yes, I just picked this image because it’s cute. Let’s pretend it’s because I’m doing this to stay healthy for my kids.
This is a post I’ve thought about writing for awhile, but I didn’t exactly know how the story would end, so I decided to wait. I still don’t entirely know, but things are finally going in the right direction, I’ve hit my stride, so to speak, so I’m sharing.
I’ve hinted at this on Facebook for several days and have been asked to share, also, so I’m going to go ahead and explain. Plus, I’ve started to notice how well it’s working! I only added in the last stuff about a week ago, and I’ve noticed changes already. I have more energy — when I took my kids to a playground, I actually wanted to climb and run along with them, instead of wanting to sit and watch. I even was able to do the monkey bars for the first time in years! I have not exercised or done any strength training so this is entirely because of the detox I’m doing.
My theory is the toxins build up in the muscles and make them sore and weak, so if you clear those toxins out, you get stronger. There will be an ‘end point’ for strengthening this way, obviously, and exercise will become necessary. But a lot of weakness seems to be due to a build up of toxins. My husband, on the other hand, has been doing strength training for almost two years and yet isn’t any stronger because he still has stuff built up. He’s doing the same stuff I am now.
Detox While Breastfeeding?
Those who have been around for awhile or who read regularly probably know that I have an exclusively breastfed four month old. There’s a lot of worry about detoxing while breastfeeding, and for good reason. A lot of what you will detox ends up in your lymphatic system, which goes into your milk. The baby will get it.
I think, in some cases, it’s better to go ahead with it. Whatever’s circulating in your body is already getting to your baby. It’s better to heal, and pass on the healing to the baby before they start solids, so their gut develops properly. It’s just important to start very slowly because it can upset the baby.
I kind of didn’t have a choice. I started drinking kombucha after a few weeks break and felt like I was sort of detoxing (which I didn’t expect since I’ve been drinking it pretty regularly for over three years now), so I took a clay bath with baking soda. I dumped in way too much clay, about 2 – 3 cups, and almost instantly got a headache.
This kicked off fatigue, foggy thinking, inability to concentrate, weight gain, and other minor but unpleasant symptoms. It also led to Nathan getting cradle cap, which he hadn’t previously. I did nothing about this for awhile but I felt angry, frustrated, ugly, anxious, and all around not so good. It seemed obvious that I needed to finish what I had started.
I will say that although I consider this generally “safe” while breastfeeding and I am doing it, that it does make Nathan twitchy sometimes (parts of it) and I can’t actually recommend that you do it. And of course, none of this is medical advice anyway. I’m just sharing what I’ve chosen to do and why.
How I’m Detoxing
There are different parts going on here. The ones I added most recently have made the biggest difference.
First, I cut out sugar. I still end up having a small sweet treat about once a week, but I can’t tolerate much anymore. We got a ‘regular’ size milkshake the other day, I believe 20 oz. to split among 5 of us. Half of it went into the freezer for later. That’s what I mean by “small!”
In this case, I didn’t really find cutting out sugar to be an issue. I never had cravings or struggled with it, as I have in the past. This, to me, was a good thing — I wasn’t “addicted” to it. It also meant that I didn’t instantly get an energy boost or start losing weight, since that wasn’t the answer.
Then, I attempted to go (mostly) grain-free. I still eat quinoa, and occasionally rice. After a week or so, I had wheat again, but had no issues. For me, gluten doesn’t cause a problem, but for many, it can.
I am also focusing heavily on fruits and vegetables. Most mornings I make a smoothie with yogurt or milk kefir, berries, and chia seeds. I try to have salads several days a week. I eat soups with veggies most days. I’m also trying to include plenty of fermented foods in various forms.
These are the basic steps. I opted not to cut dairy, because there were too many beneficial nutrients in raw dairy, cultured dairy was even better, and the dairy ‘alternatives’ I could purchase contained additives I didn’t think were a good idea. Some of the cheeses I enjoy are also filled with key nutrients. Romano, one of my favorites, is very high in vitamin K2.
Beyond all this, there are specific steps I just added in.
