Unhealthy Diet Habits You Need to Break if you Want More Health and Vitality
copyright, by N J Howell
This is part of a series on detoxing and weight loss. Please read the introduction: Detoxing Do's and Don'ts and part two: Do you Really Need to Detox?
What are some of the unhealthy diet habits that I believe contribute to toxicity in the body? The main culprits are an over consumption of the wrong foods and not enough water, a sedentary lifestyle and stress overload.
Sugar Consumption - Refined sugar holds waste in the intestines far, far too long. Excess refined sugar also helps promote an environment in which candida thrives. I personally feel that the consumption of refined sugar is a major contributing factor in the development of colon cancer and of course, the link to diabetes is well-established.
There are healthy alternatives to refined sugar but these do NOT include (in my opinion) high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, saccarin sweeteners or even splenda. Consuming any of those while attempting a body detox is counter-productive, in particular, and I just don't consider them healthy any other time either. One of the best alternatives to the white stuff that I've been able to find is organic coconut sugar I personally use it every day and have never had any unhealthy reactions from it.
It may surprise you to hear me say that, if you are going to use artificial sweeteners, I'd use saccarine before splenda or nutrasweet. From what I've read recently, saccarin may have gotten a bit of a bad rap.
However, my top recommendations for healthy sweetening include Agave Nectar (it is truly delicious but be careful. A lot of what is promoted as organic agave is mostly high fructose corn syrup) and Stevia (choose your stevia brand carefully as some have a bitter aftertaste).
Fat Consumption - Oxidized fat (created in every fast food french fry and onion ring we eat) and excess fat consumption overloads the liver and is very hard on the system, in general. Excess fat contributes to the development of heart disease and high cholesterol. By contrast, the healthy fats in organic first cold press coconut oil are a much healthier option. However, frying with it reduces the healthy benefits. In other words, reducing fried foods altogether is a really health-boosting idea.
Lack of Water Consumption - You may have read wildly differing opinions on how much water the body needs to function normally. Here's my two cents on that subject....the human body is mostly made up of water. It is just common sense to me that the body would function and eliminate wastes best with more water than less. Consider using an ionizer system to alkalize water for even better elimination and health benefits. Detoxing the body effectively is not possible in a dehydrated system so hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more when you are detoxing.
I personally still follow the 64 ounce a day rule but I work to drink my water in regular intervals throughout the day and night (I keep a glass by my bed and if I wake during the night, I make a point of drinking more water). And I make sure I'm drinking good water, purified water. I also add something to alkalize my water. There are many options for alkalizing water and you can explore that on the internet. I use several different products. One is called is called Body Alkalizer and another is called Xooma.
Sedentary Lifestyle: If you are one of millions who make their living as I do, sitting in front of a computer all day, the risk of colon toxicity intensifies. There is something about sitting in one position for a long time that interferes with colon function, in my opinion. We were not created to sit slumped down in front of a computer or a tv for hours. The body was designed to move and stretch and walk. The One Hour Rule: One of the best things a person can do to normalize erratic bowel movments, chronic constipation, and colon toxicity in general is to notice any time they are sitting for more than an hour without moving. Getting up to stretch out the colon and stomach area once per hour during the work day can work wonders over time.
Beyond the moving every hour rule, of course, everyone knows that moderate exercise 3 times a week can help with a lot of the body's functions including lungs, heart and bowels. There are tons of exercise programs and plans out there, or just walking for at least 12-15 minutes a day is beneficial to the colon function.
But how do I do this at work? I can hear some of you now, saying it's impossible for you to get up from your desk at the office every hour. You don't get breaks that often. Well, what's to stop you from simply getting up at your desk, stretching for a minute or two, and then sitting back down? Drop a pencil if you have to, but create some reason for getting up from that chair at least once an hour. Sure, you may get some funny looks but maybe you'll also educate someone else. Make your health at least as high a priority as your job. If you lose a job, you can find another but you only get one body. Taking care of it should be priority number one in the workplace.
Squatting Substitute for More Complete Elimination: Using a short stool in front of us when we eliminate is helpful for getting the colon in the correct position for the best elimination to occur. No one squats to use the bathroom anymore but we used to, and it is still the best position to be in, for promoting full elimination from the colon. By placing your feet on a short stool in front of you, your legs support the bottom of the colon wall in a position similar to squatting.
Lack of fiber - Processed foods are dead energy for the body. Fully cooked foods lack digestive enzymes our bodies need to digest food and prepare it for our bodies to use and to make way for easier elimination. The success of fast food restaurants is testament to how many of us eat dead food every day. Food that has no fiber or enzymes. Fiber helps move waste thru the body. We need fiber and we need digestive enzymes. The body is designed to make it's own enzymes but not enough to handle processed junk foods. They are unnatural to the body.
Stress Overload/lack of restful, rejuvenating sleep - Stress has a tremendous impact on immune function when it is chronic. Over time, stress alone can contribute greatly to all sorts of body challenges with elimination, digestion and normal function.
Going to bed every night with stressful thoughts, as so many do, is a sure way to keep your body from rejunvenating itself during sleep. Without relief from stress reactions (that fight or flight adrenal rush that is so good in times of emergency and so damaging when no emergency is there to be ran from or fought), the body cannot relax. Without relaxation, the body cannot sleep deeply and restfully which is why a person can wake up tired, after sleeping all night.
Over-consumption of meats - Red meats, in particular, are hard to digest and given the amount of steriods, antibiotics and other chemicals that animals raised for food ingest, I think red meat has become very unhealthy. If you are going to eat red meat, I'd suggest finding free range beef that has been raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or other chemicals. Also, look for grass fed beef, not grain fed. That beef will have a higher ratio of those beneficial omega 3's and less saturated fat.
To make a long story short (too late, I know), I do believe our bodies are able to detox on their own if we eat healthy, exercise, drink enough water, get enough sleep and maintain healthy mental habits that reduce stress on a regular basis. The problem is that most of us don't do those things. That is why a regular detox regimen (at least once or twice a year) is something I suggest for most people.
There are steps you can take to help make that yearly detox program easier and less likely to spur a healing crisis. Read about how to detox without crisis.
Ready to do a cleanse but have no idea which program to use? Read how to choose an effective detox program.
Detox Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before detoxing if you have any type of colon health issue or medical condition. Detoxing not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers without doctor supervision.