Detox – What Is It?

Detoxification, or detox, refers to the process of removing toxins from the body, and not even 10 years ago, this term was used synonymously with the idea of ridding the body of traces of alcohol and drug from substance abuse, overdose and toxicity.  Today, the word is usually associated with the idea of “cleansing” the body to lose weight and gain better health. Funny, how times change!

In today’s world, detox now refers to preparing the body, cleansing and eliminating the body of toxins, waste, and excess weight, thereby improving health. Most people equate it with a weight loss program. What do you think it is?

You have probably heard of a popular detox program, drink or diet plan out there that advertises themselves as the world’s best, or the most effective way to lose weight and get healthy. Be informed before you buy!

We will be diving into this and more in this article:

Why detox?
Symptoms of detox
How do you know you need to detox?
Kinds of detoxes (and my opinion on each)
Who should or should not detox?
What happens when you detox (reactions)?
Best kind of detoxes

Today, most of us are familiar with the word detox or detoxification, but what is it really?  There are many different kinds of detoxes, which we will address at a later time.

Basically, a detox is the process you follow to help your body increase nutrients that are needed to clear out toxins and wastes effectively.   Detoxification is the normal bodily process of eliminating toxins through the colon and liver and skin.

A healthy person naturally detoxes every day when they eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep and practice stress reduction. But for many of us, we eat the wrong foods from time to time (or all the time), which affects our liver, our brain, our sleep, and keeps us from handling stress properly, not to mention all the other toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis: pesticides, insecticides, cleaners, facial products, even in the air we breathe.

The body becomes overloaded with toxins and the liver congested, and therefore, unable to eliminate what is damaging to health. For these people, especially, and for most of us, a detox is highly important to lose weight and feel better.

Everyone can benefit from a detox, especially at the change of seasons, as this helps the body renew, recharge and rejuvenate. A detox is a great way to “jump-start” your body for season ahead which usually include seasonal foods and activities.

Detox or Cleanse? Is there a difference?

A cleanse, basically, adds specific foods and supplements that encourage elimination of the digestive tract. Usually this involves drinking juices, and high-fiber foods, like salads and smoothies to encourage the elimination process. This may give you the promised 10 lb weight loss, but this is expected when you empty your digestive tract. Most of us carry 5-20 lbs. of excess waste in our colon at any given time. (It is said that John Wayne had 40 pounds of impacted fecal matter John Wayne had 40 pounds of impacted fecal matter in his body at the time of his death, in June of 1979). Once a person goes off the cleanse, and starts eating again (especially the SAD diet of process junk food), the colon does it’s thing and collects waste again, which adds weight to the scale.

Detox or Cleanse?  Which is it?


A Cleanse, basically, adds specific foods and supplements,  that encourage elimination of the digestive tract.  This works to help clear the colon of waste, and therefore ‘cleanse” the body of excess weight.  A cleanse purely focuses on eating high fiber foods, juices and specific fiber supplementation that promote elimination. This is a much-need aspect for health, but does not work toward cleansing and healing organs, such as the liver or kidneys, or lowering inflammation.


A detox, on the other hand,  can differ from a cleanse, in that it focuses on eliminating specific foods that cause inflammation or weight gain, therefore encouraging cells to open up pathways that allow the body to detox poisons, toxin, and excess wasted from the body.  A detox goes much deeper than an cleanse, and focuses on helping the body boost its own detoxification processes by utilizing the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs. This usually involves elimination of certain foods known to cause inflammation, and adding in specific high-nutrient foods, as well as targeted supplementation, and other lifestyle practices such as focusing of sleep, exercise and stress reduction.

Which do you prefer?

Even though the words detox and cleanse have two different meanings, for the sake of our discussion, we will use these two words interchangeably, because, in my mind they are both needed and can be combined for good health.


Concerned you may be toxic?  Do you need a detox?   Go here to take the Are You Toxic?  Quiz