The most important thing I’ve learned over the past few years on my healing journey is to listen to my body and trust my instincts. When I first found out about this detox program (you can read part one here), I truly believed it would help me get back on track after a period of being less vigilant about my food choices as I should be.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still eating healthy real food. It’s not like I was hitting up fast-food places or eating junk/processed food, but I was not watching my diet as closely as I should be.
Our bodies generally do a good job of getting rid of toxins and other harmful substances, but sometimes we can overload the system with the choices we make.
And sometimes our key biological processes (mainly digestion, assimilation and elimination) don’t work as well as they were designed to.
I believe that it’s important to give your body a break, and to enhance the natural detox process. But there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to detox.
It’s extremely important to make sure that your detoxification process is working so you can actually eliminate the toxins your body is releasing.
Otherwise, your body will just reabsorb the toxins and the process was just a waste of time and money.
While I was training to become a health coach, I learned that our nutritional needs can change from time to time and from season to season. On top of that, other factors that disrupt our health can come into play as well.
Stress is a big one. I have been under a lot of stress for the past several months. I’ve started a business while still working full time at my day-job to pay the bills. I have many family responsibilities as well, so I have been stretched pretty thin. I plan and prepare most of our meals, and do the majority of the grocery shopping.
I’m not telling you this for sympathy, but rather to demonstrate what can happen when you don’t make your health a priority. I thought that this program was just what I needed to give my body a reset.
The first few weeks went well: I was following the elimination diet and the plan was to slowly reintroduce foods to identify any possible triggers.
I stopped the diet earlier than I had originally planned without properly reintroducing the foods I had eliminated. However, these were whole foods that I had been consuming as part of my regular diet before.
I didn’t stop because I felt deprived and I don’t feel that I gave up without giving it a fair try. I stopped because I started noticing some rather strange side effects.
Some side-effects I noticed:
- Digestion got worse (stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation)
- Skin irritation (hands, wrists & forearms)
I ended up with a higher toxicity level than when I started. Admittedly, I hadn’t been doing the detox baths every other night as instructed. However, it’s not likely that would have made too much of a difference. At this point, finding the time to take the baths was nearly impossible with everything else I had going on.
The biggest mistake I made in the past was strictly following a protocol without assessing how it made me feel.
At a different time in my life, I may have been successful on this program. But, it wasn’t the right program for me now. Other people may try it and find it works perfectly. This is something else that IIN taught me: the concept of bio-individuality. One person’s food can be another person’s poison.
My daughter was following the same protocol as me and she felt an improvement in how she felt. She wasn’t even following the diet 100% of the time!
I believe I have a breakdown in my natural detoxification process, compounded by inadequate digestion and elimination.
I had hoped to be able to share more of my experience with you, but I felt it was more important to listen to my body rather than stick with a plan that wasn’t working.
I realized that nothing I had been doing before was contributing to my symptoms. It’s important to eat as many foods as possible and while I still have to limit certain foods due to my food intolerances and IBS (read more here) I had eliminated some foods that I really enjoyed eating.
There’s obviously something else going on, something that’s not totally dependent on my diet. I will now be seeking the guidance of a naturopath to help me as I cannot do this alone.
When I first started my healing journey back in 2013, I learned about Dr. Jillian Teta, a naturopath based in North Carolina who specializes in digestive health. I’ve learned a lot from her, most importantly that when it comes to health there is no quick fix and usually the solution gets complicated.
The approach she uses to treat people is to discover what foods aren’t working and to improve their digestion. But she does this with the least restriction as possible and she recognizes that there is so much more to health than diet and exercise alone.
She encourages her patients to get back to basics and to listen to their own bodies. She also recognizes that just because certain foods don't work for some people, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work for all.
This was an important lesson for me to learn. I had started following the Paleo diet back in the fall of 2013 when I first learned of my food intolerances because it was the easiest way for me to make the transition. I made the mistake of trying to convince other people in my family that they needed to eat that way as well – and this was before I even trained to become a health coach!
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