The truth about detoxification

Detoxing is such a buzzword these days. Cleanses & detoxes have become popularized marketing ploys. But what really is detoxification? Do you really understand what it is? Do you really understand why is it important and how can we support this natural process safely?

For a long time, I did not understand & I put my body through many harmful cleanses over the years. My hope is that this information will help you make better decisions, more informed decisions. So here we go – Detoxification 101.

Detoxification is first and foremost a natural process that your body operates on its own to remove toxic substances in order to allow the body to function properly as well as heal on its own – as it should. The key word there is PROCESS. Detoxification is a process, and something that we can support on a regular basis.

Detoxification is NOT a quick fix, it’s not something that is accomplished in 3 days. Your body will NOT be toxin free after only a few days and it is a myth that food is not important during a more structured or extensive detox undertaking.

Detoxification is a bodily process that should be ongoing. Now, because we are exposed to more toxins than ever before in human history, our body has a big job to face, and we are making it extremely hard for our detox functions to keep up. As a point of reference, studies have shown that there are over 500 chemicals found in our own homes that we are exposed to everyday. Chemicals that didn’t used to exist and are deterimental to the inner workings of our cells, tissues, organs and systems.

Also keep in mind that, although extremely popularized today, detoxing has been around for ages. It’s a continuous part of life that helps the body stay clean and clear of disease. More specifically, detoxification can be defined as “lifestyle changes that reduce the exposure of toxins while nourishing the body to improve digestion and elimination.” This is not and should not be limited to the physical body, but should extend to the mind and spirit as well.

Listening to your body for cues that a more supported detox is needed is extremely important. Signs the body needs to detox are very similar to signs of chronic inflammation (not a coincidence! – essentially chronic inflammation is toxin buildup) &  include: • Weight gain • Inability to lose weight • Fatigue • Headaches • Congestion • Aching or swollen joints • Backaches • Digestive problems • Allergy symptoms • Bad breath • Constipation • Cellulite • Anxiety • Immune weakness such as frequent colds • Acne and other skin problems • Depression • Sexual dysfunction

There are many systems that are involved in detoxification processes and its important to consider each. Your digestive system, urinary tract, respiratory system, lymphatic system, your skin – these are all involved in the process of detoxification.

Here’s where we get a bit more technical – bear with me – I think you’ll find it important information. Biologically speaking, detoxification is essentially a biochemical reaction. Through a series of chemical and enzymatic reactions the body processes unwanted toxins – of which there are 2: Water Soluble and Fat Soluble. Water soluble toxins are easily removed by the body through blood and urine. Fat soluble toxins are more difficult for your body to get rid of and these include things such as man-made toxins like preservatives, food additives, pollutants and plastics (among others).

There are 3 phases your body goes through in the detoxification process & in order to help your body keep up with the deluge of toxins we throw into it, it is essential to understand these phases and what nutrients support each phase. I’ll go through each at a high-level (with some examples inspired by my nephew to make it fun), however please refer to the quick cheat sheet handout that I’ve posted on my website that summarizes these phases for easy reference.

Phase 1 is called the Enzymatic Reaction phase. Through a process called oxidation, your body uses enzymatic reactions to turn toxins into a more water-soluble version. However, if the detox stops there you’re in big trouble as these little toxic beauties are simply floating around in your body still. Oxidation, while inherently critical to us, can also be problematic without the other phases as it can wreak havoc inside us. It’s sort of like a troop of little toy army men.  When huddled together in group on the floor, you can easily walk around.  However, if those things get spread around like a tornado all over the place – you’ll step on them and they’ll be poking you or cutting you or just making you slip and slide around the floor. Oxidation breaks up the group and they are loose to roam free throughout your body.

Note that there is a transition period between Phases 1 & 2, however we won’t dive in to that now. Just know that if your detox stops at this phase – you’ve done more harm than good! Many current cleanses or detoxes on the market only take you to this level – which is why they are not actually helpful. To minimize the negative impact of oxidation during phase one and throughout the other phases, it is essential to ensure you have the proper nutrient intake to help protect your body from this process. B Vitamins, Calcium, Glutathione & Branched-chain amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine are a few of the powerhouses that help to protect you.

