Detox – Birth Prep Challenge – Week 8
Every week we've been building healthy habits and reducing toxin overload. You're moving well, eating well, and releasing toxins. The body, every day, is eliminating toxins [detoxing] to improve the function of the body... or at least it should be.
Every choice you make is encouraging the body's natural ability (your individual natural ability) or discouraging the body's natural function. Every food you eat is nourishing, or not. Every liquid you drink is nourishing, or not. Every thought you think is encouraging, or not.
When you reduce the toxin intake, the body needs less energy to remove the toxins. When you reduce the toxin intake, the body doesn't need support with detoxing. A healthy lifestyle means the body will work as intended. A healthy lifestyle means the body can use energy for nutrient assimilation, immune function, and birth and breastfeeding preparation.
Your body doesn't "not work" because it just doesn't work. Your body doesn't "work" because you got lucky (although, when you're young you do tend to feel the effects much less - so make these healthy habit changes now so your adrenals and liver aren't so taxed by your mid 30's). There are certain genetics we are setup with and conditions we may be more likely to experience - but epigenetic studies show us that those conditions only play out based on the environment we've been living in and the one we choose to continue to experience.
If you choose fast food, soda, chips, and sauce filled pastas with cheesy bread, you'll live and birth (and breastfeed and parent) like you've been eating fast food, soda, chips, and creamy pastas with cheesy bread. Likewise, if you choose water, herbal tea, a rainbow of vegetables and fruits, movement, sunshine, and balance - you'll live and birth that way, too. You'll experience the mid-years and later-years of your life in a way more similar to your teens and twenties. We aren't setup to max out our system by our first child. We're meant for vitality.
We know how to reduce toxins, but how do we support a toxin-loaded system through this change?
3-Day Detox Program
Just kidding! It actually takes somewhere around 5-6 months for your liver to regenerate which means unless your liver is fully functioning right now (perfect diet, perfect environment, perfect movement, perfect stress...etc.), three days aren't going to drastically alter the body's ability to
detox remove toxins from the body. You're certainly not going to remove all the toxins in three days, though you may remove some overload during those three days. What happens during these short detoxification programs is often an increase in toxin release through the blood stream and into the skin and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, this also means through the placenta and into the baby. Now, don't get me wrong, detoxification programs may make you feel incredibly energized if you're not used to eating so well (or if they're fill with fruit juices) and may jump start you onto a program of more healthy eating habits, but you have to continue to support the organ systems of the body so they can do the job they're intended to do.
Fasting is similar in that it won't fix a lifestyle, and yet also has its benefits - even moreso than detoxification programs. Fasting is our body's natural way of supporting the detoxification system. Every night we fast (which is why the first food we eat is called break-fast). Eliminating the things the body has to process means the body can clean out what is already in there. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) supports a fasting therapy that is catered to each individual and their specific body type and current needs, but also supports consuming some whole based foods without completely removing foods from the diet. The focus is not "detoxification" specifically, but digestion and elimination. Then, when you add things back in - take it slow, make it natural, and make it nourishing. In other words, take things back to basics so your body has less to process and by nature you'll be eliminating the toxins put into your body on a regular healthy basis.
Support healthy toxin release
- Stay hydrated. Water is the most well-known, widely accessible, and pregnancy-safe diuretic (increases urination through the support of kidney function and/or increase of excess fluid through means of adding extra fluid or pulling hydration into the urinary system from surrounding tissue) and urination flushes toxins and bacteria. Water and hydrating foods are crucial for nutrient assimilation and digestion. Hydration is imperative for kidney function so that urine is not overly concentrated with toxins. The darker and smellier your pee, the more concentrated your urine is and the more taxed your kidneys. The more concentrated your urine, the more chances of getting a urinary tract infection (i.e. bacterial imbalance in the urethra). Note: a lack of movement from your pelvic region, and as such the inability to completely remove urine from the bladder when needed, may also increase urinary tract infections due to flow constriction.
- Have a bowel movement every day. We talked about this in Esali Birth Prep Week 7. Bowel movements remove toxins.
- Eat well balanced with lots of vegetables and fruits. Drink herbal teas. Don't overload your plate with meats (especially late in the day). The liver is responsible for processing everything put into the body, including protein and we don't need to make its job of processing toxins harder. Steam (or cook low into bone-broth-based soups) hard and thick vegetables such as nettles, kale, spinach, carrots…etc. most of the time so we're not making our digestive system constantly work to its max and stealing all our body's energy. A rule of thumb is to steam them just until the color gets vibrant. Oxalates are reduced, nutrients are more easily assimilated, and digestion is improved. Improving digestion means improving bowel movements and eliminating toxins from the body.
- Balance… did I mention balance and the importance of greens yet? Dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables clean the blood and support the adrenals and liver. The liver's job is to remove toxins. Support its ability to do so by reducing toxin intake (including coffee and black tea) then eating foods that nourish it.
- Stop killing your weeds. Yard weeds are some of the best kidney and liver-supporting foods, especially dandelion root (and the leaves as well… but the non-roasted root is better - dandelion also adds potassium rather than removing it like coffee). In addition to having these weeds available, reducing pesticide and herbicide use also means less environmental toxins that your liver has to remove from the body. Some other great weed alteratives (supporting the detoxification system to improve liver and blood health) are the docks (burdock, yellow dock), chickweed, and milk thistle seed.
- Sleep. Most toxin processing happens during the night. If we're not sleeping well, we will have more toxins circulating throughout our body which also causes us to not sleep well. The body is so cyclical and puts out what it receives and receives what it puts out and thus the whole world is connected.