Renew Your Health- August Challenge: DETOX

Before we start rebuilding our health, we first need to get rid of all of the nasty stuff in our bodies that prevents our systems from functioning well. Removing that junk is called “detoxifying”, or “detox” for short. This will be our (mine and my husband’s) first step in our long-term journey to better health, which is now called the Renew Your Health Challenge. We hope that many of you will join us in some, or all, of our steps! Your game-plan and tools may be different than ours, but we can still encourage and learn from each other. 🙂

How The Body Detoxifies

There are two main things in the body that need extra support for detoxification.

  1. Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system is like the blood circulatory system, in that it is throughout your entire body. The lymphatic fluid (aka “lymph”) is “pumped” through your body by movement, similar to the way that blood is pumped through your body by your heart. If you’re not active, the lymph doesn’t move much and that’s a bad thing. Lymph carries good things from your digestive tract (fats, EFAs, fat-soluble vitamins, etc.) to the rest of your body. Lymph is officially part of the circulatory system, but it is also a very important player in the immune system. Toxins, bacteria, viruses and cell “waste” in are carried by the lymph to lymph nodes, where white blood cells are concentrated. The white blood cells break down the bad things.That’s why our lymph nodes and tonsils swell when we’re sick. They are responding to illness by gathering a bunch of white blood cells to take care of things. If your lymph nodes/tonsils are chronically swollen (like mine and my husbands’), that’s a sign of an underlying chronic illness. Our goal is to get our lymphatic system cleaned out (detoxed) and the running properly.
  2. Liver: While the lymph has lymph nodes, tonsils and the spleen to do the filtering and destroying of toxins, the circulatory system has the liver. The liver is in charge filtering toxins out of the blood and breaking them down (it is also heavily involved in digestion, but that’s for another post). When the liver isn’t functioning well, toxins pass through it and into our blood, being transported throughout the body. When doing a detox, one of the most important things to do is to stop putting toxins in. Read about what you should eat in this post.

Detox Supplements

Since I am breastfeeding, I am going to be making extra-cautious choices. It wouldn’t be a good idea for me to detox myself and pass on toxins to my baby through the milk. Keeping that in mind, these are choices that I am comfortable with. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to do your own research to make sure you’re okay with any risks.

  • Bentonite Clay: This is some fabulous dirt! 😉 Bentonite clay is a gray clay that swells when you mix it with water. It has a charge to it that attracts and binds heavy metals and toxins in the body (imagine a magnet attracting and hanging onto metal shavings). I love this one for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, because it helps to pull bad things out of the body with no risk of those things being passed on to the baby. It is best taken last thing before bed with a glass of water. If you take it earlier in the day, it can interfere with absorption of other things. I put my bentonite clay in capsules and then drink a full glass of water (remember, it swells!), but some people will mix a spoonful of it with a glass of water and drink it down. If you do this, be sure not to use metal as it will neutralize the charge of the clay. I’ll be starting with 2 capsules (size 00) a day and then increasing after a week to 4.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium supports processes throughout the body, including the lymph nodes and liver’s jobs of detoxification. We are going to start supplementing with magnesium, since it’s nearly impossible for people to get adequate magnesium through diet due to soil depletion. We use my homemade magnesium lotion. (*Update* The magnesium lotion has helped us all tremendously!)
  • Milk Thistle: Milk Thistle is the herb for the liver! It actually regenerates liver cells. It is also believed to protect the liver from damage. Historically women also have used it (along with other plants from the thistle family) to increase milk supply when nursing, which makes it a good choice for a nursing mama. I’ll be taking a very small dose (just one capsule a day), but other people have taken many capsules every day for detox. (Please note that people with a thistle allergy have been known to have allergic reactions to milk thistle.) I’ll start with 1 (size 00) capsule per day, then increase to two per day, assuming I have no problems taking it.
  • Dandelion Root: Dandelion is a popular detoxifier for both the liver and the lymphatic system. It’s full of healthy minerals and is considered by most herbalist to be safe and effective to take, even during pregnancy. It is a diuretic, which is excellent for reducing swelling, but be sure to drink plenty of water with it. I’ll be taking 1 capsule (size 00) per day.
  • Burdock Root: This is the herb for the lymphatic system. Burdock root helps to reduce congestion in the lymph nodes, remove toxins and reduce lymph node swelling. Not only is it good for internal use, many people find that a poultice of burdock held on a swollen lymph node will help reduce the swelling. I may try that once in awhile, but I honestly can’t see that being a daily habit. 🙂 Again, this will be 1 capsule per day (size 00).
  • Turmeric: Yet another root that is just fabulous for a gentle detox! Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and, like milk thistle, it helps create liver enzymes that break down toxins. If you are taking turmeric, it is recommended that you take a small amount of black pepper at the same time because it increases the effectiveness of turmeric. We will each start with one per day and move up to two a day within a week. We also plan to cook with it more often.
  • Ionic Mineral Drops: As with the magnesium, there are many trace minerals that our bodies need in order to function well. To make sure that we are getting what we need, we will put five drops of ionic trace minerals in each glass of water. I found mine at the local health food store, but you can order them online from Amazon. Speaking of water…
  • Water: I’m not an “8 8-ounce glasses a day” kind of girl, but our bodies really do need water in order to function well. I’m planning to really up my intake. By the way, did you know that you absorb more water if you sip it slowly rather than chug it down quickly? If you are interested in learning more about the importance of drinking water, there is a Daily Water Challenge over at Your Thriving Family for the month of August! Perfect timing! 🙂