Phase 2 is what’s called “Enzymatic Conjugation”. And it is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially in this phase the oxidized toxins are combined with water-soluble molecules and they are packaged together for safe elimination through the body. In order for this to take place there are specific nutrients that must be present: Glycine, NAC (a powerful antioxidant), our friends the B Vitamins, Amino acids such as taurine, glutamate, cysteine, lysine & Fiber all help to bind to toxins. Think of them as the SWAT team swarming in to round up the bind guys and bring them in.

And finally, we have Phase 3 – the transport phase. For this essential part there are specific transporters that are needed to escort the toxins out of the body safely so that they don’t wander off into off limits territory. Much like the SWAT team noted above transporting a dangerous criminal in a controlled manner. In addition to the nutrients listed above, there are general nutrients recommended during a detox that support all phases. These include: a multivitamin for overall support, a probiotic to replenish and balance gut flora, digestive enzymes to help break down food consumed during a cleanse, so nutrients are easily available, protein for amino acids & a detox support supplement with blend of herbs and vitamins to support the digestive system as a whole.

So – there you have it the 3 Phases of detoxification.  I hope that you can see how important it is during a detox or cleanse that you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to make it through all 3 phases.  The last thing you want is to create a worse problem by only getting through Phase 1 or by not getting through the elimination phase! I also hope it has shown you the potential dangers of some of the “miracle” cleanses or programs out on the market. I always encourage you to understand how a program or how a supplement will affect your body before taking it – like GI Joe used to say after school “Knowing is Half the Battle” – how many of you remember that reference??!!

If you have questions or want to know more please let me know – contact me through Insta or FB @vitaleholistichealth or email me! 

Remember – it’s not about PERFECT it’s about HAPPY

Get Over Your Mom Guilt – lives depend on it

Guilt – more specifically, the dreaded Mom Guilt.  It’s like that annoying cellulite that exists, we know it’s there, we see it, we feel it, we cover it up, we even joke about it. But it haunts us.

Ok, so that was a bit dramatic – but seriously – mom guilt sucks. In so many ways. For now, however, I want to specifically address how mom guilt is contributing to an unhealthy future for ourselves and our families.

Mom guilt causes us to put our children, our spouse or significant other, our families and even our friends over our own selves on the priority list.  In fact, often, we don’t even make it onto the priority list at all. (Wait a minute, you’re thinking – WE are SUPPOSED to be on the priority list???).

YES – we should be on the priority list, but instead, we mom’s trudge ahead each day, each week ensuring that our kids have fulfilling lives with what we deem to be appropriate activities, carting them around to their friends’ & their events. We make sure our families eat during the week, that their clothes are clean, that everyone wakes up and makes it to their respective locations timely. We ensure the house isn’t a garbage dump, we help with school projects, we make Target runs at 8pm for items needed the next day at school – essentially, we ensure everyone else’s lives are taken care of and functioning appropriately. Oh yeah, and don’t forget if you’re a working mom there’s that whole other job/career thing (no time to go into that right now ….).

Some of us even wear the guilt as a badge of honor (I am guilty of this by the way) – “Ohh, look at me and all the work I put in, all the things I do for you – never mind me, I’m fine – my life is fulfilling and I live to serve….” Hello martyr anyone? What is the cost of our martyrdom? What is the cost to our selves and our families down the road?

Well, if we don’t stop and jump off the guilt train, unfortunately the future is pretty bleak. Consistently putting others needs, others wants, and others priorities ahead of your own because you feel like you should, will only lead to overwhelm, anxiety, chronic stress, anger, frustration, feeling unappreciated, fatigued, uninterested in family time, lower libido, low self-esteem – I could keep going but I think you get the gist.

Let’s face it – being a mom is a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. And yes, it requires certain sacrifices to ensure that your children are happy and healthy and turn out to be (we hope) somewhat normal humans who contribute to this world and find their own dreams and live their own happiness. But recall – we mom’s also have our own dreams, our own lives, our own health and happiness to consider.  If we are burnt out shells of ourselves who constantly are running ourselves ragged and ignore the toll on our bodies and minds – we will not have done our jobs as mothers. We would have modeled extremely poor behaviors for our families. We would be too tired, too fat and too diseased as we grow older to enjoy our children and someday maybe our grandchildren. We would have lost our spark for living. How, I ask you, is that being a good mom?

