Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body

Posted on in Healthy Living by Amie Valpone


After years of Western medicine (including numerous bone marrow biopsies, CT scans, MRIs, colonoscopies, and more) yielding no real answers, I set out to heal my body and embarked on years of self-study. What I discovered was fascinating. I was “toxic”—a term Western medicine didn’t understand. You name it, I had it. I was diagnosed with a handful of chronic issues and was off the charts for heavy metals, mold, Lyme disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, and practically everything else they tested me for. What I needed was a full-blown detox, in the truest sense of the word—not a trendy two-day juice cleanse. Funny thing is that I thought I was healthy (no drinking, drugs, or fast food). However, I learned toxins come from countless places—pesticides, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, perfumes, shampoo, processed foods, car exhaust, cosmetics, and more. While the word detox is thrown around a lot and is often misunderstood, functional and integrative medicine use detox practices to reset your digestion and reduce your exposure to toxins.

Our bodies were built to deal with natural pollution created by digestion, respiration, and metabolism, but they’re not designed to handle the enormous amount of artificial pollutants we’re exposed to in today’s chemical-filled world. The only way to deal with this toxic overload is to assist the body’s natural self-cleansing mechanisms with detoxing.

Where Do Toxins Come From?

Over the past several decades, our exposure to toxins has increased through pollution, water contamination, pharmaceutical drugs, widespread use of pesticides, and increased use of chemicals in our food and personal care products. As we age, these contaminants accumulate in our fat tissues and organs, increasing our overall toxic residue. This buildup may result in health complications and illness, with accompanying symptoms. You can reduce your toxic exposure by changing your diet, your home environment, personal care products, supplements, water source, and even the quality of the air you breathe. Such changes will help put you on the path toward optimal health and well-being.

detox word made from fruits and vegetables

How to Detox

You can’t detox over a single weekend; there is no shortcut. If you care about your health, detox needs to be an ongoing process that becomes a way of life. Instead of approaching it in fits and bursts, it’s better to develop a deep understanding of the harmful environment we live in, and then bring that awareness to everyday life, gradually eliminating toxins from your body every day.

I reveal my detox journey in my book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, where I go into great detail on how to detox your food, cleaning supplies, personal care products, and beauty products because we often forget that our skin is our biggest organ. Being healthy isn’t just about eating clean, it’s about living clean. What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream, and our liver has to filter these toxins to keep us healthy. What I soon realized is that many of the symptoms that we suffer from can be reversed by cleaning up our gut health (where almost 70% of our immune system lives) and supporting our liver on a daily basis to remove toxins from our lifestyle. Most of us were brought up with the mentality that a drug or topical ointment is prescribed to get rid of our symptoms; however, these aren’t addressing the underlying causes of the symptoms. In my book, I list the most trusted resources for integrative and functional tests that get to these underlying causes—something I wish I had 10 years ago.

So how can you start detoxing today? Eating clean, reducing your exposure to toxins, and being aware of the toxins in your environment is a great way to start the detox process.

Tips to Start Your Detox

» Read Labels. Especially on condiments, beverages, and any processed food. There is sugar lurking in the ingredient list in everything from tomato sauce to salsa. Refined sugar is highly inflammatory and is often the cause and trigger of many health issues.

» Drink Filtered Water. Get yourself a high-quality water filter that removes fluoride, chemicals, and heavy metals from tap water. Surprisingly, drinking these chemicals and metals interferes with our gut health, which as you know is where the majority of our immune system lives.

» Eat Detoxifying Veggies. Add in more detoxifying whole foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, dandelion, arugula, and brussels sprouts. These foods can help support your liver to remove excess toxins that you may be exposed to on a daily basis.

» Remove Refined Oils. Refined oils such as canola oil are highly inflammatory; you can replace them with healthier oils such as organic extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.

» Eat More Healthy Fats. Don’t fear fat! Fat is not the enemy, unlike what we’ve all been brought up to believe. Our bodies need healthy fats to survive and function optimally. These fats keep you from being hungry, speed up your metabolism, and help your body lose weight. Toss the margarine and instead reach for avocados, walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, wild salmon, grass-fed meat, omega-3 organic eggs, and the healthy oils mentioned above.

» Eat Organic. The point of eating organic is not to reap more nutrients. The reason you should choose organic is to avoid toxins like pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and herbicides found in conventional foods, which are silently contributing to our health issues and making many of us sick.

girl on a treadmill with water

You Are the Expert

Unfortunately, few people have access to information that explains how they can get off the medical hamster wheel and truly help themselves. When I started to feel better, it occurred to me that I could help. I’m not a doctor and I’m not a scientist, but I’ve experienced firsthand the effects of toxicity and the resulting helplessness and hopelessness. No one told me what toxins were, why I should care, or how to reduce my exposure to them. No one told me that the items we see on shelves are not as safe as we think. Truth is, you could eat and drink and be exposed to the same things I was and not experience what I did. For you, it could be something else in your food or environment that is causing your symptoms. But no matter what your own personal struggle looks like, I’m telling you, you can feel so unbelievably better when you start making changes today.

My best advice to anyone who is going through a never-ending health journey is to learn how to recognize that you have the power inside of you. Sounds easier said than done, but my turning point was when I stopped giving my power away to others who were telling me to do certain protocols or eat certain foods that didn’t feel right to me. You know your body best. If broccoli makes your tummy bloat, listen to that and get to the root cause. If gluten makes you feel sleepy, it’s not for you. Trust yourself and start listening to your body; you know yourself better than anyone else.

Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is the best-selling author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. She is a celebrity chef, nutrition expert, wellness consultant, and motivational speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free “clean eating” recipes. Text excerpted from Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.

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