Flush It Down!
Most athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and health buffs share one thing alike. They know their bodies on an intimate level, and are quick to recognize when something doesn’t feel right. If you to have recently noticed you’re feeling sluggish, run down, or have had trouble keeping your weight under control maybe it is time to consider a body flush.
Every day we come into contact with internal and external pollutants in our environment. They can be found in the air we breathe, foods we eat, and the beverages we drink. Unfortunately, most of us have lifestyles that require the occasional or daily ingestion of processed foods, or fast foods full of chemicals, dies, and preservatives. Even those of us that avoid poor food choices can still be at risk from pollutants like herbicides and pesticides found on fruits and vegetables. Excessive amounts of hormones and preservatives can even be found in the meats and dairy products we consume. When these pollutants build up in our bodies they become toxic to your health, and inhibit your body’s systems from performing properly. With so many external factors affecting the things we put into our bodies it’s no wonder our systems become overworked and stressed out.
So what exactly is a body flush, and what systems should we be flushing? The simplest way to describe a body flush is a combination of diet, exercise, and supplements
being used to elicit a cleansing effect on the entire body or specific organ system. On a typical flush plan all the organs and systems in our bodies will release toxins, and benefit from the experience. However, the primary targets are the digestion system including the liver, colon, and kidneys and the lymphatic system.
So why are these specific systems pointed out? The simplest to tackle is the kidneys. Their primary function is to filter byproducts like creatinine, urea, and salts out of the blood, which are created by metabolic reactions within the body. Since they do a lot of the cleansing legwork they need to be functioning optimally.
It is also important to consider cleansing of the colon. Although typically considered a taboo topic, colon health is vital. Buildup of yeasts and poor stool movement can cause blockages or backups that can lead to severe infections like diverticulitis. Poor colon and digestive tract health can also lead irritable bowel syndrome, colon ulcers, and a potentially deadly form of cancer. A healthy intestinal tract will also allow for better food digestion and nutrient absorption.
The lymphatic system is something many people are unfamiliar with. The few that are acquainted with it have probably had an unfortunate experience with an aggressive cancer like lymphoma. There is a reason for these cancers quick progression. The lymphatic system is formed by a series of interconnecting fluid ducts and glands that are present throughout the entire body much like veins and arteries. Its sole purpose is to collect and remove pollutants and toxins, and carry them to the digestion system for excretion. So, it’s easy to see how if something foreign got into this system it could quickly spread across the entire body and wreck havoc.
The final and most complicated organ we want to flush is the liver. The liver is responsible for carrying out a large portion of the of the bodies metabolic processes. It plays a crucial role in lipolysis (the breakdown of fat), amino acid formation, digestive enzyme production, cleansing the body of pollutants such as pharmaceuticals and metals, producing red blood cells, and storing glycogen. Believe it or not that’s just scratching the surface. The list goes on and on.
So now that we have an understanding about what and why to flush, how do we go about doing so? The most comprehensive way to go about a detoxifying body flush is to follow a two to three week regimen which includes a specific diet, exercises, and diet supplements. Here’s how the three categories breakdown individually.Diet:
A restrictive diet is of great importance when trying to flush the body of toxins. By reducing the amount of food we consume, in particular protein and wheat products, we allow the digestive organs some much needed rest and relaxation. To some highly active athletes the amount of caloric reduction necessary for a good detox may seem a bit extreme, but again the goal is to rest the digestive system. It is not to say that a detox cannot be accomplished while keeping a higher caloric level. However, keep in mind that we will not be able to elicit as good a response from the necessary organs. Along with this reduction in calories we need to cut out all processed foods (restaurant or prepackaged). This includes any flour products, sugar containing items, foods high in fat or grease, and carbonated drinks (even diet soda). We are doing this to avoid the liver processing fats, preservatives, and other harsh chemicals like artificial sweeteners that would put a strain on it. We are avoiding the sugars primarily because they feed unhealthy yeasts and bacteria found in our gut and intestine. The typical flush meal plan is going to include limited protein portions consisting of 2 -4 oz meat servings eaten as meals twice per day, and two whole eggs upon arising along with some fruit snacks in between. To quall those hunger pains and aid in elimination an unlimited amount of fibrous green vegetables, onions, garlic, and bell peppers are allowed each day. Here’s what your diet would look like.
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs along with green peppers, spinach, and parsley
- Mid-afternoon snack: ½ grapefruit, 1 orange, or other fruit single serving (no bananas)
- Lunch: 4 oz meat including lean beef, chicken, turkey, or fish
- Mid-afternoon snack: 1 fruit serving
- Dinner: 4 oz of lean meat of your choosing
- Freebies: unlimited leafy greens, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers and onions
While on a flush diet it is typically recommended that you continue exercising, or begin to do so, as you normally would. Athletes having higher caloric exertions may need to cut back on their exercise regimens temporarily to reduce their energy demands. Weightlifting or Nautilus type exercises that involve the muscles repeated contraction are of great importance. A major drawback to the lymph system’s design is its inability to circulate fluids without movement. It relies solely on muscle contraction and body movement to do so. Therefore by intentionally adding these types of movement to our daily regimen we can speed up and optimize the system’s detoxifying capabilities. Any exercise that involves a bouncing type movement also helps to get the lymph fluids up and flowing. Some excellent examples of these movements are jump roping, trampoline bouncing, and stepping. Moderate cardiovascular work 3-4 times weekly will also naturally speed up the body’s ability to detoxify by increasing circulation and revving up the metabolism. The metabolic boost will also help to release toxins from within cells and fat stores.Supplements:
A basic flush plan will require several types of supplementation coming from natural food sources. The first is the addition of 20 or more grams of insoluble fiber to the diet coming from psyllium husk or ground flaxseed. Insoluble fiber helps to absorb bile and other fluids from the intestine adding bulk to the stool, which allows for easier elimination. An 8 oz glass of water with juice from ½ a lemon drank 20 minutes before breakfast or sipped throughout the day will aid the liver and kidneys with their functions. It is also important to find an external source of omega 2 and 6 fatty acids. A good blend would include sources of fish, flax, primrose, and borage oils. The addition of fatty acids to the diet will increase thyroid production and aid in metabolic increase. It is also recommended that you drink 100% cranberry juice (no sugar added) in a dilution of 4 oz to 28 oz water for a total daily intake of 64 or more ounces. This cranberry mixture will aid the lymph system’s ability to remove toxins and help to reduce water retention. Along with these sources several other choices can be made as to add a boost in the flushing effect. They would include a good multiple vitamin and mineral, a liver support formula, metabolic enhancers such as L-carnitine, insulin regulating chromium, and a host of other products specifically designed for the purpose cleansing or detoxing.
So there you have it! The basics of what, why, and how to undergo a flush diet capable of removing built up toxins, jump starting metabolism, increasing fat loss, and getting the body back to the place nature intended. An excellent book for a more in-depth discussion on all the topics mentioned is The Fat Flush Plan by Gittleman. Hopefully you to will soon undergo a detoxing diet, and reap the benefits it has to offer as myself and so many others have already discovered.