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Juice Fasting Not The Best Way To Detox

JJ Virgin

Ask JJ: What is the deal with juice cleansing as a form of detox?

JJ Virgin, PhD, CNS, CHFI is a 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry. She has a PhD in holistic nurtition, is a certified nutrition specialist, and has been an on air nutritionist for Dr. Phil's weight loss shows.

Question: I have heard mixed reviews about juice cleansing as a form of detoxification, and I am thinking about trying a cleanse. What do you think about this?

Answer: I am a big fan of detoxification. Even if we stop polluting our world right now, we will be dealing with the past damage for decades to come. I believe that the healthiest people in this millennium will be those who are the best detoxifiers. This is why I am totally against juice fasting and fasting in general for detoxification.

The body detoxifies in two phases. In the first phase the body releases the toxins from the tissues where they are stored. In the second phase the body eliminates these toxins through the sweat, feces and urine.

The second phase of excretion is dependent on amino acids (from protein) and if these are not readily available this whole process slows down or stops. This creates a lot of reactive intermediates also knows as oxidative stress which in turn creates inflammation.

We call this auto toxicity - you are freeing up the toxins and now they are roaming around your body which is a far worse situation than leaving them where they were sequestered in the first place. If you are doing a 'cleanse' or detoxification program and you feel terrible this is probably what is happening and it means you are making yourself worse not better!

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Ideally, we should be detoxifying on a daily basis. Detoxification is a continuum. It starts with gut function which means that you are having 2-3 normal bowel movements daily. Then you consistently increase and continue good detoxification habits.

Good Detoxification Habits

  • Fill up with fiber - 50 grams or more a day
  • Drink 8 or more glasses of water between meals
  • Supplement with 1 or more servings of a green drink daily
  • Increase sulfur containing foods including garlic, onions and eggs (providing you don't have a sensitivity to them)
  • Eat some high quality clean lean protein at each meal. Whey protein is fantastic as it is a natural heavy metal chelator. You can also take an amino acid blend containing all of the phase two amino acids
  • Eat 5 or more servings of organic non-starchy veggies and 1-2 servings of low glycemic fruits per day
  • Dry brush before your bath or shower
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  • Sweat via exercise or far-infrared saunas
  • Increase circulation via exercise, massage and/or lymphatic drainage
  • Take supplements that support good liver and gall bladder function including phosphatidyl choline, lipoic acid, dandelion root and milk thistle.
  • Take nutrients that support overall detoxification including lipoic acid, selenium, chlorella, n-acetyl cysteine, green tea extract, copper, zinc and MSM
  • Take baths with Epsom salts and baking soda

Consistent daily detoxification can help overcome weight loss resistance, improve thyroid and overall hormone function, improve skin and help with overall mood and brain function. Make detoxification a daily habit as you are getting inundated with toxins on a daily basis. As far as toxins go ... better out than in!

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