Your body is constantly working to excrete intrinsic toxins produced by natural metabolic processes as well as external toxins that you take in from microbes, and natural and manmade chemicals in the air, food, water, and surroundings. Your liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, and intestines all play a role in helping you to detoxify. If these systems are not working effectively to clear toxins from the body, you end up with a toxin buildup.
Your total toxic load is the result of your toxic input minus your toxic output; so, in addition to reducing your overall exposure to toxins (taking less in), you need to make sure your detoxification systems are working well to mobilize and remove toxins. Your individual abilities to detoxify determine the amount of toxins that you eliminate or store in your body at any given time, so follow the Toxin Tamer Tips below to support your detox system.
How Do Toxins Get in Your Body?
Many people are familiar with the phrase “You are what you eat,” but you really are the product of everything in your environment that you ingest, digest, and metabolize. This includes not only the food and beverages that you consume, but also the air that you breathe and the substances that you absorb through your skin. While you may think of the environment as something “out there” that is apart from your body, in reality, there is no separation.
You’re also a product of your mental and emotional environments. The fundamental levels of your senses—what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste—are interpreted by your nervous system. If you interpret these experiences negatively, the corresponding physiological responses can also act as “toxins” and harm your body.
Together, your senses create an impression of the world and your thoughts further refine your perception. In the same way that your senses inform the brain of what is going on, the brain can inform the body of what is happening—sometimes for your benefit, and sometimes not.
Toxin Tamer Tip 1: Digest to Be Your Best
The state of your digestive fire, or agni, can be changed for better or worse. It shifts with time of day, what you consume (including medications and herbs), and lifestyle habits. You can dampen your agni by doing such things as:
- Over eating
- Under eating
- Eating at the wrong time
- Eating the wrong food for your needs
- Eating the wrong combination of foods
- Making drastic dietary changes
- Sleeping excessively or too little
- Living in extreme climates
- Having physical stress from illness, injury, or excessive physical activity
- Holding onto emotional stress
These things can make the difference between feeling well and unwell. The good news is that by optimizing what you eat, aligning your lifestyle with the cycles of nature, and using ancient techniques to enhance the body’s capacity to heal, you can jump-start your agni so that your ability to digest food, experiences, and emotions can lead you down the harmonious path to health rather than the rancid road to disease.
You are more than what you eat—you are what you digest—a sum total of your unique responses to all of your collective experiences—and this is why you must go beyond just cleaning up your diet or doing a quickie detox cleanse. You must address the whole system—mind, body, spirit, and environment—to ensure balance and prevent the accumulation of excess toxicity.
Toxin Tamer Tip 2: Empty Your “Garbage Can” Daily
What happens when you do not take out your trash on a regular basis? As the garbage can fills up, there is not as much room to handle more, and eventually it overflows, leaving a stinky mess. In a similar way, you also need to take out your body’s garbage, providing a clear exit path for toxins by moving your bowels (i.e., pooping) regularly. That doesn’t mean every fourth day, or even every other day. Regular bowel movements, for most, means at least once per day, if not more.
Consider the amount of stuff that you put into your mouth. If what is coming out at the other end amounts to a few rabbit-poop pellets or a single small bowel movement a day, then you might see why you feel like crap—you are literally full of it!
It’s not just digested and undigested food stuff that exits from your gastrointestinal tract, it is the main exit route for toxic compounds. Toxins that are not released in this manner may be reabsorbed from the colon and go right back into the bloodstream, essentially re-toxifying the system.
Toxin Tamer Tip #3: Let It Flow
The other main exit is via your kidneys through urine. Your kidneys act as a filter, balancing fluids and removing toxins and wastes. Two major things affect kidney function:
- The amount of liquids you consume, which is why it is so important to drink plenty of clean water and
- The pH (acid or alkaline levels) of your urine. In general, the more alkaline the urine, the more toxins are released, while the more acidic the urine, the more toxins are recycled and taken back up into our system.
A main way you can decrease acidity and increase alkalinity is by focusing on the foods and beverages that you consume, such as increasing your intake of dark leafy greens, which helps to create a more alkaline environment. Certain herbs and nutrients can also play a role.
Toxin Tamer Tip 4: Love Your Liver
Now that your exits are working well, it’s time to rev up your main chemical processor, the liver. Toxin-metabolizing enzymes throughout the body initiate the breakdown of toxins. The small intestines and lungs are particularly adept at this task. Once the toxins are initially metabolized, the remaining components are then shuttled to the kidneys (water-soluble) or liver (fat-soluble) for further processing.
Toxin Tamer Tip 5: Free Your Mind
Many detox plans give advice about diet, and some of them also let you know about toxic products you may be exposed to, but few address an invisible source of toxicity that can have just as big an impact: your mind. The mind plays a role in creating your experience of life, emotions, and even physical health. Instead of steering the ship to create health, you may let your mind run wild, worrying about and projecting toward the future or replaying the past by rehashing mistakes and stewing in grievances and resentments.
By exercising your free will, you can release the past, break free from conditioned responses, accept the present as it is, and be open to the future. If you commit to understanding your role in creating your experiences of life, you have the opportunity to manifest different results by making conscious choices.
It’s Time to Tame Your Toxins and Reclaim Your Health
In order to fully tame your toxins, you need to mindfully address all of the areas in which you may be exposed with a complete plan to detoxify all the layers of life—from the physical body and environment to mental consciousness.
Learn to take control of the things that you can and let go of the things that you cannot, addressing physical, mental, emotional, and societal toxicity in order to achieve total well-being.
Are you ready to reclaim your health? In her groundbreaking book Resilient Health: How to Thrive in Our Toxic World, the Chopra Center’s own Dr. Valencia Porter gives you a clear action plan to prevent and reverse illness. Learn More.