I believe that part of being a good mom is showing your children the importance of taking care of yourself – body, mind and spirit. Modeling behaviors that you want to instill in your children is the best way to teach them. Taking time for your self-care, putting thought and practice into what goes into your body, making time for exercise and fun – all of these habits will:

  1. Keep you calm so that you don’t morph into the crazy, at your wits-end mom who freaks out on her kids (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about)
  2. Help you stay physically fit to keep up with your children and participate in activities with them over the years
  3. Help you feel better about yourself, happy, fulfilled and alive
  4. Help you look younger and grow old gracefully (by showing wrinkles and fat who’s boss)
  5. Help you want to stay connected and close to your partner and have a fulfilling sex life (this also helps you not become the crazy, rampaging mom I spoke about above)
  6. Help you live a long, healthy life and decrease or eliminate the chances that your children will have the burden of caring for you in their adult years
  7. Show your children that mom is important too and she is an actual person outside of the dirty laundry and messes she cleans up
  8. Provide for a positive family experience full of love and laughter

So – it’s time to give up the excuses, put the guilt behind you and start saying yes to YOU. Mom guilt is destructive and counter-productive to what we really want for our families. No more “because I should” or “because I have to” or “I’ll take care of me when I have time”. There is no one more important than you in your family – if you aren’t around to ground and center your family what would happen? I know I don’t want to know. I am now dedicated to catching myself falling into the guilt trap, stopping and redirecting myself. I am working hard at this because I want my girls to see positive examples of how they should take care of themselves and their families when they are older.

It’s a constant and conscious effort on my part – one that I have already felt the positive affects of.  Just ask my husband (who is not the subject of my crazy, tired, angry and irrational tirades any longer)!

Remember it’s not about PERFECT, it’s about HAPPY

#1 Tool in your arsenal that will help you move the needle forward

Hey everyone!

So, today I’d like to take just a few minutes and talk about one of the most over-looked and under-utilized tools in our arsenal. When making changes – whether it’s eating better, implementing a workout plan, learning a new skill or creating a new habit – this one action can help you plan, track and keep you accountable. It can reveal hidden patterns and unlock the keys to your individual physical and mental needs – it’s completely free yet is often not used. What is it? Journaling.

Ok, some of you may be groaning and thinking – seriously Shannon – but hang with me for a minute. I know for myself, I used to be too impatient to journal – I always thought it was a silly and unnecessary action to take. I wanted to jump right in to whatever program I was participating in – forget the “woo-woo journaling nonsense” – I didn’t have time for that! However, as I have delved more deeply into the field of mindset and the functionality of our brains and how it impacts us physically, I realized how wrong I was.

Keeping a journal is one of the most powerful transformational tools we have at our disposal. The information you collect from it will tell you many things and it really will show you the paths you need to take in order for you to reach your health goals. 3 big areas it will provide clarity on for you:

  1. Helps you to identify patterns, triggers, and pitfalls. This can shine a light on emotional eating patterns or situations where you feel triggered.
  2. Points the way in identifying foods that are causing you issues physically. Uncovers food sensitivities, causes of symptoms that are food related and inflammatory triggers.
  3. Helps you get your mind right – not only will it help you clarify your goals but it documents your journey. And you are able to track your progress! You can see thought patterns which influence your behaviors and you can start to change them. You can see how far you’ve come and hold yourself accountable.

Keeping a journal will help you along whatever endeavor you have undertaken. And it will impact you physically, spiritually and mentally. Don’t underestimate its power. Build time each day into your schedule for journaling – whether morning, afternoon or night. This doesn’t have to be an epic event, 5 – 10 minutes can do the trick. The key is to be honest with yourself. If you’re not, the data within won’t help you.

It is the knowledge and increasing awareness of yourself and who you are that will translate into transformation and lasting change. Knowing what is impacting you and how it’s translating into daily actions will truly change you and support you over the long-run.

As always – remember to be who YOU are – because you are AMAZING

#mindsetmonday – Overwhelmed by the thought of getting “healthy”?

