Demystifying Detox with Dr. Meena Malhotra
as published in Natural Awakenings Magazine
With the holiday season behind us and New Year’s resolutions in full swing, many people choose January as a time to detoxify their body and mind from stress and overabundance. However, there are many misconceptions about what a healthy and balanced detoxification process includes. Dr. Meena Malhotra is the founder and medical director of Heal n Cure, an integrative facility in Glenview that specializes in functional medicine. Their team of physicians, nurses, nutritionists and aestheticians work with each patient to collaborate on a tailored plan that meets their health and vitality goals by looking at the body as a complete system.
What are the elements of a detox?
Many people associate detoxification with starvation, liquid diets or juice cleanses, but those methods don’t allow the body to heal and repair. A proper detoxification starts with establishing your baseline health and needs. In the clinic, we can do blood and urine tests for biomarkers that indicate areas of imbalance. People can also do a self-assessment to determine if they have a toxic overload. If they are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, foggy brain, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, cravings, allergies and eczema, those are indications that the system isn’t in homeostasis. The degree of imbalance of your unique biochemistry helps us determine the blend in their Vital Dose, a customized combination of medicinal herbs, minerals, vitamins and fatty acids for good health. Eliminating triggers such as dairy, processed food, meat, chemicals and other toxins, and introducing a plant-based diet which promotes biotransformation helps to make toxins in the body more water-soluble and easier for the system to flush out.
What should be consumed during a detox?
A healthy detox gives you nourishment from eating whole foods in a systematic manner, including lentils, nuts, produce and whole grains. This supplies the macronutrients you need for energy and fiber to encourage regular digestion. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense and contain the prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients and phytonutrients that help support the liver. Micronutrients such as fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and herbs in Vital Dose help support the body in detoxification. Giving the body proper nutrition is the best way for it to begin to repair and heal, as well as build up healthy gut bacteria. Exercise is important, but during a detox, be sure not to overdo it, because your body is going through complex changes. A brisk walk or yoga practice may be enough at first. Also, limit your exposure to toxins in the environment and in household cleaning or beauty products that throw off your hormonal balance. Swap out plastic for wooden utensils and glass containers in the kitchen. Make your space as innocuous as possible.