Well, that’s it for this month! I know that it may look like a lot, but it will really take very little time and effort on our part. All we need to do is remember to…

  • take the herbs in the morning
  • take the bentonite clay at night
  • drink water with minerals throughout the day
  • give myself a few sprays of magnesium oil every day

Will you be making any health changes this month, or even following along on the detox plan with us?

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14 thoughts on “Renew Your Health- August Challenge: DETOX

  1. Nishoni L Harvey says:

    Drinking more lemon water, starting back on my magnesium and prenatal, and… How much Turmeric do you use?

    • Good for you! I’ll be starting with one 00-size capsule and then upping it to two per day. We’re also hoping to use it in more recipes, too.

  2. I am definitely looking forward to hearing more about this. I am always reluctant to try thingss like this while pregnant or nursing and over the last 8 years that has only been the case for less than 2 years.

    • Me, too. I have done a ton of research to find ways to detox that I feel are safe. The bentonite clay is especially important during breastfeeding since it absorbs any bad stuff floating around. I’ll be carefully watching the baby for any adverse reactions, too. I really think that the next pregnancy (Lord willing) will go much better if I’m detoxed first. Morning sickness is miserable. 🙂

  3. Kristie says:

    I used detox + from the bulk herb store. It caused indigestion and heartburn to flare up. I did it for two weeks and now I am taking l-glutamine and turmeric to fix digestion. I wondered if it was a detox reaction or maybe the peppermint that caused the digestion issues. I was planning on working on candida next. I would love to hear your opinion. If you would rather email me that would be great too!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with the detox+. Yes, peppermint can cause bad heartburn in some people, so that may have been the problem. The detox+ is also a stronger detox than what we are doing, so it may have been partly from such sudden and strong detoxification. Since I’m nursing, we’re doing a slow and gentle detox. Maybe that would be a better choice for you next time.

      As far as treating candida, there are several herbs and diet changes that people have had great success using. Diet, of course, would be eliminating refined sugars and alcohol, and reducing grains (though I wouldn’t completely eliminate them). Using plenty of coconut oil and other coconut products, garlic (raw, especially), cinnamon and oregano would be a good start. I’d go slowly, to help prevent a strong reaction. After a few weeks, I’d add daily raw garlic, a capsule or two of cinnamon and, after I was used to those, some oil of oregano (*not* “oregano essential oil”!!) at the dose specified on the bottle. Some people use stronger remedies, such as black walnut and wormwood, but I’m not personally comfortable with those. I’d recommend consulting a trained herbalist or a naturopathic doctor if you decide to try them, since they are very strong. Also, raw apple cider vinegar is known to be very helpful with candida, too.