This could easily be a post in itself, so I’ll try to keep it short. My research into amino acids has convinced me that we typically eat too much muscle meat, and that we don’t balance it with organ meats and bones (stock made from bones, containing gelatin). The amino acid contents are entirely different in these different sources, and nutrients are much more concentrated in the organs than the muscles. In particular, muscle meat is high in tryptophan and cystine, both of which, in excess, lead to inflammation (but we absolutely do need these, just like omega-6s, but we get too much).
Gelatin, on the other hand, is high in glycine, which we don’t get enough of. Glycine is reputed to help balance blood sugar levels, aid anemia, fatigue, healthy digestion, wound healing, and even kill cancer. It is also said to help collagen production, reduce cellulite, grow stronger nails and hair, and more. It’s pretty awesome stuff.
I chose Great Lakes Gelatin because it’s grass-fed (that is an affiliate link and I earn a small commission if you buy through it, thanks!). I dissolve 2 tbsp. in a few ounces of room temperature filtered water, then add a bit of very warm, filtered water, and top it off with a splash of juice for about 2 cups of “jello drink” (what I told my kids it’s called). I have this once a day.
I’m using Redmond Clay as capsules. I take two every morning, an hour or two before eating anything. They sell bottles of capsules, or you can buy the powder and make your own (I’m not sure it’s all that much cheaper, though). This is bentonite clay. It has electrically charged particles that ‘grab’ onto all the toxins and junk and carry it out of your body safely. This is very important for me, while breastfeeding, because I want these things to get carried out as safely as possible rather than coming out in my milk whenever possible.
I vary between using the Redmond Clay and Redmond Bath Salts (and nope, I wasn’t paid to write about these…I just honestly like them). I make the bath as hot as I can stand and dump in about 1/2 c. of the one I’ve chosen. I sit in it for 15 – 20 minutes then get out. The heat of the water causes my pores to open and sweat, which dumps out toxins. (This is the one thing that seems to affect the baby some, and I’m trying to combat it by taking my clay and baths at the same time, as well as drinking a lot of water.)
I’ve written about oil cleansing before. Another unfortunate “symptom” I’ve run across is break outs, for the first time in years. I’ve started doing my oil cleansing again, with a mix of castor and sweet almond oil (slightly more castor than sweet almond since my skin tends to be oily). I am also doing clay masks 1 – 2 times per week. With this, my skin has gotten smoother, breakouts are finally healing, and new ones are becoming much smaller.
I haven’t started these yet, but they’re rich in nutrients that I know I need. I’ll be telling you more about then and showing you how to make them soon.
How I’m Feeling
I should mention I’m also keeping up with my magnesium lotion daily.
I’m sleeping pretty well when the baby lets me, I ended up with a fever for a couple of days during the worst of it all (the baby got one too for a few hours, not very high; no one else did) but felt better and stronger after. I’m able to have energy, be in a better mood, handle stress better, and have even (finally) lost a little bit of weight! I know I’m moving in the right direction.
A quick note on “why detox.”
I know that a lot of people in the ‘mainstream’ think that detoxing is stupid. But it’s not. Our bodies have to cope with a lot of junk — unhealthy food, environmental pollution, illnesses, etc. They have natural pathways to deal with that, like the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. But, some peoples’ bodies are more efficient at this than others. Even those who are efficient can get bogged down because of the great amount of toxins in today’s world. These herbicides and pesticides on our produce and chemicals in our processed food and so on aren’t harmless to us, especially not when they’re all combined. Sometimes our bodies can’t deal with it all.
So, where does it go? Much of it is bound up and stored as fat! I believe if you can’t lose weight, this might play a big role. I know it does for me. Some is stored in the muscles, making you weaker. Some continues to circulate in the body, causing fuzzy thinking.
The goal is to encourage the body to do what it should and to release those toxins via the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. These systems can be working slower or less efficiently than they ought to be, while still functioning enough to keep us alive and moving — just not feeling particularly well. When we help them, these things are cleared out and we feel better.
I honestly think everyone could benefit from some sort of detox now and then.
That’s where I stand so far! If you’re curious, I’ll post an update in a few weeks.