You know you’re exposed to chemicals on a daily basis.  You might not worry about it, or you may be someone who frets about it.  Either way, if you are struggling to find your optimum weight, whether you are on a weight loss journey and have hit a plateau, or just feel like your body is hanging onto an extra 5-15 pounds that won’t budge, you should know about detoxification.

The main organs of detoxification are our liver, kidneys, small intestine and skin.  These multi-tasking organs have the difficult and never ending job of filtering out what should stay and what should go! 

If the processes of these organs are sluggish, broken down, or “clogged up” due to stress, poor nutritional choices (hello packaged food!), or illness, the critical job of removing toxic compounds can go haywire.

So, how does this relate to your weight? Well, when those pathways get sluggish, the toxic byproducts of the clean-up crew can’t be removed properly from the body.  They are often “halfway” taken care of. In the liver, this comes into play between 2 phases of liver detoxification.

To put it simply, if the toxin doesn’t make it from point A to B properly (phase 1 to phase 2), it can actually be more toxic to the body, and is often reabsorbed! YIKES! 

Now, your body is super smart, and often identifies that this toxic compound needs to be safely stored away. Where might you think is a good place to put something and kind of “forget about it?”  Fat cells, that’s where! 

The body bottles it up nicely, tucks it away, and says now we don’t have to deal with it!  Right?  Well, it’s a nice idea, but terribly flawed.  It’s still there, and often we feel really “toxic” when our fat cells are loaded up with these masked compounds.

You may have tried restricting your calories to lose stubborn fat.  As fat cells don’t actually go away, they just shrink, your toxins can become more apparent to your body, or present as symptoms as they become more concentrated (fat and water in the cells is burned off).  As the body recognizes more toxic load, it may flip the switch to store more fat, rather than burn it as fuel.

This is the point when many people hit the dreaded “plateau,” despite their continued excellent efforts.  Or, when they lose weight but it comes right back on once they stop restricting the calories. 

Restricting calories without guidance often means you are lacking vital nutrients and minerals and may be tapping into your muscle stores rather than effectively changing your body composition.

That being said, doesn’t it make sense that in order for you to reach your optimal weight and stay there, we need to tackle the root of the problem…the toxic load? 

We can come at this from several angles.  Working with controlling what is coming into the body in the form of toxins is crucial as well as helping the body get rid of toxins. 

Reducing inflammation and increasing nutrients is one of the keys to aiding your body’s natural detoxification pathways and optimizing the function of your precious eliminations.

Here’s a list FIVE highly anti-inflammatory foods to aid you on your journey!

1)      Dark Leafy Greens—is there anything these powerhouses aren’t great for?  I haven’t found any yet.  These are highly concentrated in lots of amazing nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and flavonoids, and vitamin E.  Great sources are spinach, Swiss chard, kale and broccoli.

2)      Nuts—I am totally nuts about raw nuts. Yes, raw is better. Soak ‘em overnight and drain for even easier digestibility.  These nutrient dense inflammation fighters are loaded with fiber, calcium, magnesium, omega 3 fats and Vitamin E.  Super protective and high in protein and essential fats. I love eating them alongside fruits as a snack. If you go for a nut-butter, make sure it is “natural”, meaning no added sugar please!

3)      Garlic & Onions—anti-inflammatory, flavorful, disease fighters.  Gotta love ‘em.  Super helpful for detoxification pathways, overall immunity boosters and tasty too!

4)      Berries—I add frozen berries to my jam packed smoothie every morning. Why?  Anti-oxidant heaven, blue and purple colors, which are missing in most American’s diets, and they have a low-glycemic load—meaning they don’t make your blood sugar rise as much as other fruits.  Totally anti-inflammatory, and good sources of fiber. 

5)      Fatty Fish—the “F” word—FAT—has gotten a bad rap in years past. But, the news is out. FAT IS IN!  I’m talking about the types of good fats in fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.  Go for wild caught and eat about 2 times a week.  You can also add in FISH OILS in the form of supplements if you just can’t take the fishy stuff!  These fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which counteract inflammation.

Cheers to your health!  Cook up your chard and wash it down with a berry smoothie and get that detox flowing.