      Thanks so much for the comment and feel free to let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

  4. Kristie says:

    Thank you for your quick reply! I was thinking of trying a product that contains caprylic acid, pau d’arco, black walnut, and oregano oil. I was wondering about why you weren’t as comfortable with the black walnut and wormwood. I have been having bloating more often again, and pain in my very lower left side of my back. The pain is related to the bloating. So, I am guessing candida. I actually was diagnosed with two kinds of yeast as well as a bunch of other things over a year ago. I have been working with a doctor, but am now taking a break. He had wanted me to do a liver detox (epsom salts, olive oil, etc.) to get rid of gallstones. He thought that might be why my liver enzymes went up and down. So, I decided to do it in this order: detox +, candida/parasite cleanse, and then a liver detox. Mercury may also be a problem (or maybe some other toxin-I haven’t done the chelation challenge test yet). So that is what I was hoping the detox+ was helping. I am also a Christian, and follow God’s leading foremost. And I know at one point he did lead me to this doctor. I also feel that I am way better and feel comfortable trying some other things. I thank you so much for answering and I know I am responsible for my own decisions, but am always interested in other people’s knowledge!

    • You’re welcome! And I completely agree that we are each responsible for God for our own decisions. Sounds like we are on the same page. 🙂

      As far as taking wormwood, it has something in it called “thujone”, which can cause all kinds of bad things if taken “in large amounts for a long time”, but nobody can really say how much or how long. I think different people can handle different amounts of things like that, and I’m just not willing to test it out and see what my personal limit is. 😉 Thujone *can* cause kidney failure, seizures, paralysis and it can even kill people. That certainly doesn’t mean it will. I’m sure many people have taken it and had great benefits and no side effects. It just isn’t something I’m comfortable with.

      The black walnut is simply not well studied, so I prefer to stick with things I’m sure are safe. I have heard that some people have mild side effects from using it, but nothing huge. It’s just something on my list of things I wouldn’t want to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, which I’m hoping to be doing most of the time for the next several years! 😉

      My friend Paula, who is guest posting tomorrow has an entire section of her blog dedicated to candida. You might like to look around there and ask her questions if you’re curious about her experience. 🙂

  5. Okay, you’ve inspired me. I took our bentonite clay out of the cabinet several months ago, intending to detox. It sat there for over a month, then i finally put it away. I shall take it out and begin drinking it with a big glass of water as you suggest 🙂

  6. Chloe says:

    Hi there, thanks for the helpful reseach you greatly put in together. I’ve been fighting with swallen of lymph nodes, i have about five on my neck area and two on my righy earobe. Since i moved my job and have not received my health care, i have been doing my own research and came across your information. There were some controverse ideas about burdock root supplement being damaging to your lower back and kidney, vitamin D supplement actually caused swallen in lymph glands. I am not pregnant, and was wondering if i could alternate clay and magnesium method altogether to drain toxins or any chance of infections. Also I could not find the link to magnesium lotion you made, any helpful information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Chloe

    • Hi Chloe,

      Sorry for the delay in replying. We’ve had some serious problems with our well for the last two weeks and I’m just now catching up on answering comments.

      I wouldn’t recommend any synthetic vitamin D, but fermented cod liver oil is a safe and excellent source of natural vitamin D. I get swollen lymph nodes on the back of my neck and I like to use our Four Thieves Lotion Bar and our Magnesium Lotion for that. Our store is at http://realtraditions.com

      The burdock hasn’t been a problem for me, but I only use it temporarily and with plenty of water. I have discovered since writing this post that I have felt so horrible because I have adrenal fatigue. Although detoxing helps, addressing the root causes of adrenal fatigue are what I’m focusing on at this point. 🙂

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