Have you considered a Spring Cleaning for your body, now that we’re wrapping up the first quarter of the year?
About 6 years ago I had the genius idea of going on a Functional Medicine Detox Retreat to Malta for the Spring Equinox. The timing was perfect as it marked the end of my 10 year corporate career and my step into the unknown world of Entrepreneurship.
While there, I thought, “Well I’ve had so many issues with my gut over the years why not go all in and experience colonic hydrotherapy…”
Let’s just say that things did not go as I thought they would! Now several years later with my Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner hat on, I can tell you why it didn’t work for me, and why if you’ve ever tried to detox but felt WORSE while doing so there’s one main reason for this!
You may not actually be physically strong enough to do this! I can hear you saying, “Raewyn, isn’t the point of a detox to become stronger as you clean up toxins?”
Very true, but a few things need to be in place first for that to happen. I’ll outline the top four that I have seen in practice over the last 6 years.
• Minerals. You may not have the right balance of minerals. Your sodium and potassium need to be optimal to move things like heavy metals out of the body. Unfortunately because of the media, we’re not consuming as much salt as we need. Now, please understand that I’m by no means suggesting you begin consuming bleached, toxic table salt. I’m referring to Celtic Grey Sea Salt or Redmond’s Salt. Adding this to your water and salting your food can help replenish lost minerals. If you find yourself craving salty foods, like potato chips, this is a clue!
The second mineral you need for detoxing properly is potassium. Consuming Potassium rich foods like Avocado, Banana, Coconut Water (be mindful as it’s high in sugar), Cream of Tartar, or Potatoes can help increase your levels of potassium. However, the RDA of potassium is 4,700 mg! So supplementing may be necessary. Some signs that you are depleted of potassium include:
👉 A racing heart
👉 A sluggish thyroid. How do you know if your thyroid is sluggish?
– Cold hands and feet
– Irregular periods
– Difficulty sweating
– Eliminating less than twice a day – you heard me! If you’re not going to the bathroom 2 times a day, that’s a clue…
– And of course, if your labs have ever come back with a TSH higher than 2. I realize that your Doctor may disagree as the conventional range for a sluggish thyroid is a TSH that is higher than 4. However, the Functional (optimal) range is between 1 – 2, so anything higher than 2 in Functional Medicine is considered sluggish and hypothyroid. So the next time you hear that your thyroid is normal, find out what the actual TSH level is.
Bear in mind, the best way to know your potassium levels are for sure is by using one of my favorite labs, the HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis). It gives the breakdown of Sodium Calcium Magnesium and Potassium, as well as a lot of other really insightful markers like heavy metals, which can cause all sorts of problems!
• Protein. Phase 2 of Liver detoxification requires amino acids. They attach to toxins to neutralize and escort them out of the body. And where do we get amino acids from? PROTEIN. If you’re only consuming vegetables and juices, your detoxification will be compromised.
• Drainage. If your drainage pathways are not open, detoxing will be very rough on you! What do I mean by drainage pathways? I’m talking about the gallbladder, gut, kidneys and liver. In fact, I’ve seen people who haven’t worked on their drainage, jump straight into trying to remove pathogens or going on a detox, end up with some pretty gnarly reactions / healing crises. So this is a crucial step in any healing protocol!
• Nutrient absorption. You could be consuming all the sodium, potassium and protein in the world but if you don’t have the enzymes to break down your nutrients or you have a leaky gut (damaged lining), then you will need to work on these things. How do you know if this is the case? Testing. Gut health testing is critical for understanding the integrity of the mucosal barrier, levels of enzymes in the pancreas, as well as the presence of good bugs and bad bugs in the large intestine.
So while I’m a huge advocate of detoxing, I know from personal – and now professional – experience that it needs to be entered into mindfully and strategically! I’ll leave you with a photo of the spring flowers lining the road on the drive to my house.
If you’d like to meet, schedule time directly in my Calendar here