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Are you in detox debt?

Posted by Dr. Junger

Hi everyone, Dr. Junger here. 

What if I told you that a lot of the symptoms many of us experience, from constipation and skin issues to low energy and depression, are a result of being in “detox debt”?

“Detox debt” is a condition many of us face today. When we’re chronically stressed, overcommitted, sleep-deprived, and eating poor-quality foods, our body doesn’t have the energy or time it needs rejuvenate and thrive.

Today, I want to give you a picture of how our body uses energy and what we can do to get ourselves out of “debt”.

Your energy is limited

Energy is as precious a resource for your body as it is for the planet. The total amount of energy expended by all the cells is called metabolism. Each cell consumes fuel to make energy and then uses up that energy fulfilling its function.

Some cells have functions that are more “expensive” than others - they cost more energy to run. Like a city with a financial budget to distribute on many city services, the body has an energy budget to spend. Energy reserves are limited, so the body must prioritize in each second how the energy capital gets distributed.

If it spends too much energy in one area, it simultaneously has to cut back somewhere else to compensate. We sometimes think that another shot of caffeine or other stimulant will give us more energy, but the body can’t take out energy loans; when the energy reserves start running low, it has to slow down.

Your body’s energy priorities

Sometimes there are so many energy demands at once that split-second adjustments have to be made in what is basically an intricate balancing of the budget. The body’s intelligence will shut down certain functions temporarily, slow down others, and allow the most crucial ones to continue spending their full energy “cash flow”.

Neurons in the brain get top priority. As systems get shut down one by one, from least important to most, the brain is always the last. Without the brain, survival is over.

The body’s cleansing processes lie somewhere in the middle of this list of priorities. It’s very common for the body to put cleansing on hold, then catch up with cleaning later.

For example, during hard exercise cleansing is put on hold. Once the exercise stops, cleansing is immediately resumed, and the lactic acid or carbon dioxide created during exercise, is processed and transformed for elimination.

This pausing of the cleansing process to deal with other needs happens quite naturally in healthy bodies.

But here’s the problem: when we add in the toxic overload of modern foods, stress, and chemicals, it’s very easy for us to go into detox debt.

Going into Detox Debt

When we go into detox debt, it means that we are not giving enough energy and attention to the cleansing and rejuvenating processes in the body.

We are drawing on our energy reserves to fund hectic work schedules, mental and emotional stress, and many more “expenses” that modern life imposes.

And we’re often eating food that doesn’t support our health.

Not only that, we are also munching all day long, not giving our bodies any chance for digestive rest. The problem when we eat too often is that anything that we throw in must be processed when it arrives in the stomach - we can’t put that off.

And because much of what we throw in today has minimal nutritional value, all the energy we invest in chewing, swallowing, digesting, and absorbing foods gives minimal return on investment. We are making less than we spend.

Confronted with this huge load of demands, the body has to prioritize, redistribute, and reorganize. As long as digestion, chronic stress and constant activity is using up so much of the energy budget, detoxification and cleansing is partly on hold.

That leaves us with a lot of extra toxins retained in the body, without the opportunity to be fully cleansed out.

How to pay back our detox debt

Now that we have a picture of how the body must prioritize it’s energy, particularly with the demands of today’s modern world, we can begin to make better choices to support our health. Here are three ways to take action on this information:

1. Do a cleanse. The habit of cleansing is essential for modern life. When most of our energy is being used up in the busyness and stress of daily living, it’s important to consciously choose a period of time each year to cleanse. A good cleanse will rest your digestive system, remove energy-depleting foods, and provide you with an abundance of nutrients.

2. Eat whole foods minus toxic triggers. This is how we define “clean eating”. By eating whole foods minus your toxic triggers, you reduce the intake of toxins, while eating tasty nutrient-dense foods. The benefit is that now you’re using your digestive energy in an efficient way and giving your body the biggest nutrient bang for the buck.

3. Rest and Sleep more. It’s easy to forget about this one because we’ve heard it so many times before. But sleep is our greatest de-stressor and is the primary time when our body goes into cleansing mode. Skimp on your sleep and you skimp on the cheapest and most powerful cleansing and rejuvenation tool available.

I’d love for you to give these strategies a try and pay back some of that detox debt. Keep me posted on Facebook.

Clean Eats is a NYTs bestseller!


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