By Shannon Keirnan
Have you seen "Origins" yet?
In honor of the film, Well.org held a special summit hosted by Pedram Shojai, with tons of great speakers. Didn't catch it? Don't worry your pretty head - I sum up two of my favorite interviews below!
Detoxification is one of those confusing issues when you start considering how to change your lifestyle and improve your health. That's why I enjoyed Dr. Anthony Beck's interview "Detoxification Done Right."
We are bombarded constantly by things in the world telling us the "proper" way to detoxify, but as Beck reminds us, every body is different, and everyone has things that will work for them but perhaps aren't suited to someone else. In doing this we need to also avoid speaking in generalities - yes, a single probiotic may not have worked for one person, but there are many different kinds to try! Awareness is the key to learning what works best for you - paying attention to your body and the signals it is giving you. Don't rely on someone else's opinion when it comes to your health.
Unlike many clinicians, Beck also recommends doing things in the "right" order, which to him, means detoxing last. The body wants to perform correctly, and it will adjust quickly. Building health from the bottom up means that, once we have stabilized ourselves, we can focus on a detox which may otherwise weaken an unready system.
And, a man after my own heart, Beck reminds us that we don't have to always be purists. Building a healthy body (or "terrain," as he calls it) means that we are able to have some resilience, and gives us a little wiggle-room in every day life. If you have put the effort into making your body strong and you want to have a treat, a healthy body can bounce back from this without much impact. You'll have less stress and more fun, too, and that's good for us in the end!
So, what are Beck's steps toward better health? Here's the gist:
1) Focus first on environmental inputs. What can you add or remove from your immediate environment? Don't stress yourself out over it, but look at basics like food and water, and consider how you can improve them.
2) Move onto the gastrointestinal and digestive system. Work on boosting immunity and putting out inflammation.
3) Work on structural fortification of the body through resistance exercise.
4) Put your efforts into energy production and oxidative stress, and figuring out how to get the most out of your body now that you are feeling better. Tweak.
5) Finally, work on a cellular level, and get into that detox. Start repair on a cellular level, and then look to balancing your hormones and neurotransmitters.
Dr. Alan Christianson also spoke about "Clearing Toxins Naturally." I like listening to Christianson's talks, especially because of how he puts things into evocative terms. For example, he describes heavy metals in the body as "gum in the keyhole," clogging up the many doors within us. With our locks jammed, the systems cannot function properly. And, like a clogged drain, with everything already backing up it only takes a very little extra to cause an overflow. Picture dirty sink water running through your veins and tell me that's not a kick in the pants!
With all the pollution in our world, this means bad news for our "keyholes." He links higher rates of pollution to higher rates of autoimmune diseases, something we all want to avoid!
He suggests two phases to turning things around and detoxing the body of these heavy metals.
First is "ungumming" the keyholes. This is a process that can take days to weeks, but it will not be long before the system is functioning better. This is essentially a matter of cleaning out the environmental impact on your body. As Beck suggested, start with water and air, and work from there... use a water and air filter, and put clean, real food into your body. Exercise gently.
Step two is cellular repair, which can take more like months, but once you have built a healthy foundation for your body, will be an easier process.
It's an ongoing commitment to be healthy, and yes, we may cheat now and then (especially during the holiday season!)... but if we remember to "make ourselves precious," as Beck recommends, and to make our health and happiness a priority, then the long-term effects are more than worth the initial struggle.
Remember that you know your body, and it is different from everyone else's, so take the time to listen to it, and to give it what it needs.
How do YOU take time to make yourself precious?