob. Luckily, I quickly got over being considered the oddball with the quirky diet, and since folks have become more aware, I’m not considered quite as weird at parties anymore.
Then there was the home garden. I love gardening. But, I am terrible about setting reasonable expectations- I wasn’t going to just garden- I was going to homestead.. and work…… and homeschool…. and raise my 3, then 4, then 5 children. Kudos to the amazing, inspiring folks that do homestead- I love learning from you and am inspired by your dedication, but it was just another over-focused detour in my detoxification journey. Eating off the land, clean food, is just one avenue to consider in going clean. Food is only one source of our toxin exposure.
Then there is the over-focus on gut health. How many of you thought that if you could just clean the gut with probiotics, (fermented foods, good probiotics), it would solve all your detox problems, reduce inflammation and help you lose weight? Now, it is actually true that gut health is critical to healing, but it involves more than probiotics and becomes a problem when you take a single-minded focus on it.
None of the things I was doing was wrong- I needed to clean up the food, get rid of toxic products, work on our gut, but this is not detoxification. These are only some of the basics of clean living.
On top of that, as the movement of clean products has progressed (thank the Lord) lots of corporations have used the opportunity to increase prices on supposedly clean products, while maintaining little to no transparency of what is in their products. The government, (not surprisingly), does not require full disclosure of ingredients. It has also become quite common for a trusted small clean company to sell to a larger corporation, so keeping up with what is REALLY a clean product is a full time job (thank goodness for me).
Let me make a quick aside note on this- in the last few years with the increase in understanding about the need to go clean, heal the gut, ect, loads of new businesses have formed around the idea. While I am so thankful for more tools, more funding for research and more awareness, I am disappointed when companies claim a one product miracle– which fosters a single minded thinking around healing. You will often find this in companies with a certain type of business model- this does not mean that all companies with this type of business model should be excluded from the realm of reliable products. In fact, I have found a few products with the absolute highest level of transparency to be from this type of business model, and I will make recommendations for these products when I find them to be of the highest purity, consistency and transparency.
The point I’m making is this- you won’t ever be perfect in your attempt to go clean in your environment, though I still recommend you make every effort to lower your exposure at home and where you can. You will likely, at some point, go on vacation, eat out, drive to work where you might not have any control over your exposure. Some folks are on medications that they cannot stop taking, which, while providing elements of health support, still increases your overall toxic burden- it increases the synthetic things that the liver has to clear.
So, what does proper detoxification actually look like? Detoxification should be a habit as common as exercise. Although I recommend all folks to consider undergoing an ordered detoxification program* to get their body draining and removing toxins properly and addressing parasites appropriately, the maintenance comes from using the tools of detoxification regularly. These tools include proper supplementation as needed (though less of this is required if you have worked through an ordered detoxification program), mineral support, regular use of essential oils, clean water, regular coffee enema, binders, proper amino acid intake through a balanced diet and supplementation and if you are really serious about it, regular use of an infrared sauna and light therapy.
*this is is critical when dealing with long-term chronic health conditions
Did that overwhelm you?
I bet you feel incredibly overwhelmed with that prescription, right? I get it. I was too, believe me. That’s why this is not a process that is accomplished overnight. Lifestyle changes occur in stages, out of need and understanding and are accomplished slowly. It’s the same reason fad diets don’t work- you haven’t addressed habits in quick detox program, quick diets, ect. A true habit takes a consistent pattern of behavior for 30 days before it becomes natural. Take your time and develop the habits. You won’t believe how different you feel as you do.
We will explore each category of tools and why they are useful and some of the nuances of what to look for as you explore products in the world of clean living through healthy detox. I have included, in our resources and shop page, those products that I have thoroughly investigated and personally use on my own family (including those who have fragile health).
Cheap, unsafe detoxification products are another common thing that we are seeing as more people grow to understand their need to detox and take ownership over their health. This adds a layer of confusion and distrust (when the products don’t work or make things worse).
I do encourage you to continue to reduce toxins in your home environment as much as possible as you learn to incorporate detoxification strategies into your life. We spend the bulk of our time at home (unless you are a workaholic, in which case we have a whole other layer of habit training to work on…). Start there- with your home- move as slowly or aggressively as you feel comfortable beginning to clean up your home environment. Stewardship of our health is work, but it is work that will change your life.