Getting healthy is on a majority of our 2020 goal lists. But figuring out what that means can be difficult and there is so much information out there it can be overwhelming. Because of this, many of us give up because it takes up too much time to figure it all out. If this is you – you’re not alone! I’ve fallen victim to this type of behavior and so do thousands/millions of your fellow humans. So, what can we do to attempt to avoid this trap?

First – you can’t make your goal to general – “getting healthy” is way too general. What the hey does that mean and what does that look like? Setting smaller, more definable goals such as “To improve my skin and not age before my time, I will drink 1 gallon of water a day – at least 4 days of the week”. You are then able to figure out cues/triggers for yourself to create that habit. Once mastered you move on to the next specific and measureable goal. Before you know it at the end of the year, you’re more “healthy” than you’ve ever been.

Don’t get stuck in the “generalities” trap! Define your goal and the specific actions you will take and you’ll soon be crushing it. You CAN do it – you have the power within.

#mindsetmonday – Find your motivation, clarify your values and your perspective on what’s “healthy”

Hello all! I know we all want better things for ourselves: an overall better life, more money, more fulfillment, more energy, more laughter, a better job, a promotion, a raise, more love or, conversely: less fear, less worry, less overwhelm, less anxiety, less fat, less bloat, less self-hatred.

All of this boils down to your values, your beliefs, you’re idea of what is good, your idea of what is healthy, your idea of the life you want to live. These are things you need to think about and define for yourself. They govern your current and future actions. Clarify what you want and don’t want and then connect with “why” those are important to you.

Therein lies the foundation of your motivation to change, your spark for life. Therein lies the keys to what you feel is true health and the vision you want for your future self.

Happy searching – enjoy the process

Is the idea of “getting healthy” harming us?

So, I was talking to my coach recently (yes, of course I have a coach!) and we were talking about who I am trying to serve and what message I’m trying to get across. She brought up an excellent topic to discuss and think about – what does getting healthy really mean and has it become just something else to add to our already overwhelming “to-do” lists that we maintain as busy working women, mothers, wives, etc.

We have a lot to juggle, a lot to mantain, a lot to ensure gets done and gets done timely. I’m not just talking about the projects at work, the strategies and actions that need implemented for our teams to move forward and be succesful, the motivation and thought that needs to occur at our jobs. We, as busy working women and mom’s also have a whole other home life to handle. It often ends up being our responsibility to plan the meals, to figure out who’s cooking on what night, to get all the kids to and from their respective activities, to grocery shop, to clean, to do laundry, to ensure what our families are eating is good for them, that they are doing well in school and have the tools and support they need to succeed, and so on! And don’t forget also maintaining relationships with friends, your significant other, networking to grow your business or your career, meeting other external obligations…

And we want to do ALL of these things well, we expect ourselves to have it all together and for all things to go smoothly. And we want to do these things with boundless energy while looking and feeling great doing it all. And if we don’t – we are extremely hard on ourselves. We may not show it outwardly, but we are experts at beating ourselves up when things don’t go as we expect.

Add on top of this that in this day and age it is very “in” to be “healthy”, to eat organic, get to the gym regularly, eat a healthy diet, have great looking skin and hair and rock those skinny jeans (I’ve probably dated myself with that phrase – oh well).

Has this pressure of being what the mainstream culture sees as “healthy” become just another item to add to our list of things we feel we should and must do? Another thing we add to our list and perfunctorily perform because it’s on our list for the day? Has this become just another item, that when not completed successfully and to our expectations, serves to make us feel badly about ourselves – instead of empowered?

Tell me – what do you think. Is getting “healthy” just another added pressure on our already over-worked and over-scheduled lives?

Maybe it’s time we step back. Re-define what “healthy” means to us individually and to take back the power of what that phrase should make us feel. Being “healthy” can mean so many different things to so many different people – from a psychological, physical and spiritual point of view. And being “healthy” is something that should excite you for the future and propel you towards a better you – because it makes YOU feel better inside and out – NOT because someone said it’s something you should do.

Share your thoughts on this. Do you feel that “being healthy” is just another item we “should do”? What does being healthy really mean to you? And how can you take small actions daily to help yourself feel you are moving towards that idea of health – towards empowerment.

I can’t wait to hear your points of view!

Until we chat again – Remember to always be who YOU are – because you are amazing!