Column: Healthy Routes – Cleaning up after the holidays

by Gladys Kublik, coowner Neighbors Vitamin Shop

It is a good feeling to take down the tree and clean up the house after Christmas. The festivities are over, the guests are all gone, a new year has begun and it’s time to get on with life. As much as I love the decorations and ornaments when we put them up, by this time I’m feeling the house is crowded and cluttered. When the last of the lights are packed in the box, the tree is out of the living room, the spruce needles vacuumed up and everything is back in its place, the house seems more efficient and it is easier to focus and function.

The house isn’t the only thing, which needs a good clean up after the holidays. Remember the eggnog and the turkey with stuffing? The Christmas cookies? And don’t forget the desserts. Then there were the appetizers, refreshments, and butter tarts. Memories would be enough, why do we feel like we’re still carrying it all around with us?

Well, because in a sense we are, or at least the effects of it all. Our bodies need rubbish removed from them just as our houses do. When you have overindulged (Christmas chocolate, anyone?), it’s even more important to get the exit routes functioning as well as possible.

We are all aware of the pollutants in the air we breathe, pesticides and herbicides in our food, the chemicals we are in contact with, even in common creams and lotions; but even in a very clean environment the body produces toxins which must be eliminated. The following eight points are ways our system becomes more toxic:

Over-Consumption – Overeating puts a tremendous amount of stress on our digestive system. Most people eat too much food, too fast. Foods are not properly broken down and lodge in the lower intestines. Vital nutrients are NOT absorbed.

Poor Diet – Poor diet includes foods that are low in nutrients, overcooked, devitalized, clogging, low in fibre, deep fried, and/or over-processed, etc. (baking, candy, desserts, appetizers, eggnog, pop)

Lack of Water – Water makes up 65% to 75% of the human body. It is second only to oxygen in order of importance to sustain life. Water cleanses the inside of the body as well as the outside.

Stress – Stress affects every cell and tissue in the human body. Stress breaks down the immune system as well as all of the major organs. Stress is TOXIC to our bodies.
Lack of Exercise – Exercise strengthens our entire bodies. It stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic system, building muscles, nerves, blood, glands, lungs, heart, brain, mind, and mood.

Lack of Sleep – The human body uses sleep to repair, rebuild and restore itself. In essence, our bodies use the sleeping hours to cleanse and detoxify, and to build strength and immunity.

Constipation – The colon is your body’s sewage system. If the sewage system backs up, toxins become trapped in your colon. Chronic constipation means these toxins are fermenting and decaying in the colon, re-absorbing into the bloodstream, polluting our tissues and cells.

Antibiotics – Antibiotics, despite their benefits in fighting certain bacterial infections, have a damaging effect on the intestines. Their prescribed purpose is to eliminate unhealthy bacteria in the body; bacteria that causes illness. Unfortunately, it not only eliminates the bad bacteria but the good bacteria as well.

A few signs that we should detoxify our bodies include:

fatigue
feeling chubby and bloated
nausea
waking up with puffy eyes or bags under the eyes
sluggish elimination
digestive issues
skin irritations, acne or itching
allergies or susceptibility to illness
mental confusion or brain fog

There are many methods of cleansing available from fasting to colonics, but I prefer a herbal based detox. A detox should be at least seven days long to allow the body to cleanse itself. It should include support for the liver and gallbladder, the colon, the kidneys, the bloodstream, and lymphatic system. In addition to a detox program, milk thistle is always a good herb to heal, cleanse and support the liver along with a high quality fibre such as psyllium, inulin, or acacia, which absorb toxins and sweep them out of the colon. Remember to drink lots of water with any detox or cleanse you choose; it basically washes our cells, replenishing much needed fluid and flushing out toxins.

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